Yesterday, I had a really close call with my La Pavoni lever espresso machine! What happen was I was in a rush in the morning as I have a really early morning class. I turned on my La Pavoni profesional lever machine intending to make a cup of americano to go with me on the car ride. Atlas, after having a quick breakfast, I ran out of time to make coffee and decide to leave so that I can be in time for the important class. However, my forgotful mind did not remind me to turn of the switch on the Pavoni lever and as a result it was left on for over two hours.
Fortunately a disaster did not strike for me because afer 3 hours I remembered that I did not turn the machine off. I called my wife and asked her to turn off the Pavoni for me. Most espresso machines are fine being left on for an extended period of time and some machines such as commercial grade are actually meant to be left on 27/7. These machines benefits from being left on for extended period of time because it provide temperature stability for brewing espresso. However, with home lever espresso machine such as the La Pavoni profesional, they are exactly the opposite, they are meant only to be turned on for a short period of time while being used to make espresso or to steam milk. If left on for a long period of time, several things could happens; seals such as the piston seals or group seals can have their life shorten because of the higher group temperature of these lever machine (due to group attach directly to boiler, the group temperature will approach temperature of boiler which can be as high as 220F which is defintely not good for rubber seals). Additionally, if there is a possibility of steam leak such as the steam wand not closing all the way, the boiler will boil dry; if this happen the heating element would definitely be toasted (this actually happen quite commonly with lever machine owners as they forgot to add water to the boiler and turn the machine on while the boiler is dry!).
Fortunately for me this time, nothing happen but it will definely teach me a lesson to be more careful next time when I use the Pavoni!