Posted Tue Jan 5, 2010, 9:33am Subject: Re: Reasons NOT to insulate a home HX machine's boiler?
I have completed the insulation on my Isomac Relax. I used the easily-available Buffalo Snow "Snow Cover Blanket" material ($3 at Wal-Mart during Christmas), which has a melting point of 450° F. I used a double layer with a combined thickness of 1.2 cm. It compresses down to 1.5 mm which is good because there is a tight fit between the boiler and the water inlet solenoid. I secured it with Sisal twine which has fire-retardant properties. The sides have the same double layer, tucked into the insulation around the boiler. Here are the temperature measurements, both after 5 hours of idle time:
Before insulation: 101° F at Giemme box; 172° at top of case After insulation: 93° F at Giemme box; 157° at top of case
Energy usage was also decreased. Energy use before the insulation was .17 KwH; after .12 KwH, or about 29% reduction. This measurement was in the morning, after 2-3 hours warm up, and includes making 2 espressos. Here in Arkansas, where the energy rates are low (I pay .07 per KwH), that .05 KwH saving translates to about $1.27/mo (considering my machine is on about 12 hours a day). If you live in a high electric cost state (e.g. California or Hawaii), your savings will be considerably higher (2-4 times).
This seems to shoot down the insulation reasoning Stefano originally has on his page, and supports the idea that insulation is useful both from an internal temperature standpoint, and is economically a good idea. The cost of my job would pay for itself in a few months.
Jmanespresso Senior Member Joined: 18 Jan 2009 Posts: 2,122 Location: Westchester NY Expertise: I live coffee
Espresso: Alex Duetto II Grinder: Compak K10 - Vario Vac Pot: Yama-SY5/SY8/TCA5 Drip: V60, Beehouse, CCD Roaster: Hottop B
Posted Tue Jan 5, 2010, 8:10pm Subject: Re: Reasons NOT to insulate a home HX machine's boiler?
The La Spaziale Vivaldi II that I now proudly own, used to be owned by another CoffeeGeek, JBorella.
He bought it before a few of the upgrades, but it was already a VII(not the original S1) when he bought it. It now has all the newest, so its like If I bought a new one. With one exception...
He Insulated the Steam Boiler.
I didn't think much of it at first.. Until I started reading about the preformance at 15amp operation. See, Im moving soon, so i decided not to properly plumb in the VII, or run new electrical lines.. only to remove them in a few months. But still, I wasn't thrilled that I would be running at 15amp, due to the amount of comments of slowed preformance.
But I have to say.. Not once have I had to wait on the machine.. I dont even think about it. I steam and brew at the same time, no worries. i even had 3 friends over, all who know how to make espresso(1 has a setup, the other two constantly come over and use mine...with me of course), and we had a bit of a "jam". Went through about 4lbs of coffee.. made a lot of milk drinksP(they love their mochas!...). Even then, not once did we wait on the machine. I specifically didn't mention anything to them about how the boilers heat in tandem, not together. I wanted them to run the machine without "holding back".
Now.. it wasnt a commercial setting.. but it was definitely high volume home use. Machine kept up nicely.
When I move.. Ill have it on 20amp.. simply because.. well.. I will.
But, the insulated boiler, I think, is what made the difference in it's operation. John did some time comparison of heating cycles.. and I believe he noted a 42% increase in efficiency. Almost 50% better! Not bad at all.
So.. make a long story short.. I advocate insulating the boiler. The steam boiler. Insulating a brew boiler, MIGHT not always be smart, possibly if you have a PID running the boiler. Supposedly, the PID NEEDS the boiler to loose heat to work properly. Ill leave that to others to prove/disprove. Just what Ive read.
Follow Your Bliss
Coffee makes your constantly overcome your prejudices and re-evaluate your own "received wisdoms" when it comes to judging cup flavors. -Tom Owen, SweetMarias
Posted Sun Feb 14, 2010, 9:20pm Subject: Re: Reasons NOT to insulate a home HX machine's boiler?
FWIW, I insulated the boiler on my Isomac Tea several years ago. I did this and added a cooling fan to protect the PID I mounted next to the water reservoir. The insulation is a cork wrap on the boiler itself. Secondary insulation is blocks of 2" thick rigid foam (cut thinner where curve of boiler, tubing etc. interefere). The blocks are covered with reflective aluminum tape made for heating ductwork.
The PID is separated from the case by a thin layer of cork and the fan draws air from the bottom of the case through the pid. Thermocouple readings at the PID stay just under 120 deg. (top end of the PID spec.)
Biggest issue seems to be stratification within the boiler. PIDed temperature is reached within 10 minutes. Pressure gauge temperature takes an hour to reach equilibrium.
Overall energy use is down significantly. "Overshoots" don't linger, it takes less than a minute to drop the few degrees needed.
Case heat was the big surprise. Sure it is less than it when iuninsulated, but between the hot grouphead, and the polished stainless not radiating a lot of heat, the stainless gets hot, much more than I expected.
uscfroadie Senior Member Joined: 2 Aug 2008 Posts: 446 Location: San Antonio Expertise: I live coffee
Espresso: GS/3 Strada MP; owned BDB,... Grinder: K30 Vario, Zass and PeDe... Vac Pot: Nope Drip: Nope Roaster: owned Behmor
Posted Sun Feb 14, 2010, 10:48pm Subject: Re: Reasons NOT to insulate a home HX machine's boiler?
i even had 3 friends over, all who know how to make espresso(1 has a setup, the other two constantly come over and use mine...with me of course), and we had a bit of a "jam". Went through about 4lbs of coffee.. made a lot of milk drinksP(they love their mochas!...).
Is this a typo? 4 pounds of coffee amongst 4 people? Even at 18 grams that's 100 doubles; 25 doubles for each of you. Now add milk, even if making a 5 or 6 ounce cappuccinos and you are looking at 500 - 600 ounces of milk (~4 gallons). Wow, that's some serious consumption. I'm guessing none of you slept for a week. :-)
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