Plumbed In – Drained Out? Share Your Experience!

Want to talk espresso but not sure which forum? If so, this is the right one.
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BaristaBoy E61

Postby BaristaBoy E61 » Apr 13, 2019, 6:54 pm

When doing a major household renovation, we decided to include direct plumbing and draining of our espresso machine as well as a dedicated 20amp circuit for the espresso machine and grinder since we already had electricians, plumbers and general contractors on site. I thought it was going to be a relatively 'simple' job as all the electrical and plumbing originates in the mechanical room just below the kitchen where the espresso equipment is located. What I had not counted on or realized was that there was a major structural bean running across the building and obstructing the electrical and plumbing route. While the disruption to the kitchen was thankfully minimal, a dining room wall adjacent to the espresso wall had to be opened up from what I originally thought would be a small hole to that the size to be able to drive a motor cycle through! Renovations are always fun. We did not have to cut through any counter tops, just went through back splash tiles that we have plenty of extras for.

The result has been worthwhile as in addition to convenience, we can now do line pressure pre-infusion with our E61 BD machine. This has improved the taste of our drinks and increased my enjoyment in pulling shots.

As has often been the case, an audio analogy best illustrates the effect of switching to 'plumbed in'. Many years ago, I was lent a pair of 'high-end' speaker cables to try out, as I was skeptical of the difference they would contribute to sound. I swapped out my 'zip line' for the 'Premium' cables and thought they were OK but no big deal - until my friend reclaimed his wires and I had to go back to my regular line cord speaker wire. That's when after less than 1-side of a vinyl album I had to order from my same friend, an audio distributor, a pair of Directional, Linear Crystal, Oxygen Free, 'Time Compensated' (What BS 'Time Compensated' is, when the velocity of propagation through a transmission line is 2/3 the speed of light travelling for 30-feet!), 'Litz' speaker cables - at great expense. Probably could have bought a great espresso machine or grinder for the cost of those wires!

Would we go back to reservoir mode on our espresso machine? No, as with the speaker wires, I wouldn't like to; spoiled by a better experience I guess.
Besides, I get to 'fool around' with a lower line pressure pre-infusion when the washing machine is filling up with water!

Next step would be adding a water filtration system that was planned for with appropriate space and cutoff valves but not yet done. I've just been descaling with citric acid when needed (after 4-years). Other projects would also include a 20amp timer for the espresso machine as I'm now using a 15amp WeMo, a leak detection automatic water cut off, a water line pressure regulator with gauge, and a water flow meter after the filter.

The attached pics shows a 3/8-in water line cutoff valve that is rather discreet. The drain hose and braided steel supply water hose are not visible. The only other feature worth noting is that the Pump Gauge always displays the current water pressure in the house; turn on any tap and the pressure drops as indicated by the espresso machine pump gauge. The 2-pics of the Pump Gauge are one at 3-1/2 Bar with the washing machine filling up and 5-Bar with no water running in the house.

What have your experiences, challenges or reservations to direct plumbing been like?

I'd enjoy reading about them.

Thanks for reading this rather long post.


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"You didn't buy an Espresso Machine - You bought a Chemistry Set!"

emradguy

Postby emradguy » Apr 13, 2019, 7:10 pm

My Duetto II has been plumbed for several years and I would NEVER go back. I use the Mavea filtration system sold by Chris' Coffee Service, along with a Mavea flow meter. Unlike your home pressure, mine is about 3.5 bar day - day out, without fluctuations when turning on other faucets. I guess that has to do with where in the supply line they pull off the tap water for your bar. The plumber who did the sink and faucet at the bar, when it was remodeled from a wine service bar, didn't want to plumb the machine. It was easy enough to do myself, perhaps because I've done lots of other things "plumbing" throughout my life. As for the filtration, the Mavea filter bring my city tap water to a rather low pH, despite having an adjustable bypass setting. In order to optimize mineral content, I've had to accept the lower pH, which is currently about 6.5. I haven't yet figured out how to raise the pH just a little bit without altering the mineral content too...my only real "challenge". I don't recall the expert recommendations on when to install a regulator so you can control your line pressure, but I think the optimum is about 3-4 bar. you might want to read about that. Another way to obtain a constant line pressure would be to install an outboard pump, perhaps with an accumulator too, but that might be overkill since your fluctuations should only affect the pre-infusion stage of the extraction. I haven't found a programmable 20-amp timer for my machine, but do use a settable Intermatic. Don't forget to setup surge protection!

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BaristaBoy E61

Postby BaristaBoy E61 » Apr 13, 2019, 8:08 pm

emradguy wrote: Don't forget to setup surge protection!


Thanks for the advice. Whole House Surge Protection at the electrical entrance load centre was installed during a previous renovation.

Thanks for your reply too!
"You didn't buy an Espresso Machine - You bought a Chemistry Set!"

voozy

Postby voozy » Apr 13, 2019, 8:53 pm

I've used some plumbed machines at work (both espresso and brew) and they are great. No idea if they make any difference in the finished shot but they are somehow more satisfying to use than non-plumbed machines, besides being more convenient. Congrats on going for it. I like your Vibroplex(?) avatar too.
Everyone drinks Voozy.

bettysnephew

Postby bettysnephew » Apr 14, 2019, 7:49 am

The main thing is if you plumb in be sure to drain should there be a failure inside the machine. I know this is not 100% effective but it does reduce the potential for disaster.
Suffering from EAS (Espresso Acquisition Syndrome)
LMWDP #586

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JohnB.

Postby JohnB. » Apr 14, 2019, 9:17 pm

BaristaBoy E61 wrote: The attached pics shows a 3/8-in water line cutoff valve that is rather discreet. The drain hose and braided steel supply water hose are not visible. The only other feature worth noting is that the Pump Gauge always displays the current water pressure in the house; turn on any tap and the pressure drops as indicated by the espresso machine pump gauge. The 2-pics of the Pump Gauge are one at 3-1/2 Bar with the washing machine filling up and 5-Bar with no water running in the house.

What have your experiences, challenges or reservations to direct plumbing been like?


With a 5 bar water pressure you should consider adding an adjustable pressure regulator right before the pump. Most of us set it to 3 bar.
LMWDP 267

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SveinHa

Postby SveinHa » Apr 15, 2019, 12:04 pm

I recently upgraded from Silvia to Alex Duetto and one of the reasons I ended up with Duetto was the ability to plumb in/out. The Silvia have a rather microscopic drip tray so it required frequent attention not to overfill. The Duetto have a large drip tray but only a couple of days after receiving it, I saw the need to plumb in/out. There are quite a bit more spill water using E61 compared to Silvia so even with a much larger drip tray, it was filling up quite fast.

It is very convenient to have the machine plumbed in both ends, can concentrate on espresso and forget about the other trivial things...

I have a line pressure around 4 to 4.5 bar and even if that is a bit high, I can do a kind of pressure profiling which I can taste very well in some coffees.

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EvergreenBuzzBuzz

Postby EvergreenBuzzBuzz » Apr 16, 2019, 12:33 am

Is your water so good there that you can direct plumb? Mine was in CO but now in AZ I went to a tank and pump with home made water. To many chlorides. What did you do on that?

Your set up looks great. The pressure regulator could help but they do need adjusting at times.
EvergreenBuzzBuzz
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BaristaBoy E61

Postby BaristaBoy E61 » Apr 16, 2019, 12:14 pm

voozy wrote:I've used some plumbed machines at work (both espresso and brew) and they are great. No idea if they make any difference in the finished shot but they are somehow more satisfying to use than non-plumbed machines, besides being more convenient. Congrats on going for it. I like your Vibroplex(?) avatar too.





Yes, the avatar is of a Vibroplex Deluxe Iambic CW Paddle. My real one has the red, oversized finger paddles that I like much better. My affection for this paddle comes from a time when I couldn't afford to explore any of the more exiting modes of ham radio so I chose Morse Code (CW) as my 'exotic mode' and to think now I have a Mahlkonig K30 Vario grinder, all this lovely espresso gear and a home heated & air-conditioned with a geothermal heat pump when at the time even that CW key was a stretch. I am grateful.

JohnB. wrote:With a 5 bar water pressure you should consider adding an adjustable pressure regulator right before the pump. Most of us set it to 3 bar.


Regarding the 5-Bar line pressure, I would like to add a pressure regulator when a water filter and flow meter is installed. I have not noticed any discernable difference in taste with preinfusion done at 5-Bar and those done with 3-1/2-Bar, as when the washing machine is filling. I think I might have compensated for the higher line pressure by adjusting the grind. Thank you for your observation.

Regarding the 'Whole House Surge Protection' mentioned above, I would suggest that for those that are running 220v espresso machines that this would be an effective way to add surge protection, as it is not as easy to find such protection as it is with just adding an appropriate power bar for 110v equipment. Additionally, this device protects all household electrical, cable TV, satellite and landline equipment that is either 110v or 220v. That includes in addition to espresso equipment all 220v equipment that has microprocessors, such as stoves, dryers, heat pumps, (linear amplifiers hihi) etc.

It's very cheap insurance. If you do choose this option, have it installed by a licensed electrician. This is not a DIY project!
"You didn't buy an Espresso Machine - You bought a Chemistry Set!"

sluflyer06

Postby sluflyer06 » Apr 16, 2019, 12:19 pm

My experience plumbing in/out has been awesome, wouldn't want to go back.

I don't see anything about you doing water testing? You need to find out what you need to be doing to treat your water, you might be lucky and only need a particulate filter, and you may also be unlucky and have high chlorides and need a reverse osmosis setup, etc etc. Also a pressure regulator would be good, 5 bar is fairly high.