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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Electric Brewing > Heating Elements in coolers
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Old 05-02-2014, 09:39 PM   #1
eryk4381
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Default Heating Elements in coolers

I am looking into designing a new electric brewing system but I had a question about the elements. Can you still use a Plastic cooler for your MLT? Wouldn't the heat element burn through the plastic? ...is this a stupid question...


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Old 05-02-2014, 10:42 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eryk4381 View Post
I am looking into designing a new electric brewing system but I had a question about the elements. Can you still use a Plastic cooler for your MLT? Wouldn't the heat element burn through the plastic? ...is this a stupid question...
Typically, you wouldn't put the element in the cooler/MLT, but in the HERMS/RIMS, and/or boil kettle.


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Old 05-02-2014, 10:48 PM   #3
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The problem with having a stationary heating element in a cooler or plastic MLT would be the chance of burning / scorching the mash.

I use a heat stick which I can stir the mash with so the heat is more evenly distributed. I use this method if my temps are too low at the beginning of the mash. Just have to makes sure you do not touch the sides or bottom too long with it or the plastic will warp and melt.

My latest crazy idea is to make my copper chiller a HERMS & circulate mash water through it (submerged in heated water) and back into the cooler to try to step mash.
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Old 05-02-2014, 11:17 PM   #4
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I know there are plenty of guys on this forum that use coolers for electric HLTs. I don't have any personal experience with it, but search for them and you'll find threads.
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Old 05-04-2014, 11:52 AM   #5
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You really don't want to build/design any brew gear with a direct heat source built into a combustible container.

RIMS or HERMS is fine though, since the heat source is only heating wort or water seperated from the cooler.

If anything goes wrong, and the element heats in a dry, empty cooler, then you are looking at a potential fire hazard.

All that plastic and insulating foam would burn like crazy if it got hot enough to light off.
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Old 05-04-2014, 03:23 PM   #6
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What about adding a shroud of some sort to keep it from scorching the wort that may help. Like a SS canister over the element. I think I will just upgrade the MLT the SS anyway just to be safe
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Old 05-04-2014, 03:38 PM   #7
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For an HLT but probably not in the MLT. Don't heat it in a dry empty cooler. Just like you don't turn your heat stick on and lay it on the table. If you're forgetful or dumb it might be a bad idea.

And do some research to figure out how big (small) of an element you need to use fur the cooler.

I think the bigger fire hazard is plugging an element into old wiring that can't handle the load, heats up, and starts a house fire. And that is true even with a SS hlt/MLT.
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Old 05-05-2014, 02:20 AM   #8
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I use two round coolers with my system. Rims tube for the mash tun, 1500w element in the hlt cooler. I've had the element in the hlt cooler for a little over a year. No issues. No scorching or melting. I like to heat up water over night so in the morning it only loses 10-15 degrees and you can get a head start on brew day.

If you run it dry the element will burn out quite fast and you will realize it. I highly doubt the cooler will combust instantaneously. But this is just my opinion, not tempted to test it. There are many things that could be dangerous in brewing if you are not careful.
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Old 05-05-2014, 03:28 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mojzis View Post
I use two round coolers with my system. Rims tube for the mash tun, 1500w element in the hlt cooler. I've had the element in the hlt cooler for a little over a year. No issues. No scorching or melting. I like to heat up water over night so in the morning it only loses 10-15 degrees and you can get a head start on brew day.

If you run it dry the element will burn out quite fast and you will realize it. I highly doubt the cooler will combust instantaneously. But this is just my opinion, not tempted to test it. There are many things that could be dangerous in brewing if you are not careful.
You have 10 gallon coolers? Does the 1500w element plug into 220?
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Old 05-05-2014, 04:14 PM   #10
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Yes, 10g round igloo coolers.

The 1500w is 120v and plugs into my panel. 220v would be better for me but I already had the element.


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