Insulated boiler yes or no

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fritskos

#1: Post by fritskos »

hallo,
I am new on this forum and also a new espresso machine buyer.
I want to make a choice between the New Izzo Vivi MKll and the Quickmill Andreja Premium.
I have read a lot about them but I don't understand why the boiler of the Izzo is not insulated.
To me i it seems logical to insulate the boiler to save energy and to keep the wires in the machine cool.
Can anybody give me advice on this issue.
what is the best buy and why?

regards frits

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HB
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#2: Post by HB »

fritskos wrote:I have read a lot about them but I don't understand why the boiler of the Izzo is not insulated.
Theoretically insulating the brew boiler could make it less responsive to temperature changes (i.e., the heating element can only add heat, it can't make the boiler cool if the brew temperature is too high). As for the Izzo vs. Quickmill, you're right, insulating the steam boiler saves energy and reduces the interior temperature. I assume reducing production costs is the main reason that Izzo and many other espresso machine manufacturers don't insulate the steam boiler.
Dan Kehn

noizy

#3: Post by noizy »

Is there really a need to insulate the boiler? Firstly, the machine doesn't stay on for that long, so it's not like your water heater where the water needs to remain hot at all time. But secondly, since the water pressure drops as you make coffee, the machine needs to reheat the water constantly to keep the pressure high enough. That's my guess anyway.

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HB
Admin

#4: Post by HB »

If you only run your espresso machine for an hour or two, insulation would not matter much, but some people run their espresso machines 24/7 to eliminate startup time. Leave it on, or turn it off? and related topics linked from the FAQs and Favorites cover the advantages/disadvantages.
Dan Kehn

zin1953

#5: Post by zin1953 »

First of all, I have an Elektra T1. I have not insulated my boiler. Mark Hoy is another forum participant wth an Elektra T1, and he has insulated his boiler.

Secondly, some manufacturer's warranties will be voided if you insulate the boiler. (FWIW, I bought mine new, while Mark got his used and rebuilt it.)

Third, Dan is right re: the length of time during the day the machine remains on. If I left mine on 24/7, I probably would insulate the boiler -- once the warranty expires -- but my machine is not on all the time.. I have the machine on a timer. It goes on at 5:00 am and goes off at 9:00 am; it goes on again at 6:00 pm and off at 10:00 pm. The heat from the boiler warms the cups on top of the machine.

Cheers,
Jason
A morning without coffee is sleep. -- Anon.

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malachi

#6: Post by malachi »

As hinted at above...

If you're running a PID controlled machine or the like (indicating that you're really interested in temperature accuracy), insulating the boiler is likely to decrease the effectiveness of the control. So I'd suggest that (even if you run the machine 24/7) insulating your boiler is going to likely save you money at the cost of odds of consistent quality of espresso.

I can't off-hand think of potential issues with insulating the steam boiler in a double boiler machine (unless you're using the "wrap the boiler water intake around the steam boiler" trick) - but maybe someone like Barry has an opinion.
"Taste is the only morality." -- John Ruskin

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mhoy

#7: Post by mhoy »

zin1953 wrote:First of all, I have an Elektra T1. I have not insulated my boiler. Mark Hoy is another forum participant wth an Elektra T1, and he has insulated his boiler.
There are a couple of other Elektra's with insulated boilers too, I was following the thread started by the late BradS and used melamine insulation (who did some amazingly nice work on his Elektra). I have also altered the heater in my Elektra from 3 heater elements to use only two of them (a simple reversible change). This allows me to use my Elektra on a 15 amp circuit instead of requiring a 20 amps circuit. This was the main reason I chose to insulate the boiler since I have a little less power heating up a rather large boiler.

There are a couple of additional pluses that I can think of. I feel that an insulated boiler may also extend the life of the p-stat since it will turn on/off a lot less. It should also cost less to run. In the summer, it should keep the kitchen a tad cooler.

I did not insulate the HX loop since that would change the thermodynamics of the group head which would likely require a flow restriction in the line.

BTW: I run my digital timer from 6:30-8:30 AM weekdays and with an additional 11:30-1:30 on the weekends.

Mark

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mhoy

#8: Post by mhoy »

fritskos wrote:hallo,
I want to make a choice between the New Izzo Vivi MKll and the Quickmill Andreja Premium.
Since we haven't actually answered one of your original questions. Before the Elektra I had the Quickmill Anita (quite similar to the Andreja Premium) and I very much liked the machine. The Quickmill machines seem to be of high quality with the Andreja Premium being nicer than the Anita. I've no experience with the Izzo line.
fritskos wrote:hallo,
what is the best buy and why?
I wouldn't choose one over the other on the insulation of the boiler, but I'd give a plus to the QM in that column of my wish list.

Of premium concern would be the service of the machine over the next 5 years. Granted there is not much too it, but there will likely be some simple things that will eventually need to be serviced. If you are a hands-on fix it kind of guy, you can likely fix darn near anything in these machines with a parts supplier. Otherwise you may want to consider buying from a supplier who will prove after purchase support. I can easily recommend Chris Coffee and Espresso Care in the US (from personal experience). Other members will need to help you out for the Netherlands.

Mark

zin1953

#9: Post by zin1953 »

mhoy wrote:I have also altered the heater in my Elektra from 3 heater elements to use only two of them (a simple reversible change). This allows me to use my Elektra on a 15 amp circuit instead of requiring a 20 amps circuit.
Ah, I'd forgotten about that . . . :wink:
A morning without coffee is sleep. -- Anon.

Ken Fox

#10: Post by Ken Fox »

malachi wrote:As hinted at above...

If you're running a PID controlled machine or the like (indicating that you're really interested in temperature accuracy), insulating the boiler is likely to decrease the effectiveness of the control. So I'd suggest that (even if you run the machine 24/7) insulating your boiler is going to likely save you money at the cost of odds of consistent quality of espresso.
As someone who has actually done the above, I guess I would take issue with that.

I own 2 PID'd Cimbali Juniors of different vintages, as I have previously posted ad nauseum :mrgreen: The newer one, roughly 5 years old, is a plumbed in rotary "D" version, which came from the factory with an insulation blanket wrapped circumferentially around the boiler (but not covering the sides). The other machine, a 13 year old pourover "S" model, which I've completely plumbed in, was not sold with any boiler insulation.

Several years ago I insulated the boiler myself, with insulating wrap, secured with high temperature metal tape and supporting wires:



Three weeks ago I ran (yet another) calibration set of random walk-up Scace shots through this machine, using the boiler temperature I most frequently use, in order to get a shot temp of roughly 198F. I compared the static pre-shot grouphead adapter temperatures I got from Eric's grouphead adapter. As you can see, the static grouphead adapter temperature does have some impact on shot temperature.



I do not have any shot curves I can trust taken with this machine before I insulated its boiler for comparison. I would say, however, that if the boiler insulation has effected my shot temperature consistency, it sure hasn't done it to a significant extent.

The one thing that DOES markedly effect my shot temperature consistency is large variation in ambient room temperature, which my machines experience during a couple of months each year during the summer (I have no air conditioning and rely on opening the windows; there can be an indoor temperature swing of more than 20 degrees F. during this time period). I don't think that having the boiler insulated has any great impact on this phenomenon, one way or the other.

While I do think that insulating the boiler probably does lead to modest temperature overshoot in a PID'd machine, I would submit that the observed decrement in shot temperature consistency is not likely to be noticed by (approximately) 99.999% of the human population.

ken
What, me worry?

Alfred E. Neuman, 1955