I have very soft water. Do I still need to use a softener?

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RogerB
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I have very soft water. Do I still need to use a softener?

Post by RogerB » Thu Apr 06, 2017 2:51 pm

We have very good water quality where I live. Using two different test kits to measure the hardness of my tap water, I found it to be unreadably low. Doing a little research I found the county water survey and sure enough, for my service area, the range of hardness is 8 to 15 ppm, with an average of 9.6.

We don't have a water softener in our house. I bought my MVII used about a month ago. It's a 2010 model. The PO reported it had been run on RO water its whole life, and the softener cartridge had never been installed. When I got it I opened up the group boiler and found it to be spotlessly clean.

On the other hand, I descaled my Gaggia a couple of months ago. I was getting ready to put it in storage, so I took off the dispersion block to get at the group valve, and the top of the block was covered in scale (again).

I'm concerned about what seem to be conflicting observations. Could it just be that the Gaggia reacts differently because it's aluminum? Is there some other aspect of water quality besides hardness I should be addressing? Should I soften or otherwise filter my water regardless of hardness level, in order to protect my machine from expensive failures?
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jfrescki
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Re: I have very soft water. Do I still need to use a softener?

Post by jfrescki » Tue Apr 11, 2017 3:47 pm

Are you testing KH (carbonate hardness) as opposed to GH (general hardness). I believe KH is the scaling culprit. If your KH is low enough, you probably don't need to soften.
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RogerB
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Re: I have very soft water. Do I still need to use a softener?

Post by RogerB » Tue Apr 11, 2017 6:01 pm

The water quality report lists "hardness as calcium carbonate." I'm assuming the test strips from Chris' Coffee measure the same.
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Re: I have very soft water. Do I still need to use a softener?

Post by jfrescki » Wed Apr 12, 2017 8:24 am

Chris' website says "These hardness test strips are not only perfect for testing the total hardness in your tap water but also the effectiveness of filters such as Brita." So I think that's GH, but if your water test reports calcium carbonate, that's what you want. Sounds like you should be OK.
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