One of the few things I did not like about my Rancilio Silvia was having to add water to the reservoir. For a while, there was no way around it. My coffee station was on the wrong side of the kitchen. After I mentioned it a couple of times, my wife said that I could move my coffee stuff to the refrigerator & sink side of the room. Hurray!
I'd already planned the process, of course. I would get a float valve, mount it in the reservoir lid, connect it to copper tubing (icemaker size) and then to the icemaker water line. Since I already had an icemaker connection for my refrigerator, I planned to make a manifold out of a T-connector so I could feed both the Silvia and the icemaker. I figured that I didn't need a drain hookup, since there was never much water in the Silvia's catch tray anyway.
Then, the day came. First, I just moved the Rocky and Silvia across the room, so it was beside the refrigerator. I thought I'd try it for a few days to make sure I really liked it there, and then make the water line connection. I also knew that there was a new refrigerator coming, as our 27-year-old one was making clanking sounds.
While we were looking at Home Depot for a new refrigerator (ended up getting a Sears one, though), I found a GE icemaker line that was plastic tubing, flared at both ends, complete with standard flare nuts. For the hookup I envisioned, I bought two of these at about $5 each. I only needed one because the refrigerator came with its own icemaker hose.
One of the caveats for water line hookups -- if you're going to hook up a larger espresso machine, like an exchanger one, then most people recommend a 3/8" water line. This is because you can pull water out of the system faster than a 1/4" line can add it. Also, most of the more expensive machines have the water line direct-piped to the espresso machine pump (and have the drain hard-piped also).
Most refrigerator/icemaker water lines are 1/4". The Silvia has a two quart reservoir, so I'm just refilling the reservoir. If I'm brewing an espresso, the line and valve keep up with the water flow. If I'm getting hot water out the steam wand for an Americano, on the other hand, it seems like the line can't add enough water fast enough to keep up.
I've finally decided that it is just the mechanics of the float valve operating. After I fill about 6 ounces into a stainless pitcher, I can hear the water through the float valve as it closes slowly for another 4-5 seconds. However, if I pump 8 ounces or 16 ounces through the steam wand, that makes no difference on the subsequent 4-5 seconds — it is just float valve showly closing completely. This provides plenty of water for my needs.
Copyright © 2004-2006 Terry A. Stockdale. All rights reserved.