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moosepucky
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moosepucky
Joined: 6 Jun 2009
Posts: 154
Location: USA
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Espresso: Pasquini Livia 90 auto
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Roaster: Hottop KN-8828-B
Posted Sun Aug 11, 2013, 6:53am
Subject: Pros and Cons to wrapping boiler in insulation
 

I've just finished a rebuild/retore of my Pasquini Livia 90 automatic and was considering wrapping the boiler in insulation to keep the heat in the boiler (lower the cycle time) and to buffer the electronics from the heat.

What are the pros and cons of wrapping/insulating a boiler?

The boiler in the Livia is vertical so I would only be wrapping the sides not the top where all of the connections are.

moosepucky: livia_boiler_head.jpg
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dana_leighton
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dana_leighton
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Posted Sun Aug 11, 2013, 9:39am
Subject: Re: Pros and Cons to wrapping boiler in insulation
 

If you haven't, check out this thread on insulating my Isomac. I recently removed the insulation for a boiler repair, and I didn't see any evident problems created by the insulation.

 
Dana Leighton - Espresso hack and CoffeeGeek moderator
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Tifoso
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Posted Sun Aug 11, 2013, 3:35pm
Subject: Re: Pros and Cons to wrapping boiler in insulation
 

You're correct about keeping the electronics buffered; the supplied shield offers little protection.

It might be beneficial to insulate the top of the boiler unless you actually use the top of the case to warm cups.

Also. notice the route the brew water has to take; from the HX to outboard 3-way valve and then from there to the group, with exposed lines both ways. You may want to at least insulate those 2 lines which may improve shot temp stability.
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moosepucky
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moosepucky
Joined: 6 Jun 2009
Posts: 154
Location: USA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Pasquini Livia 90 auto
Grinder: Super Jolly - Forte BG -...
Vac Pot: Cona - Santos
Drip: Bodum - Chemex - Hario -...
Roaster: Hottop KN-8828-B
Posted Sun Aug 11, 2013, 4:35pm
Subject: Re: Pros and Cons to wrapping boiler in insulation
 

Tifoso Said:

You're correct about keeping the electronics buffered; the supplied shield offers little protection.

It might be beneficial to insulate the top of the boiler unless you actually use the top of the case to warm cups.

Also. notice the route the brew water has to take; from the HX to outboard 3-way valve and then from there to the group, with exposed lines both ways. You may want to at least insulate those 2 lines which may improve shot temp stability.

Posted August 11, 2013 link

I have been doing a 3-4 second flush before brewing.  I noticed that if I didn't I got steam at times and a real mess instead of a shot so now I am trying to remember....  Manually it until the water comes out looking like hot water not water/steam combo, attach the portafilter and press one of the pre-reprogrammed brew buttons.  Been getting fantastic shots using this method

I do think an insulated wrap on the brew feed tubes is a good idea as is the cover for the top of the boiler.

I have some ceramic stove pipe wrap that is rather thin but an excellent insulating material (silvered on both sides) that I will use.  I should be able to cut out a "hat" for the top of the boiler.  I do want to keep the pressure valves and the two sensors (fill limit and temp limit) outside of the wrap.  Don't know why but I feel they would be happier if they were not inside the high temp blanket.

I will see what I can find for a small tube insulation as I will have everything apart again when I wrap the boiler to make it easier and so that I get a good wrap without having to fight all of the "plumbing"

Thanks again for the excellent suggestions.

A shot showing more of the inside of the machine and the new 3 way valve I put in on Friday

moosepucky: new_valve.jpg
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DavecUK
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Joined: 21 Sep 2005
Posts: 1,412
Location: UK
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Mon Aug 12, 2013, 5:34am
Subject: Re: Pros and Cons to wrapping boiler in insulation
 

Pros:

Save Energy.....a lot of people don't seem to care much about that for some reason

Better performance.....in the USA with the more challenging electrical requirements, I would have thought boiler insulation would be a given. In fact If I had a dual boiler machine and it was using lesser heating elements than in the UK or running in alternate boiler mode. I would do everything I could to insulate the steam boiler really well. I would add to existing steam boiler insulation (if possible) and definitely try to insulate the top of the steam boiler if possible. I wouldn't go mad on insulating the brew boiler, because you affect it's ability to recover quickly from an overshoot (more insulation, slower to cool down).

Less "wear/stress" on the internal components of the machine.

Cons:

Takes a little time to do, have to remove the case.

Maintenance & checks sometimes require removal of insulation.

Cups may have to be warmed with an oz or so from the group.
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calblacksmith
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Roaster: gave it a try, decided no
Posted Mon Aug 12, 2013, 1:39pm
Subject: Re: Pros and Cons to wrapping boiler in insulation
 

It may simply be a matter of what you are used to. My boiler is not insulated, the cup warmer actually warms the cups, the top of my machine where the dispense buttons are is, just a guess, about 115F, not uncomfortable to touch and hold on to but warm none the less. My electronics are on the bottom of the machine so heat is not a huge factor there, hot air rising and all that. The dispense buttons are just that, buttons so heat is not a big factor with them.

My boiler is big enough to not have any real swing in temp through the shot (2.5l) Is a lot of heat going out the top of the machine? Possibly but between the cups and the machine case, it may not be as much as one may think.

My Pstat kicks on for about 8 seconds every 50 seconds or so, that works out to be not so much time on. I worked it out years ago but it seems that it is similar to leaving 2 75w light bulbs on constantly for a comparison to power usage. I can live with that.

I need to give my machine a good rebuild, though I use a water softener and I descale, I am starting to get some scale buildup on the outside of the 3 way valve where it drains to the drip tray, and there is a slight drip from it also. I know other components likely are in the same shape so it is due for a major disassembly and cleaning and replacement of worn parts.

Before I start that project I need to get another machine running to take this ones place, I have had it for about two years and other than to see what it needed, I have not done anything with it, I fear it may be a while before I get to working on my current machine. The point of all this is that when I do the work, it likely will get insulation, no reason to not do it but no pressing need to do it to a working machine either.

 
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moosepucky
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moosepucky
Joined: 6 Jun 2009
Posts: 154
Location: USA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Pasquini Livia 90 auto
Grinder: Super Jolly - Forte BG -...
Vac Pot: Cona - Santos
Drip: Bodum - Chemex - Hario -...
Roaster: Hottop KN-8828-B
Posted Mon Aug 12, 2013, 5:58pm
Subject: Re: Pros and Cons to wrapping boiler in insulation
 

I got the boiler wrapped today.

I used some stove pipe insulation that is a ceramic core with aluminum on one side and mylar on the other.

I am not sure if the aluminum will react with the copper boiler so I will need to take a look in a couple of months to see if all is happy.

I used a couple small pieces I had to cut out for an area where the boiler was up against a rubber bumper  to make 2 additional buffers between the computer and the boiler and the 3 way valve and the boiler and a few hot pipes.

I left the top of the boiler open so that it would radiate heat and keep the cup area warm

I've already noticed a reduction in the cycling of the machine.  It seems like I have a higher brew temp now too but I've not pulled enough shots to know for sure.

The blanket I cut out.  Sealed the cut using aluminum hvac tape.  It all went together nicely

moosepucky: boiler_wrap.jpg
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moosepucky
Senior Member
moosepucky
Joined: 6 Jun 2009
Posts: 154
Location: USA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Pasquini Livia 90 auto
Grinder: Super Jolly - Forte BG -...
Vac Pot: Cona - Santos
Drip: Bodum - Chemex - Hario -...
Roaster: Hottop KN-8828-B
Posted Mon Aug 12, 2013, 5:59pm
Subject: Re: Pros and Cons to wrapping boiler in insulation
 

The computer side with the boiler wrapped

moosepucky: boiler_wrap_comp.jpg
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moosepucky
Senior Member
moosepucky
Joined: 6 Jun 2009
Posts: 154
Location: USA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Pasquini Livia 90 auto
Grinder: Super Jolly - Forte BG -...
Vac Pot: Cona - Santos
Drip: Bodum - Chemex - Hario -...
Roaster: Hottop KN-8828-B
Posted Mon Aug 12, 2013, 5:59pm
Subject: Re: Pros and Cons to wrapping boiler in insulation
 

The 3 way valve side with the boiler wrapped

moosepucky: boiler_wrap_3way.jpg
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jonr
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Joined: 25 Jun 2013
Posts: 298
Location: Americas
Expertise: I like coffee
Posted Tue Aug 13, 2013, 9:01am
Subject: Re: Pros and Cons to wrapping boiler in insulation
 

Keeping heat away from electronics is always a good idea as is reducing the $50 to $200 per year that leaving a small espresso machine on all the time will cost.  On the other hand, insulation effects temperature drops and changing the sensitive tuning that the manufacturer designed in might not be beneficial.
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