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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > DIY Projects > Kettles, Mash Tuns, & Hot Liquor Tanks > Electric Mashtun Leaks...
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Old 03-22-2010, 04:35 PM   #1
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Default Electric Mashtun Leaks...

Put my electric Kettle [updated text] together last weekend. I basically followed the design located here: http://www.theelectricbrewery.com/node/9?page=show

So, here is the problem. If I connect the electric box, by putting it between the washer and the head of the heater element, my rig leaks. I remove the box, connect the heater element directly, and it doesn't leak. It seems that the connection to the box is too thick to allow the other the element to seal correctly when it is included.

One reason this happened, my hole was cut a touch too big. *sigh* I asked for it to be cut to 1 1/4", it was cut to 1 3/8". If anyone has a suggestion on how to compensate for a hole that is a smidge too big, I would love it - I'm going to try a slightly bigger o-ring, but am not sure how well it will work. I could try welding something in, but I don't weld, and I don't know anyone in Washington who could do it for me.

The other option seems to be to find a different way to mount the electrical box over the end of the heating element, so the wiring is protected. If anyone has a suggest, I am all ears! Perhaps a simple cap arrangement over the end (where to find such a cap that would be water tight)? Or something...?

Thanks for the tips!

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Old 03-22-2010, 05:23 PM   #2
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In the design you reference he uses RTV to solve this problem. I think it would have been better to use a second O-ring (or washer) to form the seal between the element and the electrical box. If you do this, make sure you Ground Bond the box to the keg in some other way (i.e. a ground wire).

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Old 03-22-2010, 05:33 PM   #3
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The leak path is through the thread valleys. The oring is doing a great job to keep liquid from dripping between the vessel the box, but I assume your leak is inside the box right?
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Old 03-22-2010, 05:39 PM   #4
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Did you wrap the threads with Teflon tape?

I used a modified version of this technique and have had no problems (I did use Teflon tape on the threads).

With a 1/8" over sized hole your only hope is to have the element perfectly centered or the o-ring will not cover the gap.

I think the over sized hole is a likely problem but I would try Teflon tape before throwing in the towel. You might also try a thicker o-ring.

I also read a thread from someone that used a silicon baking sheet as gasket material (not sure were it came from).

Good luck,

Ed
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Old 03-22-2010, 06:33 PM   #5
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I did not wrap the threads in Teflon tape. I had not thought of that, good idea!

I believe his use of RTV was mostly a "just in case".

Double gasketing is a good idea, but the screw length does not seem to be enough for that.

I will see what an o-ring with a greater fractional width does, throw a little teflon tape on, and smear on some food safe silicon. May be overkill, but better than a leak that can harbor bacteria and electrocute me!

I suppose the other option is a gasketed locknut, but I never found any that were food safe.
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Old 03-22-2010, 07:32 PM   #6
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I'm guessing the teflon tape will solve your problem.
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Old 03-23-2010, 12:27 AM   #7
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Went into Lowe's. Looked at their Teflon tape. On the box it had a posted temperature range of "-30F to 150F" and is made in China, no indication of its health impact. Somehow, I do not think that is going to work. Funny thing is i go online, look up Teflon tape, and it is generally rated -450F to 550F.

I guess I will have to go to a different hardware store, but I thought I would share what I found at Lowe's.
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Old 03-23-2010, 01:17 AM   #8
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I'm probably not understanding the issue properly. I've read the thread a number of times and am still puzzled. (I just went back again and looked) A heating element has straight threads - not - tapered pipe threads. Teflon tape will not reliably seal that connection. The electric heating element is sealed with a washer that is compressed between the element hex flange and the receiving flange. If there is anything between these 2 mating surfaces, it WILL leak. Teflon tape will NOT help.
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Old 03-23-2010, 01:33 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by P-J View Post
I'm probably not understanding the issue properly. I've read the thread a number of times and am still puzzled. (I just went back again and looked) A heating element has straight threads - not - tapered pipe threads. Teflon tape will not reliably seal that connection. The electric heating element is sealed with a washer that is compressed between the element hex flange and the receiving flange. If there is anything between these 2 mating surfaces, it WILL leak. Teflon tape will NOT help.

Good to know! I think what is happening is that my hole is just a smidge too big, so when I include the connecting panel for the power panel the o-ring "might" slip, and if it slips it goes through the hole, and thus does not seal the hole, and we have a leak.
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Old 03-23-2010, 01:42 AM   #10
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I also followed the "electric brewery" with sever different combinations of washers, O-rings, teflon tape ect. I had success one time but I had to crank the crap out of it and the O-ring was bulging out the side. I picked up a small bottle of liquid acid flux and some lead-free solder and within 10 mins I soldered two 1" nuts to two kettles and had both elements installed with no leaks. They have been sitting for about 3-4hrs now with 10gals of water in each and not a drip. I would seriously recommend just soldering these nuts in place. This would also solves your slightly larger hole problem
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