Concerns about flooding from a plumbed in espresso machine

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zepol

#1: Post by zepol »

I am seriously thinking about plumbing in my Andreja Premium but I have some concerns, and wanted to hear what people on this forum have to say. My main concern is flooding due to component malfunction or user error. In a pour-over machine the result would be a mess, but for a plumbed-in machine the result could be major flooding. Here are some potential failures I came up with (my machine's on a kitchen timer):
  • Leaving the lever up with the timer off: When the timer came on the pump would engage and disaster would ensue. This seems unlikely as the lever position is pretty obvious.

    Leaving the steam or hot water wand open with the timer off: This too seems unlikely as if the knobs were opened with a hot machine water or steam would come out.

    Plumbing component malfunction: Has anyone heard of malfunctions in components in the plumb-in kit for Andreja that could result in a leak?

    Machine malfunction: Could a valve or something in the machine malfunction and cause the machine to leak large amounts?
What are some suggestions to minimize the risk?
- Rob

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HB
Admin

#2: Post by HB »

Eric offers an easy to install solution in Flood Mitigation for Plumbed Espresso Machines: A water sensor connected to the water shutoff. I only have a cutoff solenoid to prevent backflow on mine because it doesn't have a lever, just rocker switches that you must hold down for both the brew switch and water tap.

Even so, I prefer not to leave the machine on for long periods unattended, if only because of the extra energy consumption. My rule of thumb for heavy group espresso machines -- if it will be used in the next 4 hours, leave it on, otherwise shut it down. For levers, I just turn them on and off as needed since they warm up quite fast (the Elektra Microcasa a Leva is 12 minutes from switch on to brew complete).
Dan Kehn

zepol

#3: Post by zepol »

Thanks, I'll look into the DIYCONTROLS.COM kit. You mention having a solenoid to prevent backflow. This sounds familiar, and something similar may be part of the plumb-in kit for the Andreja Premium. As for turning the machine off during the day, with my espresso consumption before and after work, and my wife's tea consumption throughout the day, there aren't a lot of four hour blocks in which to turn off the machine :) I usually just leave it on from 4:30 AM to 9:00 PM.
- Rob

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shadowfax

#4: Post by shadowfax »

I have had good luck with the $15 15 Amp Appliance timer I got from Home Depot. It probably only lasts about a year before it fails, but if it saves 50% of your machine's usage over a year, it easily pays for itself, and who knows? you might get lucky and it will last even longer!

Of course, that has nothing to do with flood prevention.
Nicholas Lundgaard

SylvainMtl

#5: Post by SylvainMtl »

zepol wrote:Thanks, I'll look into the DIYCONTROLS.COM kit. You mention having a solenoid to prevent backflow. This sounds familiar, and something similar may be part of the plumb-in kit for the Andreja Premium. As for turning the machine off during the day, with my espresso consumption before and after work, and my wife's tea consumption throughout the day, there aren't a lot of four hour blocks in which to turn off the machine :) I usually just leave it on from 4:30 AM to 9:00 PM.

I've just installed the kit they're selling for 94$ last week-end (got it from canadian retailer aartech). Very easy procedure, specially since I have 3/8'' pipes going to my machine. I've put a sensor under the Elektra.

There's always the possibility of a leak in the connections leading to the machine (I'm using JG/Watts fittings which I don't have 100% confidence they'll never leak), therefore I've added a sensor in the bottom of the cabinet under the carbon filter and water softener.

zepol

#6: Post by zepol »

shadowfax wrote:I have had good luck with the $15 15 Amp Appliance timer I got from Home Depot.
I think I have the same timer. It's been going strong for a couple of years now. I just use it for evil, not good. That is to say I have it set so to turn on my espresso machine an hour before I wake up, thereby increasing my electricity bills. I turn off the machine manually every evening after filling the reservoir, the annoying task that got me wanting to plumb in my machine in the first place.
- Rob

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networkcrasher

#7: Post by networkcrasher »

Here's one I picked up today for 45 bucks, http://www.watercontrollerinc.com/

It has john guest connections, comes in 1/4" or 3/8" and you can add as many extra sensors as you like. I purchased an additional sensor for 10 dollars, so I'll have one under my machine, and one in the cabinet under the filters.

Figure for 62 bucks (shipped) I'd have a lot of protection from a flood. Granted my machine might empty itself and burn out an element or something, but that's a helluva lot cheaper than all of the damage a flood can cause.