HX Boiler - Steam Leak?

My HX steam boiler heating element switches on/off quite frequently?

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I read the following on a forum and realised this is a problem many people might "think" they have!

Powered it up for the first time after cleaning and I had a couple of little leaks here and there with fittings. Once tightened, the boiler came up to pressure, steam is good, brew is working.The trouble is that I don't see any water drips or hear any steam leaks, yet in about 1 minute the boiler pressure drops enough to kick the element back on. I've never owned or operated a HX machine, but my guess is that this is not normal. How often should the element come on normally if the machine is powered up but not used?

About once every 40 seconds to 2 minutes or more depending on:

  • The machine
  • The size of steam boiler
  • The steam pressure you are running at (the higher the pressure and the tighter the dead-band, the more often it switches on/off)
  • The dead-band of the pressurestat
  • The ambient temperature
  • The ventilation of the case
  • whether the steam boiler is insulated
  • Is the machine fully warm or has it only been up to steam pressure for 5 minutes or so (because they switch more often until everything has warmed through)

Doesn't sound like this person has a problem and a steam leak quiet enough that you can't; hear, or see it (evidence of it as condensate), at a pressure of say 1 bar+….is nothing to worry about.

Of course if you find your boiler is switching every 20 seconds and the steam pressure is dropping considerably and rapidly e.g. 1.2 to 0.8 bar in 15-10 second, then you may well have a leak worth fixing, but you will undoubtedly hear this. The most likely place for such leaks is the vacuum-breaker.

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