You were unclear if the faceplate is on the steam generator or the iron. Anyway the repair center for Rowenta above should help you. Be prepared to pay for shipping, get a firm estimate and insist on old parts be returned with the repaired unit. If it is the iron stainless steel soleplate assy, it is around $80 or so, plus labor and shipping, so be careful. They also sell the steam generator faceplate, which can be replaced with some multipoint Torx security tool set and careful disassembly & reassembly fairly easily.
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Sounds like you need to clean the iron. Try equal parts of white vinegar and distilled water. Fill the reservoir with the mixture, turn iron to highest setting and place the tron on a wire rack in a baking pan lined with ab old towel. Repeat if needed, Rinse iron with a cycle pf distulled water. Clean iron in a ventillated area since vinegar odor will be strong.
The old Rowenta DG-980 is a consumer grade machine but with commercial quality function and features. My gal who worked at a dry cleaners many years ago loves the DG-980. Here is the scoop on how to get it going if just cleaning it is all it needs (our used one had the same problem and I fixed it by doing the following:
Rowenta recommends that you use clear filtered drinking or bottled water only. I believe them because the system uses brass & aluminum throughout, so salts or acids would cause corrosion.
To clean the system totally, after each ironing session before I put it away, I remove the blue reservoir completely, and run the burst of steam several times until the boiler is empty, and red light indicates it is out of water. I shut the power off and unplug. Wait at least an hour or so, access the boiler tank plug on side & if it is cool to the touch, remove it using a coin (quarter), drain and flush the tank several times with the cleaning tube that came with unit or filtered/drinking bottled water several times over the kitchen sink. Finally, drain all the water completely out of the boiler (I leave the plug & cover off to making sure it is completely dry before putting everything back together, ready for the next time).
After several use cycles of the above should clear out the debris. My 1st experience with a used DG980 had exactly the same problem. P.S. before ironing the first article, use several bursts of steam away from the ironing board surface to clear out any standing water and debris that was is in the system. Hope this helps :O)
I posted a similar fix under Rowenta DG-980 troubleshooting section. You may be able to pry off the soft rubber cover and access the switch assy and initiate a "surgical procedure".564568
Are you working on another iron similar to the DG-980 posting elsewhere on the FixYa website?
As for the Rowenta manufacturer, you can "Google" the Rowenta website at http://www.google.com typing in Rowenta and looking specifically for the Rowenta home website to get manuals, PDF reader and other good stuff. Please advise if your problem is fixed. I'm in SoCal and been to the UK only once.
DIA' s problem - the brown water is due to poor water quality and debris in the boiler and iron sytem. Rowenta is clear that they do not want anyone to cleaning solutions - only clear filtered drinking water to rinse out the boiler (via the water inlet screw hole) and I have found running the system dry, letting it cool, rinsing and draining the boiler several times before putting unit away works fine.
Guest' problem with brown/black tar substance is likely caused by too hot and iron setting (steam setting may also be too high) for ironing man-made synthetics (like Nylon, Rayon, Polyester or blends are basically petroleum based fabrics) that breakdown or melt, leaving deposits on the iron's stainless steel soleplate. A secondary cause could be bad water or debris in the boiler/iron in which the solution for DIA's problem might provide relief. Cleaning the soleplate is tricky, I use nothing stronger than an old fashioned wooden orange stick to gently scrap of all traces of the "stuff" and dry "Dutch" cleanser w/ a terry cloth or old cotton sock to polish without scratching the soft stainless soleplate...