Softener-Filter Installation
Home Up Roasting Re-Wire Rocky Softener-Filter Installation


The photos and explanation below show the water softener installation using a kit purchased from Chris Coffee.  This kit was initially installed for use with an Isomac Tea. Later I used it with a LaSpaziale S1 Vivaldi II and now it is connected to a LaMarzzoco GS/3. When I initially moved up from the Isomac Tea, I replaced all the 1/4" John Guest fittings and tubing with 3/8" for better water flow to the larger capacity machines.  This was a snap thanks to the design of the John Guest fittings. Regardless of the size you use with your installation, the instructions and photos below still apply.
  • Softener System which includes both a water softener and carbon filter plus all required installation parts:
    If you already have soft water or an in-house softener system, this kit is not required. However, if you are on a well or other system where the contents of the water may be suspect, the carbon filter alone is a good investment.

The first photo below shows the plumb-in of the water softener and carbon filter system. The first step to installation is to insert the "T" connector (Max Adaptor 3/8" CP by 1/4" JG) right above the cold water shut off valve.  In my installation a non-flexible copper pipe extended down from the kitchen sink's Delta faucet to the cold water valve.  Consequently, I had to unscrew the shut off valve, hack saw about 1 1/4" out of the 5/8" cold water line and re-install the shut off valve in order to create enough room to insert the "T" valve into the cold water line. Completion of this stage DID require a quick trip to the nearest hardware store. A new 5/8" compression ring at a cost of $0.35 was required as the original one could not be reused since I could not budge it off the cut out section of 5/8"pipe. This compression ring goes over the 5/8" pipe that screws into the bottom of the cold water shut off valve.

Many modern homes - or older ones with remodeled kitchens - may use a flexible line above the cold water shut-off valve. In those cases installation is much easier as no pipe cutting is required.

Once the "Tee" connector (Max Adaptor 3/8" CP by 1/4" JG) is installed, a short section of flex water line (John Guest 1/4" tubing) is installed into the "Tee" followed by an included John Guest 1/4" Ball Valve valve (the part with the blue valve).  This valve allows the water to be shut off to both filter cartridges when servicing them is required without having to shut off the water to the kitchen sink. Connection of all the remaining parts was a breeze as the John Guest 1/4" tubing cuts easily with scissors. Installing it into each fitting is a matter of pushing it firmly into the fitting.

A short section of the JG 1/4" tubing then connects to the inlet of the water softener. Another short section of JG 1/4" tubing connects the output of the softener to the input of the carbon filter. As noted on the Chris Coffee web site, the carbon filter canister MUST follow the softener canister.  with this arrangement, should any of the resin beads escape the softener cartridge they will get trapped in the carbon filter cartridge preventing them from ending up in the boiler.

A short piece of JG 1/4" tubing then connects the output of the carbon filter to the input of a pressure regulator. (This connection is hidden behind the garbage disposer in this photo.) The output of the pressure regulator passes through the back of the cabinet. (See the 2nd photo.)


Water Supply Tap-In

This photo shows the JG 1/4" tubing exiting a small hole drilled in the back of the cabinet.  This line goes into a 2nd John Guest 1/4" Ball Valve which is used to shut off the water to the Isomac without having to get under the sink to use the one installed in that location. This 2nd ball valve is used mainly to shut off the water when cleaning the tank.. At far left the water line can be seen feeding into the hole in the bottom rear corner of the Isomac Tea.

Note: The picture below was taken sitting on the floor.  The hole is not noticeable from any other position. I plan to tack the JG 1/4 tubing up under the counter top at some point. When that is done the ball valve will not be noticeable from a standing position either.  So far the Missus hasn't even noticed!!!

Running the Water Line

Other resources:

Chris Coffee - Filter System  - Important information about the water softener cartridge
RO Systems - John Guest Fittings - Source of additional John Guest fittings should you wish to extend the system for other uses in the future, such as providing water to your ice maker or plumbing in a water cooler. - An excellent low-cost source of both replacement cartridges

Caveats:  This documentation of my personal installation should not be considered as complete or definitive should you decide to attempt a plumb-in of your own system. It is illustrative only of my own personal experience. It may be useful to help you decide whether you want to try this on your own espresso machine.  However, should you do so, you are on your own.

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