If you rely on your coffee machine to wake you up every morning with a caffeine fix, you may be wondering whether it is a good idea or not to leave it on 24/7. While this would improve the convenience of the machine, you may be uncertain whether it is safe and whether leaving it on for extended periods of time can actually damage anything inside the machine. Let’s get into it.
Leaving The Coffee Maker or Espresso Machine On
Since many people rely on a cup of coffee to get them started in the morning, it is not uncommon to find houses with a coffee machine plugged in and turned on all day and night. While this does keep the coffee machine ready to function at the drop of a hat, especially in models that keep the hot water temperature constant, it can have some pretty negative effects on your home’s energy efficiency and the quality of the machine.
In commercial coffee shops, a barista may leave the coffee machine on for a full shift without turning it off. Since the demand is pretty constant in this setting for coffee of all types, including specialty drinks like lattes and cappuccinos, this makes sense. However, in your home, you likely only make coffee in the morning. Leaving your home machine on all day and overnight is therefore quite unnecessary. In fact, it will even have some detrimental consequences.
One of the most obvious downsides of leaving the coffee maker on all the time is the power draw. Even if you aren’t actively using the machine, it will still be drawing electricity. Over time, this will have a pretty noticeable impact on your energy bill, and it is pretty wasteful and detrimental to the environment as well.
Aside from the extra cost and waste of energy, leaving your coffee machine running all the time will actually decrease the lifespan of the machine. When you leave the machine on, the thermostat and pressurestat will be turning on and off many times over the course of the day to warm up the water left in the water reservoir, and this will cause more wear more quickly and require a replacement sooner than should be needed.
Many other aspects of the coffee making system will be affected as well, including the grinder, grouphead and group gaskets, and even the heat exchangers and wiring systems. One of the more noticeable effects will be seen on the heating element of the machine, whether in a drip coffee maker, espresso machine, keurig coffee maker, or any other type of coffee machine. Being exposed to water constantly every day will increase the rate of scale build up. Not only will this affect the way the coffee tastes, but you’ll have to descale the machine more often and clean the coffee pot/carafe more often as it sits out all day.
Poor performance of the machine as it wears out may even require you to find a switch from coffee beans to coffee grounds if the grinder can’t perform its function properly, and at the end of the day, you’re just going to have a lot more maintenance costs associated with the machine. You’ll end up replacing your coffee maker almost three times as often as if you did not leave it on all the time. For the sake of not needing to turn it on and off with every use, we really don’t see how that minor convenience can outweigh the detrimental effects on the coffee machine itself and your finances.
If you really don’t have time to wait for the machine to get hot every morning, simply set a timer on the machine to have the coffee ready for when you wake up. If you are worried about forgetting to turn off the machine each day, we recommend looking into coffee makers that have an automatic shut off in place to take that responsibility off of your shoulders.
Leaving water in the coffee maker all the time is another quandary that should be explored. Some people prefer to leave water in the machine at all times, especially on models with a timer, since the heating element can be damaged if the machine gets hot in the absence of water. While this is justifiable, leaving water in the machine can also result in increased mineral deposition requiring descaling, bacteria growth, staleness, and general contamination risk.
While the decision to leave water in your coffee maker all day is ultimately up to you, just like the decision to leave the machine on all day and night, we highly, highly recommend that you only add water and turn the machine on when you actually need to use it. You’ll save money on maintenance and electricity, protect the integrity of many internal components, extend the life of your machine, and avoid potential risks to your health and the quality of each cup of coffee.