Electric HERMS Build

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SAMPLER

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I'm in the process of setting up a Brutus stand set up with control panel, PID and heating elements. I will be running gas to heat initial Mash Water and for final boil. I would like to use a heating element to maintain temp in the HERMS to control/maintain the Mash Temp as well as increase the HERMS temp to sparge with.

Currently I only have access to 120V with 15A breaker. I would like to use a 1500w element but understand that this is close to full capacity of 15a breaker. I could rewire that line and up the box to a 20A breaker but was curious if that is necessary at this point. If was to up my build to bigger elements or go full electric I would definitely make serious improvements.

The current line is set with a GFI already.

Any suggestions.
 

BadNewsBrewery

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The "80%" debate is a hotly discussed item on this board. Some say that you can run a 15a circuit at 15a no problem. Others say you should only run a 15a circuit at 12a (80%). You're not much about the 80%, though once you throw in the slight draw of the PID and any LEDs you have, you'll be slightly higher.

My suggestion - read some of the compelling arguments on here regarding the 80% rule, on both sides, and decide for yourself. Of course, going for a 20a circuit and a larger element is the best option, as you'll be within the 80% and get faster heating with a stronger element.

-Kevin
 

thargrav

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I'm in the process of setting up a Brutus stand set up with control panel, PID and heating elements. I will be running gas to heat initial Mash Water and for final boil. I would like to use a heating element to maintain temp in the HERMS to control/maintain the Mash Temp as well as increase the HERMS temp to sparge with.

Currently I only have access to 120V with 15A breaker. I would like to use a 1500w element but understand that this is close to full capacity of 15a breaker. I could rewire that line and up the box to a 20A breaker but was curious if that is necessary at this point. If was to up my build to bigger elements or go full electric I would definitely make serious improvements.

The current line is set with a GFI already.

Any suggestions.
I've argued all along that the 80% rule is valid but the breaker sizes called out by NEC already factored in the rule.

And anyways if the rule were valid after the breaker size, if you should only draw 12 Amps from a 15 Amp house circuit, in our sue happy society you'd have a warning sticker on every outlet with something along the lines of "Always calculate the loads of everything else plugged into this circuit before plugging in that television, stereo, hair dryer, etc. to make sure the total load does not exceed 12 Amps!"????????

But they don't, do they? Instead you know when you've exceeded the circuit capacity when the breaker trips.

Think about it.
 

AllanMar

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I've argued all along that the 80% rule is valid but the breaker sizes called out by NEC already factored in the rule.
I won't re-start the discussion from another thread here, but even if you do accept the 80% rule it ONLY applies to continuous loads
ie.
From the NEC:
Continuous Load. A load where the maximum current is
expected to continue for 3 hours or more.
So is your brewery going to draw a full 1500W for 3hours straight?

In practice the main time you see this applied is in a commercial setting (ie. lighting which will be on all day/etc), there are few continuous loads in a residential environment
 

itsme6582

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Go with a 4500 W 220 V element. That will leave room on a 120 circuit for your pumps and a PID.

You have options with mash out:
  • Forget it completely - It doesn't really do anything except raise your efficiency a little bit, YMMV
  • Ramp with the element - this will propably take 20-25 minutes
  • Use the BK to heat extra water and then pump it over to the HLT
 

itsme6582

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Wire it up line to neutral rather than line to line. It'll run at 1125 Watts.
 

BadNewsBrewery

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As itsme6582 has stated, you can run a 240v element at 120v and you'll end up getting 1/4 the watts. You cannot, however, run a 120v element at 240v - at least, not for long... Going with a 240v element gives you the option of upgrading to 240v in the future if you ever want to go that route. If not, I would stick with the 1500w 120v element - slightly more heating potential, and the pumps/LEDs don't draw much power at all (less than 2amps) so you'll stay under your 15amp cut off.
 
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