Limescale - Prevention and Maintenance
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What is it? In simple terms, it is that white to
green buildup that occurs in appliances where "hard"
water is heated and/or usually boiled. From a different perspective,
it is the high amount of magnesium and calcium in water that tend
to build up and form a scaling on the inside appliance surfaces
that are exposed to the "hard" water. In an espresso
machine, this includes the boiler, heating elements, and grouphead
What could be done? Well, some of our customers
have used water and vinegar as a simple maintenance solution,
but as they are learning, this is not always effective in preventing
and removing lime scale in your espresso machine. In addition,
lime scale build up can become costly in the repair of your machine
as it can affect an espresso machine's steam or solenoid valve
by keeping it open when the knob is in the closed position. Lime
scale can make heating elements less effective by coating their
surface. And, lately, we have seen increased incidences of limescale
in coffee makers and espresso machines that have become non-operational.
The main question now is..."What can I do?" We have two alternative
solutions that you an follow for your home equipment. Most importantly
is the "preventative" recommendation. Prevention of
water high in magnesium and calcium is essential to the longer
useful life of your home equipment. There are a few ways to accomplish
this. First is to purchase bottled water that has been "softened"
(term describing water that has had magnesium and calcium removed)
or to purchase "Reverse Osmosis" Water. Second is to
install an in home water softener - this is a good idea if many
of your appliances and faucets have lime scale build up.
***Effective March 28, 2012 - 1st-line no longer recommends using any water pitcher filtration system as their cartridges usually are nto effective enough to remove magesium and calcium from the water. If you are solely using a water filtration system, please ask them if they have a water softening system included or a mechansim to remove magnesium and calcium or exchange these minerals into salt ions.
The second recommendation and line of defense is a maintenance
schedule utilizing Ascaso Detergent. According to the manufacturer, it
is a light duty cleaner and descaler for home use. We have found
this product to be very effective when used on a regular basis.
As a cleaner, it removes the rancid oils that can build up in
your coffee maker or espresso machine. As a descaler, it eliminates
the start of lime scale build up inside your machine. Although
the manufacturer recommends weekly usage, we feel once a month
is good enough (except for those cases where water is highly concentrated
with calcium and magnesium, it should be every week to two weeks).
Now, Ascaso Detergent is only good for home model coffee and espresso
machines. For semi-commercial and commercial equipment, Ascaso Detergent
can not be used due to the difficulty presented in removing the
solution from the machine's boiler. In these cases, a qualified
commercial equipment technician should be utilized to perform
this task incorporating a commercial grade (hazmat classified,
which can not be shipped) descaler.
If you are interested in purchasing Ascaso Detergent or for more information,
you may do so on our web site here.
We hope you found this topic interesting. We would love to hear
from you about this and any suggestions you may have for topics
to be discussed. Thank you.
The idea of an RO system is to purify water. That means giving
you H2o, and H2o ONLY.
The H2o molecule is non-conductive. It is the minerals that make
water conductive, and your auto-refill electronics used this conductivity
to sense the water levels.
Pure H2o would simulate "No Water" causing the boiler
to overfill itself.