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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Electric Brewing > Heating element question
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Old 07-03-2012, 08:04 PM   #1
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Default Heating element question

Is there really a difference between using a heating element for a hot water heater like this: http://www.lowes.com/ProductDisplay?...llow&cId=PDIO1
instead of the much more expensive version from a homebrew store: http://www.highgravitybrew.com/produ...t-SS-p2669.htm

I am about to get into AG brewing and am thinking that it might be better to go electric than get a massive propane burner if for no other reason than that I can brew inside with an electric system.
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Old 07-03-2012, 08:08 PM   #2
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No. Looks to me like they just did the work for you by taking a dryer cord, attaching it to an element like the one you linked to on lowes.com, and then heat shrink wrapped the connection.
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Old 07-04-2012, 06:23 PM   #3
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Neither the element listed at Lowes or at High Gravity state ultra low density like this one. You might want to check that out before you decide to purchase.

(BTW your Lowes link doesn't work)
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Old 07-05-2012, 10:41 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WIBeerGeek View Post
Is there really a difference between using a heating element for a hot water heater like this instead of the much more expensive version from a homebrew store:

I'd guess that the difference is about 30-40 bucks...for a little labor and parts sourcing 6 vs. half dozen.
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Old 07-07-2012, 06:06 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WIBeerGeek View Post
Is there really a difference between using a heating element for a hot water heater like this: http://www.lowes.com/ProductDisplay?...llow&cId=PDIO1
instead of the much more expensive version from a homebrew store: http://www.highgravitybrew.com/produ...t-SS-p2669.htm

I am about to get into AG brewing and am thinking that it might be better to go electric than get a massive propane burner if for no other reason than that I can brew inside with an electric system.
The one from highgravitybrew is low density and made from stainless steel (if you care) plus it's pre-wired with a power cord.
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Old 07-09-2012, 12:50 AM   #6
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What is the difference between high and low density for electric brewing, or stainless steal vs. copper heating elements for that matter?
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Old 07-09-2012, 01:03 AM   #7
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low watt density won't scorch the wort. The low density elements are longer with more surface area so they don't need to get as hot.
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Old 07-09-2012, 01:09 AM   #8
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High verses medium verses low density is all about the BTU's per square inch being delivered by the element. The lower the BTU's the lower the risk of scorching. It's kind of like the difference between putting a steak on a searing hot grill verses a hot grill. The lower density the better when it comes to brewing and even more important with mashing.

So, larger is better for the same wattage because if you double the size the same heat is dispersed across twice the surface area - it's a lower density element.

Concerning copper verses stainless - the yeast cells need a little copper anyways. And I've seen may brew kettles made of copper over the years. Copper won't hurt you because it's a relatively safe metal. You ingest minute amounts of copper from the change in your pocket every day.
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