Elektra Microcasa a Leva weak steam problem

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SimonPatrice

#1: Post by SimonPatrice »

Hi,

I have been using my 1996 Microcasa a Leva for about two months now with no problem. But tonight, the steam coming from the steam wand is really weak.

Here's what happened. This morning, I made a cappuccino with good steam pressure. I then turned the machine off. A couple of minutes later, I turned it back on and tried to steam some more milk and the steam was really weak. I thought it was because the machine had been turned off before so I just left for work.

Tonight, the machine had been on for about an hour when I tried to steam some milk and it was still as weak. The pressure indicator still indicates around 1.2 bar when at full presure (it shows around 0.1 when turned off). I made some coffee and it seemed to be working fine. The only clue I might have is that I often have the tiniest leak at the steam knob when I turn it on.

Any pointers?

Thanks!
Patrice
LMWDP #428

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drgary
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#2: Post by drgary »

Did milk clog the holes in the steam tip? Try clearing those holes with a pin.
Gary
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SimonPatrice (original poster)

#3: Post by SimonPatrice (original poster) » replying to drgary »

That's what I thought too but even after clearing the holes it didn't change anything.
Patrice
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drgary
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#4: Post by drgary »

When's the last time you descaled? Scale may have broken loose to clog the steam valve or wand.
Gary
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SimonPatrice (original poster)

#5: Post by SimonPatrice (original poster) » replying to drgary »

I've only had the machine for about two months so I never descaled so far. I was wondering about that too since I'm using pretty bad water for the machine (Montreal tap water :shock: ) If scale was clogging the steam valve or wand, should I disassemble it and soak it in a citric acid bath or would descaling the machine regularly (I would have to read about how to do it) be good enough?
Patrice
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drgary
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#6: Post by drgary »

If it is chrome, soaking it in mild acid will remove the chrome. You can start by inspecting the inside of the boiler for scale. Then search descaling instructions. Scale collects faster in steam. I like to descale steam wands by running descaling solution through the as liquid and steam. You can also inspect for a clog and by all means use better water (you can read up on that too).
Gary
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SimonPatrice (original poster)

#7: Post by SimonPatrice (original poster) »

drgary wrote:I like to descale steam wands by running descaling solution through the as liquid and steam. You can also inspect for a clog and by all means use better water (you can read up on that too).
My apologies if this is a stupid question but what do you mean by "through the as liquid and steam"? English is not my first language.

Also, how can I inspect for a clog? By disassembling the wand?

As for the water, I know I really need to use better water. I'm looking for a solution the wouldn't involve buying bottled water but I don't think there's a simple solution.
Patrice
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drgary
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#8: Post by drgary »

English is not the first language of my iPhone either ... you fill the boiler with descaling solution like 50/50 water/white vinegar. Bring it up to pressure and open the steam valve with the steam tip emptying into a pitcher. Descaling solution will move through the steam wand as steam and maybe as liquid. It should dissolve scale. Citric acid can harden into deposits. Vinegar solition won't. You can try this before disassembling anything.
Gary
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SimonPatrice (original poster)

#9: Post by SimonPatrice (original poster) » replying to drgary »

Ah! It's much clearer now. I will fill it with water and vinegar this morning, blow some steam and let it sit for the day. I'll empty it when I get home and maybe do a second run. I checked the boiler with a bore light and there are a couple of brownish/reddish bumps on the sides. The element seems to be pretty clean though. We'll see how it is after the descale.

Thanks for all the help!
Patrice
LMWDP #428

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bill
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#10: Post by bill »

SimonPatrice wrote:As for the water, I know I really need to use better water. I'm looking for a solution the wouldn't involve buying bottled water but I don't think there's a simple solution.
I've been using distilled water from the grocery store. It's about a dollar per gallon.
Bill
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