August 31, 2016

Espresso Machine Maintenance: A VIDEO Guide to Draining a Heat Exchange Boiler


Draining a heat exchange boiler may sound intimidating, but you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how quick and easy it is. And while you won’t need to do it too often, it’s an essential skill.

Let’s say you’re shipping your espresso machine somewhere, either for delivery, because you’re relocating, or for a repair. If you do not drain your boiler before it goes in the cargo hold of an airplane, the water will freeze, expand, and break the machine. That repair suddenly got a lot more expensive.

Also, if you won’t use your espresso machine for an extended period of time – perhaps because you’re going away – it’s a good idea to empty the water. On the flip side, if you suspect the water in there is pretty old, you may want to switch it out for some fresher water.

So now that we’ve looked at why you’d want to drain the boiler, let’s find out how.

SEE ALSO: Espresso Machines: 1 VIDEO on Heat Exchange Boilers

How to Drain a Heat Exchange Boiler

This first video from Seattle Coffee Gear gives a basic visual demonstration. Gail tips the espresso machine onto its side (on a towel, so as to protect it from getting scratched) but you may prefer to just empty it into a container. However, while the container might be easier, keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn’t overflow – and if it conducts heat, let it cool before emptying it out.

SEE ALSO: Espresso Machine Maintenance: The Essentials

Whole Latte Love give a similar demonstration, but provide a little more information on what’s happening inside the machine. They also use a container, which gives an idea of the size you’ll need.

SEE ALSO: Barista Tutorials: How to Clean Your Espresso Machine in 2 Simple Videos

The Health & Safety of Draining Your Boiler

While we know you’re all pretty sensible people, please be careful when draining your heat exchange boiler. We don’t want you to hurt yourself – or your machine! Make sure not to:

  • Scald yourself (that water’s hot!)
  • Tip over a machine that’s too heavy, especially if you have weak joints or muscular strain/damage
  • Tip over your machine onto anything that will damage your machine – or that your machine will damage!

What’s more, don’t forget to turn your machine off before emptying it and fill your boiler up again before use (as Gail say, it will probably auto fill – but just make sure it does!)

So there you go, folks – now you’re ready to drain your heat exchange boiler any time you need to.

Feature photo credit: Whole Latte Love

Please note: Perfect Daily Grind does not own the rights to these videos and cannot be held accountable for their content.