ECM Giotto - setting steam boiler water level

Equipment doesn't work? Troubleshooting? If you're handy, members can help.

#1: Post by ArchieCoffee »


I know that similar questions have been asked, but I haven't seen a definitive answer yet.

I have an ECM Giotto from 2000. Like all Giottos, it has a 1.8L horizontally mounted boiler. I recently discovered that I had wet, sputtering steam, so by searching the forum, it seemed like the problem was too high a water level. So I purchased a new level probe so I could go lower, but here's the weird part. I drained the water from the boiler (using a siphon) and only 1L came out. I always thought that you would want the boiler around 2/3 full, which would be 1200ml. So.... if my boiler only had 1L in it, but it was still sputtering and spitting and giving wet steam, what might be the issue? Or is there still room to play with the water level?

In summary, the real question is: in a 1.8L horizontally mounted hx boiler, how much water should be in it, so I can set the level probe correctly?

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#2: Post by cafeIKE »

First, see if you can return the probe. Most probes are adjustable.

2/3 full is not linear by volume of the boiler. Sometimes the boiler volume is from external displacement, not internal capacity. Subtract off heating element, heat exchanger, misc fittings and 1L sounds about right.

What is the boiler pressure?

What is the boiler over-pressure release pressure? You can usually safely go to 80% of that value.

Do you purge the boiler to remove the air that gets in when the boiler cools. This air reduces the steam pressure

Do you purge the boiler before steaming to heat the wand? Get the pipe nice and hot and beginning steaming just as the boiler returns to full pressure ensures optimal steam.

ArchieCoffee (original poster)

#3: Post by ArchieCoffee (original poster) »

Thanks for this. I normally have the boiler set at 1.25, or right at the top of the "green" range. This gives me a temp on Eric's Thermometer of about 200-203F during the shot. Now that you said all that about the internal displacement, that totally makes sense, and 1L of water seems more reasonable. The reason I got the new probe was because the one that I had was cut down, so there was no more room for adjustment. Once I have the new one set, I'll make sure there's a little room for adjustment if I need it in the future.