Should I remove the no burn sheath in my steam wand? (ECM Synchronika)

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dsc106

#1: Post by dsc106 »

I've read various people say that removing the no burn sheath inside the steam wand allows for better steaming. I've had my machine for a year now and am pretty comfortable with the steam wand handling, but burns are never fun... how much hotter does the wand get without it?

I assume it's a non reversible decision if I pulled it out? Does it void warranty? Is it really that much better steaming? Do people get a lot of bad burns with it removed? Recommended, or nah?

JRising

#2: Post by JRising »

Without the teflon tube inside, the surface of the steam wand will be hot enough to burn your skin and make it stick to the metal with only a 1/4 second touch to re-aim the tip. You would want to slide a rubber grippy on, or put one of those plastic pincher handles on. Remember, the fluid inside the wand is still more than 1/2 Bar above atmospheric pressure, the steam tip is the relevant pressure drop with the steam valve well opened... So it is still quite a bit above boiling temp. Whether it's chromed brass or stainless, it conducts that heat to your fingers very well.

It is very easy to remove and not difficult to put back, the ends are just frictioned in place, the wand can be separated from the ball and socket joint with a 9mm wrench on the flats at the joint.

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Bluenoser
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#3: Post by Bluenoser »

It gets very much hotter.. On my Profitec 500, I removed the inner tube easily.. There already was a black rubber section on the outside of the wand(although small) and I didn't need to add anything else. No question I had stronger steam power. Also the milk bakes on much quicker. I found a wet sponge the best for cleaning it immediately after removing it from milk. When I removed my teflon tube I noticed a black film inside.. I attempted to clean and destroyed the tube. I've used it 'hot' for about 6 months and have no regrets.

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BaristaBoy E61

#4: Post by BaristaBoy E61 »

If you are satisfied with your steaming results I'd leave well enough alone and not mess with the possibility of burning oneself.

They don't call it a 'Burn Me' wand for nothing!
"You didn't buy an Espresso Machine - You bought a Chemistry Set!"

Jshot
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#5: Post by Jshot »

Like others, I suggest leaving it as is if you are happy with the results.

I however was not satisfied with the steaming ability of the machine so I removed it and changed the tip. Much improved IMO. Yes, the wand gets hot, but so does my current LM. You learn quickly where not to put your fingers. :shock:

jgood

#6: Post by jgood »

Get the no burn covering before you remove the tube inside of the wand -- if you do it -- the wand gets plenty hot! Chris Coffee etc have them. I prefer mine without the tube --it's faster to purge the wand. If you're happy with the steam let it be.

Pressino

#7: Post by Pressino »

I don't understand how removing the inner "no-burn" sheath inside the wand would allow for "better steaming." In fact there is reason to believe it will do the opposite. The inner sheath is an insulator and if it is removed the steam is in contact with a better thermal conductor (steel) and so will cool faster when passing through the wand. You want your steam to be as hot as possible, as this favors "drier" steam. So there are TWO good reasons to keep the sheath in place: 1) you get better steam; and, 2) you minimize the risk of getting a nasty burn. :(

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baldheadracing
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#8: Post by baldheadracing »

An insulating sleeve (e.g., Teflon) increases the wetness (water in the stream that isn't steam) of the steam as the insulator does not heat up as quickly as the metal wand and so more steam becomes water droplets in the stream. Drier steam is generally thought to be better.

You could run the steaming long enough for the temperature of the insulator to equalize and get steam that is just as dry, but unfortunately that will take much longer than a metal wand - even a stainless steel one (most home machines use brass wands that have been plated; these heat up faster than stainless steel).

As for black stuff inside the wand, a brush like a "Steamy Wanda" and regular soaking in an alkaline solution like "Rinza" are specifically made to address that. It can get pretty gross inside the wand and on the inside of the steam tip - at least in the used machines that I have bought that have never been properly maintained.

ira
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#9: Post by ira »

baldheadracing wrote:An insulating sleeve (e.g., Teflon) increases the wetness (water in the stream that isn't steam) of the steam as the insulator does not heat up as quickly as the metal wand and so more steam becomes water droplets in the stream. Drier steam is generally thought to be better.
What? An insulator increases the wetness? Hard for me to believe. I was always under the impression that the tube is just a restriction and getting it out of the way increases the pressure in the wand at the tip and so the velocity of the steam coming out of the tip. I would in fact expect the uninsulated tip to start off wetter as the steam condenses on the walls of the wand while heating it up to those burn me temperatures.

Ira

baldheadracing
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#10: Post by baldheadracing »

The holes in the tip are the pressure restriction, not the tube diameter.

Steam hitting something colder becomes water, albeit very small water droplets.

A metal wand will initially be wetter as you say, but becomes hotter faster (for the same reason).

As a practical example, Elektra Micro Casas have wands closely connected to their boilers with only a ball valve in between, and are renowned for producing dry steam almost instantly.