La Marzocco Linea Mini - Follow up question on leaving on 24/7 - Page 2

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#11: Post by HB »

BoulderMike there any distinction between commercial "like" machines like the LMLM, and Prosumer like the Synchronika, Bianca, etc.?
If anything, I would expect a La Marzocco to be more tolerant of misuse, not less.

I suspect the advice to leave espresso machines on 24/7 is based on commercial establishments and reducing the risk of downtime, i.e., "if it's not broken, don't fix it" mentality. In a cafe that's only closed 5-6 hours a day, there's little motivation to power the equipment down as it only increases the likelihood of a problem the next morning. For example, if a vacuum breaker fails to close, the steam boiler spews steam and the morning shift baristas freak out. Even if that happens only once in the machine's lifetime, that's real money being lost as the cafe might have to close while the owner/technician sorts things out. If you never power down, the vacuum breaker never cycles opened/closed, so one less thing to go wrong.

On the other hand, in a home environment, the same vacuum breaker failure usually doesn't cause immediate panic and revenue loss. The home barista notices a weird noise, turns off the machine, goes about making pourover, then posts a question in this forum. :lol:

Vendors may suggest running an espresso machine 24/7 for the same reason cafe owners do: It reduces the chances of a service call, especially under warranty, which cuts directly into their profit margin. If you search the forums years back, you'll see recommendations from Rancilio to never backflush the Silvia espresso machine; I asked a vendor about that once and he noted calls from new owners who used two tablespoons of powdered espresso cleaner, then reported the grouphead was clogged. :shock: Today, nobody would take that advice seriously and even Rancilio removed that recommendation from their owner's manual.

For a fuller treatment of this question, see Powering Off Espresso Machine for my summary list of cost/benefits.
sluflyer06 wrote:So that's 6kWh a day if you leave it on, depending on your electricity costs it could be as cheap as where I live and be about 50 cents a day, or double to triple that.
It would be more in the summer if your house is air conditioned.
Dan Kehn


#12: Post by sluflyer06 »

HB wrote:It would be more in the summer if your house is air conditioned.
Correct, I'm talking specifically power consumption because attempting to math out the heat load taking into account insulation of your home, daily temperatures, etc gets quite complex and likely we wouldn't have all the necessary information, likewise in the winter it's helping to some small extent but how much is tricky.

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#13: Post by keno »

I've had my LMLM for over 4 years and over that time I have used it daily. I have it on a timer so it's on and ready when I wake up in the morning and then I shut it off when I'm done. I have had no maintenance issues due to on/off cycling that I'm aware.


#14: Post by bdnr »

sluflyer06 wrote:6kWh a day
At 6KWh a day it is not insignificant. Depending on the location/season, one may need to use even more energy to remove those extra heat from the house too. I put mine on a timer and use the guaranteed energy savings $ towards any potential maintenance issue.

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#15: Post by arcus »

RikC wrote:I've measured it with a kWh meter and using interpolating I can conclude thats it's more then 1000-1200 kWh annually when you leave it on 24/7.

However, I've also measured how much it consumes heating up. And the conclusion then is that it makes little sense to turn it on and off daily.
This is why I leave mine on 24/7.

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#16: Post by HB »

I've never understood this reasoning, i.e., I'll leave a heating appliance on because it "saves" electricity? Years ago, Ian had us all scratching our heads in Leaving a Prosumer HX Espresso Machine DOES NOT SAVE ENERGY with a similar claim. Instead of arguing the law of thermodynamics, I measured:
HB wrote:Rather than try to recall my college physics lessons, this evening I measured my Elektra Semiautomatica using the Kill-a-Watt. The cumulative kWh data from a cold start:

1 hour consumed 0.30 kWh
2 hours consumed 0.45 kWh
3 hours consumed 0.60 kWh

Based on the last hour of usage, it consumes around ~0.15 kWh per hour when fully heated, or 3.6 kWh per day (0.15 * 24). If you were so inclined to cycle it four times per day for two hours per cycle, allowing it to cool completely between each cycle, it would consume 1.8 kWh per day (0.45 *4). The additional energy cost of 24/7 operation in this case would be 1.8 kWh (around $0.20 in our area).
I particularly like Jim's comment:
another_jim wrote:The reason I'm happily semi-retired is that I used to buy the energy conservation rights from building owners who thought running their places 24/7 saved them the start up costs. Not surprisingly, this market dried up by the late 80s. I just wished more people like Ian owned 100K square foot plus office buildings now.
Later Ian he realized his conclusion was based on faulty data and changed the thread title to "CAN SAVE ENERGY". :lol:
Dan Kehn


#17: Post by sluflyer06 »

RikC wrote: However, I've also measured how much it consumes heating up. And the conclusion then is that it makes little sense to turn it on and off daily. So I tend to switch leave it on for at least two days at a time typically. Good for me because I'm not home every day of the week currently.
Even accounting for heat up power consumption which is roughly 475w for the first hour which includes heat-up and then idle. Say you had a timer set and left it on 4 hours a day so you could have espresso every morning.

4 hours a day with a heat-up every day comes out to *roughly* 38 kilowatt hours a month.
24 hours a day including 1 time heat-up over 31 days comes out to *roughly* 180 kilowatt hours a month.

I live in Missouri our power is pretty cheap, for the summer months that comes out to $66 for the 3 summer months and $142 for the other 9 months at our lower "winter" rate. Or $208/year in electricity.

If you did 4 hours a day, with a heat up every day that's $15 for the summer months and $30 for the other 9 months for a total of $45/year.

So to put it in one line it's $208/year for 24/7 and about $45/year for 4 hours a day in Missouri. Is it significant to most of us here? No, at least, not financially. But it's a pretty drastic difference in consumption and if someone were environmentally conscious about power use or lived somewhere with very high electricity costs it could become tangible.

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BoulderMike (original poster)

#18: Post by BoulderMike (original poster) »

Thanks to everyone for your contributions to this discussion. As I suspected, there is no more consensus today than there was several years ago. I am going to start turning it off every day for a while and see how that works out. Aside from the energy waste, which does matter to me as I am concerned about the environment, my concern is that the surface of the LMLM gets very hot to the touch. I can't say for sure, but my feelings are that being so warm 24/7 can't be optimal.

What sort of bothers me is that for a $5K machine, La Marzocco can't give it's owners a definitive answer. Either it is good or bad to leave it on 24/7, and what is the reason for it being good or bad? If they can't tell you then obviously the designer(s) didn't thoroughly think through this issue. That concerns me. But, as I stated earlier, I am very happy with the results as even when I screw up and grind wrong, or tamp wrong, etc., the end result is always at worst, very good.

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#19: Post by bluesman »

BoulderMike wrote:What sort of bothers me is that for a $5K machine, La Marzocco can't give it's owners a definitive answer. Either it is good or bad to leave it on 24/7, and what is the reason for it being good or bad?
There's a simple reason - they don't know and have no way to find out. To determine definitively whether (and, if so, how) 24/7 power on affects reliability and the need for maintenance & repair, it would take years of clear and consistent data on many machines in cohorts among which the only variable was "on" time. They'd have to use water within spec and be operated the same way, from dose to grind to brew temp to line pressure to steam pressure to variance in mechanical brew parameters to ambient conditions, etc etc etc.

The data simply don't exist and could never be acquired to do this for home machines. LMLM and others with a large commercial customer base might be able to gather the information from identical machines installed & maintained by them. But it would be a big effort in many ways, and it's just not worth the cost and energy to do.


#20: Post by pcrussell50 »

BoulderMike wrote: What sort of bothers me is that for a $5K machine, La Marzocco can't give it's owners a definitive answer.
That's because there is no definitive answer. There is not even an agreed upon definition of what is "best". Many different interpretations of what is best have been presented and discussed in this thread and they are all dependent on the user's preference. Someone posited that LM suggests leaving it on because turning it on and off cycles the vacuum breaker and it would be bad for a commercial shop if the morning shift came in to a stuck vacuum breaker. True enough. But for the rest of us, vacuum breakers are cheap to buy, and easy to fix and easy to replace. Unless... you are utterly dependent on a service call to service such a basic component. Three different cases. Which one is "right"? It takes all kinds and there is no way LM can give a single canned right or wrong answer that applies in all cases to all people.

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