Eight or more weeks is a long time for an espresso machine to sit cold and still, and the parts that are used to being hot and moving can sometimes play up.
Well maintained machinery that was properly prepared for the shut-down should be fine, but even then, there are a couple of things to look out for when you reopen.
Here is our troubleshooting guide to getting your machine back up and running…
Before switching on:
• Don’t turn the power or water supplies on just yet. First check for any signs of pest damage, nesting, etc. If you can, remove the top trays and peek inside.
• Many water filter manufacturers recommend replacing filters that have sat idle for more than four weeks, primarily because they can be a place where bacteria grows.
• If you choose not to replace yours, flush through at least twenty litres of water before use.
• Check for mould, especially if the machine was not thoroughly cleaned before shut-down. Problem areas include: Under diffusion screens, in the drain box & milk wands.
• Signs of pest damage?
• Any mould?
• Water filter flushed?
• First turn on the water supply, open one of the steam wands, and then switch on the power at the wall and at the machine switch.
• If your model has three switch positions (0,1 & 2), turn to 1 first, wait for five seconds (it might auto-fill), then switch to 2.
• La Marzocco models may require you to also press one of the keypad buttons to exit ‘Stand By’ mode.
• You may hear the machine auto-fill at this point, if it needed to top up. Close the open steam wand once it’s done.
• Stay nearby your machine during the 15 minute heating period. Keep a lookout for any unusual leaks, hisses or burning smells.
If you know what the vacuum-breaker valve is, check that it seals properly. When working normally, it will release steam into the drain box for about 30 seconds as the steam boiler passes boiling point, then suddenly seal and stop hissing.
• Machine powers on?
• Machine fills
• Vacuum breaker valve seals?
• Steam pressure gauge settles 1 – 1.4 bar?
• Sound of steam leak?
• Water on bench under machine?
• Unusual smells?
• Water flows from each group when activated?
• Pump runs at 8-9bar when groups are running
Flushing & Seasoning:
• Run all groups for at least two minutes, taking care not to overflow the drain box or waste bucket!
• Open each steam wand for at least one minute – check that the steam smells clean, not tainted by old milk.
• Empty at least two litres of water from the hot tap. (Many La Marzocco models have a menu option to drain the steam boiler automatically through the hot tap – call us to find out how to access this feature)
• Season the machine by brewing and discarding at least one espresso through each group.
• Wastewater drains away?
• Steam smells clean?
• Can you hear the pump running during the brewing cycle?
• Back to Normal?
A long idle period can make one or two issues more likely to crop up. Here’s a few additional problems to watch out for…
Sometimes a group head solenoid valve will stay shut even when you press go. Switching the group on and off 10-20 times can sometimes be enough to put this right.
Getting the blind-filter out and back-flushing across all groups can also help.
If you notice imbalanced, low, or zero flow of water from the group heads, you may be suffering from a blocked restrictor, which will require a technician to investigate.
• Water flows evenly across all groups?
If you’re worried, or come across any problems, please don’t hesitate to give us a call on 01179 820 252 or by emailing one of our technicians at email@example.com for advice about your equipment or to arrange for a technician to visit.