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120V Heating Element

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Glug Master

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Post Thu Mar 24, 2011 2:49 pm

120V Heating Element

The guy who did the welding on my kegs is back in the area for awhile and we're going to do some upgrades on my kegs. One thing we're going to do is add 1" ports near the bottoms for copper water heater elements. Does anyone have any idea if a 1500 watt, 120V element would be able to boil 4.5 - 5 gallons of wort? One of my kegs is a 1/4 barrel that I do small batches in, ~3 gallons, it would be nice to have the electric option.

Thanks!
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speed

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Post Thu Mar 24, 2011 6:34 pm

Re: 120V Heating Element

i would guess that it might take 2 to get it to work, just a guess though.
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Enid

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Post Thu Mar 24, 2011 7:49 pm

Re: 120V Heating Element

I am sure it would get it to a boil, but not sure if it would be a strong boil. Insulating the boil kettle will help a lot. I used to use two 1500W heat sticks on 7-7.5 gallons. I tried it on a double batch which is about 13 gallons of wort and it brought it to a boil, just not very strong. I know a 2000W element will boil 6 gallons decent. All you would need is a 20A circuit to run a 2000W element.
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Thirsty_Monk

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Post Thu Mar 24, 2011 9:22 pm

Re: 120V Heating Element

I use 1640W in my turkey fryer.
It is my HLT.
I never boil in it but it can raise temp 1F a minute.
Yes you will be able to boil in it.
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mvsawyer

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Post Thu Mar 24, 2011 10:53 pm

Re: 120V Heating Element

Enid wrote:All you would need is a 20A circuit to run a 2000W element.


Make that a 25A. You'll not want to load up a 20A circuit with more than 1920W.
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DeafSmith

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Post Fri Mar 25, 2011 12:39 am

Re: 120V Heating Element

It would depend on how well insulated your keg is and how much heat you lose from the top surface of the wort. It would take a while to heat up, though. In the theoretical best case, assuming no heat loss at all:
1.5 kW = 5118 BTU/hour
5 gallons at room temp weighs about 41.7 lbs
5118/41.7 = 122.7ºF per hour or roughly 2ºF per minute.

If you lose, say, 1/3 of your heat through the keg walls and wort surface, then you're looking at more like 1.3ºF per minute. (The 1/3 is just a wild guess).

Of course, the heat loss and therefore the heating rate would vary with the temperature of the wort - more loss and slower heating when the wort is hot.
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John

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Post Fri Mar 25, 2011 6:39 am

Re: 120V Heating Element

I recently, reluctantly just pulled the 4500 watt element out of this 10 gallon cooler because the plastic smell was horrible after heating it a couple times.
viewtopic.php?f=1&t=96720
I made the element into a 4500 watt heat stick and it takes three to four times as long to heat 8 gallons of water in my keg HLT than the insulated cooler. I have made several 120 volt heat sticks and I would not waste my time with a 1500 watt. Go right to the 2000 watt, and if it is a dedicated outlet, meaning nothing else is feeding off that outlet, you can use a 20 amp breaker, the 80percent rule is for multiple receptacles. Insulate the keg the best you can, and since it will be installed instead of a heat stick sticking out the top, a lid would help greatly.
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Glug Master

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Post Fri Mar 25, 2011 8:09 am

Re: 120V Heating Element

Thirsty_Monk wrote:I use 1640W in my turkey fryer.
It is my HLT.
I never boil in it but it can raise temp 1F a minute.
Yes you will be able to boil in it.

I have one of those too, I use it for a HLT as well.

I can put in a 4500 watt, 240V element but I don't really want to spend the bucks on a triac controller in order to throttle it down once it reached a boil. I may just give the 1.5KW element a go and see what happens.
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onthekeg

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Post Fri Mar 25, 2011 12:49 pm

Re: 120V Heating Element

Glug Master wrote:
Thirsty_Monk wrote:I use 1640W in my turkey fryer.
It is my HLT.
I never boil in it but it can raise temp 1F a minute.
Yes you will be able to boil in it.

I have one of those too, I use it for a HLT as well.

I can put in a 4500 watt, 240V element but I don't really want to spend the bucks on a triac controller in order to throttle it down once it reached a boil. I may just give the 1.5KW element a go and see what happens.


If you are a little handy you can put this on your element along with an SSR and manually adjust whatever amount of power you want to add to the tank.
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