Espresso Machine Winter Storage (Freezing)

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#1: Post by pieter »

Dear fellow Home-Barista forum members,

I have a small cabin next to a beautiful fjord in Norway. This summer I am going there again. I now have a Rancilio Silvia gathering dust since I bought a Vibiemme DD. So I'm thinking of taking the Rancilio with me to Norway.

There is one problem. During the winter this cabin will be uninhabited and temperatures inside the cabin will fall far below freezing temperatures.
So my question is: Can I store my Rancilio Silvia espresso machine there, and are there any special precautions I should take? Should I somehow get all the water out of the boiler? or even out of all the tubes? How hard is this to do?

I appreciate your insights.

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#2: Post by HB »

See Preparing Espresso Machine for Storage. Since it will be subjected to a hard freeze, I would be extra certain no water remains by blowing out the lines with low-pressure air. Or some suggest using a mixture of vodka and water as "anti-freeze"; I've never tried it and thus cannot vouch for its effectiveness.
Dan Kehn

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Randy G.

#3: Post by Randy G. »

24 proof liquor freezes at -6.7°C (20°F)
64 proof liquor freezes at -23.33°C (-10°F)
84 proof liquor freezes at -34.44°C (-30°F)
Pure ethanol freezes at -114°C (-173°F)
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#4: Post by berkinet »

And, if you have teenagers, the vodka may freeze at 0C

pieter (original poster)

#5: Post by pieter (original poster) »

Thanks a lot for your suggestions.

Since I find it such a weird but at the same time convenient solution let me just make sure you aren't joking. Could i just put a bottle or two of rum 84% through the machine to safe it from freezing damage? And won't liquor have any negative effect during the year that I am away?

Don't want to judge your suggestion, but it just seems such a far out suggestion to me. :D
This seems much more convenient than needing to open up boiler and tubes.

Al deHyde

#6: Post by Al deHyde »

Different parts of Norway get significantly different degrees of cold. Regardless, a high proof of alcohol would be required. With sparking relays in the machine and 100+ proof vodka/ethanol, this does not seem to me to be a really good alternative to blowing out the lines (or taking the machine back with you at the end of summer). An unscheduled trip to Valhalla is probably not what you have in mind.

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Randy G.

#7: Post by Randy G. »

In early automobiles, the anti-freeze solutions were made of alcohol. "Caravan" (RV) stores sell antifreeze that is made for the drinking water systems of those vehicles. That would work. Best to disconnect the heating element first as well and to tape a notice over the mains plug that the system must be flushed before first use and that the heating element must be reconnected.
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