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BK heating element disintegrating?

 
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zeppman



Joined: 01 Jun 2011
Posts: 135



PostLink    Posted: Tue Oct 27, 2015 2:21 pm    Post subject: BK heating element disintegrating? Reply with quote


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Hey All,

Just brewed a batch last night, and while cleaning I noticed there was a piece of "something" kind of hanging off the BK heating element. I went to touch it and it fell off. I then ran my fingers across other parts of the element and realized I was able to pick more "chunks" off... is the element disintegrating or is this just built up wort that has stuck to the element over time? I seriously couldn't tell just by looking at the crumbs that I had picked off. The element is a little over 3 years old, purchased from this site. I can try and take some pictures tonight and upload them.

Thanks.
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kal
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Joined: 12 Dec 2010
Posts: 9933
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: German Lager, Electric Hop Candy Jr, Scottish 70/-, Cali Common, Maibock, Helles, Russian Imperial Stout, Black Butte Porter

Working on: Weizen


PostLink    Posted: Tue Oct 27, 2015 5:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Likely just crud that you never cleaned up properly over the years. Wink

I use a blue scrubby sponge and just water in the boil kettle, though I find I don't need to "scrub" much. I tend to get only get a white film on it that wipes right off. If you throw in sugars or other things into the your kettle too fast (don't let them dissolve) it may clump too.

Once a year I fill the BK about 1/2 way and throw in a scoop of oxiclean and set the temp to ~170F and recirc. If it's really caked on you may want to bring it to boil.

Let us know how you make out.

Kal

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Last edited by kal on Tue Oct 27, 2015 8:05 pm; edited 1 time in total
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zeppman



Joined: 01 Jun 2011
Posts: 135



PostLink    Posted: Tue Oct 27, 2015 7:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Kal
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kal
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Joined: 12 Dec 2010
Posts: 9933
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: German Lager, Electric Hop Candy Jr, Scottish 70/-, Cali Common, Maibock, Helles, Russian Imperial Stout, Black Butte Porter

Working on: Weizen


PostLink    Posted: Tue Oct 27, 2015 8:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

No problems - hopefully it's a simple clean. Feel free to post before/after pics too if you like.

Kal

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zeppman



Joined: 01 Jun 2011
Posts: 135



PostLink    Posted: Wed Oct 28, 2015 3:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I didn't get around to trying to clean it, but here are a few pictures I took. You're right, it does just look like too much crud built up on the element... good thing the beer still tastes great!


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kal
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Joined: 12 Dec 2010
Posts: 9933
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: German Lager, Electric Hop Candy Jr, Scottish 70/-, Cali Common, Maibock, Helles, Russian Imperial Stout, Black Butte Porter

Working on: Weizen


PostLink    Posted: Wed Oct 28, 2015 3:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

How do you normally clean it after a brew day?

Kal

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zeppman



Joined: 01 Jun 2011
Posts: 135



PostLink    Posted: Wed Oct 28, 2015 3:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

After brewing, I tip the kettle to it's side and spray out all the hop gunk and break material with a hose. I'll then take a sponge with oxyclean and do my best to give the walls of the BK a decent scrub. I usually don't scrub the element too much (I'll give it a quick wipe) because I thought I read once somewhere on here, either on the "step by step brew day guide" or on the forum that over time a "protective layer" will form on the element and it will be fine. ...Maybe I'm just drinking too much and made that up, I don't recall. I then give the kettle another good rinse with the hose. After that, I'll tip the kettle upright again, fill it to about the 6gal mark (enough to where the element is completely covered by water), and then I heat up the clean water to 150+F (I'm doing other things at this time so when I see the water has gotten hotter than 150... could be 170, 180, whatever), I turn off the element and then cycle clean, hot water through the CFC. I discard the first gallon or so that I push through the CFC, then return the outlet of the CFC back into the BK just to let hot water circulate through the CFC and pump for a few minutes. I then drain and dry.
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kal
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Joined: 12 Dec 2010
Posts: 9933
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: German Lager, Electric Hop Candy Jr, Scottish 70/-, Cali Common, Maibock, Helles, Russian Imperial Stout, Black Butte Porter

Working on: Weizen


PostLink    Posted: Wed Oct 28, 2015 4:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

zeppman wrote:
I usually don't scrub the element too much (I'll give it a quick wipe) because I thought I read once somewhere on here, either on the "step by step brew day guide" or on the forum that over time a "protective layer" will form on the element and it will be fine.

It was here: http://www.theelectricbrewery.com/heating-elements

Quote:
A note on rust: Camco 02963 heating elements are normally used in electric water heaters that also have a sacrificial magnesium anode installed. The anode's sole purpose is to oxidize first, thereby protecting the heating element base from rusting. Brewing kettles do not have an anode so make sure you do not leave water in the kettle for a prolonged period of time. Leaving water in during a typical brewing period is not an issue. In fact, a protective coating will form on the element base in the Boil Kettle after a few uses. It's more of an issue in the Hot Liquor Tank if you leave water standing for extended periods. This may be exacerbated if you have hard water. Some brewers will install a sacrificial magnesium anode in the side of their kettle to combat this issue. See this forum thread for some example installations and instructions.


Key words highlighted.

So that's on the base of the element for the older non stainless steel base elements. The new ones we sell/use/recommend now (see: http://www.theelectricbrewery.com/stainless-steel-heating-elements) have a stainless base so a rusting base is not an issue.

Regardless of the model you use, you shouldn't allow deposits to form on the heating rods themselves. Usually a quick wipe with a sponge is all that's needed, but everyone has different water/brewing habits I suppose. You may need to wipe a harder in your case. I find a blue spongy that's rough on one side works well.

Quote:
...Maybe I'm just drinking too much and made that up, I don't recall. I then give the kettle another good rinse with the hose. After that, I'll tip the kettle upright again, fill it to about the 6gal mark (enough to where the element is completely covered by water), and then I heat up the clean water to 150+F (I'm doing other things at this time so when I see the water has gotten hotter than 150... could be 170, 180, whatever), I turn off the element and then cycle clean, hot water through the CFC. I discard the first gallon or so that I push through the CFC, then return the outlet of the CFC back into the BK just to let hot water circulate through the CFC and pump for a few minutes. I then drain and dry.


Sounds like you're more thorough than me! Wink

Kal

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zeppman



Joined: 01 Jun 2011
Posts: 135



PostLink    Posted: Wed Oct 28, 2015 4:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Kal.

So you think this is still just build up of crud? I shouldn't be concerned (after a thorough cleaning of the element) with going ahead and brewing/drinking future brews with this element?
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kal
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Joined: 12 Dec 2010
Posts: 9933
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: German Lager, Electric Hop Candy Jr, Scottish 70/-, Cali Common, Maibock, Helles, Russian Imperial Stout, Black Butte Porter

Working on: Weizen


PostLink    Posted: Wed Oct 28, 2015 4:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

zeppman wrote:
So you think this is still just build up of crud?

Yes.

Quote:
I shouldn't be concerned (after a thorough cleaning of the element) with going ahead and brewing/drinking future brews with this element?

I would make sure all the crud is off before brewing with it again.

Kal

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zeppman



Joined: 01 Jun 2011
Posts: 135



PostLink    Posted: Mon Nov 09, 2015 5:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, no matter how much oxyclean, how long, or how hot I get the water, I still can't get all this crud off the element. I can sit there and pick it off with my finger nails (kind of gross) very slowly, and I've gotten maybe 25% of it off. Not sure what to do now, except just brew and hope it doesn't affect the flavor.
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kal
Forum Administrator


Joined: 12 Dec 2010
Posts: 9933
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: German Lager, Electric Hop Candy Jr, Scottish 70/-, Cali Common, Maibock, Helles, Russian Imperial Stout, Black Butte Porter

Working on: Weizen


PostLink    Posted: Mon Nov 09, 2015 8:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Maybe a long soak in an acid wash or something? Or Beer Line Cleaner (BLC?). The other option is to replace them and be more vigilant in the future with cleaning.

Kal

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zeppman



Joined: 01 Jun 2011
Posts: 135



PostLink    Posted: Tue Nov 10, 2015 3:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kal wrote:
The other option is to replace them and be more vigilant in the future with cleaning.

Kal


But you said that that I'm more vigilant about cleaning than you??


Do you think it's that big of a deal if I just use it as is (especially since I know there has been this crud built up for some time)? Worse case is some off flavors, right? Or am I missing something?
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kal
Forum Administrator


Joined: 12 Dec 2010
Posts: 9933
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: German Lager, Electric Hop Candy Jr, Scottish 70/-, Cali Common, Maibock, Helles, Russian Imperial Stout, Black Butte Porter

Working on: Weizen


PostLink    Posted: Tue Nov 10, 2015 4:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

zeppman wrote:
But you said that that I'm more vigilant about cleaning than you??

I did. Wink But it appears there's something that's causing you more build-up than happens with me. I only clean enough to make sure there's nothing on my element and it seems I don't need to be very vigilant about it to keep mine very clean.


Quote:
Do you think it's that big of a deal if I just use it as is (especially since I know there has been this crud built up for some time)? Worse case is some off flavors, right? Or am I missing something?

I really don't know as I don't know how bad it is. Worse case scenario is a ruined batch because of a burnt/ashtray taste.

Kal

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Purchasing through our affiliate links helps support our site at no extra cost to you. We thank you!
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Master



Joined: 30 Jan 2016
Posts: 156
Location: Virginia Beach, VA

Drinking: Liquid Schwartz Schwarzbier, Stinky Porter, Spiced Apple Cider

Working on: AbbyNormal Glutton Free Framboise Lambic, Ich Bin Ein Berliner Weisse, Pineapple Cider


PostLink    Posted: Tue Feb 02, 2016 10:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Where do you live and what's the water hardness? Grains per gallon (or other measurement, I can convert.

That looks like my heating elements in Wyoming for the undersink instant hot water heater. We had 29 grain per gallon hardness, and it tore up heating elements. Basically made them overheat.
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