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  • Anybody ever insulated a boiler?

    I received my first FAEMA F83/F84 2 group machine yesterday and tested it straight away. The amount of heat that that boiler radiates is mind blowing. What a waste of energy!

    Has anybody ever insulated such a boiler? Would be interesting to hear how and with what success.

    If not I will just keep you posted on my results.

    Cheers,
    Edward

  • #2
    Re: Anybody ever insulated a boiler?

    Hi Edward
    Ive used ceramic fibre insulation which made substantial savings in terms of shorter heater cycle and electricity bills. Not good stuff health wise though. There is a thread somewhere on this site about silicone foam. Hideously expensive so you need to shop around.
    Brett

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Anybody ever insulated a boiler?

      Radiating heat is a nature of the beast -- fortunately and unfortunately.

      Heat is utilised to good effect by the cup warmer tray. That comes straight off the boiler (and sometimes electrically heated as well).

      The groups themselves give off heat.

      Having the machine in some sort of heat eqilibrium also ensures there will be minimal if any detrimental thermal loss during the extraction.

      Thats why we allow a good deal of time for the machine to warm up after start up.

      I havent crunched the numbers -- I think others have -- but you would have to do a cost/savings/benefits analyses as to whether insulation would be of much benefit.

      Running my 2-grouper costs about a third of the price of a latte per day. Running a 2-element small electric heater would cost more.

      --Robusto

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Anybody ever insulated a boiler?

        Yep,

        Thats all true Robusto.... However, insulating the boiler of this type of machine realises significant improvements that include not only savings on heating bills, but shorter initial heating time, more stability whilst maintaining the temperature and longer duty cycle on the boiler element (its on less of the time). All of these, in my opinion, are very worthwhile targets to aim for so insulating the boiler gets a big nod from me. 8-)

        The price paid by losing the cup warming facility is a non-event for me as I always heat the cups with hot water prior to pulling a shot anyway, like a lot of other people. I guess if your machine is one of those that utilises a separate heating element for the cup warming tray, then you could save additional expense and waste by disconnecting it.

        Sure, these things are a necessity in a commercial setting but in a home its not really necessary.... Except if youre Javaphile of course, his La Cimbali is used to offset his houses central heating bill :P.

        Cheers,
        Mal.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Anybody ever insulated a boiler?

          I just dont like wasting. Energy is very precious to me so having a hot boiler without insulation would put a factor of guilt in me no matter how cheap the running costs are.

          I found the neoprene thread and I must say that it freaks me out how little is available in Australia. I am spoilt by having worked in Europe where everything imginable is at your fingertips or a phone call away.

          I have an idea using ITONG (an artificial stone material used for building highly insulated houses and sand or micro balls (extremely small air filled balls that you use as filler in fibre glass constructions)). Something like building an enclosure around the boiler and filling it with an insulation material that you can easily suck off with the hoover if you need to access certain parts. ITONG is very easy to shape so fitting around pipes, etc. isnt an issue.

          Ill make a few tests and write about my findings.

          Cheers,
          Edward

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Anybody ever insulated a boiler?

            We are in Robust agreement, Mal! Except on the warming tray aspect.

            On many sub-extreme machines, that feature is pretty much next to useless. The heat output from small boilers barely makes the tray tepid. And the cups ditto.

            But on machines with big boilers, the warming tray is no joke, and does warm cups (or dinner plates) to a tangible, serious degree.

            Just pluck the very dry latte glass/cup from the tray and place straight under the portafilter spouts. No wetting. No residual water. No wiping to dry. That-- to me at least -- is a big bonus

            Its a worthwhile convenience.

            Fortunately, I have my machine on a timer set for 6 am, so by the time I have the first coffee an hour or so later its well beyond that initial start up.

            But I concede that for machines drawing in excess of 10 amps, an off the shelf timer is not possible.

            --Robusto

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Anybody ever insulated a boiler?

              Originally posted by Edward link=1183704092/0#4 date=1183723957
              I just dont like wasting. Energy is very precious to me so having a hot boiler without insulation would put a factor of guilt in me no matter how cheap the running costs are.
              Forgive me, but I have to laugh at the idea that someone would heat up what ... nearly 20 litres of water to make a 30mL drink and then worry about insulation!

              Ill let the boffins work out how much energy insulation would saves compared with buying a domestic machine for home.

              Cheers,

              Luca

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Anybody ever insulated a boiler?

                Since weve gone down that path....

                How many litres of water do we use/waste for every 60 ml of coffee consumed?

                Theres the cooling flush.... the post-extraction flush of the shower screen, flushing the dirty basket, the back flush, the chemical back flush, steam wand flush, post-steaming steam wand cleaning flush, steaming jug clean.....

                And all with electrically-heated drinking water.

                But keep that under our hats. Dont tell the guilt brigade or water police. Because, as you know, theres a drought on and were making every drop count.

                Well, there was a drought. Until 300 mls of torrent in five minutes swamped everything in the eastern part of Victoria and New South Wales.

                -Robusto

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Anybody ever insulated a boiler?

                  Well actually Luca,

                  Once the machine has been warmed up to operating temp, with the boiler insulated you can then just leave it on continuously as the energy required to maintain the boiler and group, etc at working temperature is a mere pittance. I dont think that most people with these machines at home start and stop them like they would a Silvia, once its on it stays on all day, all weekend or all the time depending on ones usage profile. Its in this usage scenario that the real benefits are gained.

                  And Robusto, yep what you say is fair enough..... we have a wood heater running in Winter though so if theres any water to boil, plates to warm (and I spose cappa cups to warm) it can be achieved very effectively and cheaply by using a purpose built tray on the top of the heater. Suits us anyway and once again, its horses for courses ;D,

                  Mal.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Anybody ever insulated a boiler?

                    Ah, the wood heater. As I write this, I look at the cold, dark o slow comustion heater sitting folornly in the loungeroom here.

                    With its empty grate on top. Where many a chestnut has been roasted. But due to a decrepit wheelbarrow, bad back and laziness, for the first time in about 18 years I have ordered no wood this year. (Two tonnes dumped on the driveway and then needing to be loaded on the wheel barrow, carted in and stacked. Hours of real work)

                    But boy, do I miss that visible glow of heat. Sigh. Enoy it Mal. Im envious.

                    --Robusto

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Anybody ever insulated a boiler?

                      Its pretty damn nice alright Robusto and Im lucky that number 2 son is still at home and happy to do all the chopping, stacking, etc. Will miss him when he pulls up stakes and heads out into the world. Might be able to find a couple of Boy Scouts to do the work for a few bucks when that time comes..... Hope so anyway ,

                      Mal.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Anybody ever insulated a boiler?

                        Originally posted by luca link=1183704092/0#6 date=1183724507
                        Forgive me, but I have to laugh at the idea that someone would heat up what ... nearly 20 litres of water to make a 30mL drink and then worry about insulation!
                        Hi Luca,

                        Thats is very similar to what I thought at first when reading that people use boiler machines and leave them on all day.

                        Then I had a close look and realised that the boiler is purely a heat storage. If you make a 30 ml Espresso only 30 ml are heated up.

                        All of a sudden this changes everything. I got all the people in our house together and asked them to write down how many times a day they switch on the domestic machine or the hot water boiler or boil water up for cooking purposes. It was amazing to see how much hot water is consumed in a 4 person household just in the kitchen. In our case we also have a home office so we are looking at an average of 30 coffees a day.

                        With any other machine you always heat up far more water than you heat. These HX machines only heat up what is consumed. All of a sudden we are looking at savings. It just depends on how good the heat loss of the boiler can be stopped.

                        The second issue I am currently investigating is if these big boilers can be heated by solar panels. Sounds crazy but I have a buddy that does solar pre-heating applications for large steam turbine power plants. The old machines are perfect for an outdoor kitchen setup (that I had long planned) so they can be placed very close to a solar panel.

                        Maybe the solar idea is too expensive but I got the machine for free and now start thinking if I should use it.

                        Cheers,
                        Edward

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Anybody ever insulated a boiler?

                          Realistically Edward you are heating how ever many litres of water are in your tank. Even with my bezzeras boiler insulated you are looking at something like 1/7 of its time heating. So if the heater- 3000w- is on 20 sec it is off 140 sec. This is irrespective of whether you pull an espresso or not (actually the heater is on much more if you steam, make espresso or use the hot water outlet). The amount of heat loss surprised me and it is even more on a machine with a small boiler- perhaps less volume compared to surface area?
                          I think the reason we use commercials at home is because we like machinery, it is initially more romantic, they allow more drinks to be made in quicker time, at my place my partner loves the hot warer outlet for her constant tea drinking, you can steam and extract at the same time (any hx or dual boiler) and potentially you can make sublime espresso...
                          Efficient? Not the reason I use one!
                          Brett

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Anybody ever insulated a boiler?

                            Too true, Telemaster. To say only 30 or 60 ml is cosumed therefore that is the amount heated is a gross understatement.

                            The amount heated and kept heated is whatever is in the boiler even though it may not be consumed as steam or through the tap--plus what flows through the heat exchangers.

                            And as I posted above, all that over water for flushing. In other words, there is a whole life-support system of necessary wastage for every 60 ml cup.

                            --Robusto

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Anybody ever insulated a boiler?

                              Originally posted by robusto link=1183704092/0#13 date=1183789598

                              In other words, there is a whole life-support system of necessary wastage for every 60 ml cup.

                              --Robusto
                              Ah, but the results justify the expenditure..... just like any other hobby which gives one great satisfaction - they are rarely cost effective, and waste energy and other resources...

                              Anyone you know who loves fishing from a boat? Now you cant tell me that is more cost effective and environmentally friendly than buying fish already caught!!!! But saving money isnt why people go fishing - nor should it be.....

                              Owning and running a commercial machine at home is in the same category.... it is done for pleasure/satisfaction and as such it is not necessary to justify its ownership/use....

                              Mind you Ive just made 12 coffees for my wifes friends (11 milk based) in about 2 minutes without any stress - try that with a lesser machine!

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