winterizing an espresso machine...

Miss Java

New member
Feb 13, 2007
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I have a drive-thru shop that will not be open this winter and we are winterizing the building, etc. but I'm not sure what I should do about the machines. Should I leave them hooked up and try to empty the boilers? Or blow out the lines? I live in the NW so it will get cold... if I just leave the water in the boilers when it freezes will it cause any damage?



Active member
Aug 11, 2004
Des Moines, Iowa
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Davec got it partially right, drain the boilers yes but disconnecting lines will not stop water from freezing and bursting pipes.

When a machine that is bench tested during the winter and we have to ship it somewhere via freight truck we will blow out all the lines. This means we will empty the boiler and then attach an air compressor via the water inlet on the machine and turn the machine on with out engaging the the element and open the air valve.

Make sure if you do this not to have the air compressor turned over 90 psi. I have ours set to around 70 psi.

I personally don't like doing it this way because the water pump wasn't designed to run dry. I have on occasion just unplugged the motor and then proceeded to introduce air to the system. Remember to turn on both groups to help push water out. Also open up the manual fill system too.

You will never get all the water out of the system but a good deal of it. You just don't want a pipe to be full of water at a bend or a joint because that is where its going to split when it freezes.

If you don't blow it out and water does freeze it tends to split a few pipes. But the real damage is usually inside the heat exchangers. On La Cimbali's it expands the tip of the heat exchanger like a small bubble. Not so bad for using the machine but when it comes time for overhaul and replacement of the heat exchangers there is no way to get them out so you have to cut them out!