Learn what to do when your Rancilio Silvia is leaking from between portafilter and grouphead, from the top of the machine, from the bottom of the machine, and/or from the steam wand.
Machine Is Leaking
Between Portafilter and 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 from 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, or leaving the machine on for long periods of time without use. It is important to distinguish where the leaking is occurring. If the leak is originating from farther up in the machine and coming down around the grouphead then refer to the "From Top Of Machine" section of this article.
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 "SILVIA_Gasket_Replacement" document attached at the end of this article. A replacement gasket for the V3 and M style Silvias can be purchased here. 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 pulled out with them.
From Top Of Machine
A leak from the top (or head) of the machine typically indicates a loose connection or broken part inside the machine. If the leaking is coming from between the portafilter and the grouphead then refer to the "Between Portafilter and Grouphead" section of this article which covers changing the group gasket. Otherwise follow these steps to identify the source of the leak. It may be necessary to run the machine with the top removed in order to identify the leak.
- Turn the machine off and unplug it.
- Open the top of the machine. Check for any loose hoses, broken hoses or hoses with pinhole leaks, or any other fittings that are leaking.
- If you find a loose hose reconnect it to the appropriate fitting.
- Hoses that are broken or have pinhole leaks will need to be replaced.
- Other loose fittings can typically be resecured by screwing the part down. Plumbers tape or a sealing compound may be necessary to provide a good seal.
- Examine the boiler assembly.
- If there is leaking coming from between the boiler and the grouphead assembly try tightening the allen screws that secure the boiler and grouphead together.
- If it continues to leak then the o-ring that seals these two assemblies has slipped out of place or is worn out and needs to be replaced. Try unscrewing the boiler and the grouphead by removing the eight allen screws mentioned in the previous steps. Clean the o-ring off and reseat it and screw the boiler assembly back into place. If this does not resolve the leak then the o-ring is worn out and needs to be replaced.
- The boiler may be cracked. If you find a crack anywhere on the boiler then the machine was exposed to subfreezing temperatures without being drained properly or the machine was dropped. The boiler will need to be replaced.
- Examine the steam wand to the right of the boiler. If this is leaking make sure the fittings are tightened down securely.
From Bottom Of Machine
- Check the water tank and drip tray to make sure that are no cracks or breaks where water can escape. Make sure they are properly positioned on the machine.
- Ensure that the return line is sitting inside the water tank. If the tube is outside of the tank, or pushed up into the machine it will cause a leak. Position it so that it is sitting inside the water tank.
- Check the pump connections to make they are secure. Instructions on how how to remove the back panel in order to access the pump are detailed in the "SILVIA_Back_Panel_Removal" document attached at the end of this article.
- Examine the pump to see if there are any cracks in it. If the machine was exposed to subfreezing conditions without being properly drained it can cause the pump to crack. Replace the pump if it is cracked.
- Make sure both the inlet line and the outlet line on the pump are securely connected.
From Steam Wand
- If the wand is leaking from the end of the wand it means the steam valve is not fully closed.
- Try tightening the knob down firmly. Pressure from the boiler will leak through the wand if the steam valve is not securely closed.
- If it feels like the knob is spinning in place then the knob may be broken. Try removing the knob and manually turning the steam valve closed. An adjustable wrench or a pair of pliers can help with this. If this stops the leak then the steam knob will need to be replaced.
- Descale the machine according to the instructions in this machine's "How to Descale" article. Scale buildup inside of the steam valve will prevent the valve from closing fully and can cause permanent damage to the valve. After the machine has been descaled run 4-6 tanks of water through the wand using the machine's hot water function to ensure any debris or scale in the valve is fully removed.
- If the leaking persists then the steam valve will need to be replaced. Instructions for installing or replacing the steam valve can be found in the "SILVIA_Steam_Valve_Replacement" document attached at the end of this article.
- If the wand is leaking from where it connects to the machine then the wand is not sealing properly to the steam valve assembly. Make sure the wand is properly secured to the steam valve assembly. The wand connects to the steam valve assembly on the inside of the machine with a hex shaped bolt. Remove the cover of the machine to access the inside. The wand connects to the steam valve assembly to the right hand side of the boiler. Use an open ended wrench or adjustable wrench to make sure the bolt is properly secured to the steam valve assembly. If tightening the wand onto the steam valve assembly does not resolve the leaking issue then there may be a worn or broken o-ring.