Descaling Instructions – Heat Exchanger

Purpose

The purpose of this document is to remove limescale deposits from the internal workings of the espresso machine. There are two separate areas to be descaled: the heat exchanger/grouphead and the boiler. This procedure will not always descale the pressure regulator, nor will it always correct heavy limescale issues. If you wish to have your machine professionally descaled with commercial grade descaler, it would need to be performed by a service center, such as 1st-line Equipment, LLC.

Machine identity

These instructions are provided for descaling a traditional heat exchanger espresso machine with a water reservoir only. Please consult with your technical service agent for direct water connect espresso machines as these instructions will not apply. Your espresso machine must have a single internal boiler with a heat exchanger. The boiler provides hot water and steam on demand, while the heat exchanger at the same time provides hot water for espresso extraction. This machine typically has no separate switch for activating steam mode. The machine MUST have a separate hot water wand and valve for this procedure to work. This procedure will not work on heat exchanger espresso machines that do not have a hot water spigot (i.e. Nuova Simonelli Oscar), nor will it work on lever espresso machines or the Elektra Micro Casa Semi-Automatica.

Warning

If your machine has a water softener in the reservoir, please remove it before placing descaling solution inside the reservoir.

Total Time

~6-7 hours.

Requirements before you start
  • Heat exchange espresso machine must be unplugged and allowed to cool down at least 45 minutes
  • Descaling product
  • Mixing container / pitcher
  • Fresh water
Instructions

Note: If your instruction manual has descaling instructions, please use those instructions as the primary instructions. If not, use the following instructions below.

  1. Remove water from espresso machine water reservoir.
  2. Ascaso Coffee Washer - for descalingFollow instructions on descaler product to acquire proper solution ratio as most descalers require a mixture with water into a mixing container/pitcher. You will need enough solution to fill the water reservoir. We sell Ascaso Coffee Washer for descaling.
  3. Pour descaling solution into water reservoir of the espresso machine.
  4. Allow machine to warm up to full operating temperature.
  5. Place your largest container under the water wand.
  6. Open water wand knob to full open position.
  7. As the water exits the water wand, the water level in the boiler should be dropping. The machine should begin to engage the pump to refill the boiler with descaling solution.
  8. Please only pull 4-5 ounces out, close, let pump refill, then another 4-5 ounces.
  9. Properly dispose of the hot water/descaling solution from the container. Allow machine to warm up again to full operating temperature.
  10. Repeat steps 6-10 two more times.
  11. Place an empty container under the grouphead (espresso machine portafilter should be attached).
  12. Start the extraction process to engage the pump.  This will allow the descaling solution to flow through the grouphead.
  13. Stop the pump when container has filled and properly dispose of solution when emptying container.
  14. Repeat steps 13-14 until either the espresso machine shuts off due to lack of solution in the reservoir or the reservoir is emptied.
  15. Power off and unplug machine (to avoid heating element damage) and tilt the espresso machine about 30 degrees to the right and 30 degrees to the left. This will get the solution up onto the side of the boiler wall. Do not flip outside down as it is possible to have solution leak out of the boiler through the bleeder/vacuum breaker valve).
  16. Wait 30 minutes for descaling solution to remove limescale.
  17. Remove the water reservoir and rinse thoroughly with fresh water.
  18. Place reservoir back into the espresso machine and fill with water.
  19. Allow machine to warm up to full operating temperature
  20. Place your largest container under the water wand.
  21. Open water wand knob to full open position.
  22. As the water exits the water wand, the water level in the boiler should be dropping and the machine should begin to engage the pump to refill the boiler with fresh water.
  23. When your container has filled or if hot water stops exiting (whichever occurs first), please place the hot water wand knob in the closed position.
  24. Properly dispose of the hot water/descaling solution from the container.
  25. Power off, unplug the machine, remove the water reservoir, and tilt the espresso machine about 30 degrees to the right and 30 degrees to the left to rinse the inside walls of the boiler.
  26. Place the water reservoir back, plug in, power on, and allow machine to warm up again to full operating temperature.
  27. Repeat steps 18-26 until the reservoir is emptied.
  28. Repeat step 27 (meaning 18-26) for four additional reservoirs full of fresh water. It usually takes 2 full reservoirs, but 4 reservoirs full of fresh water is safer. There should be a minimum of a one (1) hour wait time between each tank full so as to avoid pump damage or overheating.
  29. Fill reservoir with water.
  30. Place an empty container under the grouphead (espresso machine portafilter should be attached).
  31. Engage the pump (based on your instruction manual as there are three types of mechanisms to perform this) so that fresh water solution is pumped through the grouphead.
  32. About 1/2 of the water reservoir of fresh water should be pumped through the grouphead to effectively rinse the heat exchanger/grouphead.
  33. Congratulations! Your heat exchanger espresso machine is now descaled.