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Thread: Leaving the machine on

  1. #1
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    Leaving the machine on

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    Hi all - we have an Nuovo Simonelli Oscar machine in the office, of which, somehow, I am in charge. It pulls 2-4 doubles a day, I would guess, as a rule. I was told by the repair guy that it is better to leave the machine on all the time, as far as wear and tear goes, than to shut it off in the evening. The idea being the expansion & contraction, day after day is stressful... This is certainly much easier for me, especially since it takes a while to get to working temp, and opening the steam valve and all , but it makes me nervous. Mostly from sucking electricity 24/7 for about 10-15 minutes of actual use a day... but does anyone have any thoughts about the stress on the machine, heating and cooling, if I do shut it off?



    thanks,

    pg
    Last edited by pGolay; 29th October 2018 at 12:09 PM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member greenman's Avatar
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    Copied from 5 Sense blog:-
    Myth 12: You should never turn your machine off

    Well, this obviously depends on whether youíre working your magic behind a busy espresso bar or pulling shots in the comfort of your own kitchen.

    Cafť Machines

    In a cafť setting, there are definite advantages to leaving your coffee machine switched on all the time, and itís what we recommend. Firstly, when a machine is heating up, its components are under significant mechanical stress (we really mean significant), as the various parts expand at different rates, often resulting in electrical and mechanical breakdown. Leaving your machine on permanently can help you to avoid these costly breakdowns. In addition, the time it takes to fully heat your machine after you first switch it on is usually much longer than the time it takes for the light to appear on your machine indicating that itís warmed up. This is because itís not just the water which needs to heat up, but also all of the group head components. If you start using the machine too early eg before all of the metal parts have had time to heat up, the temperature stability of your machine will be less than ideal, and your coffee will suffer.

    On the other hand, thereís obviously an energy saving if you switch the machine off when youíre not using it, and the rubber seals in your machine will not go brittle as quickly Ö but with regular maintenance this wonít be a problem.

    Home Machines

    Our advice to home users is a little different though. We recommend to switch on the coffee machine about half an hour before you want your first coffee. Your manual probably says that the machine will be ready to go in 6 or 7 minutes, but in reality it takes about half an hour. Like we mentioned for cafe machines above, this is because itís not just the water that needs to heat up, but also all of the group head components. If you start using the machine before all of the metal parts have had time to heat through properly, the temperature stability of your machine will be less than ideal, and your coffee will suffer.

    In the early A.M. hours, many of you may be tempted to skip the half hour warm up and go straight for a shot. Well, weíve got the perfect solution to that problem. Invest in a timer switch that you can attach to the cord at the power point (although make sure itís a high grade timer that can handle 10amp power). You can then set the timer to turn on your machine half an hour before you get up, so that you can wake up the way you want ó that is, with a coffee in hand.

    And while itís true that the process of heating up puts mechanical stress on the component parts of your machine, a home espresso machine uses considerably less energy than its commercial cousin, making it worth your while to turn the machine off when youíre not using it.
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    Hi greenman - thanks for the feedback - This is a small office machine- the thing makes 2-5 doubles a day I'd say. Yeah, a timer is where I was headed with this line of questioning - the fly in the ointment is the Oscar itself - it has to power up with the steam valve open, which complicates things. I believe the feedback about not shutting it off from the Nuovo Simonelli repair guy may have had more to do with this than the actual wear and tear. The machine can be modified, I have learned since yesterday, with a vacuum cutoff valve which may be the way to go.
    thanks for getting back to me.

    -pGolay

  4. #4
    Senior Member coffeechris's Avatar
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    I tell my brother who always leaves his machine on I personally believe you should turn it off when finished.

    I mean after getting home at night do you leave your car running until the next morning?


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    Quote Originally Posted by greenman View Post

    Invest in a timer switch that you can attach to the cord at the power point (although make sure itís a high grade timer that can handle 10amp power). You can then set the timer to turn on your machine half an hour before you get up, so that you can wake up the way you want ó that is, with a coffee in hand.
    For home users a wireless timer can be helpful. I set mine to come on at 5am each day. I can set it to switch off at 9am and then every hour after that, so if no2 son switches it on manually he can't leave it on all day with no one home...

    Also helpful if you are out and about and want to switch the machine on half an hour before you get home - all done through your phone.

    Mine is an Arlec brand from Bunnings and has never skipped a beat.
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  6. #6
    Senior Member rusty888's Avatar
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    I had a tp link timer and it has been terrible. Can sustain any power. Not just the coffee machine a simple phone charger. And no support or help from eBay.

    Avoid that brand but the concept is amazing.

    For me now I just leave the machine on all the time.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by greenman View Post
    ... a home espresso machine uses considerably less energy than its commercial cousin, making it worth your while to turn the machine off when you’re not using it.
    It becomes more worthwhile to turn a home machine off because it uses less energy when it is on?

    And there I was hunting around for a definition of ​non sequitur.

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    I think the idea is the amount of energy needed to bring a commercial machine up to temp is so much more than a home machine that it is not worth while shutting it off compared to letting simmer away. But to muddy the waters a bit more, it turns out we have a new service place for N. Simonelli, and when I asked there about putting ol' Oscar on a timer the man said that he's be happy to help with the mods but did not recommend it - for the same reasons as for the commercial machines - the start up draw being so much more than the maintenance draw, of power... (and the stress of expansion/contraction on the components). I did not prime the pump with my question, that was all his. In any case, I don't have a ready way to test that, it seems a bit of a stretch but for now I am leaving well enough alone.
    Thanks to everyone for the input.

    -PG

  9. #9
    Senior Member Lyrebird's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pGolay View Post
    I think the idea is the amount of energy needed to bring a commercial machine up to temp is so much more than a home machine that it is not worth while shutting it off compared to letting simmer away.
    That's a common Furphy but I don't think it holds water.

    Wherever the boundary is drawn, the machine requires the same amount of energy to reheat as it lost to the environment when cooling. Since the average temperature of the machine is lower when it is allowed to cool than when it is left on, the heat lost to the environment will also be lower ( U * A * ΔT and all that).

    Taken together, it is not possible to save energy by keeping the thing hot for longer.
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  10. #10
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    pGolay, I think you need to think of the environment with this decision. If you turn your machine off at night all the mice and cockroaches in your office will be left without warm natural habitat.

    A friend of mine used to have a office machine service company, reckoned almost 10% of his business came from dead mice shorting out or the excretions from cockroaches shorting tracks.
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  11. #11
    Senior Member Barry O'Speedwagon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lyrebird View Post
    That's a common Furphy but I don't think it holds water.

    Wherever the boundary is drawn, the machine requires the same amount of energy to reheat as it lost to the environment when cooling. Since the average temperature of the machine is lower when it is allowed to cool than when it is left on, the heat lost to the environment will also be lower ( U * A * ΔT and all that).

    Taken together, it is not possible to save energy by keeping the thing hot for longer.

    Yeh, and I think the relative energy usage difference is probably amplified by the fact that the external temp is lower overnight, so even at 'idle' you lose on energy consumption.

    And I guess off-peak power rate differences are nowhere near enough to make up for cost.

    Definitely get the argument re stress on components though.

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    You need a solar / battery powered machine....

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    Quote Originally Posted by rusty888 View Post
    I had a tp link timer and it has been terrible. Can sustain any power. Not just the coffee machine a simple phone charger. And no support or help from eBay.
    I have a TP-Link HS110, it works as advertised. Granted, I did exchange the first one I got as it wasn't recording the power usage correctly (the timer aspect worked fine).

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    Hi,
    I use a simple and cheap HPM 7 day timer
    Works fine and can set it for different times in weekend
    Cheers
    Dave

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    Quote Originally Posted by rusty888 View Post
    I had a tp link timer and it has been terrible. Can sustain any power. Not just the coffee machine a simple phone charger. And no support or help from eBay.
    I have 5 of these doing various things around the house and they all work flawlessly. Is it possible you simply have a faulty unit?



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