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Sous Vide vs. Hard Water

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  • Nate
    Former Member
    • Apr 2015
    • 3811
    • Quarantined

    Sous Vide vs. Hard Water

    We have some hard water where I live and I don’t have a water softener.

    I had noticed a little scale build up on my Anova after a few short runs for things like steak.... however.... I just finished my first “long” run of 72 hours using the circulator. Which makes sense since hot water seems to exasperate things.

    I noticed after this last run there is a considerable scaly build up on it now. Since I would like to make this thing last longer than a year I want to make sure I properly care for it.

    Typically I soak our faucets, shower heads, etc... in vinegar periodically of scale build up starts to get noticeable or creates use issues. I thought about filling a flower vase that holds the circulator quite well with vinegar, placing the circulator in it, running it at a low temp for a bit, then rinsing and drying.

    Any thoughts, suggestions, advice, info would be greatly appreciated!


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  • pkadare
    Club Member
    • Jun 2019
    • 906
    • Bobcaygeon, Ontario
    • My gear:
      22 Weber Kettle
      Napoleon PRO Charcoal Kettle Grill
      Broil King Keg
      Traeger Pro 34
      Napoleon Prestige Pro 500
      Pit Barrel Cooker
      Blackstone Range Combo Griddle

    According to the Anova forum community manager you're on the right track.
    In another thread someone suggested adding salt to the water bath to avoid the scale.


    • Nate
      Nate commented
      Editing a comment
      Thank you!

      I don’t think the salt truck actually works though.
  • Steve B
    Club Member
    • Jun 2016
    • 2978
    • Rockland county New York
    • Lonestar Grillz 24x36 offset smoker, grill, w/ main chamber charcoal grate and 3 tel-tru thermometers - left, right and center
      Yoke Up custom charcoal basket and a Grill Wraps cover.

      22.5 copper kettle w/ SnS, DnG, BBQ vortex, gasket and stainless steel hinge kit.

      Napoleon gas grill (soon to go bye bye) rotting out.

      1 maverick et-733 digital thermometer - black
      1 maverick et-733 - gray
      1 new standard grilling remote digital thermometer
      1 thermoworks thermopen mk4 - red
      1 thermoworks thermopop - red

      Pre Miala flavor injector
      taylor digital scale
      TSM meat grinder
      chefs choice food slicer
      cuisinhart food processor
      food saver vacuum sealer
      TSM harvest food dehydrator

    Maybe try contacting Anova and ask them if that stuff “CLR” calcium lyme rust would work.
    They claim to clean coffee makers and shower heads with it.


    • Nate
      Nate commented
      Editing a comment
      it is probably not a rational feat but the chemical thing scares me for a good appliance like this.

      I use CLR some on other things though.

    • Steve B
      Steve B commented
      Editing a comment
      That’s why I suggested you contact them first.
      Wouldn’t want to damage anything inside that puppy.
  • Troutman
    Club Member
    • Aug 2017
    • 7197






    Man that's some serious scaling. Our water is hard too, but thankfully not that hard. I like the vinegar idea for sure, should not really harm the circulator. Using CLR might be even better but I'd check that out first.


    • Nate
      Nate commented
      Editing a comment
  • Spinaker
    • Nov 2014
    • 10599
    • Land of Tonka
    • John "J R"
      Instagram: JRBowlsby
      Smokin' Hound Que
      Minnesota/ United States of America

      Dexter (Beagle mix)
      Kinnick (American Foxhound)

      Big Green Egg (Large) X2
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      Weber Spirit Gasser
      FireBoard (Base Package)
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      BBQ Dragon
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      Benzomatic TS4000 Torch X 2
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      Finex Cat Iron Line
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      Kick Ash Basket (KAB) X4
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      Apple, Cherry & Oak Log splits for the C-60

      Buck 119 Special
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      Next Major Purchase
      Lone Star Grillz 24 X 48 Offset

    When I descale my Joule, I throw a mixture of 50/50 Vinegar and water into a large Ball Jar. I set it for 140 F and once it gets up too temp, its all done. I do let it run a little longer sometimes.


    • Nate
      Nate commented
      Editing a comment
      Glad to hear I’m thinking along the lines of someone else who is actually doing it. Thank you.
  • IowaGirl
    Club Member
    • Dec 2018
    • 611
    • Northeast Iowa, USA

    I think a lot of people get confused about salt (sodium chloride) and how it is used to soften water. Whole-house water softeners use salt (sodium chloride) as a part of the softening process, and thus I think it's tempting to believe that adding salt directly to water will also soften the water. But that honestly doesn't work.

    You can soften water by adding washing soda (sodium carbonate) -- it's often used to soften water for clothes washing. That makes the water alkaline (pH of around 10.5), however, and that's not such a good idea with aluminum and with food. Or you can use distilled or reverse osmosis water which is free of dissolved minerals. Or just use regular tap water and clean off the hard-water deposits from time to time.

    Hard-water deposits dissolve nicely with vinegar (acetic acid) or citric acid. You could also use a proprietary coffee maker cleaner, but why buy yet another specialty item?

    Citric acid has little or no odor, so if you don't like the smell of vinegar wafting around, it's a good alternative. You don't need much and it's fairly inexpensive. I'd mix 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons of citric acid powder per 1 cup (250 mL) of water to descale. You can often find citric acid in the food canning section in grocery and hardware stores.


    • Nate
      Nate commented
      Editing a comment
      Thank you. The aroma is always the drawback of using vinegar. I will have to check into the citric powder!
  • JimLinebarger
    Club Member
    • Jun 2017
    • 796
    • Spokane Valley, Wa.
    • Grills/Smokers
      Blaze 32" 4-Burner Gas Grill w/infrared rear rotisserie burner
      Weber Jumbo Joe
      Weber 22" Master-Touch Kettle
      Pit Barrel Cooker
      Great Outdoors Smoky Mountain Series 36" Vertical Gas Smoker
      Traeger Timberline 850

      Thermoworks Smoke
      Maverick ET-733
      Thermapen Mk4, Red

      Sous Vide
      Anova Culinary Sous Vide Precision Cooker, Bluetooth, 800W
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      Lipavi C15 container and lid
      Lipavi L15 Rack

      BBQ Guru DigiQ (for PBC and 22" Weber Kettle)
      BBQ Dragon
      BBQ Dragon Grill Table for 22" Weber Kettle
      Fire Butler (for Weber 22")
      Grill Grates for Jumbo Joe and Blaze grill

      About me
      Name: Jim
      Nick name: Bear
      Location: Spokane Valley, Wa.
      Born at a very young age at Egland AFB, Ft. Walton Beach, FL.

      USAF vet, ECM (F4 & B52)/B52 Crew Chief, Computer Systems NCO, disabled
      Former Computer Tech/Admin
      Campus Manager/Lead Tech/Tech (IT) for The Kemtah Group contracted to Intel, Rio Rancho, NM.
      Short Term Missionary to the Marshall Islands with MAPS of DFM of AOG

    I add distilled white vinegar to mine so it won't build up on the heating elements. I do this when canning also.


    • Nate
      Nate commented
      Editing a comment
      Awesome. Thank you.
  • DWCowles
    Founding Member
    • Jul 2014
    • 9709
    • Smiths Grove, Ky
    • Hi, my name is Darrell. I'm an OTR truck driver for over 25 years. During my off time I love doing backyard cooks. I have a 48" Lang Deluxe smoker, Rec-Tec pellet smoker,1 Weber Genesis 330, 1 Weber Performer (blue), 2 Weber kettles (1 black and 1 Copper), 1 26" Weber kettle, a WSM, 8 Maverick Redi Chek thermometers, a PartyQ, 2 SnS, Grill Grates, Cast Iron grates, 1 ThermoPop (orange) and 2 ThermoPens (pink and orange) and planning on adding more cooking accessories. Now I have an Anova sous vide, the Dragon blower and 2 Chef alarms from Thermoworks.

    Oh no! They have turn you into one of them! We’re doomed! 😂


    • ComfortablyNumb
      ComfortablyNumb commented
      Editing a comment
      You didn't know? He got a KBQ too. ;-)

    • Nate
      Nate commented
      Editing a comment
      You left me here to fend for myself! Dang good to hear from you my old friend!

    • Spinaker
      Spinaker commented
      Editing a comment
      He's back!!!!! Great to hear from you Darrell!
  • Bighorn Dave
    Club Member
    • Aug 2018
    • 243
    • Nampa, Idaho

    You can go down several different rabbit trails to find a cure but my guess, and it is only a guess is you'll not get the results you are looking for. We can buy distilled water in gallon jugs for under a dollar. My suggestion is just stock up on distilled water
    (the water can be reused also). Sure over time that can be expensive as it adds up, but so can buying a new circulator every so often based on usage. Based on the photo I imagine you already buy drinking water, maybe not.
    We too live in a hard water area and the home we bought has a small filtering system designed for softening the water. Filters are about $120.00 a year and it's a very simple, small space requirement solution that works very well.


    • IowaGirl
      IowaGirl commented
      Editing a comment
      Be aware that filtered water for drinking might be microbiologically and chemically safe to drink, but it isn't the same as distilled water. Conventional filters can remove large molecules such as pesticides and heavy metals, but they cannot remove hard-water minerals; the mineral ions are much too small to be filtered out.

    • dubob
      dubob commented
      Editing a comment
      IowaGirl. The wally world system I use is from Primo. Their system uses reverse osmosis, which, IAW the World Health Organization, "In fact, the reverse osmosis process removes 92-99% of beneficial calcium and magnesium." This also has some detrimental health side effects but does remove most of the elements contributing to the scale deposits we're talking about here. I haven't dug real deep into this, but the Primo filtered water appears to be better than tap water for this function.

    • IowaGirl
      IowaGirl commented
      Editing a comment
      RO water can be comparable to distilled as long as it's the right kind of RO system and it is properly maintained. I agree RO is a type of filtration, but most of the time when people are talking about RO, they call it "RO" and not "filtration" -- just as I did in my earlier post. Conventional types of filtration are not in the same league or the same technology as RO.
  • smokin fool
    Club Member
    • Apr 2019
    • 1774
    • Mississauga, Ont

    When I was younger I remember my uncle using Muriatic Acid as a de-scaler to clean the water pump/pipes in the farm house.
    Again its a chemical and may be to harsh for your application, try other suggestions first, if all else fails this could be your last resort.


    • Nate
      Nate commented
      Editing a comment
  • fzxdoc
    Founding Member
    • Jul 2014
    • 5085
    • My toys:
      Weber Summit Charcoal Grilling Center (WSCGC) aka Mr. Fancypants
      Pit Barrel Cooker (which rocks)
      Weber Summit S650 Gas Grill
      Weber Kettle Premium 22"
      Weber Jumbo Joe Premium 22" (a weird little 22" kettle mutant on 22"-long legs) (donated to local battered women's shelter.)
      Camp Chef Somerset IV 4-burner outdoor gas range

      Adrenaline BBQ Company's SnS, DnG and Large Charcoal Basket for WSCGC
      Adrenaline BBQ Company's Elevated SS Rack for WSCGC
      Adrenaline BBQ Company's SS Rack for DnG
      Grill Grate for SnS
      Grill Grates: five 17.375 sections (retired to storage)
      Grill Grates: six 19.25 panels for exact fit for Summit S650 gasser
      2 Grill Grate Griddles
      Steelmade Griddle for Summit gas grill

      Fireboard Extreme BBQ Thermometer Package
      Fireboard control unit in addition to that in the Extreme BBQ Package
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      2 Fireboard Driver Cables
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      Thermoworks Thermapen MK4 (pink too)
      Thermoworks Temp Test 2 Smart Thermometer
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      Thermoworks Timestick Trio
      Maverick ET 73 a little workhorse with limited range
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      Maverick (Ivation) ET 732

      Grill Pinz
      Vortex (two of them)

      Two Joule Sous Vide devices
      VacMaster Pro 350 Vacuum Sealer
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      BBQ Dragon and Dragon Chimney

      Shun Classic 8" Chef's Knife
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      Shun Classic Gokujo Boning and Fillet Knife
      Shun Classic 3 1/2 inch Paring Knife

    Originally posted by DWCowles View Post
    Oh no! They have turn you into one of them! We’re doomed! 😂
    Welcome back, DWCowles . We've missed you! I'm going to enjoy reading your posts again, just like old times. Hope all is well with you and that you're still giving that stickburner and all of your other BBQ toys a real workout.





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