Machine Is Leaking
Between Portafilter & Grouphead
If the machine is leaking from between the grouphead and the portafilter then the grouphead gasket is either pushed out of place and needs to be reinserted properly, or the gasket is worn out. Typically, grouphead gaskets will wear out in approximately 6 months to a year depending on how heavily the machine is used. Premature wear to this gasket can be caused by using excessive force when attaching the portafilter. It is important to distinguish where the leaking is occurring. If the leaking is originating from farther up on the grouphead assembly and then draining down to where the portafilter is attached, then refer to the “From the Grouphead” section of this article which discusses leaking from the grouphead.
If the leaking is coming from between the portafilter and grouphead where you twist the handle on, then the gasket will need to be replaced. Instructions for replacing the gasket can be found in the document attached at the end of this article titled "Changing The Group Gasket." You can try using the instructions to clean and reseat the current gasket. If that does not resolve the leak then the gasket will need to be replaced.
The gasket can get stuck in the grouphead from wear or excessive heat exposure. To remove the gasket take some self-tapping screws and partially screw them into the group gasket. Make sure not to go all the way through the gasket because you can scratch/dent the grouphead if you go too far. Then use a pair of pliers to pull on the screws and the gasket will pull out with them.
From The Grouphead
There may be a broken or dirty o-ring or valve inside the grouphead assembly. Instructions for cleaning an E-61 style grouphead can be found here.
From Bottom Of Machine
- Check the water tank and drip tray to make sure there are no cracks or breaks where water can escape. Make sure they are properly positioned on the machine.
- Open the machine and check all of the connections to make sure they are securely attached.
- Examine the pump and boiler assemblies to see if there are any cracks in them. If the machine was exposed to sub-freezing conditions without being properly drained it can cause these components to crack. These parts will need to be replaced if they are cracked.
- Make sure both the inlet line and the outlet line on the pump are securely connected.
- Check the various valves located on top of the boiler assembly.
- If water is leaking from the relief valves, then the boiler may be overfilling. Distilled, reverse osmosis, and zero water are not compatible with this style of machine as the water level probe depends on minerals in the water to detect its presence. These water types do not contain minerals, and so the machine will continuously fill until it overflows, usually resulting in water leaking from the relief valves.
- If water is leaking from the relief valves even though you are using water that contains minerals, then you may need to clean the water level probe.
- If the machine is plumbed, then there may be too much pressure at the inlet line. The pressure restrictor may need to be adjusted, or if you do not have a pressure restrictor installed you may need to install one.
- If the valves are leaking directly from where they screw into the boiler, then they may have a broken seal. Try resealing the valves by using white Teflon plumbers tape or food-safe Permabond and screwing them back into the boiler.
- If there are any broken or cracked hoses, or hoses with pinhole leaks, they will need to be replaced.
- If your machine features drain plumbing, make sure the drain line is securely attached and that water is being correctly directed into the drain cup.
- If you cannot find the source of the leak, it's possible the water you are seeing is from water spilled when refilling the machine, or from the drip tray being out of position. It is also possible to run the unit with the casing off to help identify the source of the leak; precautions should be taken to protect yourself from any exposed wiring or hot water or steam that comes from the machine if you attempt this.
Steam From Top Of Machine
If there is steam coming from the top of the machine then one of the relief valves is venting steam.
- If the steam is leaking from the machine while it is heating up, with more and more steam coming from the top as the machine heats more, then the steam is coming from the vacuum relief valve.
- The vacuum relief valve is meant to vent steam until a certain amount of pressure has built up in the boiler. It is normal for this valve to vent steam as the machine is heating. Once enough steam pressure is built up in the boiler the valve will pop closed.
- If the machine is fully heated and the vacuum relief valve is still not closing then it may need to be cleaned.
- If cleaning the vacuum relief valve has not resolved the issue, then the vacuum relief valve may be broken and will need to be replaced.
- If the steam is leaking from the machine after it is fully heated, then the pressure relief valve may be relieving excess steam pressure.
- The steam boiler temperature may need to be lowered. If your machine features a pressure gauge it should not read any higher than 1.2 bar. Program the steam boiler temperature lower and lower until the relief valve stops opening and the pressure gauge reads 1.2 bar or lower.
- If lowering the temperature is not helping, then the pressure relief valve may be stuck open.
From Steam Wand Or Hot Water Tap
- If either wand is leaking from the end of the wand, it means the steam/hot water valve is not fully closed.
- Make sure the knob is securely in the closed position.
- If the knob feels loose, or doesn't appear to be properly engaging, then there may be a loose or broken part in the knob assembly.
- If the leaking persists, then the corresponding valve may need to be replaced.
- If the wand is leaking between the tip and the arm of the wand during use, there is an o-ring that is broken, missing, or out of position.
- If the wand is leaking from the ball joint, then there may be an o-ring that is worn out or out of position.