How long should a coffee machine last?

Purchased a Breville Barista Express BES870BSS October 2021. Went in to get fixed (shower head spraying everywhere no matter how many replacement seals) Feb 2023. Breville covered cost of repairs as just out of warranty. Have had the same problem for the last few months & have taken it in for repair. Has always been cleaned & maintained as per Breville instructions. Very disappointing. Anyone had similar issues or any suggestions? Have once again raised the case with Breville.

Breville ‘customer service’ has a certain reputation for being very responsive to warranties but afterwards they respond like a different company.

My Breville BES920 has been trouble free at 2 1/2 years save for the portafilter handle that came apart. They only wanted to sell me a $120 replacement part claiming the portafilter was a consumable accessory (!!). Breville was somewhat less than useless in advising the proper glue after a few attempts failed. I finally found a sealant that worked, no help from their ‘customer service’.

Prior to the BES920 I had Sunbeam equivalents over 3 generations (15 years total) with each lasting about 5 years before needing something major. Sunbeams are built to a cost and are not designed for most repairs to be economical hence I finally went for the Breville. 2 of the 3 Sunbeams had the symptom you described at roughly 2-3 year marks from new, making 2~3 coffees per day on average.

If the water is spraying out from around the portafilter on a Breville I would expect it is almost assuredly the seal. Were your replacement seals Breville parts or generics? FWIW some Breville models had manufacturing changes so bits for one group of serial numbers don’t always work with other groups, however while worth stating that is unlikely with the seals.

Over time I have found generic seals to be a small fraction off size from the OEM but fit many machines. Some generics were a better experience than the Sunbeam OEM while others were just off enough thin so the portafilter would not seal, some were as good as an OEM and perfect, and in one case the generic was just over-thick enough so the portafilter could not mount at all.

Also check the basket for a nick no matter how minor. If there are nicks it will be more susceptible to a pressure leak if the seal is not ‘as new’ pliable.

While not relevant to your Breville, on the Sunbeams the spraying was usually the seal, but on the Sunbeam EM7000, their first go at a serious machine, they used a soft brass that wore from use. Adding a [minor] shim (hand cut from very thin auto gasket material or paying a ridiculous amount for a pre-cut one from ebay) between seal and housing worked a treat and you might try that if all else fails.

Bottom line is 2 years for the life of a seal is not bad, if it is a seal.

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It should last longer than 3 odd years. The problem you have would be considered a minor fault as it can easily be repaired and could be considered a consumable… possibility something needing replacing over time to maintain functionality.

New shower heads aren’t overly expensive… this is one example:

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Thanks for your reply. The seal is from Breville & we seem to be replacing them every couple of months. The old ones never appear damaged or nicked. Currently at one of Breville’s service agents so will be curious to see what the result is. Last time he had to take it completely apart to replace a minor part.

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Have replaced the shower head twice (part purchased from Breville).

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That seems unusual. I could not fathom why that part would be prone to failure in successive short times.

I suggest you compile documentation for all the failures and repairs and consider if it is worth while to claim you have a lemon, eg a major fault because of the number of minor faults, and seek a replacement or refund, not a another repair.

I presume they have checked the pressure valve? Basically most pumps do 15 bar but there is only 9 bar to the group head. The pressure valve releases the excess to the drip tray. If your drip tray stays mostly dry it could be a symptom re the valve not being right and if the pressure valve is clogged or bad there would be consistent over-pressure at the group head that would blow seals as you describe.

Re major vs minor faults and rights to remedies, see p19

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How did they fail?

From the above website:

Blocks are often replaced when worn and no longer allowing a good seal with the porter filter or when they become blocked with scale and old coffee residue

If you use reticulated (mains) tap water in the coffee machine, it will contain considerable amount of dissolved solids (TSS) which over time can build up. Such build up of scale, coffee residues etc won’t be covered by the Australian Consumer Law and will be considered consumables which need replacing from time to time.

A solution to reduce frequency of replacement might be to install a water filter which removes the TSS in the water. The costs for a filter may be more in the long term than the cost of replacing the shower head.

That raises a question: @karen1, do you run the machine’s cleaning program at regular intervals, using a coffee machine cleaning tablet? That’s supposed to remove / prevent build-up of coffee residue and scale. Our Breville (“The Infuser”) coffee machine turns on a “clean me” light every so often, probably after some specific number of uses, and I always obediently clean it then. It comes up maybe once a month.

We’ve had the machine for just over 7 years and haven’t had to replace any parts yet (touch wood). Canberra’s water is relatively clean, but scale does build up slowly in kettles, around taps, etc.

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Always obey the scale & clean light using Breville products. The problem seems to occur not long after we do that.

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:worried: This is sounding more and more like a lemon, as @PhilT has suggested. I agree with him that something very wrong with pressure control could be at the bottom of all of the problems.

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Will wait to hear from authorised repair & Breville. Will let you know the outcome. Thank you all for your input.

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Reality is repair techs treat symptoms and do not always look for the underlying problem as to why something repeatedly fails.

As a mind exercise, since the seals tend to blow soon after a service/repair event, consider that a service/repair event essentially cleans the parts. It could cause a dodgy pressure relief valve to become ‘more dodgy’, eg put an even higher pressure into the group head. Worth having that discussion with the repairer. They might be happy to replace the valve on speculation; they are not expensive parts and labour may be minor if the machine is already torn down.

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Owned for more than 10 years, zero problems; always maintained for de-scaling & portafilter flushing. Only cleaned out the grinder for the first time recently and found that at the very bottom, a felt washer was broken & a new one from Breville arrived a few days later.

Maybe a third party might take a look, examine the seals etc. Again, parts seem easy to get.

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Ive just purchased that Breville model a week ago.The Caffatilly pod machine ($99 from woolies)has lasted for 10years never had any problem with it. Compatable pods are in short supply and doubled in price and variety.Hoping this current model can last a while as I’m still learning all the jargen regarding names of parts,grind choices adjustments etc etc etc.

Overall I have had a good experience with Breville coffee machines. If something needs replacing at least the parts are easily accessible and affordable.
As for your group head leaking and assuming that the leak is via the head seal. Do you store the porta filter in the group head when the machine in not in use? That can compact the seal much faster than normal use.

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2 Saeco aka Philips Royal Cappuccino for twenty years or more, I don’t remember. Decalcify when the machines tell me, maybe two or three visits to Brighton Coffee Machine Services and, fingers crossed, going strong. May not be the best coffee but push a button, grinds, medium black is my starter.

I bought a small Jura coffee machine a few years ago - 4? When something went wrong outside of warranty, they repaired it for free. It’s still going without having been serviced, which I’ll do now after reading this. Anyone knowing where in Blue Mountains?
May-Brit