Brewtus - Strange Noise During Heatup & Longer Time For Water Flow to Reach Grouphead w/ First Pull

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#1: Post by Kkcase »


Newbie here on the forum. Interested in some more experienced advise as I venture down the path of maintaining my machine.

My husband and I do regular back flushes of the machine and our tap water registers at 34 on our TDS meter for starters.

About a month ago the machine started making a rumbling noise as it builds pressure when first turned on from cold (video attached). If doesn't do it every morning, but once or twice a week. It also started taking longer for the first pull of espresso to come through. What used to take 7-9 secs before the flow started coming through the group head became 12-18 sec - but only for the first pull. If I release water before putting in the portafilter for the first pull, I don't have the issue. Additionally, the sound of the first bit of water coming through almost has a sound as if there's air being cleared through pipes (bubbling / spitting).

I reached out for service assistance and it was recommended that I do a descaling of the machine, and change the gaskets in the group head (since we'll be taking that apart to do the descaling).

Two questions, can anyone see any issues for the machine with continuing to use it before we descale it and work on the group head (waiting to obtain parts)? And, can anyone identify any other issue that might be occurring with the machine, aside from a need to be descaled?

With great appreciation,

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Team HB

#2: Post by Jeff »

I'm going to guess that you've got a tiny leak in the HX/brew circuit. If you take the machine up to temperature, dry the screen, then place a portafilter with a blank basket loosely in the group (don't seal it) and wait a while, do you see any droplets a moisture in the basket when you look? Another place that E61-style groups tend to leak is around the two PTFE washers at the top of the group head where the mushroom can be accessed.

If it's been more than a few years since you've last rebuilt the group, I'd suggest replacing all three of the valves and all of the gaskets and crush washers that you would need to open up to get to them. The valves are reasonably inexpensive. There are two different lengths, so check carefully when you order.

When you first open up the group head, you should be able to look at the mushroom and get an idea if you have a scaling problem or not. Sometimes the scaling machine can cause more problems than it solves one little flakes of scale or chrome plating get stuck in a little holes that are supposed to be clear. The steam boiler can start to accumulate minerals if you haven't been regularly drying water from it through the hot water tap. On an HX machine, the steam boiler usually can be descaled separately from the brew circuit.

Kkcase (original poster)

#3: Post by Kkcase (original poster) »

Thanks for the response, Jeff. I am heating up the machine, as I type, to test out whether or not any moisture builds in the blank basket.

It absolutely has been a while since the group was rebuilt.

I went onto Whole Latte Loves website and they seems to be out of their kits, and possibly one of the necessary valves (of the three). Is there another source you would recommend for obtaining parts? Is it possible for me to inspect the valves to know if they are still suitable? I now understand how seals and gaskets degrade with time and use. I didn't realize that also happens to the metal valves too.

Also, I believe my machine has both a steam boiler and a brew boiler. I thought that was considered a double boiler as opposed to HX. Am I correct with that understanding and what's the best way to confirm?

We recently opened up our hot water tap where there had been quite a bit of mineral build-up on the screen (who knows when that was last cleaned/changed). Thankfully, no issues or blockages in the arm. I did notice, however, the steam wand is dripping upon start. When mentioned doing a descaling of the steam boiler, is there a good instructional video on how to do such a project?

Thanks for the info. Our sweet machine is on its way to a complete service. Initially, I thought we were doing well with back flushing, keeping the wand clean, expressing water through the group head after each pull and changing occasional gaskets as needed. So much to keep up with, but so worth it! :)

Thank you!

Kkcase (original poster)

#4: Post by Kkcase (original poster) »

I just removed the blank portafilter and there were no moisture droplets accumulated in the basket. The machine fully came to temp before I inserted it. And the blank portafilter was in there for over 30 minutes.

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Team HB

#5: Post by Jeff »

I usually buy my generic parts through Espresso Parts, especially if I plan ahead and get an additional 15% (or occasionally 30%) off parts deal. There are other espresso generalists. I use EPNW mainly out of habit. I've gotten most of my machine-specific parts from Chris' Coffee Service, along with excellent advice on diagnosis. They have many more parts than what appears on their website.

My error, the Brewtus is a dual boiler machine.

Kkcase (original poster)

#6: Post by Kkcase (original poster) »

Thanks for the info, Jeff.

We pulled the mushroom valve and had quite a bit of scale build up on the stem. Interestingly enough, where the water comes in from the boiler didn't have any build-up (was really clean) and the screen in the mushroom valve was also very clean.

Unfortunately, the small bit of cleaning before reassembly (without a proper descaling of the parts) likely dislodged something. That has since created a blockage once pressure built in the machine this morning.

So, the desire to more urgently resolve the issue has increased. :)


#7: Post by sergiughiran »

Any updates on this issue? I have a Profitec Pro 600 dual boiler and I occasionally have the same issue, it takes around 1-2 seconds for droplets to appear on the shower screen and there is a banging noise for 1-2 seconds in the boiler (I guess). I recently cleaned the whole group head and changed the brew and exhaust valves...

Kkcase (original poster)

#8: Post by Kkcase (original poster) »

No update yet. Still waiting to receive parts and cleaners. There's a high likelihood we'll need to d'escale it, and I'm wondering if it isn't worth having a professional do it. I feel like we probably could manage the task, but also don't want to create additional issues.

Does anyone know? When a professional does the descaling of a machine, do they pull out the boilers, open them up and descale them, and rebuild the system, or do the run the descaling solution through the brew boiler system?


#9: Post by sergiughiran »

I see. For the Pro 600 I just know that Profitec highly advises against descaling it yourself due to the stainless steel boilers. I saw a guy here that said he did it himself by mixing citric acid with water, but he also mentioned that he does it at his own risk. I think having a professional descale it is your best bet :D