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This is not so much an article as “a look inside my mind”. I’ve tried to lay out the decision process I use when confronted by the email saying “my machine’s broke and I don’t know what to do.” It’s as general as possible, because I get all sorts of questions about all sorts of domestic machines.

What I haven’t tried to do is to get into explicit “how-to’s” for fixing specific electrical and mechanical problems, especially blown elements, busted pumps and leaking from steam wands or portafilters. There are just too many types of machines out there to be able to do it. There ARE some general principles which I’ll try to address in a later article, but for the present, the flow chart below covers about 80% of all the problems I get.