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Buildup Question
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avaserfi
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Joined: 13 Oct 2009
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Posted Tue Jul 17, 2012, 6:06am
Subject: Buildup Question
 

I have a Brewtus IV-R which I purchased and plumbed in through a water filter. Shortly after getting it, I had to travel for work for 2.5 months. I left my wife using the Brewtus after teaching her how to use it. She used Cafiza regularly.

When setting up the machine, I consulted with Chris' Coffee and was told that a water softener was unnecessary because my water has a hardness less than 1. According to local water reports it sits around 0.5 grains. I also tested it with a strip they sell and got a result of less than 1.

I came back from my travels to find a well running espresso machine, but noticed some buildup on the relief flow valve, pictured below.

So, given this buildup which looks like scale, should I hook up a water softener to my machine?

The picture: http://tinyurl.com/7s4k2dn

Thanks
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Coffeenoobie
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Coffeenoobie
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Posted Tue Jul 17, 2012, 8:43am
Subject: Re: Buildup Question
 

I am still new here so take my advice with a grain of salt. It does look like calcium to me or dried on milk..... does it come off easily? What does your shower head and inside of the back of your toilet look like?  If my bathroom fixtures had build up on them I personally would use filtered water in my espresso machine no matter what the test strip said because it seems like some type of mineral build up.  When I lived in TX I had pretty hard water.  Where does your water come from? Well? City? Surface water/ground water?

You can always mix filtered and unfiltered water for the taste of the coffee.

 
Coffeenoobie

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avaserfi
Senior Member


Joined: 13 Oct 2009
Posts: 93
Location: TX
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Rancilio Silvia
Grinder: Cunill Tranquilo
Posted Tue Jul 17, 2012, 9:52am
Subject: Re: Buildup Question
 

The buildup does not come off easily, but cannot be milk. Milk never touches the location.

The water is filtered, but water filters do not soften water. I could hook up a water softener, but at the local levels it seems unnecessary. We get water from the city.
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emradguy
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emradguy
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Posted Tue Jul 17, 2012, 10:07am
Subject: Re: Buildup Question
 

If it were me, I'd go get a more thorough water test kit from an aquarium supply, just to make sure my water was what I'm told by the city.

 
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Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
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Coffeenoobie
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Coffeenoobie
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Posted Tue Jul 17, 2012, 11:31am
Subject: Re: Buildup Question
 

What does the inside of your toilet look like?  Does it have the same build ups?  Doesn't matter what the test kit/city says if you have minerals that are building up there it is building up in your pipes and espresso machine.

 
Coffeenoobie

Buying advice: GRINDER GRINDER GRINDER. Don't cheap out on the grinder.

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avaserfi
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Joined: 13 Oct 2009
Posts: 93
Location: TX
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Rancilio Silvia
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Posted Tue Jul 17, 2012, 2:08pm
Subject: Re: Buildup Question
 

Buildup in the house is minimal.
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SteveRhinehart
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SteveRhinehart
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Posted Tue Jul 17, 2012, 3:45pm
Subject: Re: Buildup Question
 

Just a shot in the dark here, but it's possible that could be Cafiza. I know a Cafiza solution left to dry can leave a white film, so if the backflush solution is too strong, it could be that it's building up (I'm assuming "relief valve" means the 3-way valve at the group - correct?).
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avaserfi
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Joined: 13 Oct 2009
Posts: 93
Location: TX
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Rancilio Silvia
Grinder: Cunill Tranquilo
Posted Wed Jul 18, 2012, 4:52am
Subject: Re: Buildup Question
 

SteveRhinehart Said:

Just a shot in the dark here, but it's possible that could be Cafiza. I know a Cafiza solution left to dry can leave a white film, so if the backflush solution is too strong, it could be that it's building up (I'm assuming "relief valve" means the 3-way valve at the group - correct?).

Posted July 17, 2012 link

That's an interesting thought, but I'm not sure if Cafiza goes through this area. This isn't the actual three way valve, there is a small tube that occasionally drips water into the drain pan. That is what's developing the film.

If you look at this picture (not mine), you can see both the three way valve and the drip tube. Click Here (www.wholelattelove.com)
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SteveRhinehart
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SteveRhinehart
Joined: 27 Dec 2009
Posts: 855
Location: Syracuse, NY
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: 1970s La Pavoni Europiccola
Grinder: Baratza Vario, Hario Skerton
Vac Pot: Yama Tabletop 3-cup
Drip: Chemex, CCD, Kalita Wave,...
Roaster: Flavorwave/Stir Crazy
Posted Wed Jul 18, 2012, 7:03pm
Subject: Re: Buildup Question
 

And thus I demonstrate my unfamiliarity with these machines. Watched a few videos of Brewtus extractions, and I can now safely say I've no idea what that particular tube is for - possibly an overpressure outlet? The buildup could be scale, so perhaps see if it dissolves with an acid solution. Vinegar would do fine, as it won't be making its way into your cup anyway. If it dissolves in acid, it may very well be scale, and a water softener might be advisable along with descaling the machine.
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avaserfi
Senior Member


Joined: 13 Oct 2009
Posts: 93
Location: TX
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Rancilio Silvia
Grinder: Cunill Tranquilo
Posted Thu Jul 19, 2012, 6:32am
Subject: Re: Buildup Question
 

I looked into it, the valve is an expansion valve which drips if the volume in the boiler increases too much as the system heats up.

I used white vinegar to clean the buildup. It did an okay job, but required a bit of scrubbing. The buildup certainly didn't dissolve away are most scale seems to.
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