Breville Dual Boiler Descale

Equipment doesn't work? Troubleshooting? If you're handy, members can help.
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#1: Post by Kilgoretrout »

We have owned our BDB for about 2.5yrs. In that time we have run 4650 brew cycles (just found out how to check that the other day, on these very forums, thanks much).

Most of its life our machine got straight tap water, which tastes fine here, but I suspect is too hard to be good for the machine, especially the steam boiler.

I have used the Breville Descale program 3 times without ill effects (at least nothing noticeable). Recently I started buying DI water and adding a packet of Third Wave Water Espresso blend to each gallon.

The other day I was in replacing o-rings in our steam boiler (we had a few leaking a little). When I took the probes out I noticed scale build up on the probes. It had been maybe 6 months since I had descaled with the machine program and only a few weeks since I started using the TWW, so I guess what I had was the buildup from the last 6 months. The buildup wasn't terrible, but was thick enough you could feel the roughness along the probe.

As I was working on the o-rings, I soaked the probes in a glass of water with a pack of Dezcal dissolved in it. By the time I was done with the o-rings the scale was soft enough that it wiped right off the probes.

Later in the day I started thinking about the scale that I left in the steam boiler (if the probes had it, the insides of the boiler definitely must have it). After reading all the horror stories about breaking the dual boiler with the descale program, I think I have decided to descale my boiler manually.

My thought is to drain the steam boiler using the drain port used with the descale program. Then fill the boiler with descale solution through the probe ports, let it sit to do its magic and then drain and flush the boiler using the drain screw.

Can anyone see a hole in my plan or think of a better way about the process?

Any input would be greatly appreciated.

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#2: Post by odor4fun »

The BDB's built-in descaling program is very good, it heats the water up to 60 degrees so the descaling solution has maximum efficiency. If limescale build-up is high, use less descaling solution and repeat the procedure several times.

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#3: Post by lancealot »

OP, you are right. There are many tales of woe originating from running the descale program and ending with the 3 beeps and a blown thermal fuse on the steam boiler. I've had my own bad experience with this and I have been around here long enough to see plenty of people asking for help after they have ran a descale program that rendered their machine unusable.

Standard response around here is 1) use water that does not scale and 2) if you have to descale, do it manually.

Your method is the one I use when I have chosen to descale mine. Pull the probe, fill with hot descale solution through the probe hole, let it sit for a long time, drain through the bottom valves and flush with fresh water 3x. A good flash light helps and you'll need to devise a good way to fill the boiler through the bung. I have a kitchen funnel that fits into the large opening of a medical irrigating syringe. The small end of the irrigating syringe fits into the bung and has been cut so the opening is as big as possible while still fitting in the bung.

Good luck.

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#4: Post by odor4fun »

The descaling program fills the boilers with descaling solution using pumps and you don't need a funnel and flashlight.

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#5: Post by luvmy40 replying to odor4fun »

And, quite often blows the steam boiler thermal fuse in the process. It's happened to me and many others on this forum. If you want to continue to use the program, go right ahead. Please do not advise others here to do something known to have damaging results a good portion of the time.

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#6: Post by odor4fun »

I am going to expand on the subject of water used in espresso machines and the need for regular descaling, because I find it creates a lot of anxiety and we are not sure how to proceed. The program built into the BDB is good and reminds us periodically to descale the espresso machine, at intervals that depend on the hardness of the water used.
Water with low hardness contains few minerals and does not create too much limescale, but the taste of brewed coffee is not the best.
Personally I don't use bottled water for espresso, in my area the water has a low hardness, I would like it to be medium.
On the other hand, if the water used has a high hardness, the espresso machine needs to be descaled frequently.
If you do not descale your espresso machine regularly, it builds up a lot of limescale which is hard to remove and can cause clogging.
If you have reached the above situation, do a progressive descaling, first with a smaller amount of solution and repeat the descaling process several times.
The descaling program is not much different from manual descaling, it just helps.
After emptying the boilers, the pumps will refill the boilers with descaling solution. You can exit the descaling program and have manual control over the process. But what's the point of bothering to fill the boilers manually when you can do it using the pumps?

Those who recommend avoiding the built-in descaling program don't understand how it actually works and that clogging problems are not caused by running the descaling program, but by neglecting to descale the espresso machine regularly.

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#7: Post by Jeff »

There is quite a bit of good information on water in, of all places, the Water sub-forum. Many believe and practice that using "non-scaling" water and seldom if ever descaling is the best practice presently available.

There is also a lot of evidence here and across other forums that using the Breville descale program can lead to significant malfunctions requiring repair. As the OP has explicitly requested advice on how to avoid those rational and documented risks, this really isn't the place to continually argue that those risks don't exist.
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#8: Post by odor4fun »

How many BDB users take their espresso machine apart and manually clean their boilers possibly the 3 way solenoid?
I think the current trend of not descaling your coffee espresso machine is negative, many machines end up choked with limescale deposits.
How much does a thermal fuse cost? It can be replaced, possibly with an automatic reset thermostat.
Anyway, everyone does what he or she thinks best.

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#9: Post by odor4fun »

I edited this post after checking the steam boiler in the BDB I use, I found that it has that over temperature thermostat fitted. Normally, the over temperature thermostat trips faster than the thermal fuse.
All we have to do is to replace that thermal fuse if it burns out.

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#10: Post by odor4fun »

When running the descaling program, there is no reason to burn out the thermal fuse of the steam boiler, the program only heats the water up to 60 degrees Celsius.

In addition, the over-temperature thermostat on the steam boiler of the BDB espresso machine must trip before the thermal fuse burns out, the thermal fuse is the second protection, if the thermostat does not interrupt the power to the heating resistor when the normal operating temperature of 135 - 140 degrees Celsius is exceeded.
Leads me to think it is poorly calibrated or maybe its value is not low enough to interrupt the heating resistor supply circuit first.
Those who have the misfortune that the thermal fuse for various reasons has burned out, could replace the thermal fuse whith a 167 degree Celsius one, and insert a 150 degree Celsius over-temperature thermostat along with it, it will trip on over temperature and the thermal fuse will not burn out.
It can be attached with a longer coiled spring wrapped around the boiler, and the ends of the spring are fixed into the mounting holes of the thermostat. ... elsius.htm ... 108&sr=8-8