Did I ruin my heating element?

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Beenym88

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Hey guys I’m in the middle of a brew day and made a really dumb move. I thought I switched over to my boil kettle and for heat but I turned my HLT heat on. It was glowing bright red when I realized and it looks burnt now. Is it a goner?
 

IslandLizard

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Some elements can get dry fired without issues, other get fried. Depends on how long too. A few (5-15) seconds should be OK for most elements.

If it just turned darker or black it's probably fine, if it's blistered, swollen, it's a goner.
If not visibly damaged, only one way to find out... Your GFCI should protect you in case. Or attach a direct ground wire to the kettle, which I find the best security and insurance.
 
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Beenym88

Beenym88

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Some elements can get dry fired without issues, other get fried. Depends on how long too. A few (5-15) seconds should be OK for most elements.

If it just turned darker or black it's probably fine, if it's blistered, swollen, it's a goner.
If not visibly damaged, only one way to find out... Your GFCI should protect you in case. Or attach a direct ground wire to the kettle, which I find the best security and insurance.
 

IslandLizard

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This is what we’re working with
View attachment 724212
That looks fine to me!

Those long coils have a relatively low watt density (Watts/Sq. Inch), they don't get all that hot, compared to say, an 8" or 10" water heater element being dry fired.

I think you're A-OK with that. Cover it with water and start boiling it as a test.

Some careful polishing with BKF should remove the tarnish, but it's probably an oxide layer, so I'd leave it be.
 
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Beenym88

Beenym88

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That’s great news. Do you think it will make it taste burnt and I need to clean it really well?
 

IslandLizard

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That’s great news. Do you think it will make it taste burnt and I need to clean it really well?
If it was clean, being in an HLT, there shouldn't be any wort on it, just water, it should be flavor neutral, me thinks.
Boil some (dechlorinated/Campden-ized) water in it, and smell and taste it.
 

Biggz1313

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Based on that picture you're probably just fine. As mentioned the color change is likely oxidation that shouldn't affect anything in the brew process. Fill her up, switch it on is the only way to know for sure if you're good.
 

augiedoggy

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passedpawn used to regularly dryfire his ripple element to clean it not sure if he still does but some handle it well and some not so much.. being ULWD does increase the elements tendency to survive this.
 

Tobor_8thMan

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Go 97 miles and take a right...
Unfortunately, I did something similar. Hooking things up I got distracted and connected the HLT power cord to the BK. Thought I was heating HLT when, in reality, BK electric element was glowing red.

I took steps by better marking the power cords to prevent from happening again.

I've brewed several times since my error and the BK element is working fine. Actually, the brief red glow got off a lot of prior brewing gunk that just would not come off (using PBW and/or elbow grease).
 

chessking

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On the recommendation of Passedpawn, I dry fire my 5500W ripple after every brew. get it glowing red for a few seconds and the cleanup is easy with a brush. Mine is not stainless, so maybe that is different. I've been doing it for at least three years on the same element. I bought an extra element back then just in case it crapped out in the middle of a boil, but it is still in the box. If it works your fine. They either work, or they are busted.
 
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On the recommendation of Passedpawn, I dry fire my 5500W ripple after every brew. get it glowing red for a few seconds and the cleanup is easy with a brush. Mine is not stainless, so maybe that is different. I've been doing it for at least three years on the same element. I bought an extra element back then just in case it crapped out in the middle of a boil, but it is still in the box. If it works your fine. They either work, or they are busted.
whew, glad that's how your story ended. Was nervous getting to the end there. Here's the video I made and used to post here, but I stopped because I was afraid brewers with SS or non ULWD elements would attempt it.

 

phoenixs4r

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whew, glad that's how your story ended. Was nervous getting to the end there. Here's the video I made and used to post here, but I stopped because I was afraid brewers with SS or non ULWD elements would attempt it.

How bad did that smell? lol
 
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How bad did that smell? lol
Yea, don't do this indoors!

It's pretty bad - an acrid burnt smell. I have a fan on right above there and it blows away quickly. When the smoke is green, you know you're cooking :) I burn twice because the smoke gets really thick at first and you cannot see the element. But the second burn is fast, the element is cherry red for a few seconds, and it ends up shiny.
 

chessking

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Yea, don't do this indoors!
Actually, I do mine indoors, HOWEVER, My element is mounted to a heat stick. I rinse it off first in the sink, then I hold it up to the extraction fan inlet in the vent hood and then burn it. All the smoke/odor goes out the vent. a quick dunk in the sink and she's ready to brush off. Probably not within fire code.


IMG_7776 (800x533).jpg



IMG_7796 (800x533).jpg
 
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Actually, I do mine indoors, HOWEVER, My element is mounted to a heat stick. I rinse it off first in the sink, then I hold it up to the extraction fan inlet in the vent hood and then burn it. All the smoke/odor goes out the vent. a quick dunk in the sink and she's ready to brush off. Probably not within fire code.


View attachment 726082


View attachment 726083
awesome. Definitely a hot poker there when she's red. So... one hand holding the element, the other on the switch?
 

chessking

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awesome. Definitely a hot poker there when she's red. So... one hand holding the element, the other on the switch?
You got it.

My Old Lady watched me do it once, and commented something about The Darwin Awards, or whatever. I didn't actually hear her, as I was too busy being Macho and Awesome....
 

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