In hard water areas, minerals found in the water (such as calcium & magnesium) will build up, and over time affect operation of the espresso machine.  Descale the machine with Citric Acid  approximately every 3 months;  more or less frequently depending on your use and the hardness of your water.

First, remove the shower screen and shower screen holder plate.

If your machine has a group valve (as in it does not have a 3-way solenoid), remove at least the inner part of the group valve, poke a straightened paper clip into the hole controlled by the valve, and aggressively ream it out.
Flakes of scale will float into the stand pipe, blocking the hole, and this clears it so the descaling solution can flow through the group.)

Add two tablespoons Citric Acid to 1 quart of tepid water in the water reservoir, and mix thoroughly to dissolve.
Remove the portafilter and place a container under the group head;  put another container under the steam wand to catch the descaling solution.

Power up the espresso machine.
Turn the brew switch on and run about 6 oz. of the Citric Acid solution through the brew head.
Now open the steam valve, turn the pump on, and draw another 6 oz. through the steam wand.

If  your machine has an adjustable OPV (e.g. the Classic) use a backflush blank filter or disk, and force a small amount of descaling fluid back through the OPV for 10 seconds.

Turn the machine off and let it sit for 15 minutes.

Repeat until all the solution has been run through. [i]Do not leave espresso machine on between cycles and do not allow reservoir to run empty![/i]

Now rinse reservoir thoroughly with fresh water, refill it with fresh water, and run a full tank of the fresh water through the machine, alternating between group head, steam wand, and OPV (on machines so equipped).

If this process doesn't clean the boiler it may be necessary to manually descale the boiler. Sometimes after descaling, bits of scale will settle in the stand pipe and block the hole controlled by the group valve. If you experience group flow problems after descaling, repeat the process of removing the group valve internal parts and cleaning out the hole.


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