Okay I purchased my first machine, a little Astoria compact about 2 weeks ago. After testing it for a little bit all seemed fine except a few drops of water that was coming out from under it. Upon further inspection, one of the pipes coming from the boiler to the group head is leaking 1 drop every 30 seconds to a minute, very slow.
I contacted the seller and at first he said don't worry that scale buildup would seal it? I thought scale was the death of these machines, why would I let it build up? He sent me another email saying that all espresso machines ooze some water and that it will just boil off, but it never does, it falls out under it. It isn't that big a deal to me as it is a very slow leak, but what he is telling me seems fishy. Why would I allow scale to build up and do these really "ooze water" ?
Thanks a bunch!
Your instincts are right on. A properly-maintained espresso machine should leak neither water nor steam. Not even a little. I like them dead-quiet and bone dry.
There are 2 exceptions:
1. Your cold-water expansion valve will drip a bit as the machine is heating up, and occasionally after that as well. This is normal. This valve is generally a cylindrical brass hunk somewhere in the vicinity of your fill valve or drain cup. Not sure where it is on the CKX. This component should drip into the drain cup though, not onto the machine bottom pan or counter.
2. The exhaust port on a 3-way solenoid will drip randomly after you pull a shot. When the valve is in good shape, you'll only get a few drops for the couple of minutes after your last shot. As this valve ages, the seals start to leak a bit and you may begin to see a steady slow drip. Again though, this port should line up with your drip tray or drain cup.
Is this a new machine or used? Leaks on a new machine are unacceptable. Leaks on a used are not unexpected, but should be repaired.
Depending on the source of the leak, scale might eventually slow it down, but time may also make it get worse. What it will surely do though is buy your seller 6 months worth of time to be able to deny a refund or paying for a repair.
Hope that helped. Good luck!
I really appreciate it Brady, I thought something was way off. Once I get him the pics of it we will see how he responds. It is a used machine, several years old but seems in good shape for the most part. I actually kinda enjoy fixing things so I don't mind if this is the only issue with it hehe. I may have to get an older one to play with fixing up in the future!
Is there a good place to find broken machines for cheap?
OK. Depending on where the leak is, you may just have to disassemble that fitting and clean up the surfaces. I find that 000 or finer steel wool does a great job if used carefully. If the leak seems to be caused by crusty white calcium buildup, you can also try dissolving it with white vinegar.
I haven't found a good source for used machines, they just kind of pop up every once and a while.
Thanks again, Brady. Here are some picks that may help. The leak is coming from the right pipe that is more a silver color. I had some descale coming, but should I handle this situation first? Thanks for all the help!
Seeing how clean it is on the inside (looks great, btw) I'd go ahead and remove that pipe, take a look at the fitting, and clean it with a bit of steel wool. Inspect it and see if there are any cracks or oddities on the sealing area.
Okay it looks like it was just a loose nut, after I tightened it, it seems to be doing great!I still intend to clean it up and descale it though, it would make me feel better hehe.
Thanks a ton!
You're welcome! Glad to hear its working well and that there weren't any issues ;).