DIY inside brewing vent/exhaust for moisture

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jdudek

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Hi all,

not sure where to post this but since most electric brewers brew inside, perhaps this is as good a place as any. I am trying to come up with some low cost and simple way of venting steam during boil. I use a 2200W element which gives me rather gentle boils and low evaporation, so right now I do nothing. It's "ok". Not great but manageable. I plan to move to 240V with a 5500W element, and at that point, I need some way of getting rid of the moisture and the smell.

I don't want to do any permanent fixture or anything that will cost me more than a few hundred $. I can brew on a counter top that is installed against an exterior wall, and I am ok with punching a hole in that wall. I put together a quick diagram of what I am hoping I can do. I am looking for feedback.

1608008620734.png

I can attach the inline fan to an existing shelf almost flush with the hole I would punch in the wall.

The fan I am thinking of is this one:

I am not too sure yet what would go on the input side of the fan. I was thinking something really basic like a central air register output type of thing... but maybe there's better ideas out there. I am hoping it doesn't need to be something as big as the kettle area. The fan is 400CFM so I'm thinking it will suck out any vapor that "nearby". Even if it's not 100%, as long as most of the moisture gets evacuated it will be fine.

thanks in advance for any ideas/feedback
 

matt_m

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In that configuration, why not just use an off the shelf stove vent hood?

Or better yet a second vote for a steam condenser.
 

sicktght311

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If you're only using 120v, just pick up a off the shelf kitchen range hood. I have a 250cfm Broan stainless hood that i mounted directly to a basement window with a custom cut piece of wood to fill the window space. Vents directly out through a vent with an exterior vent vap that seals shut when off. Has worked great for over 2 years now with not a single drip of condensation back into the brewing area. I'm running a 1650watt element in my boil kettle with about .75gal per hour boil off.

w2C1YMW.jpg

oIhs1PT.jpg

wuFvRG5.jpg
 
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jdudek

jdudek

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If you're only using 120v, just pick up a off the shelf kitchen range hood. I have a 250cfm Broan stainless hood that i mounted directly to a basement window with a custom cut piece of wood to fill the window space. Vents directly out through a vent with an exterior vent vap that seals shut when off. Has worked great for over 2 years now with not a single drip of condensation back into the brewing area. I'm running a 1650watt element in my boil kettle with about .75gal per hour boil off.

w2C1YMW.jpg

oIhs1PT.jpg

wuFvRG5.jpg
that's a nice setup, thanks for the pics. Great use of a basement window! For my setup, the hood will be a bit bulkier than I would like. I would like to have something low profile and that can be dismantled easily. Hence the much smaller inline fan is attractive for me. My "brewery" is in a small guest house we have. Most of the time, it's my space, but occasionally when we have guests, the brewing stuff needs to be cleared out. A big hood under a kitchen shelf with no stove under it would be a little awkward.

BTW, you don't get any condensation on the hood frame that drips back down?

Also a bit off topic, but I am curious now. How large are your pre boil volumes? sounds like you manage ok with 1650W and lid off? I use a 2200W element (20A circuit) and find I can't get much better than a very gentle boil. I was looking to move to 5500 for something more vigorous. My pre boil volumes are typically 6.5 gallons.
 
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jdudek

jdudek

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Have you looked at a steam condenser to eliminate the need for an exhaust fan?

Brew on :mug:

I've seen the review videos online of the Spike one... also read a bit through the thread you reference. I don't think it's what I am looking for right now. The drawbacks as I see them are: more expensive, more complicated (more parts, more connections, hoses, etc... more trips to Home Depot and and whatnot) and I don't know that I can stomach running tap water for 60-90 minutes.

given how close I am to an outdoor wall, and that I live in pretty mild climate so making holes in the building is not too big of a deal, I think I prefer the venting option.
 

Toto's

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if you dont to install a kitchen fan maybe you could install as you draw a in-line fan and you could use a big plastic container to collect the steam, make a hole in it and connect it to the dock ventilation. So you could easily take away your plastic container if you need to, but you need to verify that there is not too much heat for the plastic container.....
 

OneInTheHand

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I’m in a similar situation. I’m trying to decide between going out an existing 4” duct, an adjacent hopper window (with 6” or 8” duct), or steam condenser. My big concern is not stinking up my basement. The VTX600 from vortex fans has been recommended around here before. It’s more expensive but also looks to be more of an industrial build quality. If it’s a short run I’d recommend building it in two parts, the hood and the duct/fan in a long plywood box, that way if you need to take it apart your not messing around with too many connections. Just connect the fan/duct to wall and then hook up the hood. For a hood I’d try it without the hood first and then build the hood to fit your kettle height and adequate workspace above the kettle. You could use a plastic tote like the 27 gallon black totes or build something out of plywood. Just have it physically light enough to move it around. Don’t forget lighting too. You don’t want your hood to block your light above you.

Also like you indicated maybe a simple ceiling register with an elbow.

Your friend has shared a link to a Home Depot product they think you would be interested in seeing.

12 in. x 12 in. to 8 in. Ceiling Register Box

 
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jdudek

jdudek

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I actually thought of perhaps just sticking these 2 at the "hood" end of the fan
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for a grand total of $22 at Home Depot... ?
 

OneInTheHand

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Depending on the diameter of your kettle you could get a reducer, say 16” to 8” and have it sit damn near right over your kettle. Almost like a custom lid.
 
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jdudek

jdudek

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Depending on the diameter of your kettle you could get a reducer, say 16” to 8” and have it sit damn near right over your kettle. Almost like a custom lid.

Did not think of a reducer! 14 to 8 could do, the kettle diameter is 13.5 I believe.
1608097571818.png


Cool, I think this is now plan A now then. Thanks. I could even use flexible duct and have this sit on top of the kettle like you say
 
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Everhard

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I made my hood out of aluminum, easy to bend with a cheap metal brake, riveted it together and hung it with wire. If one wanted it to be easily removable you could put cheap carabineers on the wires to quickly unclip it I suppose.
IMG_20191212_150621.jpg
 

OneInTheHand

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If you can... please report back on how this works out and what fan you end up going with.
 
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jdudek

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If you can... please report back on how this works out and what fan you end up going with.
definitely. It will probably be over the next 3-4 weeks. Sounds like I already have a change of plan however. I will be removing a washer dryer stack and this will become the new brew area. There's already a 240 plug, water, and a dryer vent (who would have thought that beer brewing and washing clothes essentially require the same setup).

The venting solution may still be pretty similar to what we've come up with here. I'll see but happy to document and share the "build".

One thing I'd like opinions on is the dryer vent is essentially by the flour. I would have to duct from over the kettle all the way down to the floor, with an inline fan somewhere on the way. Is it not a great idea to have to pull the steam down rather than up? Making a new hole is still an option.
 

Everhard

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I'd put the inline fan as close as you can to the hood. The steam is going to start condensing a soon as it leaves the hood. The exhaust pipe will have water collecting in it so keep in mind you will have to accommodate that. I can't comment on how it'll work going down low to that current vent hole, but if the fan is big enough I don't see why it wouldn't work.

E.
 

OneInTheHand

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What size is the dryer vent? Id worry about sizing the fan to the duct/vent and less about condensation at first. If the fan can move the air properly then that would help alleviate condensation. Do you still need to be able to remove all the gear if guests come over? Also regarding the dryer 240v is it 3 wire or 4 wire? That will make a difference in how you set up a controller and element.
 
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jdudek

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I'd put the inline fan as close as you can to the hood. The steam is going to start condensing a soon as it leaves the hood. The exhaust pipe will have water collecting in it so keep in mind you will have to accommodate that. I can't comment on how it'll work going down low to that current vent hole, but if the fan is big enough I don't see why it wouldn't work.

E.

I will have to move the washer dryer out, but I assume the vent size is 4" which is standard. Which may be a problem as I was going for a 6" fan and duct. Thanks for pointing this out, will think on it. Indeed, the setup can probably remain a bit more "permanent" at this point. Would still like to be able to disassemble once in a while to clean out/check for moisture and all that.

Another small complication is that I want room for my pulley above the pot to pull out my bag (I do BIAB). So that may interfere with the venting system which technically should be in the same place

The dryer outlet is 4 prongs. I have a controller that I built myself for 120V/20A. I will be retrofitting it for 240V/30A. Basically change the power in and heater out ports, size up the SSR, add a contractor, size up the main power switch and rewire with 10AWG. I'll draw a schematic and have it reviewed by the good folks here. doug293cz is usually my go-to guy for this :)
 

OneInTheHand

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You could always go with the 4" vent and a 6" fan if it looks like the fan is struggling then add a wye and another 4" vent to come off of it. As to the ebiab you could have a T above the reducer. Cap the top, then drill a hole and run a rope (or wire) through it so that you can raise/lower the bag with the hood staying on. Hood would need to be high enough to allow the bag to be handled underneath it (and also IC if you use that).
 

Biggz1313

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I've seen the review videos online of the Spike one... also read a bit through the thread you reference. I don't think it's what I am looking for right now. The drawbacks as I see them are: more expensive, more complicated (more parts, more connections, hoses, etc... more trips to Home Depot and and whatnot) and I don't know that I can stomach running tap water for 60-90 minutes.

given how close I am to an outdoor wall, and that I live in pretty mild climate so making holes in the building is not too big of a deal, I think I prefer the venting option.

Keep in mind that the Spike Steam Condenser comes with everything you need to use it. The only thing you may have to go to home depot for is an extra bucket or vessel to hold water. It is built to be used with a vessel full of cool water, and comes with a pump that pumps the water (so it's not using tap water the whole time). You can recirculate the back into the same vessel, and as it warms up, just add ice (I freeze a bunch of bottles and just add the bottles so they're reusable). When you're done brewing, you have 5-10 gallons of warm water you can add some PBW to and run it through your system for clean up. Just making sure you have all the info you need to make the best choice. Is buying an exhaust hood and installing it really cheaper than the Spike setup?
 
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jdudek

jdudek

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Thanks, appreciate the extra info. To be fair it's less expensive than I though. But I can probably set up ventilation in my space for less than $150. So I would still save some money. Another problem, I am not sure it would fit on my bayou classic pot. Seems min diameter is 13.7, and I seem to recall my pot being 13.5. Would have to double check though. But you've got me thinking... :). It's an elegant solution for sure, and yes there can always be some usage for the water... hey you can flush the toilet with it if nothing else.
 
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jdudek

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Spike quotes 15-25 GPH on their lid. You're saying you're getting away with re-circulating the same 5-10 gallons of water and chilling it as it warms up?

another question. I was considering moving from a 2200W element to 5500W (along with the required work on my controller, GFCI breaker, etc...) to get more vigorous boils. Would I be correct in assuming that with a covered boil, my 2200W could produce more vigorous boils and I could potentially avoid the 240V conversion?
 

doug293cz

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Why are you looking for more vigorous boils? Everything that needs to happen in the boil can happen at a simmer. A more vigorous boil causes a larger volume loss, which will give you a very small bump in lauter efficiency. It also causes more heat stress on the wort, and there are experts who think that is a good thing.

Brew on :mug:
 

swimIan

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I made a vent hood out of rigid foam board recently. I sealed the edges with aluminum tape and silicone. Then I painted it with Flex Seal. I haven’t tested it yet though.
 

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jdudek

jdudek

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Why are you looking for more vigorous boils? Everything that needs to happen in the boil can happen at a simmer. A more vigorous boil causes a larger volume loss, which will give you a very small bump in lauter efficiency. It also causes more heat stress on the wort, and there are experts who think that is a good thing.

Brew on :mug:
This from the electric brewery:
“the wort must be vigorously boiled with the lid off to maximize alpha acid extraction from the hops, drive off unwanted volatile compounds, and coagulate unwanted proteins”

But I’m more than happy to hear arguments against this!
 

doug293cz

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This from the electric brewery:
“the wort must be vigorously boiled with the lid off to maximize alpha acid extraction from the hops, drive off unwanted volatile compounds, and coagulate unwanted proteins”

But I’m more than happy to hear arguments against this!
The rates of alpha acid isomerization, conversion of SMM into DMS, and coagulation of proteins are driven by temperature. Wort boils at 212°F whether it is a simmer or churning ocean. Those things will happen at the same rate no matter how vigorous the boil. DMS, once created from SMM, dissipates very quickly, as its boiling temp is about 100°F. You do need some convection currents in the wort to bring the DMS to the surface so that it can escape, but this happens at a simmer. The steam escaping from a partially covered BK will carry the DMS out to the atmosphere.

The Electric Brewery statement is scientific sounding nonsense.

Brew on :mug:
 
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jdudek

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Thanks Doug. That intuitively makes sense... there's a chemical reaction happening and the temperature is 212 no matter how hard the boil is. So why would anything different happen just because water is turned to steam faster.

I'm starting to lean towards the idea of just installing a steam slayer on my kettle (it's already a DIY frankenkettle) and change nothing else (for now). Went from $500+ to $129... saving money today :)

if they could just get back in stock!
 

Biggz1313

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Thanks Doug. That intuitively makes sense... there's a chemical reaction happening and the temperature is 212 no matter how hard the boil is. So why would anything different happen just because water is turned to steam faster.

I'm starting to lean towards the idea of just installing a steam slayer on my kettle (it's already a DIY frankenkettle) and change nothing else (for now). Went from $500+ to $129... saving money today :)

if they could just get back in stock!


Nice, I totally forgot to mention there are definitely cheaper options for steam condensing in my previous reply. Glad you were able to settle on a solution! Good luck friend, curious to hear how it turns out!
 

matt_m

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Are you sharing the vent with a dryer? Dumping more moisture into your dryer vent is a terrible idea. Moisture will help lint stick, which can then dry and cause a fire. If not sharing, not a worry, but just wanted to point this out.

But still, love the steam condenser and wish I wouldn't have wasted time, money, and a hole in my house on a vent.
 
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jdudek

jdudek

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Are you sharing the vent with a dryer? Dumping more moisture into your dryer vent is a terrible idea. Moisture will help lint stick, which can then dry and cause a fire. If not sharing, not a worry, but just wanted to point this out.

But still, love the steam condenser and wish I wouldn't have wasted time, money, and a hole in my house on a vent.
Good to know! the dryer is out and the vent would have been dedicated to brewing. But yeah, looks like I'll be going the steam condenser way anyhow.
 
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