Hi all - long time lurker, first time poster. I built a HERMS system based on that originally designed by The Pol. In the HLT/HEX 10 gallon cooler, I have a vertically mounted 1500 watt, 120 volt heating element from Lowes that is mounted in the bottom center. There is a hole cut in the outer shell on the bottom of the cooler from where I installed the element; the wiring and everything exposed is covered with a layer of JB Weld.
System worked fine for a few months. When I filled up with water this morning to begin my brewday, I accidentally splashed a bunch of water down the side of the HLT/HEX; it may be that that some water got up into the hole in the outer shell and contacted the back side of the heating element, which may not be sufficiently covered with JB Weld. When I plugged in the element (submerged in water as it should be), my GFCI popped. Tried different circuits in the house, etc. to make sure I wasn't overloading a circuit; GFCI popped immediately on plugging in the element every time, even on circuits with nothing else running on them. I emptied the HLT, laid it on its side and ran a fan on the hole in the bottom of the cooler shell where the wiring is for 1-2 hours to dry everything out. Best guess was that the wiring got wet and shorted the element, which was tripping the GFCI.
Several hours later, when everything is definitely dry, I filled the HLT back up with water and plugged in the element. Now, no GFCI pop, and power is going to the element. BUT - it's not giving off any heat at all. The element gives off a little tiny air bubble every second or so, but the water temp is not increasing at all, after running it for an hour.
What gives?? Did I burn out the element? Any other thoughts?