Overtime your Delonghi coffee machine will need maintenance. Some of the Delonghi machines are equipped with lights to remind you when something is wrong or needs to be looked at. One light is your descaling light reminding you to descale your machine. Let’s jump into how to descale your Delonghi, and some other common questions you ma have when descaling.
To get rid of the descaling light and get your machine working normally again you need to perform the descaling procedure to its completion. The Delonghi machines have a very user-friendly descaling procedure to walk through, and it will do most of the work for you but there may be subtle differences depending on what machine you have.
To start the sequence I suggest you refer to the manual, but most machines will have a button with the descaling symbol. Once you start the cycle the machine will tell you what to do in steps either giving you directions on the screen or it will light up the next step to perform.
How to perform the descaling proceedure:
The machine will tell you when to descale based on how much water is run through your machine. This is also dependant on your water hardness (explained at the bottom of this post) setting on the machine. This is how it works, Your machine counts how much water is used by measuring the flow of water through its flowmeters. The machine uses this to gauge when the descale warning light comes on to prompt the descaling process.
Because it uses flowmeters, the indicator to descale is not on a timer or calendar. So if you brew 10 cups a day vs 3 cups a day, the 10 cup machine will need to be descaled more frequently.
Firstly, you must perform the descaling procedure to keep your Delonghi working optimally for a long time. Once the process is done this clears the warning light. No shortcuts here.
If you do not do this process you can and will have a large variety of issues including:
Repairs can range from simple and cheap $80 fix to difficult and expensive $300+ fix which could be prevented from this simple maintenance.
Water hardness refers to the kind of water your machine is taking in. Hard water contains more minerals like calcium and magnesium, but if your water is put through water softening filters then your water is considered soft. More conventional filters like BritaFilters can help with softening water but it doesn’t nearly have the same effect like a water softening filter.
If you set the machine to hard water and you have soft water your descale light can be requesting a descale only weeks apart and you will be performing unnecessary descaling. To simplify, if you set your machine to accommodate hard water, then descaling will be required more frequently. With soft water, you can operate longer before a descale is required. The machine counts how much water is used through flowmeters to gauge when the next descale warning appears.
If you want to find out the hardness of the water going through your machine to know what to what setting to use, there are cheap water hardness kits on amazon that can tell you the hardness level in under a minute.
Additionally, more about the soft and hard water settings and what one is best for you can be found out in your machine’s manual.
Use the Delonghi Ecodecalk Descaler made for this unit. It is especially important to use the manufactures branded descaler to perform the procedure for optimal results. By using the manufacturer-brand descaler you don’t risk using a product that will hurt your machine.
There are a lot of good descaler liquids on the market, but it’s best to use your branded version. If your machine has a powder descale make sure you dilute this in a separate container so it can be diluted fully as this can cause blockages.
There are many generic descaler liquids on the market at different price points that are reputable that can work just as well. But if you are going to use them, be sure to follow the directions of the manufacture.
The quick answer: don’t use vinegar. It is not equipped to descale the machine. It can and will cause service issues ranging from clogging the pipes to the point of parts needing to be replaced. It can take away a coating inside the boiler pipes designed to insulate and keep your espresso hot.
We’ve also written an article on the specifics of why vinegar is bad if you’re interested.
I have personally serviced many machines that had vinegar run through them and in the end, it ends up on my repair bench. Please follow the manufactures suggested product.
Enjoy an espresso, and don’t be a coffee grump!
I’m the Coffee Grump. I’m a tech guy, not a sales guy. I love coffee, and I service the equipment that grinds and brews it for you. I have more than 25 years of experience in technical and customer service in coffee machinery, and I hope to share some of that experience with you with this website!