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Descaler for de-scaling espresso coffee machines
Running a coffee machine is a bit like running a car.
There's a lot of heat and pressure milling around the internals and while you may not think it judging by the look from the outside, your machines internal parts need looking after and protecting from the damage that may be caused by the introduction of Calcium and consequently lime scale.
There are many who think that because they live in a soft water area and their kettle does not show much sign of scaling, they will be ok to ignore the threat of scale. Coffee machines are more prone to collecting and storing scale than kettles, due to the pressure and intensity of heat which is produced inside what is a relatively small space.
Water companies add Calcium to your water supply for health reasons, it is very helpful in building and maintaining healthy bones and teeth.
It is well worth noting that nearly all filtered or pure spring water such as Evian, also contains Calcium. At the time of writing (14/05/2017) a bottle of Highland Spring still water, drawn from organic land, contains 40.5 milligrams per litre
A large percentage of machine break downs are directly linked to the build up of scale.
What can happen when you do not de-scale a coffee machine?
These pictures show what we found when we opened up a machine that had not been operated without a water filter. As you can see the inside of the boiler is completely clogged with scale.
When a machine is used without a filter scale grows on the inside of the boiler and the copper pipes which connect to it. In the picture above you can see that the scale has peeled, the pieces of scale resemble leaves from a tree.
In the next picture you get a better idea of what is occurring inside the boiler as a whole. If the owner of this espresso machine had used a water filter and changed it regularly this would not have happened.
The same thing happens on domestic coffee machines too, which is why using an changing an external Brita water filter is very important on a commercial coffee machine and using a De-scaler and a water tank Dom Filter where possible, is very important with a domestic machine.
The machine still worked, the only reason the boiler end plate was taken off was because it had sprung a leak and needed a new gasket. The boiler was removed from the machine along with all connecting pipes and de-scaled with Calcinet.
It was then re-assembled and worked well for a number of months before failing, the ancillaries had been worked so much harder because of the general state of everything, they began to fail one by one in a very short period of time.
Parts were no longer available for it, the machine was then scrapped. The owner now has a new machine, which is run on a water filter and is now changed every year without fail.
Descaler and water filters
What to use for a descale on your coffee machine.
Use Puly Cleaner AKA Puly Baby powder sachets for domestic coffee machines and tubs of Calcinet for heavier duty commercial machines. There are many other products on the market, few of them work as well as these ones do, these are the fastest dissolving products of their kind on earth and are specifically formulated for use on coffee machines.
For a domestic appliance run some Puly Baby through every 4 weeks, following the instructions on the packet, this would work well for a Gaggia Classic or a Rancilio Silvia for instance, a Domfilter should also be used in the water tank of the machine and changed after every 100 litres of use.
Brita filter jug is also a good idea for using to fill the machine with and the use of mineral water instead of tap water as a source, if the budget allows, makes for a safer solution and a much better tasting beverage.
Commercial machines should really be descaled according to your engineer advice, it all depends on whether the machine has a currently effective water filter plumbed in, how old it is and the machines maintenance history. As a rule of thumb it is not recommended that a commercial machine is de-scaled whilst in situ, that is the boiler should be removed for it to be worked on effectively.
This is because scale on a machine can find itself moved on around the system, only to clog another part of the machine up like the solenoid valve or the group head injector gauze. Some machines, like the Iberital commercial machines have a boiler drain out tap, some owners will feed solution into the boiler, leave it for a while and cool the machine right down, then release the descaler from the drain out tap.
Another way to remove scale from a boiler on a commercial boiler is to take the end plate off and back it out by hand, in cases shown similar to those in the images on this pages, it can help a lot and is often worth doing.
If you decide to do this, be sure to check that the boiler end plate gasket is still available as a spare before you start, as you will need to replace it without doubt.
Thank you for reading this article, we hope you found the information helpful.