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Old 02-13-2007, 05:30 AM   #1
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Default water heater hot water tank?

Could you use the water heater for mashing and sparging? Most of us brew in the garage where the water heater is at, why wouldn't it work?

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Old 02-13-2007, 06:07 AM   #2
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don't think it will work> water heaters generally have a cutout around 130-140 degrees

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Old 02-13-2007, 10:05 AM   #3
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Default Water Heater

Just not hot enough!

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Old 02-13-2007, 02:09 PM   #4
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I'm assuming you mean just to heat the water for mashing or sparging. Not actually mashing in the hot water heater itself.

Electric water heaters have temperture controls sometimes they have 1 for each heating element sometimes just 1 for both elements. Like some others have said the newer ones may have temp limits you'd need to look at your's and see. The temp range adjustment may not be marked in degrees, just warm - very hot. In any case you'd need to measure your temp to see what the actual temp is for any setting. Everything I've read suggests water heater temp setting of 120 to 130 degrees F for safety to prevent scaldings. All water heaters I have dealt with can heat to much higher tempertures than that. I don't think you'd have any trouble getting water temps up to 150 - 175 or higher from most water heaters.

Leaving a water heater set to over 120 degrees F is dangerous and energy inefficient not a smart thing to do. So you'd have to adjust it each time you brewed and adjust it for both mashing and sparging.

But you could easily be creating or involving yourself in a very dangerous situation. There is a possiblity the heater could reach the boiling point then the pop off valve could fail to function properly and the tank could explode or it could function as intended and severly scald someone.
Also the mixture of electricty and water is dangerous. And going inside your water heater you could be very close to bare electrical conductors as you attempted to adjust your water temp. Never do this with a hot electrical circuit the voltages and currents at this level can kill

Can you do it? I'd say probably. Should you do it? I'd say NO !

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Old 02-13-2007, 05:35 PM   #5
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Another consideration is that hot water is better at extracting contaminants like metals (i.e. lead based solder on copper joints) in the plumbing system than cold water. I think EPA or FDA recommends against drinking or cooking with hot water from the tap for that reason.

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Old 10-21-2011, 10:35 PM   #6
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I'll just add this here, instead of making a new post as it relates.

I want to use my Hot water for the brew pot. It would save time on brew day. I would still just take water at its current temp from the hot water heater, but then place that on the burner to get to temp.

Good or bad idea?

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Old 10-22-2011, 12:12 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkPhyre View Post
I want to use my Hot water for the brew pot. It would save time on brew day. I would still just take water at its current temp from the hot water heater, but then place that on the burner to get to temp.

Good or bad idea?
I don't ever use hot tap water for drinking or cooking. I wouldn't go so far as to call it unsafe, but you'll find that there's more 'stuff' in it, which will probably end up making the beer less good.

As a quick and dirty test, take some hot and cold water samples in different glasses, and leave them on the counter until they are the same temperature. Drink them. I'm guessing you'll be able to tell which is which.
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Old 10-22-2011, 04:22 PM   #8
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My fairly new gas hot water heater is located in the garage where I brew. I put a tee on the output side with a valve so I can draw hot water right from the tank as needed. The water is taken right out of the tank and does not travel through the house plumbing. There is no detectable difference in the taste of cold or hot tap water at my house.

The morning of brew day I crank the thermostat up to max and can get 150 deg water. That water is heated a bit more on the burner for mashing, but it does not take long.

I used to use that water (via a white RV hose) to supply the HLT which reduced heating time there as well. After a few experiments, we now have eliminated the HLT entirely and use the 150 deg water directly for sparging. No measurable loss of efficiency or change in wort collection was noticed so it has become our new SOP. After sparging, the thermostat is set back to the everyday setting.

My big system ends up using about 80 gallons of hot water on brew day (2 barrel batch size) so all this activity has to be coordinated with others in the house who might need to use the domestic hot water for showers.

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Old 10-22-2011, 08:45 PM   #9
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My neighbors use a residential tankless heater to get water to 140F then use a burner to get the rest of the way. It saves an awful lot of time on a 40gal batch, the their beer is quite good. It's a natural gas fired tankless design, but the "usable" water isn't directly fired, there's some sort of heat exchanger in there.

Commercial units have a higher temp range, residential units are limited for scalding reasons, energy savings, liability, and general lack of need of the higher temp.

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Old 10-23-2011, 06:29 AM   #10
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I have a shop that I was gonna co-convert into a brew house (personal use only) and put a Hot water tank there. So the water would be straight from the water tank.

I don't see what the problem would be.

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