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Old 06-17-2011, 02:04 PM   #1
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Default Electric Heater Element in HLT

I have been experimenting with using a water heater element. I want to put it in my water cooler so that when I mash all I have to do is select the next temperature and not have to fire up the gas burner. Saves gas and I don't have to keep checking temps and over shooting and etc. Plus I like gadgets.

So I bought a $10 water heater element, and a $2 bucket. drilled a hole. Mounted it in my test bucket and wired it up using a junk extension cord I had laying around. Works surprisingly well. Heats 5 gal of water 2 deg a minute.
I used a 120v 2000 Watt version. I do have it on a GFCI. I have 4 kids that need their daddy.

What I did notice is the first batch all of the "chrome" plating began to flake off. Metal particles all in the water and some kind of film floating on the top.
I rinsed the bucket good. took the element out and used scotch bright and took the rest of the coating off of the element. Boiled another 5 gals. Not as bad but still a film floating on top of the water.
My question is do any of you get a metallic taste in your beer having the element come in contact with the water? Any off flavors?
I do not plan on it coming in contact with the wort. Only the Mashing supply water.
Thanks for any input.

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Old 06-19-2011, 04:30 AM   #2
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Haven't had that issue and I have two elements mounted in my keggle. Is that bucket food safe and able to handle the temperatures?

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Old 06-19-2011, 04:46 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Dgonza9 View Post
Haven't had that issue and I have two elements mounted in my keggle. Is that bucket food safe and able to handle the temperatures?
Thanks for the reply. This bucket it just for testing before I drill on my cooler.
I wanted to see how hot it would get. And if it was even worth trying to make it work.
Taking it to 180 deg was not an issue and the bucket is fine so far. I have no intentions of heating water above 180 with this thing.
I am still pretty concerned about the stuff coming off of the element.
You didn't have any issues burning in your elements and coatings or flakes in your water?
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Old 06-19-2011, 05:31 AM   #4
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It should work fine. I use the same element in a heat stick to boil 7.5 gallons of wort. As for the coating coming off, I haven't noticed that. Mine is still on there. I'd be worried if flakes were coming off. It may be a defect. Did the element get turned on at all without being submerged in water? That will ruin it very quickly.

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Old 06-19-2011, 06:16 AM   #5
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material flaking off a heating element is very weird. I use heat sticks also, and I haven't seen that.

I mean, think about it, those things go in your hot water heater, and that hot water can go directly into your food, drinks, whatever. It can't just be flaking off unsafe material like that.

i'd return the element and get a different brand.

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Old 06-19-2011, 12:58 PM   #6
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I am going to try another brand. I have never ran it out of water. It must be defective. Kind of scary if I would have put that in my water heater. I wouldn't be able to see what it was doing and would be consuming these flakes.
Thanks for your input.

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Old 06-19-2011, 02:49 PM   #7
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Can't really tell from the photo, but is that a pvc coupling threaded on the element inside the bucket...copper or stainless would be my choice. Also, you want to ground the element w/ the green wire.

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Old 06-19-2011, 03:11 PM   #8
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Yes that is PVC. That is the only thing the hardware store had that would work for testing the element. I am trying to find a stainless coupling or half coupling but they are hard to find. Do you know of any sources? I am trying to stay away from using copper on my rig.
The GFCI will still work if the ground is not connected. It measures the difference between the hot and neutral. If I had a metal test bucket I would for sure have it connected. But in this set up I have nothing to connect it to.
Thanks for the input.

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Old 06-19-2011, 06:35 PM   #9
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Any small amounts of copper in the wort will be consumed by the yeast. Breweries with all copper equipment have shown that no copper makes it to the beer. It actually helps remove sulfides from the wort.

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Old 06-20-2011, 02:28 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seabass07
Any small amounts of copper in the wort will be consumed by the yeast. Breweries with all copper equipment have shown that no copper makes it to the beer. It actually helps remove sulfides from the wort.
Well I found a copper water heater element. 120v 2000 watts.
Heats the water 2.5 deg a minute. I feel much better with the copper one than the chrome plated one.
The brand was Richmond. RP10874GH.
I will probably run two if these on a temp controller.
I did not know this about the brewery.
Thanks for the info.
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