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Old 04-04-2009, 07:30 PM   #1
jmp138
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Default Going electric, heating element question.

I am tired of buying propane all the time so I've started really thinking about going electric. I'm wondering if you can just use a water heater element that you can buy at lowes or if I need something different. They seem really cheap, I just figured it would be more expensive.

http://http://www.lowes.com/lowes/lk...386&lpage=none

Would this element work to bring 10 gallon batches to a boil? Also do you really see your energy cost go up with electric systems or is it pretty negligable. Thanks for the help!

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Old 04-04-2009, 07:41 PM   #2
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American Water Heater at Lowe's: Screw-in Water Heater Element 4500 Watt
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Old 04-04-2009, 07:43 PM   #3
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Thanks you very much.

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Old 04-04-2009, 07:49 PM   #4
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no prob, unfortunately that's all I can help you with.

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Old 04-04-2009, 08:07 PM   #5
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Electric heating is way cheaper than propane in most areas. I boil ~6.5 gallons using a 1650 watt 110v element (at full power) in an insulated aluminum kettle and it costs me less than $0.50 per batch in TX.

So yes, a single 4500 watt 240v element should be sufficient to boil 10 gallons of wort. You'll need a PID and SSR to control the heat output.

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Old 04-04-2009, 08:15 PM   #6
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PID and SSR? Sorry I am an electrical retard. Can you just weld the element in?

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Old 04-04-2009, 08:15 PM   #7
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Make sure it's a Low or Ultra Low Density element. You need this to prevent scorching!

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Old 04-04-2009, 08:31 PM   #8
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I had issues with the element's faceplate rusting in the HLT if left for any extended period of time. The PID and SSR make it really easy to either go by temp (for the HLT) Or switch to a percentage (100% to get to boiling 55% to maintain) for the boil kettle. This is all with a 5500W element on 220V. I bought the PID/SSR from Auburn.

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Old 04-04-2009, 10:10 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmp138 View Post
PID and SSR? Sorry I am an electrical retard. Can you just weld the element in?
Hi,
A PID is a Proportional, Integral, derivative controller that has a temperature sensor that it uses for feedback to tell the controller what to do with the SSR. An SSR is a Solid State Relay that actually connects and/or breaks power to your heating element.
In essence, the PID will look at the temperature sensor and compare the actual temperature to the set point that you have entered and if the actual temp is below the set point temp then it will turn on the SSR 100% of the time, thus supplying full power to your heating element, until it approaches the set point then it will begin to cycle the SSR to maintain that set point.
This is not precisely how all PID loops occur but it does give a very watered down explanation.

Not trying to sound condescending. Just trying to give a general explanation.
Hope it helps.
Cheers
-David
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Old 04-04-2009, 10:17 PM   #10
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To install the element, drill a 1.375" hole and insert the element. Use the supplied seal and use a 1" straight thread SS nut from Bargain Brew Fitting Home Page

Simple, cheap, effective.

Id go with a 5500W element they are no more expensive than a 4500W and will provide more power for a 10 gallon boil.

In an un-insualted vessel, you will require about 3500W to maintain a vigorous boil with about a 1.5gal/hr boil off rate with a 7 gallon volume or wort. This has been my experience with my electric rig, and we even proved it using mathematical equations in another thread! Pretty sweet.

PID and SSR are totally necessary. You can MAYBE jerry rig something, but you will waste time and money doing it.

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