Water softener for the Rancilio Silvia

Recently I mounted a water softener in the Rancilio Silvia.

Calcium/scale buildup in the espresso machine is perhaps the one thing that causes most problems on the machinery as heat valve leakage and pump failures. Using a water softener also prevents going throug the descaling precedure. Depending on the quality of your tap water it might give a better tasting espresso. Even if you use a water softener, you occasional have to do a proper descaling af the machine.

How to place the water softener filter

Click on picts for larger versions.

rancilio-water-filter The water softener is a simple filter, which shall be placed in the water tank fitted to the one of the rubber tubes.
rancilio-water-filter There are two rubber tubes in the water tank. One for intake of water to the machine, and one for return water.

The intake tube is the tube with the V cuts at the end.

rancilio-water-filter-03_0 The water softener filter shall be fitted to the tube with the V cuts.
rancilio-water-filter-04_0 The filter placed in the water tank with intake end standing on the bottom of the tank. My experience is that after some time the water softener will lat down on the bottom of the tank.


Regeneration of the water softener filter

The filter works as a water softener in a dishwasher machine. From time to time you have to regenerate it with salt. It’s a quite simple operation:

  1. To regenerate the water softener filter it have to be remove from the water tank.
  2. Pour solution of 3 teaspoons of fine salt to 8oz of water through the large end of the filter so that it pours out through the small end.
  3. Allow to rest for 5 minutes then rinse out with tap water. When the water stops coming out salty, the filter has been recharged and ready to be re-installed in the Rancilio Silvia.

It shall be done regularly. How often depends on the water in your area. I do it approx once every month.

Better espresso

Apart from protecting the machine, I experienced that the espresso coffee gets a slightly smother taste. This effect will depend on the quality of the tap water.

A smother taste lets the finer nuances in the coffee beans come through.

4 Responses to “Water softener for the Rancilio Silvia”

  1. Joe

    When you pour your salt water mixture through the filter to recharge it do you find the water pours or drips out?
    Does it matter whether the filter is standing up in the tank as you illustrate or lying down and wedged between the + piece in the bottom and the side of the tank:?
    Thank you for your reply.

  2. erik

    Hi Joe,
    I found that it pours out. I put a finger on the small end and waited the 5 minutes before I rinsed it.
    The filter is designed so it is possible to let it stand up; and in that case you will use a bit more of the water, in the tank, before you have to refill.
    Concerning the effectiveness of the filter I don’t think it matters if the filter is standing up, or it is laying down. I haven’t noticed any difference. It is easier thou to make room for the plastic tubes when it lays down.
    I will be grateful hearing about your experiences.

  3. Francois Guibat

    Hi. Just received the water softener but when I pour the salted water to regenerate the filter, it doesn’t drip down unless I blow it through. Is this normal?

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