My GF has had her Gaggia Carrezza for about 5 or so years, she tells me. Well, she never descaled it (she realizes how bad that is) So, I descaled it for her. Everything worked fine for about a week, and now the water leaves the wand very slow into the shot glass. Also, there is little to no crema. Additionally, the steam wand has developed the following problems. There is little foam, and I can't seem to get the milk to foam very well. This is different then it used to be, say about a year ago. Also, recently, with in the past 3 or 4 months, it seems as if the steam is, well, running out of steam, like it is running out. Towards the end of the steaming process, it seems to \"peeter out\" till almost non existant, and with in the past 3 or so days, the steam seems to be \"sputtering\". It sounds like sputtering, and when I check the steam, it seems to be starting and stopping in quick succession.
I took the unit apart last night, and I cleaned and removed as much \"junk\" as I could from the brass tube leading from the Steam knowb to the end of the steam wand, but that made no difference, this morning, I got the sputtering and the lack of steam issues again.
I am worried that the punp is failing. Is there a way to clean everything out (should I try descaling again, I just did it 3 or so weeks ago) How can I check the pump?
I also wanted to mention that I removed and cleaned the Shower head screen, the large part above it held in with the allen head bolts, and the large \"bolt\" that has a hole through it, which retains the spring and ball piece.
What is the best way to clean it. I am totally fine with taking the unit apart, just want to know the best way to slean it, and what exactly I should be cleaning. I did the wand part, from the valve to the frothing tip, perhaps I need to go to points before that. Should I just take care of the boiler, and again, how should I do that. What is the best method to clear out/clean the boiler and pipes and tubes?
I have worked on Gaggia's that were so dirty - that is, they had not been descaled EVER in ten years -
they were so full of scale and sediment it was a wonder that they could be revived at all.
But I did it.
What did I do?
I took the whole machine apart and split the boiler open (it is held together with Allan head bolts)
Although tearing apart a boiler is not for everyone (you do need to make a note of where all the wires and tubes go -- and I am not going to explain it in detail... cause there are slight variations...) if you are up for it, do it - and replace the head gasket while you are at it as well.
I descaled it for her. Everything worked fine for about a week, and now the water leaves the wand very slow into the shot glass. Also, there is little to no crema.
I'm a bit late jumping into your thread, but so far would agree with Colin. If the machine was \"working fine\" just a week ago - i.e., steaming with sufficient steam pressure or drawing water through the steam wand - and then started having significant problems after the descale, it is likely that loose chunks of scale have been released to clog the valves.
If this is the case, further descaling is unlikely to quickly solve the problem and could make it worse. Five years without descaling certainly makes this scenario seem pretty likely. You may need to crack the boiler as Colin suggests to manually remove the scale. Similarly, you may need to take apart the steam valve assembly or even replace it (I think that you removed the steam wand so far, but not the valve?).
Opening these things up, you may need to replace some of the o-rings to seal them properly upon reassembly. You can also buy a new boiler as a replacement part, but you would still be putting it back together (the upper aluminum boiler joins to the brass group body below, sealed with an o-ring, to form the whole boiler) and likely cleaning out the steam valve assembly above the boiler.
- Can you measure how much water you can pump out of the grouphead in 30 seconds? Measure this from the bare grouphead without the portafilter in place. You should normally expect at least 200ml or so in 30sec iirc, though scale could be slowing water flow.
- ... out of the steam wand (with pump engaged) in 30 seconds (perhaps 10 seconds if severely blocked)?
- Can you take temperature measurements of the water exiting the boiler at the grouphead (e.g., stick a thermometer through a styrofoam cup and hold the cup up against the grouphead; allow the machine to preheat for 20-30 minutes and take multiple measurements)?
- Can you do the same after selecting the steam switch and waiting for the temperature ready light tp change (assuming that it does)? Pump this water through the group rather than the steam wand.
Were you able to steam successfully before the descale? or were you still having problems with just sputtering bursts of steam? It is possible that a failed steam thermostat, or even severe scale in the boiler, could prevent it from reaching steam temperature.
Does the temperature ready light come back on (or is it go back off with your Carezza?) shortly after hitting the steam switch, or does it never think it is up to temperature?
I wouldn't worry about the pump just yet. However, if you ever engage the pump and water does not flow for more than ten seconds, I would turn off the pump to prevent overworking it.