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Old 10-19-2010, 06:40 AM   #1
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Default Heating element questions

I am considering switching from my propane turkey fryer to an electric system. I use a 10 gallone igloo cooler MLT and an 11.5 gallone keggle for a BK. I brew 5 - 7 gallone batches. I have a few questions:

What size / strength / material heating element would work best for a 5 - 7 gallon batch system? Do I need two elements to get a proper boil going? Any specific (make / model) recomendations would be greatly appreciated.

I have a 110v 15amp outlet readily available that could be converted to gfi and upgraded to 20 amp (it's right next to the service panel). I would like to stay away from a 220v element unless there is no real alternative.

Thanks!

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Old 10-19-2010, 06:57 AM   #2
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If you can't swing 220v, put as much wattage in as your line is rated to, unless you enjoy having your patience tested. I'd bite the bullet and get a 220v setup. Surely you have an oven range or a laundry dryer that has 220?

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Old 10-19-2010, 01:13 PM   #3
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With a 20A 120v circuit you can only use a 2000W element, it'll work and even boil 7 gallons of water, but it will take a LONG time. When I brew outside I use a 2000W heatstick to supplement my propane burner.

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Old 10-19-2010, 01:49 PM   #4
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I have two systems. One runs standard 240V into a 4500W element. One runs two 120V elements for a total of 4000W. Both ways are fine.

I would personally upgrade to 240 and get a spa panel, but if money is really an issue, then the pair of 120V elements works just fine.

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Old 10-19-2010, 01:59 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by jfkriege View Post
I have two systems. One runs standard 240V into a 4500W element. One runs two 120V elements for a total of 4000W. Both ways are fine.

I would personally upgrade to 240 and get a spa panel, but if money is really an issue, then the pair of 120V elements works just fine.
Which would require (2) 20 amp 120v circuits...
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What does the primary pressure gauge on the tank tell us? That's right, the temperature. Put it on a scale if you want to know how much is in it...
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Old 10-19-2010, 03:30 PM   #6
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Thanks for the responses.

I am trying to shorten my brew time so testing my patience is not the direction I want to go! Is there a minimum wattage I should plan for? I see some 3500w elements for sale that say they will do 10 gallon batches. How long would that take to boil 7 gallons? Is there an advantage to two elements over one (say two 2000w vs. one 4000w)? Seems like two would be an extra hole to drill and weld.

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Old 10-19-2010, 03:38 PM   #7
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The advantage to 2 2000W elements is that you likely have 2 separate 20Amp circuits available where with a 4000 watt element you would need an a larger circuit that is not likely readily available in your home.

Do not try to plug two 2000W 120V elements into the same circuit. Make you you know where your outlets go in your breaker box.

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Old 10-19-2010, 04:00 PM   #8
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The issue is that Volts * amps = Watts.
Or: Amps = Watts divided by Volts.

So a 2000 watt 120 volt element will pull (2000/120) 16.66 Amps. (2) 2000 watt 120 volt elements will pull 33.33 Amps!

In other words, you can only run (1) 2Kw element on a 20 amp 120 volt circuit.

Some other quick calculations:
2000w @ 120v = 16.66a
3500w @240v = 14.58a
5500w @ 240v = 22.91a

It takes a LOT of current to run an electric heating element, and you must plan for that capacity. Or, at best, you'll blow breakers. At worst???

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What does the primary pressure gauge on the tank tell us? That's right, the temperature. Put it on a scale if you want to know how much is in it...
Put some duct tape over the gauge - Or better yet - Replace the high pressure gauge with a plug - High pressure gauges are useless!
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Old 10-19-2010, 04:30 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SweetSounds View Post
Some other quick calculations:
2000w @ 120v = 16.66a
3500w @240v = 22a
5500w @ 240v = 22.91a
???
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Old 10-19-2010, 04:40 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wilserbrewer View Post
???
Fixed - Sorry
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Originally Posted by Ecnerwal View Post
What does the primary pressure gauge on the tank tell us? That's right, the temperature. Put it on a scale if you want to know how much is in it...
Put some duct tape over the gauge - Or better yet - Replace the high pressure gauge with a plug - High pressure gauges are useless!
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