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Steam/Water taps and valves - A tip.

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  • Steam/Water taps and valves - A tip.

    This tip applies to all rotary steam and water valves, regardless of whether its a low end or high end machine.

    If you want the seals to last DON'T TURN THE TAPS OFF HARD you just need to nip them up to the point where the steam/water ceases to flow, any tighter is damaging the seal and will result in eventual failure.

    The same applies to portafilters into group heads, lock the PF in just tight enough to seal, I've seen people lock a PF in that tight they lift a 25 kg machine of the bench, if the seal is in good condition very little force is needed to lock the PF into place.

    If you have to use force it's time for a new seal.

    FWIW in all my years of owning and using Espresso machines I've never had to replace a steam or water seal, I replace PF seals about every 12 months as a matter of routine maintenance.

    I'm sure a lot of Coffee Snobs are well aware of these points, not trying to preach to the already converted.
    Last edited by Yelta; 22 May 2016, 06:23 PM.

  • #2
    I tend to leave taps and the shower in the bathroom dripping from not turning off taps hard enough, so I'm safe.

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    • #3
      I did however have the PF unlock once during extraction as the grind was a bit fine - smashed the cup below with force. I watch it now.

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      • #4
        Agreed Yelta...

        For those wondering, there are also plenty of machines which employ spring loaded valve stems to eliminate the dripping steam/hot water issue. Rocket Espresso and Izzo V3 models are 2 examples. More recent toggle operated steam machines are also fine.

        VBM gear still uses old skool valves and a gentle hand is best with them.

        As far as portafilters are concerned, I'd sooner chew through a group seal a little more rapidly than get burnt and as a result, I tend to load them pretty firmly. The days of 100mm horrible groups on Rancilio machines were sufficient to scare the daylights out of me and there were times where we were lucky nobody was injured when they far too frequently blew out.

        The LSM group of the Alex Leva uses pretty hard group seal as well- warranting a good, firm hoick.

        Cheers

        Chris

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        • #5
          This is where the sprung rotary valves on the Profitec are a good design feature.

          Prevents fat fingered users from flattening the washers!

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          • #6
            I have been using the cafelat silicone group seal in my last two e61 group machines. They don't tend to harden and are easier to remove with the basket for cleaning maintenance.

            Cheers

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            • #7
              I was wondering about those silicone seals, anyone else find that they're any good?

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              • #8
                They did not work on my V1.5 Silvia. Leaked like a sieve! The Rancilio part was okay.
                (V1.5 = the first model with an adjustable OPV)

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by dumiya View Post
                  They did not work on my V1.5 Silvia. Leaked like a sieve! The Rancilio part was okay.
                  (V1.5 = the first model with an adjustable OPV)
                  Must have been the wrong size? Doesn't matter what it's made of, it should fit and seal when new.

                  I think it's a bit of a no brainer, they are cheap and last for ages, don't go hard, are easy to remove, and don't smell. Maybe in a commercial environment when the seals are changed regularly regardless the few extra $ might add up but even then I would say that it would be a very small % of the service cost.

                  Cheers

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by artman View Post
                    Must have been the wrong size? Doesn't matter what it's made of, it should fit and seal when new.

                    I think it's a bit of a no brainer, they are cheap and last for ages, don't go hard, are easy to remove, and don't smell. Maybe in a commercial environment when the seals are changed regularly regardless the few extra $ might add up but even then I would say that it would be a very small % of the service cost.

                    Cheers
                    Hmmm ... I've seen these. I may try one on a prosumer.

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                    • #11
                      Well, lookee here!

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