Not Heating – VBM Espresso Machines

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There are several areas to review when a Vibiemme Junior, Super, or Dual Boiler is not heating. This applies to machines produced between 2005 and 2019 inclusive. It may not apply to older models, nor newer models.

  1. Unplug the machine from the electrical outlet and allow machine to cool to room temperature (if still warm)
  2. Remove the body panel by removing the 3 screws on each side.
  3. Inspect all wires and make sure there are no loose connections or burned wires.
  4. Check the wires that connect to the black box. A loose wire is usually the most likely culprit on a fairly new machines as sometimes wires are loosened in shipping.
  5. Check and depress the red button on the safety thermostat.
  6. Check to see if the red light operates on the relay which is found on the floor (mostly on dual boiler machines).
  7. Check to see if there are any scuff / blackened areas on the relay cables (inside some models).
  8. Under the reservoir platform, check that the 3 wires are connected to the microswitch. Make sure removable platform is seated properly and the reservoir is full of water. Please note that any burn marks, burnt wires, or blackened marks are typically caused by poor electricity or surges from the electric company or appliances.
  9. With the unit unplugged from the electrical outlet, the heating element(s) need to be checked for continuity or an ohm reading with both wires disconnected from the heating element posts. On dual boilers, there can be more than one heating element to check.

Causes of VBM Espresso Machine Not Heating

First, the boiler refill valve could be blocked, damaged, or defective, preventing water from refilling the boiler and keeping the heating element submerged in water.

Second, if there is a water softener in the reservoir, it may be weighing down the reservoir switch. When this happens, the machine thinks the reservoir is full when in fact, it is not. Then the machine calls for water to refill the reservoir and there is no water. Sometimes, the pump and the heating element will burn out. Also, the switch under the reservoir platform may have been reset too high and again, it runs out of water before the switch indicates it. Please note that VBM sets up the switch to turn off the machine’s heating element about 1/4 full.

Third, if there is more than 4 ounces of water pulled out of the water wand, the water level can drop faster than the machine can refill it. This would cause the heating element to damage. This can happen on numerous different brands of heat exchanger machines like the VBM.

Lastly, if the VBM espresso was sitting idle, it is possible that another appliance created a small surge to the machine. The first places to damage are the heating element, the heating element wires, the safety thermostat and/or its wires, and/or the power switch. We have seen this before on many brands. we strongly suggest a single-outlet surge suppressor rated 1080 joules or higher.

The bottom line is figuring out the cause.

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