The goal of this ible is to show you how to rig up your coffee machines (or any other device that uses a reservoir of cold water) to automatically refill with a good old mechanical sensor... a floater!
Giveaway: follow my instructables and YouTube channels and post an "I've made it" picture to get the free pro membership voucher I got when this instructables was featured.
Step 1: Material
You will need the following
- A drill
- A 1/4 inch or larger bit for passing the tubing through surfaces
- A stepped bit to properly drill into the water tank without destryoing it
- 1/4 pipe, plastic or copper if you can afford it; either way you need the corresponding cutter. Don't use copper if you plan on doing sharp bends.
- A mini float valve meant to take 1/4" tube
- A self tapping saddle valve to attach onto copper or iron pipe. If you have pex, splicing in a proper T is a breeze if you follow my instructables on doing pex, you can even get one with a valve. That last option I have never tried, but it seems to be valid for most types of plubming.
- cable clips
Step 2: Make the Hole in Your Tank / Lid
Make the hole for the float valve in your lid or water tank. For my espresso machine, this was simply on the side because it is a large rectangle; it fit very nicely in there. It also happens that the stepped bit is also the correct bit for sheet metal like the aluminium casing around the tank that I drilled through.
For the Keurig machine, I completely destroyed my reservoir, so try to make sure it will fit first! Ultimately, it fit best by putting the inlet at the narrow end of the lid, and simply loosening the plunger enough to make it face the other direction it normally would. It does mean that I need a bit of extra clearance to generate the needed pressure, but who cares, it auto-refills! As long as it holds more than a cup's worth of water, it will go on for ever.
Make sure you adjust the floater so that it will cut out with the water below the max fill line of your reservoir. You can easily test this by pushing on it, you can clearly see when it is open or closed.
Step 3: Run the Tube
I suggest running the tube before anything else, that way you can install the pipe on the compression fitting of the saddle valve before you actually feed water to it. Since I had two devices, this also meant a splice with a tee compression fitting for me.
In my case, this also meant making a hole in the counter top. I ran as much of the tube as I could under the counter, and behind the lip under my cupboards. Plastic tubing like this should not be exposed to too much UV light, so I tried to keep it in a shaded path. I may eventually try to cover it with some sort of sheething.
Step 4: Tap the Saddle Valve
These are a breeze to do.
- Retract the valve (make so the pointy bit is not showing).
- Clamp the valve on the pipe where it will remain permanently.
- Turn the valve clockwise (like if you were shutting it off) until it is all the way down.
- When you are ready, open it back up (don't do this yet if you aren't ready for the water, water will start running!)
I did add an extra step to make mine removable, I added compression fittings to the ends of a short piece of copper pipe, and just put it in the middle of two flex hoses. I needed an extra long one for my faucet anyways, and the hardware store did not have any, so this was just a 2 for 1 solution for me.
Step 5: Test and Enjoy
As you can see in the video, no more low water in the morning! :)