Heating Element Kits
These are the same heating element kits that we use in our brewery.
The elements used are ultra low watt density (ULWD) which means that the heat produced per square inch is very low and will not scorch or caramelize the boiling wort. ULWD elements also provide added safety as they will not break as easily if fired "dry" (not immersed in water) by accident. Mistakes do happen so we always recommend that ULWD elements be used.
One of the most challenging parts in creating our Electric Brewery was how to attach the heating elements to the kettles in a safe and secure manner. Our heating element kits ensure that the entire kettle is electrically grounded in the same way any power tool or appliance chassis is grounded, with all wires well protected.
Our heating elements include parts to fit in any kettle wall using the same 100% weldless principles used by our Blichmann Boilermaker kettles. There are no screw-on threaded fittings that need to be welded to your kettle. When done right weldless connections are tight fitting, never leak, never require any adjustments, and are perfectly safe. For more information see our heating elements article.
The heating element may also be used in kettles that already have NPS or Tri-Clover (Tri-Clamp) fittings attached.
How many heating elements do I need? What wattage?
4500W and 5500W elements are available.
- The Standard 30A control panel controls two (2) 5500W heating elements.
- The 50A control panel for back to back batches controls two (2) 4500-5500W* heating elements.
- The 50A control panel for 30+ gallons controls four (4) 4500-5500W* heating elements.
One 5500W element provides enough heat to bring a typical 10-20 gallon batch to boil within a reasonable time frame. Two elements is recommended when boiling more than 30 gallons. For more information see our control panel order page.
*Before using two 5500W elements at the same time, check with your local electrical authority or your electrician to confirm that the additional power draw is allowed on your 50 amp circuit. The electrical code varies from location to location.
What voltage do these heating elements work at?
In order to produce the stated 4500W or 5500W power output, the heating elements require 240V AC.
They may also be run at lower voltage but the power output will be reduced. For example, at 208V, the 5500W element will instead produce 4160W.
Running these heating elements at 120V AC produces one quarter of the rated power output. The 5500W element may therefore be powered from a standard 15 amp / 120V AC circuit to produce 1375W.
What size pot will these heating elements fit in?
These heating elements will fit in any kettle that is at least 13.5 inches (34.3 cm) inner diameter. This includes any Blichmann Boilermaker kettles (10 gallons up to 55 gallons) and 'keggles' (15 gallon converted Sanke kegs used by many homebrewers).
How long are the power cords? What are they made of?
The heating element cords are 10 feet long. Custom lengths are also available. Email us for details.
We use premium SJEOOW cords that feature a thermoplastic elastomer jacket which means that the cable remains more flexible than a standard (less expensive) cord. Rated to 600 volts and from -50 to 105 degrees Celsius. These cords are designed for use in harsh environments where the highest degree for oil/water/weather resistance and extended service life are essential.
What sort of plugs are included?
The heating element cords come equipped with a NEMA L6-30 (250VAC/30A) twist lock electrical plug to prevent accidental disconnection.
What's included with the pre-assembled kit?
With the pre-assembled kits we've done all the work for you, including welding, punching, priming, and painting the boxes and hooking up all of the electrical connections. The mounting washer, nut, and o-ring is also included if you wish to install directly in a kettle wall.
My kettle doesn't have any holes or fittings for elements. How do I attach the heating element?
My kettle has a 1" NPS welded fitting for an element. How do I attach the heating element?
Simply screw the element and box on to the fitting. The washer, nut, and o-ring supplied with your heating element are not used. We recommend using PTFE white teflon tape on the element threads to ensure a tight, leak-free fit (see this video).
My kettle has a Tri-Clover (sometimes called Tri-Clamp) fitting for an element. How do I attach the heating element?
Screw the 1" NPS female to Tri-Clover adapter (usually supplied by your kettle manufacturer) to the element as shown in the picture below. Then fasten the two Tri-Clover halves together using a clamp. The washer, nut, and o-ring supplied with your heating element are not used. We recommend using PTFE white teflon tape on the element threads to ensure a tight, leak-free fit (see this video).
I want to build my own heating element. What's included in the DIY kit?
For each heating element we include the following:
- (Qty: 1) Camco #02963 5500W (or #02953 4500W) 240VAC ultra low watt density (ULWD) RIPP element
- (Qty: 1) Weatherproof 2-gang outlet box
- (Qty: 2) Weatherproof 2-gang blank cover & gasket
- (Qty: 4) #6-32 machine screw hex nut
- (Qty: 4) #6 locking washer
- (10 feet) 300V 10/3 wire (10 gauge, 3 wires), oil/water resistant, rubber coating, rated for outdoor use
- (1 foot) 3/4" heat shrink tubing - black
- (Qty: 3) 10 AWG wire ring terminals
- (10 feet) 1/2" expandable braided sleeving - carbon colour
- (Qty: 1) NEMA L6-30 (250VAC/30A) twist lock electrical plug
- (Qty: 1) JB Weld cold weld compound
- (Qty: 1) Silicone high temperature o-ring
(1-3/16" ID x 1-7/16" OD x 1/8" width, AS568A Dash No. 217, Durometer hardness A70, FDA compliant, -65F to +450F)
- (Qty: 1) Food grade silicone adhesive/sealant
(-75F to +400F, Food grade: Meets MIL-A-46106B, Group I, Type I, FDA compliant, USDA approved, NSF 51 certified)
- (Qty: 1) Stainless steel washer/shim
(0.075" thick, 1-1/2" ID, 2-1/4" OD)
- (Qty: 1) Standard straight cord/wire grip, 3/4" NPT
(For cord diameter .50" to 0.63", aluminum, -30F to +225F)
- (Qty: 1) Stainless steel locknut 1" NPS
Every part is included except for spray paint (as paint cannot be sent through the mail). You supply the tools and the paint colour of your choice and follow our instructions. The box is not pre-drilled or pre-punched.
When building your own you'll need to supply the following tools and paint:
- (Qty: 1) Aerosol spray can of general purpose grey enamel primer (for priming metal) (Buy at: Amazon.com, eBay.com)
- (Qty: 1) Aerosol spray can of hammered metal finish spray paint - silver colour (for painting metal) (Buy at: Amazon.com, eBay.com)
- (1 foot) Electrical tape (Buy at: Amazon.com, eBay.com)
- GreenLee 1-1/4" round chassis or radio (not conduit!) punch for making 1-1/4" diameter holes (Buy at: Amazon.com, eBay.com)
- 2-1/4" bi-metal hole saw for making 2-1/4" diameter holes (Buy at: Amazon.com, eBay.com)
- Drill press (Buy at: Amazon.com, eBay.com)
- Hand drill (Buy at: Amazon.com, eBay.com)
- Metal File (Buy at: Amazon.com, eBay.com)
- Phillips #2 (crosshead) screwdriver (Buy at: Amazon.com, eBay.com)
- GreenLee 36414 1-3/8" step drill bit - don't get a cheap knockoff! (Buy at: Amazon.com, eBay.com)
- 5/32" high speed metal drill bit (Buy at: Amazon.com, eBay.com)
- Adjustable wrench with 2" jaw opening (Buy at: Amazon.com, eBay.com)
- Water heater element wrench (Buy at: Amazon, eBay)
- Cutting oil (Buy at: Amazon.com, eBay.com)
- Heat gun (Buy at: Amazon.com, eBay.com)
- Sharpie permanent marker (Buy at: Amazon.com, eBay.com)
- Wire cutter/stripper. We recommend the Klein 11055 or Irwin self-adjusting wire strippers (Buy at: Amazon.com, eBay.com)
What are the heating elements made of?
The black heating rods on both the 4500W and 5500W models are made from the highest Grade Nickel and Chromium Incoloy which is high temperature and corrosion resistant. It is essentially a mix of premium grade nickel and stainless steel. Incoloy is about 8 times more expensive, lighter, and more corrosion resistant than standard 304/316 stainless steel.
These heating elements are principally installed in home water heaters used in potable water systems. Tens of thousands are most likely in use worldwide in hot water tanks built by American, A.O. Smith, Bradford White, Craftmaster, General Electric, GS Wood, Kenmore, Lochinvar, Maytag, Mor-Flo, Reliance, Rheem, Richmond, Ruud, Sears, State, and Whirlpool Heaters, to name a few.
Why is the base of the heating element rusting?
The threaded silver coloured base of the heating element is not corrosion resistant. Some rust may form on this base if water is left in the kettle for a prolonged period of time. These heating elements are normally used in electric water heaters that also have a sacrificial anode installed to combat this issue. 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 for most brewers. 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 exasperated if you have hard water. Some brewers will install a magnesium anode in the side of their kettle to combat this issue. See this forum thread for some example installations and instructions.
Visit our official Heating Elements Kits product thread in our forum.
Questions? Email us at SpikeInnovations@TheElectricBrewery.com
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