Homemaster RO water + remineralization

Water analysis, treatment, and mineral recipes for optimum taste and equipment health.
katkat
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#1: Post by katkat »

After learning that the water in the "main line" area of Philly is not machine-friendly, (high Chlorides, high TDS), I was educated by @homeburrero and other forum members on 3 options:
(1) making my own water or buying good mineral water (which for now I am not interested in, whether "plumbed" or not)
(2) the Claris Prime filter, which is expensive and despite some excellent advice and info by @homeburrero and @Splunge remains somewhat mysterious/uncertain
(3) RO + remineralization

So when my local friend asked me about water treatment, I told him that the Home Master Artesian Full Contact RO system would be a pretty safe/cost effective option for his ECM Synchronika, based on the endorsements of this forum. The https://www.amazon.com/Home-Master-TMAF ... 00N2941T2/ specs state 30-60 mg/L of added calcium+magnesium which I believe should make the machine happy.

He them called the HM Support to confirm what I said and Support told him they cannot guaranty 30 mg/L (might be lower) and that they've "been through the rabbit hole of people using their system for espresso machines and cannot recommend doing it."

While I understand how one can get into a rabbit hole with our community, it is a bit frustrating to hear... Please chime in if you've had a long-term positive experience with this setup or if you have some data about the output mineral level.

EDIT: please read my later posts re: HM support. They've been amazing.

atao

#2: Post by atao »

I have been using this system for 4yrs now. It's been great for me. If there's any concern at all about the precise mineral content, you can make one of the water-for-coffee recipes with the RO water.

katkat (original poster)
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#3: Post by katkat (original poster) »

atao wrote:If there's any concern at all about the precise mineral content, you can make one of the water-for-coffee recipes with the RO water.
Thanks! Not concerned about anything being precise... just want to plumb in and avoid scale and corrosion.

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homeburrero
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#4: Post by homeburrero »

katkat wrote:He then called the HM Support to confirm what I said and Support told him they cannot guaranty 30 mg/L (might be lower) and that they've "been through the rabbit hole of people using their system for espresso machines and cannot recommend doing it."
I completely understand that they can't guarantee that you'll consistently see 30 mg/L or more of hardness mineral out of their remin. That would be true for any calcite remineralization cartridge that I would want to use for an espresso machine. What you get depends on flow rate, contact time, and the pH of the water out of the RO.

katkat wrote:While I understand how one can get into a rabbit hole with our community, it is a bit frustrating to hear
I agree. I always thought that they had an affordable solution that would appeal to home espresso machine folks that need an RO + remin system, and find it disappointing to hear this evidence that they apparently have written us off as too troublesome. I understand we may be a small fraction of their market, and that we may be a little demanding and inconsistent in our expectations. I think part of the problem is that many espresso folks out there want to somehow get SCAA water out of a calcite remin cartridge and that is just not a reasonable expectation.
Pat
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katkat (original poster)
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#5: Post by katkat (original poster) »

homeburrero wrote:I completely understand that they can't guarantee that you'll consistently see 30 mg/L or more of hardness mineral...

I think part of the problem is that many espresso folks out there want to somehow get SCAA water out of a calcite remin cartridge and that is just not a reasonable expectation.
Makes perfect sense.

Bottom line for me - I get a sense that this setup has a low chance of causing scale or corrosion issues, would you agree?

Nunas
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#6: Post by Nunas »

A system like this should work fine unless it is left to sit for extended periods, in which case the remin cartridge may continue to add minerals. I have an RO system with bypass, which accomplishes something similar. Like remin cartridges, one can't be very certain as to how hard the product water actually is (it changes depending on which wells our town uses). My solution was to buy a cheap TDS meter and periodically test the water out of the RO. Since the RO produces a product water with very low TDS (it depends on how hard the supply water is, but with even really hard water will typically not exceed 25 ppm TDS), you can be sure that anything above the non-remin level is coming from the remin cartridge.

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homeburrero
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#7: Post by homeburrero »

katkat wrote:I get a sense that this setup has a low chance of causing scale or corrosion issues, would you agree?
As far as I know, based on what perfectwater told me a couple years back, their remineralizing cartridge is simply natural food grade crushed marble -- just calcite. If that's still true, the amount of added mineral is self-limiting and would not over-correct even after a long contact time. It would add mostly calcium carbonate plus a little magnesium carbonate, increasing the alkalinity and pH toward more optimum levels for corrosion protection.

Be aware that there are types of remineralizing media out there that could in some conditions overcorrect and deliver a very high pH water, maybe even enough to cause scale risk. As long as this setup continues to use simple crushed marble in these filters you should be fine.


Nunas wrote:Since the RO produces a product water with very low TDS (it depends on how hard the supply water is, but with even really hard water will typically not exceed 25 ppm TDS), you can be sure that anything above the non-remin level is coming from the remin cartridge.
Yes. And with a simple calcite remin cartridge you can use an inexpensive NaCl calibrated meter (calibration factor of 0.5) measured at 25C, and assume that the measured TDS ppm increase from the filter is a pretty good measure of the alkalinity and the hardness increase in CaCO3 equivalents.
Pat
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katkat (original poster)
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#8: Post by katkat (original poster) »

My friend and I ended up getting the Homemaster system. My friend installed his under the sink with no issues. I installed mine in the basement and experienced issues a couple of weeks after installing (TDS going up to the same level as source water over time, no water going to drain.) Homemaster's support has been no less than exceptional. I am now testing a new filter stack and permeate pump and things are looking good. Crossing my fingers.

Question: how low of TDS is too low for the machine's health? My friend is getting steady 30ppm and I am getting 18ppm right now (after installation; I think it will go up as water sits in the remineralizer and enter the tank.) Source water is 230ppm right now.

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CarefreeBuzzBuzz

#9: Post by CarefreeBuzzBuzz »

I am curious why you rejected the first choice of making your own water. Once set up it says easy as feeding my cat. It's way more reliable than any other system where you are unsure of how the remineralzation is working. Also timewise it takes the equivalent of two espresso's every 10 weeks.
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katkat (original poster)
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#10: Post by katkat (original poster) »

CarefreeBuzzBuzz wrote:I am curious why you rejected the first choice of making your own water.
I am simply looking for a good-enough/set-and-forget solution. Homemaster is maintenance free for a whole year. I understand other approaches, but this is mine for now.