My machine is leaking
If you find that your ECM Classika PID is leaking, be it from the portafilter, steam wand, the boiler, or from the bottom of the machine, review the following to troubleshoot the issue.
Is coffee coming up and over the portafilter?
- Replace the group gasket.
- For the average home user, the group gasket should be replaced about every six months to a year. When the group gasket is worn out, it becomes hard, and no longer creates a good seal between the portafilter and the group head, so you may begin to notice some leaking. When a group gasket is really old, it can be extremely difficult to remove from the machine, so even if you don't experience any leaking, replacing the group gasket on a yearly basis is a good idea. The document attached at the end of this article titled "Replacing The Group Gasket On Your E61 Machine" shows how to replace the group gasket and shower screen. You don't have to replace the screen once a year, as typically it can simply be cleaned.
Is the leak coming from the lever arm of the machine?
- There are two o-rings in the lever of the machine. One or both of them may have blown out. You can take apart the lever, and check to see if they are worn. If they seem to be okay, you can lubricate them and see if that resolves the leak. If they are destroyed, they are also easy to replace and very cheap.
Is it steaming from above the machine through the vents on top?
- This would likely be due to a loose fitting. The this machine does do not have a vacuum breaker or safety valve.
Is the leak or drip coming from the large pipe that comes from behind the group head? (The E61)
- There is one valve above the group head, and two below the group head. One of the two valves may be clogged.
How To Clean E61 Brew Group Mushroom, Jet and Top Valve
Is the leak coming from where the two pipes join in the E61?
- If leaking around the fitting or behind the fitting (where the two pipes join), either under pressure or sitting idle, the fitting may require tightening. You do not want to use sealant, as these pipes go into the back of the group head and would be in direct contact with consumable water/coffee. This could also lock the pipes into the back of the group — causing damage to the group — which would require replacement of the group. With how direct tightening is with those pipes you could end up cross threading into the group head thinking it's just the sealant getting hard.
- If after tightening the leak still continues, the pipes may need to be replaced, or the fitting is cross threaded and the E61 group needs replacement. Under this circumstance, both parts may require replacement.
- The first is that one of the plumb lines connected to the back of the E61 is not secure resulting in a leak. This will need to be tightened from the inside of the machine. You may see leaking from the bottom of the machine as well if this is the case. Remove the top of the machine and look towards the front of the machine. These lines will be located on the back of the faceplate, opposite to where the grouphead is seated. Use an open ended wrench or adjustable wrench to tighten these down.
- If any group head maintenance has recently been done on the machine, the nut may not have been tightened all the way. Try turning the nut with a wrench and see if it moves.
Is the leak coming from around the nut where the steam or hot water wand attaches?
- There is an o-ring in there. You can try to tighten the nut first. If that doesn’t stop the leak, take it off, and check on the o-ring that sits in there. The o-ring should be placed at the bottom of the nut resting in a channel on the inside of the nut. This will either be a rubber o-ring or Teflon ring. It may either be worn or damaged and will require replacement.
7. Is it dripping or leaking out of the tip of the steam wand?
- Yes. It should leak or drip a little bit after use, and when the machine is first started up. This is normal, and due to condensation in the pipe. It should subside after a few minutes of non use.
- Yes. The valve has a shaft that runs through it and on the end of this shaft is a rubber gasket. If there is debris present in the valve, it will cause this rubber seal to not properly seat and will let water past it. The rubber gasket may also be dried out due to age, or has been ripped from being over tightened and will no longer seal off the valve when closed.
Is the leak coming from between the steam tip and the wand?
- There is a rubber o-ring or Teflon gasket in between them that may need to be replaced.
Is the leak coming from the boiler itself?
- Is it leaking from where a valve screws into the boiler?
- Remove the valve, and clean any remnants of sealant. You can use Teflon tape, Permabond, or Loctite to reseal the valve back into the boiler.
- Is the leak coming from a weld point on the boiler?
- The boiler must be replaced.
I cannot find the source of the leak.
- Run the machine to allow it to heat. Some leaks may only be apparent under heat and pressure.
- You can open the machine and send us any photos or videos, so we can determine if we can find the source of the leak.
- Send the machine in for service.
Is the leak coming from the top nut on the group head?
- There is an o-ring that is loose, dirty, or worn out. Take out this mushroom valve, clean any scale or debris, and reseat the valve. All of these parts are separated by Teflon rings. It could just be loose and slightly tightening could stop the leak, but with heat and age it's possible the Teflon is no good. Tightening the bit down more will only further deform the Teflon, allowing a leak to still continue. If it is still leaking, replace the gasket that separates it from the top of the group head. To access these parts, use an open ended wrench or adjustable wrench to remove the smaller top bolt of the E61. This will give you access to the first o-ring and spring assembly. To access further down into this part of the group head, use a wrench to remove the large bolt. This will let you access the other o-ring, another spring assembly, and the valve assembly. Inspect all of these components for integrity. Clean any dirty parts and replace any broken parts. Reassemble the group head and see if the leaking is resolved.
- If you’ve recently serviced the group head, It’s possible the nut is just loose. Try tightening it.
Is the leak coming from the bottom of the machine?
- Inspect the plastic reservoir valve socket. If it is cracked, it will need to be replaced.