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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > Descaling and...  
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katit
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Joined: 29 Jan 2012
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Location: St Louis
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Posted Tue Nov 19, 2013, 6:25pm
Subject: Descaling and re-assembling machine
 

I had machine apart (Single boiler rotary Alex II PID) to replace tank.

Now I have a chance to descale all this while apart. What I did is I filled up container with water (2-3qt), added about 1/2 lb of CItric acid and put all pipes and fittings there.
I see it working, but slowly. Should I let it soak overnight? I'm not sure how this suppose to happen. Do I need to scrub parts also?

Another question is about reassembly.
Some fittings were "glued" or appeared to have epoxy or something on them. What is it? Can I buy it?
Some fittings had teflon tape on them.

What is the best way in your opinion to seal fittings?
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calblacksmith
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calblacksmith
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Posted Wed Nov 20, 2013, 7:04am
Subject: Re: Descaling and re-assembling machine
 

I use an inexpensive ultrasonic cleaner for parts and it takes about 5 minutes using a solution of calcinet. Soaking can work but it takes much longer.
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I would guess that your "glued" fittings are just a different kind of thread sealer. The problem with teflon tape is that if not done properly, small pieces break off and can move through the plumbing and get stuck in small places. If care is used it will seal well though.

 
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DavecUK
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Joined: 21 Sep 2005
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Location: UK
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Posted Wed Nov 20, 2013, 10:12am
Subject: Re: Descaling and re-assembling machine
 

katit Said:

I had machine apart (Single boiler rotary Alex II PID) to replace tank.

Now I have a chance to descale all this while apart. What I did is I filled up container with water (2-3qt), added about 1/2 lb of CItric acid and put all pipes and fittings there.
I see it working, but slowly. Should I let it soak overnight? I'm not sure how this suppose to happen. Do I need to scrub parts also?

Another question is about reassembly.
Some fittings were "glued" or appeared to have epoxy or something on them. What is it? Can I buy it?
Some fittings had teflon tape on them.

What is the best way in your opinion to seal fittings?

Posted November 19, 2013 link

Teflon tape every time.
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dana_leighton
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dana_leighton
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Posted Wed Nov 20, 2013, 12:39pm
Subject: Re: Descaling and re-assembling machine
 

katit Said:

I filled up container with water (2-3qt), added about 1/2 lb of CItric acid and put all pipes and fittings there.
I see it working, but slowly. Should I let it soak overnight? I'm not sure how this suppose to happen. Do I need to scrub parts also?

Posted November 19, 2013 link

Scrubbing is unlikely to make much of an impact on scale. It is hard stuff. One trick for acid baths is that hot water works faster than cold water. I use boiling water and dissolve the citric acid in that.

Another question is about reassembly.
Some fittings were "glued" or appeared to have epoxy or something on them. What is it? Can I buy it?
Some fittings had teflon tape on them.

What is the best way in your opinion to seal fittings?

I have used both. They both work well, but thread sealer has some advantages over PTFE tape. As Wayne pointed out, the process of screwing the threads together can shred parts of the Teflon tape, which can enter the boiler, OPV valve, group, etc. Winding it in the proper direction goes a long way to helping prevent this. Also avoid the first couple threads and put it on the rearmost threads (toward the "head" or pipe).

I prefer thread sealer. Its main advantage in assembling boiler fittings is that you often have to tighten compression fittings at one end of the fitting after screwing the fitting into the boiler. That process may disrupt the seal PTFE tape develops, and if you have to rotate the fitting to a different orientation to make the connection on the other end, the seal with PTFE can become dislodged. With thread sealer, it is designed to reseal if the fitting is disrupted (assuming it has not yet gone beyond the cure time which is usually 6-24 hours). In fact one source has this warning about PTFE tape: "Once the connection is tight, do not loosen it. Doing so could mean leakage at the pipe thread." This is not a problem with thread sealer.

That said, on a recent reassembly, the fitting for the HX inlet could not be screwed into the boiler all the way - it had to remain backed out a little. That seemed to cause problems for the thread sealant - PTFE tape worked better in that case. All the other fittings sealed well with the sealant (one required a reapplication).

I use Loxeal 18-10 sealer. It is a food-safe thread sealer that maintains relatively easy disassembly after curing. I get it from Stefano here.

 
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katit
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Joined: 29 Jan 2012
Posts: 64
Location: St Louis
Expertise: I like coffee

Posted Wed Nov 20, 2013, 2:54pm
Subject: Re: Descaling and re-assembling machine
 

Ok, decided to do both. Tape and liquid. Found better priced stuff on amazon, Jet-Lube V-2 Multipurpose Thread Sealant - also food grade.

I soaked all pipes in Citric acid overnight - worked good. Tank OTH, not very good. Some stuff remains inside, I can see it. Maybe another "descale" on a hot machine with injesting solution will complete it..

Thank you for all advices! After cleaning all the teflon tape and looking at those fittings I can't say that those italian machines built "well" :)
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dana_leighton
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dana_leighton
Joined: 11 Jan 2002
Posts: 1,966
Location: Fayetteville, AR
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Espresso: Isomac Relax; Caferina...
Grinder: Macap MXK; Baratza Vario-W;...
Vac Pot: Yama 5-cup
Drip: Technivorm; CCD; Melitta
Roaster: Poppery I w/PID controller
Posted Wed Nov 20, 2013, 3:23pm
Subject: Re: Descaling and re-assembling machine
 

katit Said:

Ok, decided to do both. Tape and liquid.

Posted November 20, 2013 link

Did you mean use both simultaneously pin the same pipe/fitting joint? I tend to be a belt-and-suspenders type of guy, but I would use either one on any given pipe fitting. I haven't ever tried using both and I think you simply gain the disadvantages of the tape, without adding much to the ability to seal the fitting.

 
Dana Leighton - Espresso hack and CoffeeGeek moderator
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katit
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Joined: 29 Jan 2012
Posts: 64
Location: St Louis
Expertise: I like coffee

Posted Wed Nov 20, 2013, 5:22pm
Subject: Re: Descaling and re-assembling machine
 

No, I meant I will use tape where I can and use liquid on fittings which most likely will be disturbed when assembling whole thing.
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