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Old 08-09-2010, 03:00 PM   #1
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Default Natural Gas or Electric for Indoor brewing

Im planning on building and running my first real rig in my basement. I have access to GAS or Electric as a heating source. I would think gas is more efficient and less expensive to run. Any thoughts?


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Old 08-09-2010, 04:08 PM   #2
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Electric would be more efficient, but not necessarily cheaper to run. Every joule of energy in an electric heating goes to heating, unlike a burner (propane or NG) which also heats a whole lotta air. You need to compare utility costs to see which one is cheaper, but in the grand scheme of things, the energy costs aren't that much per batch anyways (<$3 ish).

Another huge advantage of electric is you don't have to worry about fumes or having enough oxygen in the room to run it. It's also easier to control (PID to SSR without worry of valves, ignitors and the risk of blowing your house up if it doesn't light) if you add some automation. On the down side of electric...you can electrocute yourself, but that's easily remedied with a GFCI.


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Old 08-09-2010, 04:12 PM   #3
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You also should include the cost of converting. Not everyone has easy or obvious ability to go to electric. You may need an extra panel or, depending on the size of your setup, you basic home service may not be sufficient. So, start-up capital investment can be a significant difference for some folks.
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Old 08-09-2010, 05:17 PM   #4
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My vote is for electric, but there are a huge number of factors that need to be accounted for to decide the 'best'.

If you are comfortable with electricity, or with learning about electricity, then I would go with that. If you really are not, and cant find someone who is, then go with gas and just make sure you have adequate ventilation and the proper detection systems.
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Old 08-09-2010, 09:11 PM   #5
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Im actually good with both and am going the electric route. That leads to my next question. How big of an element? Im going to be doing up to 10 gallon batches in 15 gallon kettles.
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Old 08-10-2010, 02:05 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bixter1 View Post
Im actually good with both and am going the electric route. That leads to my next question. How big of an element? Im going to be doing up to 10 gallon batches in 15 gallon kettles.
4500W 240V elements are more than adaquate for that batch size.

There are a lot of ways to accomplish a decently controlled electric brewery. I've drawn a few different diagrams to accomplish this mission.

What is your overall plan? I'd suggest PID a controller(s). Perhaps I can help?
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Old 08-10-2010, 07:37 PM   #7
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I plan on using a GHI Cobra to fully automate my system. I would just use a relay to cycle the elements on/off. I have been studying and researching over the past few weeks and think I have what I need. I'll post my design soon. I plan on making my code open source. It will be an alternative to brew troller and the like. The board is .NET MF C# based and I plan on adding many features to it.

Thanks for the offer though.
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Old 08-10-2010, 08:19 PM   #8
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Any recommendations on where to source an element?
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Old 08-10-2010, 08:24 PM   #9
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Any recommendations on where to source an element?
Ace Hardware if you have one. They stock Camco elements.
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Old 08-10-2010, 09:10 PM   #10
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Any recommendations on where to source an element?
This is the route I went:


12-0003 Heater Element, 7.2kW, Side Mount Brett Aqualine PoolandSpa


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