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Thread: For how long do you keep you machine switched on?

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    For how long do you keep you machine switched on?

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Interesting question and I dont think I ever saw any comments here on how often you switch your machine off/on.

    I am talking about an average HX machine, at least 1.3lt boiler, at least 15kg of brass and other stuff, 40min to warm up properly...

    do you guys keep your machines on all the time (with the exception of the time when you clean it, maintain) or do you switch if off in the evening? or after each coffee making session?

    I must admit I often keep the machine on overnight to save time on warming up in the morning..

    Whats the recommendations?
    I can only say that from the point of view of boiler metal living longer its nice to reduce number of cycles cold->hot->cold...
    from the point of view of an environment protectionist running machine idle for long time is maximizing your carbon footprint ;-)

    but seriously, what do other CSs do?

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    Re: For how long do you keep you machine switched

    As sig line suggests, I have a HX.

    My machine switches itself on via a digital timer at 6.25 am every morning and gets used at 7.10 am. When Im on day shift the machine switches itself off at 8.30 am and I manually switch it back on when I get home around 6pm. It gets its end of day backflush, clean and refill at about 9.30 pm and is switched off for the night - timer set. On days I am home the machine stays on all day from 6.25am to 9.30pm.

    I have had no problems whatsoever, nor have we noticed any spike in our power bill. We live rural and pay a premium for our electricity so this was monitored closely.

    Personally, Ive found it takes a good 45 minutes to properly heat up my machine. At a pinch 30, but 45 is far more stable. Having invested significant money and time into my setup I simply couldnt live with the irony of serving myself, my wife or a guest something other than espresso because the machine wasnt switched on. Screw that!

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    Re: For how long do you keep you machine switched

    Usually, I have it on for 2 hours in the morning, 4 hours in the evening, during weekdays. Weekends it stays on most of the time except over night.

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    Re: For how long do you keep you machine switched

    I used to leave mine on 24/7 but eventually put it on a timer.

    It now comes on when I wake up at 6:00am so uits ready for my 7:00am coffee.

    It stays on until 11:00am in case my wife wants some hot water and then switches of until 6:00pm when it goes back on in case someone wants a hot chocolate at night.

    It then goes to sleep at 11:00pm and the cycle starts again.

    On weekends I switch the timer to manual overide so that it stays on all day and I switch it back to auto when I go to bed.

    The group gasket will deteriorate a bit faster if the machine is not on 24/7 but thats a minor cost.

    I never noticed any significant change in the power bills before or after getting the machine so the amount of time its on obviously makes less of a difference.

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    Re: For how long do you keep you machine switched

    Quote Originally Posted by Thundergod link=1216853079/0#3 date=1216863700
    I used to leave mine on 24/7 but eventually put it on a timer.
    ...
    On weekends I switch the timer to manual overide so that it stays on all day and I switch it back to auto when I go to bed.

    The group gasket will deteriorate a bit faster if the machine is not on 24/7 but thats a minor cost.

    ...
    thanks, TG, Wrecker,
    timer is a good idea, I think. What sort of timers do you use, though... digital, I heard, what are they, are they safe for switching on/off this sort of equipment (power surge, etc)? I dont know, I wouldnt put my TV or something like that on timer, but I still think of timers in terms of little plastic things with pins in them ;-)

    also, TG, could you please explain about the gasket. Not that I am worried too much that it will deteriorate faster. Its just for my information..

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    Re: For how long do you keep you machine switched

    Mine is a HPM digital timer from Bunnings - about $25. I can highly recommend them, the timer displays in seconds making it a handy (depending on where your socket is) shot timer. :)

    There have been threads debating the wisdom of using timers - electrical hazards - fire risk. I dont wish to re-awaken the debate so Id suggest you consult anyone you know who is a professional electrician. After that you can consult me if you like as a professional firefighter and if youre still concerned Ill put you on to professional fire investigators. Then you can make your own mind up if it is safe.

    HINT: I use one... ;)

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    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
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    Re: For how long do you keep you machine switched

    The gasket detriorates quicker because of the hot/cold cycle.

    Pedro from Coffee Parts mentioned it to me and from my own circumstances I did the maths and worked out his estimate was pretty spot on.

    Bsically IIRC my gasket will last 12mths when on 24/7 but if its on half that time it will only last 6 months.

    Not a big deal for a part costing only a few dollars, just nice to know.

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    Senior Member redzone121's Avatar
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    Re: For how long do you keep you machine switched

    Usually switch on about an hour before each coffee session. Leave on most of Sat. I fully agree with "Wrecker" 30 minute min (works for one coffee) and 45 minutes is all good for multiple shots and temp recovery.

    Enjoy CB.

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    Re: For how long do you keep you machine switched

    Mine goes on in the morning when I get up. I will only turn it off if I am leaving the house - I hate the thought of something going wrong when I am not home. Then it goes off when I go to bed.

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    Re: For how long do you keep you machine switched

    Quote Originally Posted by damian1 link=1216853079/0#8 date=1216895393
    Mine goes on in the morning when I get up. *I will only turn it off if I am leaving the house - I hate the thought of something going wrong when I am not home. *Then it goes off when I go to bed.
    Yea I do pretty much the same

    My wife gets up one hour or more before me and turns it on in the morning this is enough time to get it up to temp
    So when I get up 8-) - the first thing on the to do list is an espresso for the love of my life "my wife" :-*

    KK

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    Re: For how long do you keep you machine switched

    I use a digital timer switch too they are now $9 from bunnings and do a 7 day program (so i can have it on most of the times on weekends).

    Word for the wise though - make sure you still top it up the night before with water - this morning i wokeup to find that although my power was on the Bezerra had shut itself off cause of low water level!

    I also have a power meter and i can tell you that my Bezzera Domus Galatea uses probably the same amount of power to switch on twice a day from cold as it does to stay on all day.

    One thing I have though that would be interesting to get feedback on is the subject of scale buildup. Surely keeping the machine on for longer will result in faster scale buildup?

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    Re: For how long do you keep you machine switched

    Every day - I turn the machine on around 6am, ready for the morning cuppa with my wife.
    I turn it off when I leave for work and whoever gets home first turns it on in the evening.

    I turn it off most nights, but I forget sometimes... weekends, it stays on all day, as we never know who will drop in....

    P

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    Re: For how long do you keep you machine switched

    VBM Domobar.
    I use a digital timer to turn it on & off. On at 6:30AM, off at 9:30PM.
    Timer sometimes adjusted to turn on at 5:30AM on days when my wife starts work at 7.
    Manual override to turn off if I think it wont be needed any more that day, *or if we are leaving the house for the day.
    I read a post somewhere that someone had done the maths on the power and worked out the cost per day of something like 10 cents. Even if it were more than that its hardly a problem when considering the cost of buying a coffee...


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    Re: For how long do you keep you machine switched

    anthonyd - and other CSers who leave their machines on all day and havent noticed a spike in elec. bills -

    im interested to find out how a machine left on all day doesnt increase power consumption compared to having it in in the am and pm? i understand that most power is needed for the initial heat up, but even still, with the thermostat running all day clicking on and off surely must require more power overall? (not digging at you, just really curious)

    cheers
    aaron

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    Re: For how long do you keep you machine switched

    Aaron I think the point is that any increase (and yes there would be one) is not noticeable in the power bill.

    Surely your bills fluctuate a few dollars here or there depending on things like having more lights on because its been a cloudy month or doing an extra few loads of washing for one reason or another.

    Order pizza once or twice a month and run the dishwasher less.

    A few warmer than usual days in winter can keep down heating costs etc etc etc.

    Theres an old thread or two where someone did the math to prove it costs bugger all.

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    Re: For how long do you keep you machine switched

    interesting TG - youre saying that the difference is minimal.
    i was concerned about carbon footprint - i guess there are better ways to reduce emissions
    ta

    aaron

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    Re: For how long do you keep you machine switched

    I did a search and found this thread...
    http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?num=1219471403/0#0

    Not the one I remember, but good info there.
    When time permits I think I may do my own calculations.

    These devices are available if youre really worried - Power usage meters for individual appliances.

    http://www.choice.com.au/viewArticle.aspx?id=106100&catId=100285&tid=100008 &p=1&title=Review%3a+Multifunction+power+meter

    http://www1.jaycar.com.au/productView.asp?URL=index&ID=MS6115&CATID=12&SUBCA TID=457

    http://www.latestbuy.com.au/digital-power-meter.html

    http://cgi.ebay.com.au/Save-Electricity-Mains-Power-Monitor-Meter-Outlet_W0QQitemZ380058037906QQihZ025QQcategoryZ105 804QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

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    Re: For how long do you keep you machine switched

    Quote Originally Posted by roknee link=1216853079/0#15 date=1219638759
    interesting TG - youre saying that the difference is minimal.
    i was concerned about carbon footprint - i guess there are better ways to reduce emissions
    ta

    aaron
    A Power Bill is one indication of carbon footprint contribution.
    So we were talking the same thing.

    Take a shorter shower or plant a tree then you wont feel guilty drinking your coffee. ;)

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    Re: For how long do you keep you machine switched

    Quote Originally Posted by Thundergod link=1216853079/0#17 date=1219645484

    Take a shorter shower or plant a tree then you wont feel guilty drinking your coffee. *;)
    i flush my toilet once a month already... :-/

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    Re: For how long do you keep you machine switched

    Quote Originally Posted by Thundergod link=1216853079/0#17 date=1219645484
    ..... or plant a tree then you wont feel guilty drinking your coffee. *;)
    Make sure that tree has a diameter of at least 3 centimetres per cup...
    http://www.merchantsofgreencoffee.com/4_About_the_Merchants/issues_in_the_industry.html

    Facts About Coffee
    Every cup of coffee consumed destroys roughly three square centimeters of rainforest, making coffee a leading cause of rainforest destruction.
    I wonder where they get their facts. Id like to know if its right.
    Looking at some of the other facts on that site, I have my reservations...

    http://www.merchantsofgreencoffee.com/all_about_coffee.html
    As with freshly baked bread, fresh roasted coffee has a very short shelf life - maximum of five days - regardless of packaging.
    http://www.merchantsofgreencoffee.com/3_All_About_Coffee_Tree_to_Cup/roasting_and_brewing.html
    Electric hand grinders are available for about $20.00. Mortar and pestle or blenders also do the job.
    How many CSers use a mortar and pestle to grind? Any?

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    Re: For how long do you keep you machine switched

    Quote Originally Posted by tasadam link=1216853079/0#19 date=1219650453

    How many CSers use a mortar and pestle to grind? Any?
    :-[ ...but only when Im desperate...I couldnt help myself...I had to try it...apologies to the beans... :-[

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    Re: For how long do you keep you machine switched

    Quote Originally Posted by roknee link=1216853079/0#13 date=1219627038
    anthonyd - and other CSers who leave their machines on all day and havent noticed a spike in elec. bills -

    im interested to find out how a machine left on all day doesnt increase power consumption compared to having it in in the am and pm? i understand that most power is needed for the initial heat up, but even still, with the thermostat running all day clicking on and off surely must require more power overall? (not digging at you, just really curious)

    cheers
    aaron

    Aaron,

    As i said i used my power meter to measure this - i dont remember the actual figures but the difference in power consumption (in kw/h) was neglegable for the whol day vs switching on twice in a day.

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    Re: For how long do you keep you machine switched

    cheers anthony!
    that settles my conscience - i wont feel guilty leaving my machine on all day just in case someone pops in or if i come home early from work, etc.
    great news!

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    Re: For how long do you keep you machine switched

    Mine stays on all day aswell, when I am at home. I switch it off at night time and when I leave the house for long periods.

    The thought of having it on and something going wrong when Im not there, spooks me. :o

    -Linda

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    Re: For how long do you keep you machine switched

    Quote Originally Posted by Maccas_chicka link=1216853079/20#23 date=1219814595

    The thought of having it on and something going wrong when Im not there, spooks me. *:o

    -Linda
    do you also worry about whether or not youve left the iron on, or left the front door unlocked when youre out of the house? *::) *:D

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    Re: For how long do you keep you machine switched

    Quote Originally Posted by roknee link=1216853079/20#24 date=1219816620
    do you also worry about whether or not youve left the iron on, or left the front door unlocked when youre out of the house? *::) *:D

    Actually the other half does. He is OCD. Will make sure the front and back door IS shut....and does this several times, aswell as making sure all lights in the house are turned off too.

    Makes me ::) my eyes too. ;)

    -Linda

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    Re: For how long do you keep you machine switched

    and given his "OCDness", does he have a super consistent (almost ritualistic) dosing and distribution technique?

  28. #28
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    Re: For how long do you keep you machine switched

    Dont we all?

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    Re: For how long do you keep you machine switched

    re: the power consumption, I measured the duty cycle (on time vs off time, for those who arent sure) of the VBM last night once it was up to temp.

    Switched on for 15s, then switched off again until 2m35s, then switched on for 15s, and so on.

    So its on a 15s/155s = close enough to 10% duty cycle. This would suggest to me that its 1800w element is on 10% of the time when up to temp, or the same as drawing 180w continuously.

    Will do some more measuring of on/off times while the machines warming up..

    Mark

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    Re: For how long do you keep you machine switched

    Quote Originally Posted by Thundergod link=1216853079/20#27 date=1219884676
    Dont we all?
    some more than others TG *;)

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    alc
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    Re: For how long do you keep you machine switched

    Hi guys,

    I have a few queries, although they possibly relate more to the sub-$1500 machines ...

    Are there any problems with leaving a single boiler (eg. VBM/Silvia) on all day? *Does it use more power than an HX? Because the boiler doesnt auto fill might the element get damaged?

  32. #32
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    Re: For how long do you keep you machine switched

    Quote Originally Posted by A.L.C. link=1216853079/20#30 date=1219964865
    Hi guys,

    I have a few queries, although they possibly relate more to the sub-$1500 machines ...

    Are there any problems with leaving a single boiler (eg. VBM/Silvia) on all day? *Does it use more power than an HX? Because the boiler doesnt auto fill might the element get damaged?
    Its possible to kill an element in a dual purpose boiler due to the fact they dont auto fill. I have had 2 x dead VBM Levetta this week...

    My advice is ensure the boiler is completely full immediately after you texture milk. I run water through the group and then out of the steam wand as well- to protect the element.

    A new element is under $50- but the boiler must be removed to fit it, so you get slugged an hour of labour for a Levetta. No Silvia boiler replacement will be under about $250 and even a repair will set you back around $150. Worth taking the risk *:-?...I dont think so...

    Chris

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    alc
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    Re: For how long do you keep you machine switched

    Another question Chris,

    how can you tell when the boiler is completely full on a VBM Domobar Leveta?

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    Re: For how long do you keep you machine switched

    Quote Originally Posted by A.L.C. link=1216853079/20#32 date=1219966328
    Another question Chris,

    how can you tell when the boiler is completely full on a VBM Domobar Leveta?
    Gday ALC,

    If you run water through the steam wand, it has to be full ;)

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    Re: For how long do you keep you machine switched

    I thought that the dual purpose single boiler machines have some sort of overheat protection switch that cuts the boiler element so that the element doesnt burn out? It happened to my silvia only recently that I had all the switches on at once on a pretimer (thanks to the reverse order of italina switches) and by the time I got to it the silvia was "dead". Sent it to Mocopan and it got fixed. I expected the fix to be a new boiler and a new pump but it turned out all that was required was a reset of the overheat protection switch...

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    Re: For how long do you keep you machine switched

    Quote Originally Posted by ml27 link=1216853079/20#28 date=1219892513
    re: the power consumption, I measured the duty cycle (on time vs off time, for those who arent sure) of the VBM last night once it was up to temp.

    Switched on for 15s, then switched off again until 2m35s, then switched on for 15s, and so on.

    So its on a 15s/155s = close enough to 10% duty cycle. This would suggest to me that its 1800w element is on 10% of the time when up to temp, or the same as drawing 180w continuously.

    Will do some more measuring of on/off times while the machines warming up..

    Mark
    Did some timing this evening with the machine *- a VBM Domobar Super - started from cold.

    To cut a long set of numbers short, the machine reached equilibrium (fully warmed up) after about 58 minutes. The element was on for a total of 13 minutes 48 seconds during this time.

    At a 10% duty cycle when operating in equilibrium, the machine would take 2 hours 18 minutes to use the same amount of energy.

    To use the same amount of energy as leaving the machine on 24/7, one would have to go through over ten startup cycles (lasting one hour each) every day.

    So the moral of the story appears to be that from an energy standpoint, its worth turning your machine off when its not in use. Other considerations, such as being able to have a coffee on demand, will probably outweigh this *;)

    Mark

    ps. can you tell Im an engineer? ::)

  37. #37
    Senior Member tasadam's Avatar
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    Re: For how long do you keep you machine switched

    Great research, well done.
    Now lets put some dollar values to the energy and we will have the full pictuire.
    Must do these tests myself too.

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    Re: For how long do you keep you machine switched

    If you insulate the boiler, the numbers are much more in favour of leaving it on. The start-up is reduced too though,

    Mal.

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    Re: For how long do you keep you machine switched

    Yep, as Mal said, insulating the boiler also helps....

    Also using my 17L monster as an example.... when I checked it over a year ago...... going from memory!

    It took about 16-20 minutes from stone cold until the pressurestat first clicked off... but within a very short time it was back on again (as heat was transferred to other components like the groups etc.... so it then cycled at 90% on and 10% off..... and over the remaining time..... up to stability at about 1 Hr.... the duty cycle slowly changed from 90/10 to 10/90...... basically it doesnt draw its steady state 10% until about an hour after switch on..... so to say that 16 minutes at 100% and then 10% would be very incorrect...... It probably averages say 50% (or possibly more) for the first hour..... and then a steady 10% after that......

    The time taken to heat up, the power used and the comparison between steady state and heat up consumption will vary from machine to machine..... how well insulated the boiler is..... how large the boiler is..... how many watts per litre your boiler heater is..... and probably a heap of other factors.....

    I know when I did the sums on mine..... three times a day from stone cold *and then left on for about an hour after heat up (making a few coffees ::)) used only a bit more power than leaving it on 24/7...... but I would think smaller boilers may save power if switched off between uses.... just as long as you are willing to wait for it to thermally stabilise each time.

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    Re: For how long do you keep you machine switched

    I know that there have been various threads over the past few years on Coffeesnobs discussing the virtue of insulating boilers and I remember that Mal was instrumental in sending e-mails, co-ordinating a bulk order of insulating material etc. but from memory the order didnt go through.

    Is it worth another try now? We have so many more members now...

    What do you think?

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    Re: For how long do you keep you machine switched

    Yeh, Id be interested in some insulation but purely from an efficiency point of view (yes, another engineer like Mark). However, my main gripe about leaving the VBM on, is the sound of the pressurestat clicking on and off. Full marks for an industrial quality pressurestat but couldnt they have found a quieter one? Has anyone looked into muffling the thing? Perhaps some insulation around it as well might be the go.

    Bob



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