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Common Espresso Machine Issues and Troubleshooting: DIY at Home

Common Espresso Machine Issues and Troubleshooting: DIY at Home

For the mechanically inclined who aren't afraid to do some investigative work, there are quite a few at-home fixes that can be done on your semiautomatic espresso machine. We'll cover a few common issues here, but do keep in mind that based on the usage and age of your machine, there are various gaskets and valves that naturally wear out and need replacement. If you've been a good espresso parent and keep up a regular cleaning routine, you should expect to have your baby tuned up every three to four years.

Water isn't heating? First, check the element and temperature control; it could be turned off. If your machine has a resettable thermostat, has it popped up? If so, hit reset. If you're only getting steam, air could be trapped inside the machine, blocking the water supply. Turn the machine off, empty the tank, remove the water filter, refill the tank, and put it back in place. Turn the machine on, and once heated up, choose the hot water setting and wait for hot water to come out.

No water coming out of group-head? In home machines, this tends to be a problem with the pump. The solenoid valves could be clogged; you can disassemble fairly easily and just rinse out, reassemble and run a test. At home, we don't clean out our machines as regularly as a coffee shop does, so your blockage could just be a ‘clean me' alert. A good backflushing once a month on a home machine will dissolve built-up oils and clean out the brew group and shower screen.

Leaking from the steam valve or steam wand? If you can identify where the drips are coming from, it might just need the connection tightened. Further seal with a few rounds of Teflon tape. If the problem persists, there could be a crack in the pipe, which will mean a replacement.

Machine overheating? The vacuum breaker and safety valve might need replacing. We can run an inspection for you to make sure, and you can either buy the parts and replace them yourself or leave it with us and let our technicians take care of it. Another issue in overheating could be that the pressure stat responsible for turning on and off the element is faulty, causing too much pressure to build up. Replacement is the only option here.

This one can be a real puzzler when it happens for the first time - The machine says there's no water in the reservoir, but you know there is. What's going on? Most home machines have a water sensor. It can be a floating sensor, which sometimes gets stuck on the bottom of the tank. You can easily reach in and grasp it, then gently adjust so that it's floating in the tank. Sometimes it's a mineral sensor, which senses whether or not there are minerals in contact to determine if the reservoir is full. In hard water regions, where coffee fans buy demineralized or reverse osmosis water, they'll often get the ‘no water in the reservoir' indicator. That's because the sensor can't sense these types of water that have no mineral content. Additionally, if you live in a particularly soft water region or you have an excellent filter system in your building, this could lead to not enough minerals for the sensor to detect. You can easily check by adding a pinch of salt to the water reservoir and power cycling the unit.

Our technicians are at your service for investigative inspections, replacement parts, tune-ups and any repairs needed. Just give us a call.

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