Posted Fri Nov 19, 2010, 10:28pm Subject: keeping the machines from freezing
looking for ideas on keeping the machines from freezing. i live in the northeast and i run a small espresso/coffee truck. (8x12 trailer) temps are starting to drop and i'm trying to figure out the best method to insure the machines don't freeze. right now, i'm running a small space heater on low, but, i'm wondering if there's something better to do. i've got a UNIC diva single group, a bunn cwt plumbed in and a hot water heater. the truck is getting infrequent use right now but, bringing in the machines is too time consuming because they are mounted to the truck. anyone have any thoughts on this? thanks
Posted Sat Nov 20, 2010, 12:02pm Subject: Re: keeping the machines from freezing
thanks, garage would be best, i know, but unfortunately i don't have access to one that would work. i guess the space heater is the best way to go for now. would it make sense to try and install an easy access boiler drain on the espresso machine? the UNIC has a standard bottom drain i was thinking i could attach a pipe and a valve running to a hose on the outside of the machine. but, then there's still the water in the exchanger that i couldn't really get to... i guess i'll keep thinking while i run the little heater at night..
Posted Tue Nov 23, 2010, 8:30am Subject: Re: keeping the machines from freezing
I'm no expert on the topic, but I have owned an RV in New England, so that's where I'm coming from...
I think your idea of installing easy-to-access drain plugs and/or plumbing is probably the best approach. The important thing is to make sure you can get ALL the water out of the tanks AND the lines, so in addition to whatever you come up with for drains, I'd recommend coming up with a way to apply compressed air to the system to blow out residual water / liquids in the small tubes and lines as well.
If you're just packing up the thing for the whole winter, I suppose anti-freeze might be okay, but personally, I'd be worried that I wouldn't be able to get all the stuff out in the spring. I'd hate to think that some plastic/vinyl tubing/part of your water tank or pump system might absorb some flavor / odor from whatever you use, and you end up re-plumbing. Years ago, I managed a candy store that had a soda machine and I learned the hard way that once I put root beer in one of the lines, I could never run anything else through that hose without it tasting / smelling slightly of root beer. While I'm sure that modern anti-freezes for potable water systems are designed to not be toxic or particularly malodorous, I would still think that fully purging the lines with air would be the easiest to do and least likely to cause problems.
Posted Tue Nov 23, 2010, 1:25pm Subject: Re: keeping the machines from freezing
re:the anti-freeze. The stuff sold in the RV stores will (or should) be totally fine in any sort of plastic or silicone pipes since that is what most RVs are plumbed with, and the systems are designed for drinking water.
Funny though - Was just outside winterizing the RV and was thinking about this thread. I had drained the RV's system a few weeks ago via the two supplied drain valves (push-pull type) installed at the factory. But with temps in the low 20's forecast for tonight I decided to be sure. I have an adapter I made with a male air tool fitting soldered to a male hose bib fitting. This allows me to connect the air compressor in my garage to the water system's "line-in" inlet whee we normally would connect to city water. I imagine that you could do much the same thing. First drain the system as best you can (the boiler drain and such to the outside is a good idea). After that, you would need to have a way to switch off all the electrical heating elements while allowing full use of the machine so that you could switch to brew mode so that the air pressure could blow out the HX. There are probably other ways to do what, but I suppose it would depend on the vehicle's water system and the espresso machine. But you want to be sure that there is no way for the heating elements to be powered on before the system (boilers, hot water heater, etc.) are filled.
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