Two types of nasty electrical interferences can negatively affect your espresso machine, especially the electrical components and electronics. These electrical interferences are known as surges and spikes. As most people are aware, it is very important to place a surge suppressor on your computer system. Ever wonder if you should do the same for your espresso machine? Many home model espresso machine owners do not think of protecting their investment. As you read on, you will realize power protection is essential for your espresso machine.
What are surges?
Surges are short-term increases in voltage, typically lasting at least 1/100 of a second, and result when high-powered electrical motors, such as air conditioners and household appliances, are off, causing extra voltage to dissipate through the power line. They can also occur from within the electric company’s “electrical grid” or “network.” Without surge protection, sensitive electronic components in an espresso machine can be prematurely damaged or destroyed. These components include heating elements, thermostat controls, pressurstats, and brain units.
How to protect against surges
Suppressors work by absorbing some of the electrical surges and diverting the rest to the ground. That’s why all plug-in surge suppressors have three-prong plugs and receptacles. Cutting off the third suppressor ground pin to make it fit a two-prong wall receptacle will eliminate its effectiveness.
Home model espresso machines have many electrical components, such as the power cord, heating element, and brain unit. We have seen all these parts become prematurely defective due to surges in the electrical lines of some homes and cafes. Therefore, it is important to protect your espresso machine investment with a surge suppressor.
When shopping for a surge suppressor, it is important to select one with a higher joule rating. This will offer greater protection for your equipment and with a lower “max voltage” rating. Hundreds of surge suppressor brands and models are available. However, quality should be no sacrifice to price after purchasing an espresso machine ranging in price from $200 to $2,000.
Please go to your local hardware store or nearest home improvement store and search for power protection with a minimum joule rating of 1080 or higher. We also strongly recommend that the surge suppressor be a single outlet type where only the espresso machine will connect to it. Also if you have a timer on the outlet, you should plug in the timer first, then the surge suppressor, and then the espresso machine. We have found in several instances that timers can cause a surge.
Here are 2 surge protectors we strongly recommend for espresso machines:
- Tripp Lite 1800W Line Conditioner, AVR Surge Protection, 120V, 15A, 60Hz, 6 Outlet, 6 ft. Cord
- Tripp Lite LC2400 Line Conditioner 2400W AVR Surge 120V 20A 60Hz 6 Outlet 6-Feet Cord (requires 125-volt type outlet to plug into).
What are spikes?
Spikes, also referred to as impulses, are instantaneous, dramatic increases in voltage. A spike can enter all household appliances and electronic equipment through your power, cable, or phone lines. Spikes typically occur when there is a nearby lightning strike. However, they can also occur when utility power returns online after an outage. Like high-voltage surges, spikes can severely damage or destroy many electrical components of your espresso machine. Sometimes, a fire can result from such a spike in voltage.
How to protect against spikes
One way to protect from spikes is with the installation of Surge Arrestors. A surge arrestor is the initial step for whole-house protection of appliances. It safeguards all hard-wired equipment (light switches, heating and air-conditioning systems, ceiling fans, etc.) which you can’t protect with plug-in surge devices. Most arrestors can cut a surge to 600 volts. The suppressor then takes over, reducing it to a more manageable voltage.
Arrestors cost around $50 to $250. You should hire a licensed electrician. They will connect the arrestors to your electrical service panel for around $100 (depending on local electrician rates). Many local electrical utility companies can also install surge arrestors near electricity meters.
Remember, power protection is very important for your espresso equipment as it is your computer equipment and other household appliances.