Limescale – What Is It & Why Is It a Problem?

How does limescale damage coffee machines and water boilers?

Around 60% of the UK is classed as having hard or very hard water. The South and East of England have the hardest water in the UK. Hard water contains high levels of calcium and magnesium salts which form an essential part of our diet. However, when water is heated whether that’s in a kettle, coffee machine, tap or boiler, calcium and magnesium break down. Together, they precipitate to form limescale.

Limescale is your dispenser’s worst enemy as it affects the boilers, pumps and any interior parts that carry water. It can cause your machine to break down and will make your drinks taste really bad. You can read more about water quality and why it’s important for great coffee in our previous blog.

In this piece, we take a look at what you need to do to manage limescale, and keep your machine making perfect drinks in the office, every time.

 

Managing limescale – why is it important?

It’s important to manage the limescale level in hot drinks dispensers, as build-up can result in slowing water flow, reducing boiler capacity and cause heating issues. It can also carry bacteria, which will affect the hygiene and taste of your drinks. And, with filter brewers, limescale can cause the water to pass through the coffee grounds unevenly, usually resulting in under-extraction. This will leave the coffee tasting sour or acidic. Yuk!

Eventually, the limescale will create blockages especially in smaller parts of the machine, such as valves and connectors, resulting in reliability issues and often breakdowns. So as you can see, limescale really can cause havoc in the office – causing machine downtime, leaving you dealing with an unhappy team, and costing your business unnecessarily. 

So how do I descale my machine?

Firstly, the great news is if you have one of FreshGround’s plumbed in coffee machines or boiling water taps, you don’t need to worry at all about manually descaling. We install each of these machines with an in-line scale filtration system. This reduces the level of minerals in the water before it even reaches the machine, preventing limescale from forming in the first place. The same goes for nearly all our filter coffee brewers and most mains-connected hot water boilers.

With this system, the only thing to ensure is that the filter is changed every six months. We’ll automatically dispatch your filters at these intervals so you won’t even have to remember; all you’ll need to do is fit it when it arrives. However, if you’re on our enhanced Total Care service package, we’ll do it for you at your six-monthly planned proactive maintenance visits – simple!

With our hand fill coffee machines, and hot water boilers without a scale management system, you’ll need to manually descale them regularly. Your Jura coffee machine should tell you when it needs a descale. And with hot water boilers, depending on the level of use and where you are in the UK, descaling once a month is a good rule of thumb.

But don’t worry! It’s really easy and you can get it done in no time at all. We show you how in our handy videos.

We’re here to help

We’ve created a designated customer support area where you can find super simple ‘how to’ guides. Just select the FreshGround machine you have at work and you’ll get access to descaling video guides along with user manuals and cleaning and maintenance advice.

Of course, if you have any descaling questions or need any further assistance, our friendly team is here to help. Get in touch with our client care team here or call 020 7553 7900. You can also talk to them about our enhanced Total Care service package, and how it can save you time, effort and money.

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