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Pros and Cons to wrapping boiler in insulation
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ddubick
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Posted Tue Aug 13, 2013, 10:10am
Subject: Re: Pros and Cons to wrapping boiler in insulation
 

My opinion is insulation of the boiler is a good thing due to the energy savings and heat retention previously mentioned but would warn against insulating the thermosyphon loop (including the grouphead) on an HX machine due to messing with the manufacturer's tuning also previously mentioned.  The cool side of the loop has to be able to shed heat for the whole concept to work - unless you are going to account for the change you're making and retune the machine yourself.

I have insulated the boiler in my machine (4L) and the heat coming off of the thermosyphon loop is more than enough to keep my cups warm.
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jonr
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Posted Tue Aug 13, 2013, 4:47pm
Subject: Re: Pros and Cons to wrapping boiler in insulation
 

I mostly agree.  Adding insulation to just the boiler in a boiler where temperature is controlled by a pressure stat shouldn't effect much.  All I can think of is 1) that there is less heating of the tank water after the machine is left on for a long time.  I suspect (but don't have data) that even a few degree change in tank temp can have a significant effect on the output temp from a small heat exchanger where mixing of incoming water occurs.  2) that there is less cooling of the boiler wall and so less internal convection and so less circulation/mixing (ie, more stratification).  A pressure stat controls to the max temp in the boiler, not the average or min temp.
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moosepucky
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Posted Sun Nov 3, 2013, 7:26am
Subject: Re: Pros and Cons to wrapping boiler in insulation
 

3 months into using the machine daily after wrapping the boiler and I can say that the case (and Gicar) stay a LOT cooler to the touch.

The machine does not cycle as frequently as the heat loss has been reduced.

I have not noticed any difference in the operation (times/temps).

Would I do it again?

If I had the machine apart, sure I would.  I don't think I would take it apart just to wrap the boiler but since I was doing some repairs/replacements inside it was a simple thing to do.

All in all I would say that the boiler wrap was a success.
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dana_leighton
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dana_leighton
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Posted Sun Nov 3, 2013, 7:33am
Subject: Re: Pros and Cons to wrapping boiler in insulation
 

dana_leighton Said:

If you haven't, check out this thread on insulating my Isomac. I recently removed the insulation for a boiler repair, and I didn't see any evident problems created by the insulation.

Posted August 11, 2013 link

I think I might modify this statement, now that you've updated the thread.

The copper boiler on my Isomac failed recently. It failed at the joint of the pipe fittings attached to the boiler. It is possible that any moisture that the insulation might have accumulated could have hastened corrosion. But, I am inclined to think that's unlikely. I have heard that this is a common problem with the copper boiler in the Isomac, most (nearly all?) of which are uninsulated.

 
Dana Leighton - Espresso hack and CoffeeGeek moderator
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moosepucky
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moosepucky
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Posted Sun Nov 3, 2013, 8:39am
Subject: Re: Pros and Cons to wrapping boiler in insulation
 

I plan on installing a PID in the next few months as the pressure stat is acting up a bit.  This will require that I take the machine apart once again to pull the face panel to cut the hole for the controller, remove the pressure stat, and install a probe into the boiler.

I may take the wrap off at that time just to see if anything has reacted since the copper boiler is in direct contact with the aluminum on the wrap and dissimilar metals + heat can sometimes cause problems.  If anything I would think that the thin aluminum would disappear long before the thick copper boiler would see even a spot develop on it.

If all looks well I may reverse the insulation and put the Mylar side of the insulation up against the copper for a while.

The Bezzera/Pasquini boilers are made of rather thick die formed copper plate so should last a long time, even with user abuse and misuse :)
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calblacksmith
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Posted Mon Nov 4, 2013, 8:30am
Subject: Re: Pros and Cons to wrapping boiler in insulation
 

Dana,
Just a off the top of the head guess here but I doubt that there was any moisture held in the insulation. The boiler is above boiling and the insulation next to the boiler will be the same temp, drying the insulation so in a personal view, it is a long shot that the insulation caused anything to happen faster in relation to the joint failure.
YMMV!

 
In real life, my name is
Wayne P.
Anything I post is personal opinion and is only worth as much as anyone else's personal opinion. YMMV!

Feed the newbs, starve the trolls and above all enjoy what you drink!
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jonr
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Posted Wed Nov 6, 2013, 2:10pm
Subject: Re: Pros and Cons to wrapping boiler in insulation
 

Variable heat loss to the surrounding air is the source of much (probably most in non-HX, PID machines) temperature inconsistency; reducing it is a good idea.  I've used firestop spray foam in some places and it seems to work well.  I should wrap or spray the HX to group tubing. valve and the top of the group too.
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