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Type of salt to use w/ Canister 8L Water Softener
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qualin
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qualin
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Posted Mon Mar 11, 2013, 11:29pm
Subject: Type of salt to use w/ Canister 8L Water Softener
 

Hello everyone.

I'm going to ask a stupid question and I'm expecting a stupid answer. :-) (I also apologize if this is the wrong forum, but I'm not sure where to post it.)

I recently bought an 8-litre canister water softener for use with my Duetto. The manual recommended I use coarse salt to recharge it.

So I bought a 2 kg bag of Windsor coarse salt, like the kind used for pickling and canning and dumped 1 kg in. (It isn't Kosher salt.)

Now, my dishwasher also has a built in water softener, but it uses water softener salt, which is the big chunky stuff.
The bag of it that I have is labelled "Water Softener Salt" and is 99.8 percent pure with no additives.

Can you use the big chunky stuff in an 8 liter canister water softener? Or would it take too long to dissolve and just result in lots
of really salty espresso?

The reason why I ask is that the chunky stuff is considerably cheaper because it comes in large 20 kg bags.

 
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Jmanespresso
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Posted Tue Mar 12, 2013, 5:12am
Subject: Re: Type of salt to use w/ Canister 8L Water Softener
 

I would suggest using "Morton System Saver", in the yellow bag, or "Morton Softener Salt", in the blue bag.

The yellow bag is pellets, the blue bag is chunks.  I would use the yellow bag, there will be less sediment left over(which some softeners need, but this type doesn't require it).

Idk that the pickling/canning salt is suitable..  Im just not sure.  Ive had water softeners in my houses for over 20 years, and we have always used Morton.  One system, we used the pellets, one we used the blue bag, chunks.  Like I said, some bigger systems prefer one type or the other, but the canisters, use the Pellets.  There is less dust and sediment.

 
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calblacksmith
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Posted Tue Mar 12, 2013, 5:38am
Subject: Re: Type of salt to use w/ Canister 8L Water Softener
 

Water softener salt is a large grain salt. It is very inexpensive, often 25 pounds sells for something like $5 or so at a big box home improvement center. It will say something about a water softener on the bag, system saver etc but it is just a large grain salt with NO additives, very inexpensive.

 
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Posted Tue Mar 12, 2013, 9:24am
Subject: Re: Type of salt to use w/ Canister 8L Water Softener
 

hmm, well, I dont think they mean filling the canister with salt, I can see that they would recomend flushing the canister with salt water and then flushing it all clear. Salt water is only a remover or minerals that get caught on the bead material. There really is no salt used in the process of softening water other than to clean the resin.
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calblacksmith
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Posted Tue Mar 12, 2013, 9:36am
Subject: Re: Type of salt to use w/ Canister 8L Water Softener
 

To charge my under counter softener, I put two pounds of salt in the canister and then flow water through the system until the salt disolves and the salt taste is gone, the beads are then charged and the canister can be returned to normal service so yes, you do put salt into the canister, not just salt water.

 
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DaninMaryland
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Posted Tue Mar 12, 2013, 9:41am
Subject: Re: Type of salt to use w/ Canister 8L Water Softener
 

qualin Said:

Hello everyone.

I'm going to ask a stupid question and I'm expecting a stupid answer. :-) (I also apologize if this is the wrong forum, but I'm not sure where to post it.)

I recently bought an 8-litre canister water softener for use with my Duetto. The manual recommended I use coarse salt to recharge it.

So I bought a 2 kg bag of Windsor coarse salt, like the kind used for pickling and canning and dumped 1 kg in. (It isn't Kosher salt.)

Now, my dishwasher also has a built in water softener, but it uses water softener salt, which is the big chunky stuff.
The bag of it that I have is labelled "Water Softener Salt" and is 99.8 percent pure with no additives.

Can you use the big chunky stuff in an 8 liter canister water softener? Or would it take too long to dissolve and just result in lots
of really salty espresso?

The reason why I ask is that the chunky stuff is considerably cheaper because it comes in large 20 kg bags.

Posted March 11, 2013 link

water softeners work by ion exchange thru the resin, not the salt.  The salt, well actually the salt water, is used to recharge the resin.  the disolved sodium chloride (salt water) reacts with disolved content and cleans the resin allowing it to again remove hardness from the water.  The salt water is then rinsed away leaving just the residue, the actually salt doesnt make the water soft.

the simple answer is any salt will work, however depending on the amount used it may be cheaper to use the salt sold for water softeners since it is much cheaper pound for pound.  you just need concentrated salt, dont waster your money on the more expensive water softener salt that has additives for iron, etc.
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emradguy
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Posted Tue Mar 12, 2013, 1:34pm
Subject: Re: Type of salt to use w/ Canister 8L Water Softener
 

Another thing that might be worth considering is using potassium chloride (KCl), instead of sodium chloride (NaCl).  It's probably more expensive, but if you have hypertension, it may be worth leaving K+ in the system instead of Na+.  Randy has a couple of pages on plumbing-in and addresses this somewhat quantitatively on his site (www.espressomyespresso.com)

 
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qualin
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qualin
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Espresso: Izzo Alex Duetto 3
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Posted Tue Mar 12, 2013, 10:31pm
Subject: Re: Type of salt to use w/ Canister 8L Water Softener
 

OK, so another stupid question then..

It's kind of obvious that using coarse salt will dissolve much faster in the water softener canister than the big white chunky stuff.

The manual recommends that I should leave it regenerating for 40 minutes to flush out all of the salty water. I'm assuming that is with coarse salt.

Should I leave it regenerating for longer with the chunky white stuff? Part of me is a little worried what salty water could do to my espresso machine,
short of just generating really crappy tasting coffee.

I mean, would it hurt anything if I left it regenerating for 60 minutes instead? What are the methods you use to determine when you should stop
regeneration? (ie. Using the hot water tap on the espresso machine to flush the boiler and tasting for saltiness?)

Thanks again for all of the responses.

 
Garbage In, Garbage Out, for every step of the process. From Beans to grinder, grounds to machine, coffee to cup.
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SStones
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SStones
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Posted Wed Mar 13, 2013, 5:28am
Subject: Re: Type of salt to use w/ Canister 8L Water Softener
 

Wait, no.  You won't want to flush the softener out through your espresso machine.  There are infinite numbers of different styles of softeners, with differing valve setups, but there is usually "Flushing Position" to the valves to have them taking in water at the inlet but letting it out through a drain port or barbed connection that goes to your drain.
You don't want to let any of the salty flushing water into your espresso machine.
Sorry I can't give an exact procedure without seeing your softener. Does it have two valves through-which the two hoses connect? The inlet is possibly a 2 way ball valve to turn the supply on and off, the outlet possibly a 3 way to open the tank to either the machine or the flushing drain?
Or possibly it is an "Easy" setup (Which are never easier than two ball valves) where one dial has multiple positions controlling both valves?
Anyway, even without a flushing port... you could shut off the softener's water inlet, take the hose from your machine's inlet and let it hang in the sink. Open the cannister and put in some salt (Any salt will work, pickling salt, driveway salt, anything. I would use softener salt if you have it, it is much cleaner than driveway salt but not as expensive as kitchen quality salt)...  Close the canister, make sure the hose in the sink isn't going to get out of hand and open your softener's inlet.  It'll flush, the flowing water will dissolve the salt. The salt circulating in the cannister will attract the metals and minerals captured by your softener resin and carry them out.  Let it flush for as long as it takes to get no salty flavor when you taste the water coming out of the hose.
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calblacksmith
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calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,499
Location: Riverside, Ca, U.S.A.
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: ECM Vene. A1, La Cimbali M32
Grinder: Azkoyen Capriccio, Major
Vac Pot: 40s era Silex
Drip: Msl. Com. brewers
Roaster: gave it a try, decided no
Posted Wed Mar 13, 2013, 5:33am
Subject: Re: Type of salt to use w/ Canister 8L Water Softener
 

The charge/flush process does not happen through the espresso machine. There is a setting of valves for the softener and a discharge line to a drain. It is the water leaving the discharge hose and going down the drain that you use to flush the system until you can no longer taste a salty taste. The discharge water should NEVER go through the feed water system to the espresso machine.

 
In real life, my name is
Wayne P.
Anything I post is personal opinion and is only worth as much as anyone else's personal opinion. YMMV!

Feed the newbs, starve the trolls and above all enjoy what you drink!
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