I've never been particularly fond of the acetone/JB weld pour into the drainpipe method for sealing off a heatstick element. While JB weld does dry extremely hard, in my experience it doesn't bond well to the surface of the pipe. There's no "give" with JB weld, so if there's any expansion, the bond will break and water/wort could easily leak in. So, i've come up with the following solution that i've had great success with.
First step is to get a 1" pvc coupling. This fits perfectly around the base of the element and just BARELY shoves into the end of the pipe.
Should look like this:
Next trim the isulation around the end of the wire and expose an inch or so of the three wires. Cut the ground (green) flush to the end of the section so the two power wires are exposted. Attach these to the heating element and slip the pvc coupling over the wire. Tape the coupling to the chrome hex nut portion of the element so no JB weld seeps through. Fill up the coupling with JB weld and let cure overnight. It should look like this once you're done:
(Note- this is an older picture, my current build had a taller coupling that wasn't completely filled with JB weld)
Because the end of the drainpipe expands to accept the 1" coupling at the end, you can't simply shove the entire thing in there. So mark off around 3/4" on the pvc coupling like this:
Then cut around with a dremel. Also cut out so sections towards the wire to make removing the piece easier:
Take a flat-head screwdriver and insert it into the long cut and twist- the pcv piece should pop right off. You'll end up with something like this once you clean it up:
Since you still need to attach the ground, mock fit the element and mark off where you want to attach the ground. I always do it at the top so it's easy access. Then splice into the wire and pull out a section of ground (green) wire. remember, pull out the end going TOWARDS the plug!
Sandpaper the section of pvc and inside the end of the pipe. I use DAP 08641 sealant to finish up the job. You DON"T need much. Just run a medium size bead around the inside of the end of the pipe and slide in the element/pvc. Put on the rubber gasket that came with the heating element. Theno run some silicone around the outside where the hex portion of the element contacts the pipe. Should look like this:
Add a small amount of silicone to the threads on the pipe, then screw on the 1.5 to 1.25" slip joint reducer nut. Tighten it down.
Pray you sliced the wire at the correct height and tighten down the ground. Let it cure overnight.
There is absolutely no JB weld or silicone visible from the outside of the heatstick. There are several barriers to keep water out: the rubber o-ring, the sealed threads, and the sealed pvc coupling into the pipe. Last line of defense is the completely encapsulated wiring on the heating element.
Well that's it. Hopefully this makes sense and will help out. Any suggestions would be welcomed. I don't claim this to be the best solution in the world, but it doesn't require any particular skill and all parts are readily available at lowes.