Resetting Silvia After Boiler Goes Dry
There is a way to reset one of the thermostats on the boiler of the Silvia. It is a high-temperature safety thermostat designed to attempt to protect the heating element from excessive temperatures.
For liability reasons, we must state that if you are not sure you can understand electrical safety guidelines (unplugging the machine and not altering or adjusting internal wiring), you should not perform this task and should take your Silvia to a Rancilio authorized service center. Furthermore, if the unit was at a hot temperature when you noticed the heating abilities have been stopped, we cannot be held responsible for any burns that would occur if the machine is not allowed to cool before performing this task. If your Rancilio Silvia is under warranty, the troubleshooting step of resetting the thermostat has no effect on the warranty; however, please be advised below these steps of the reasons why this safety thermostat can trip.
The machine needs to be reset when the boiler overheats. The boiler overheats usually if the internal water level is not maintained. The Silvia (and other espresso machines with similar technology) employs an internal heating element which is submerged in the boiler water. When you brew espresso or dispense hot water, the pump pushes out hot boiler water with tank water, keeping the boiler full. When you steam/froth milk, the water level drops as steam is released, but the boiler is not refilled. To attempt to prevent the heating element from burning out, the thermostat kills power to the element. Thermostats can only work effectively if the boiler is full of water (or enough steam). Always turn off the steam switch when steaming is complete, then press the coffee delivery switch until some water comes out of the brew group head. Also let some water out of the steam wand after this to keep it clean. In addition, do not allow these kinds of espresso machines to be turned on and left idle (unused) for several hours at a time, and always press the coffee delivery switch immediately upon any cold startup and let some water out just in case another user of your machine did not follow these guidelines.
If you have to perform this reset, keep your eyes peeled for any whitish residue in the water that comes out of the group head. This is an indication that the heating element may have been damaged, and the boiler may need to be replaced.
PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE don't let your Silvia boiler operate without water! This, along with limescale and coffee oil build up are the primary reasons we get many machines in for non-warranty service.
- Unplug the machine and allow to cool, if necessary.
- Remove the top plate.
- Notice that there are three thermostats, two on the top and one on the side of the boiler. Locate the thermostat on the side of the boiler; notice that there is a red button on the top of this thermostat. Press this button straight into the thermostat from the tip. Do not push it from any of the rounded sides. You may or may not hear a click, or any other sort of indication that anything has happened. See the pictures below for a look at the thermostat in question.
- Replace the top plate, and fill the water tank.
- Plug in the machine, open the steam valve (with a vessel beneath the wand), turn it on, and immediately activate the coffee switch to ensure the boiler fills with water.
- If you have a GFCI outlet (the one with the TEST/RESET buttons), plug the Silvia into that outlet and test to make sure it doesn't trip the outlet protection.