Cleaning a Nuova Simonelli Ellimatic boiler

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Postby steveT » Jan 28, 2007, 11:40 am

Just got my first machine, a used Nuova Simonelli Ellimatic. The steam smells and it was suggested I clean the boiler. The discussions I've seen related to cleaning the boiler always include flushing through the hot water spout. Since this machine lacks that feature what is the best way to fully flush the boiler? Thanks to all. I am amazed at the complexity and thought put into art of coffee making. I just never knew.

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Postby mattwells » Jan 28, 2007, 3:35 pm

You can (I believe) just flush through the steam wand. You will definitely want to lean the machine so that as much water as possible will come out, though.
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Postby mogogear » Jan 28, 2007, 11:18 pm

Steve , did you grab that Elli in Marin ? the one that was on Craigslist? It looked like a nice machine.
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Postby steveT » Jan 29, 2007, 11:37 pm

Yes,it is the same. It's in nice shape except for the smelly water. Trying to drain the tank through the steam wand. It is slow going.

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Postby taketheatrain » Feb 09, 2007, 1:54 pm

Hey Steve,

Just wondering if you had any success with cleaning the boiler that way. I've owned the ellimatic for years now and have found the same strange smell from the steam wand like you describe. The water coming from the portafilter is fine as it is a separate circuit directly from the water reservoir. I've actually taken the boiler apart and cleaned it and still smells. It's all copper inside and I'm wondering if the smell has something to do with leaching of the copper. But that doesn't make much sense as many other machines have copper boilers.

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Postby DVL » May 21, 2007, 12:13 am

I noticed the same thing. I decalcified and use only RO water and don't notice it any more. I did also take off my OPV water return because I didn't like that water returning to my water tank.

If you want to do a complete drain pull the drain plug off the bottom...please make sure that it is cold and not under pressure.

How do you like your Elli?


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Postby JB130 » May 21, 2007, 4:31 am

I have an Oscar, not an Elli, but I had the exact same smell problem. The steam smelled AWFUL. The brew water was fine. I ended up taking apart the boiler and various pipes and soaking them in hot citric acid for a couple of hours, that eliminated the smell. Must be something about the Nuova Simonelli design.

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Postby mitchellb » Sep 10, 2007, 9:03 pm

I know this is caused by leaving the steam valve closed when you turn off the machine. The drop in temperature causes a vacuum of pressure and when you open the valve, especially if you open it with a pitcher of milk submerged it will either suck in the milk residue left in the steam wand or a full shot of milk. Then the milk just does its thing. This is what an espresso technician told me of an Oscar that was sitting on his shelf. I would like more info as to the process of descaling the machine, though, as well. I have been scared into not wanting to do it myself, and have been convinced all you need to do is backflush unless something drastic occurs.

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Postby sprofiend » Jul 16, 2008, 3:55 pm

This may be obvious to you experts, I am just a home user that has spent waaaay too much time hanging out in cafes and repair shops.

To clean any boiler mix up a mild solution of Puro-caf in a steaming pitcher (2/3 - 3/4 full).

Heat the machine up fully then turn off.

Immerse the wand in the pitcher fully.

Open wand just enough to get a few bubbles.

Watch closely as the boiler temperature drops and the bubbles disappear.

Open wand fully and suddenly the boiler will suck all the cleaning solution out of the pitcher (PV=NRT anyone?)

Let machine rest for a few minutes.

Turn machine back on, while heating flush 2 volumes (boiler capacity) by pumping out the espresso head.

When machine is heated, flush 5-10 pitchers of water out of the steam wand until detergent foam is negligible. (the first one might yeild a nasty snake of brown milk. . it was coating the inside of the wand and boiler)

Verify flush with pH paper (or taste- water tastes normal- Puro-caf is non toxic at low concentrations- they use it on food equipment)

Voila- steam doesn't stink anymore.

It seems good hygiene- blowing the wand out into a towel after use- helps prevent this.