Stainless Steel Heating Elements (bare element)
These premium stainless steel Camco heating elements are specifically made for beer brewing. They will not rust when left in water for extended periods.
For years we've been recommending and using Camco 02953/02963 ripple elements. These new heating elements are the same, but now with a stainless steel base that will not rust so it is safe to leave water in your kettles for extended durations without using a magnesium anode. Straight (higher watt density) versions are also available for RIMS based setups, small kettles, or where ripple elements will not fit.
These heating elements include important features a brewer should look for:
- UL listed for use in the US and Canada.
- Ultra low watt density (ULWD) or low watt density (LWD).
- A stainless steel base that will not rust.
- Better sheath (tube) material made from a high performance nickel-chromium stainless steel (804) alloy with much better temperature and corrosion resistance than standard shiny 2xx/3xx stainless steel.
ULWD elements prevent the wort from being scorched or caramelized as the heat output is only 50W per square inch (7.8W per square cm) or less. ULWD also provides added safety as the element will not break instantaneously if fired "dry" (not immersed in water) by accident. Mistakes do happen so we recommend that ULWD elements be used whenever possible instead of LWD, especially when the element is in contact with wort. The high performance nickel-chromium 804 stainless steel alloy sheath (tube) used on these elements provides additional strength to resist dry firing.
These new stainless steel heating elements are already included in all of our Heating Element Kits. They are available for sale here separately for those looking to upgrade or source their own parts.
What sizes are available?
Four stainless steel heating elements are available:
- Camco 02955: 4500W (240V), ripple, ultra low watt density (ULWD). 13.7" long from flange base to tip. For kettles approximately 13.5" in diameter or larger if using in our Heating Element Kit.
- Camco 02965: 5500W (240V), ripple, ultra low watt density (ULWD). 13.7" long from flange base to tip. For kettles approximately 13.5" in diameter or larger if using in our Heating Element Kit.
- Camco 02929: 4500W (240V), straight, low watt density (LWD), 10.375" long from flange base to tip (9.875" long from end of threads).
- Camco 02935: 5500W (240V), straight, low watt density (LWD), 12.25" long from flange base to tip (11.875" long from end of threads).
If following our design, we recommend that the ripple (ULWD) elements be used. They fit in any Blichmann Boilermaker kettle (10 gallons up to 55 gallons) and 'keggles' (15 gallon converted Sanke kegs used by many homebrewers).
The straight elements are useful for very small kettles, for RIMS based setups where they are installed in a tube, or where ripple elements simply will not fit.
All heating elements are somewhat flexible and can be carefully bent a bit if required. This is especially true of the ripple elements given that they come pre-bent with a wave.
What are the heating elements made of?
The base of the heating elements is made of 304 stainless steel and will not rust. The grey/charcoal heating rods are made from the highest Grade Nickel and Chromium Incoloy (804 stainless steel) 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. It will also not rust. High temperature resistance allows the heating element to resist damage in the event that it is fired dry (not in water) by accident.
The new stainless steel ripple heating elements are essentially the same Camco 02953/02963 ripple elements that we've been recommending and using for years, but now with a stainless steel base that will not rust.
Why is the element darker than shiny no name elements?
Our elements have small radius bends and must be annealed to form them. The annealing process causes the surface of the element to oxidize and darken. The shiny no name elements either have larger radius bends or they are made from a softer, more malleable material that does not require annealing. The alloy used in our heating elements requires more steps in the manufacturing process, but we believe it gives a superior product.
Aren't shiny 304/316 stainless steel heating element better?
No. The grey/charcoal 804 stainless steel rods on our heating elements are more corrosion resistant and about 8 times more expensive to manufacture than standard 304/316 stainless steel (see previous questions for more details). Many of the shiny 304/316 stainless steel elements that are sold are also not ULWD and not UL listed for use in the US and Canada.
While we love and use shiny 304/316 stainless in our brewery on just about every other surface, this is one place where we chose to use the best product for the job: Charcoal coloured 804 stainless steel heating elements.
A typical no name Chinese heating element made from softer 304/316 stainless that is also not ULWD and not UL listed:
Our heating elements use the same resilient nickel-chromium stainless steel alloy sheath as the popular 02963 model that brewers have been using for years. The 02963 shown in the picture below has been in use for over 5 years and still looks like new:
I want to replace my old elements with these ones but the nut inside the kettle seems rusted to the element. How do I remove it?
See our instructions here: HOW TO: Replacing heating elements .
Are these heating elements UL listed?
Yes. All of the heating elements are from Camco (a US based manufacturer) and UL listed for use in the US and Canada.
What voltage do these heating elements work at? How many phases?
In order to produce the stated 4500W or 5500W power output, the heating elements require 240V AC, single phase.
All of the elements 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 any of these heating elements at 120V AC produces one quarter (25%) of the rated power output. The 5500W element may therefore be powered from a standard 15 amp / 120V AC circuit to produce 1375W at an extremely low watt density.
I'm using a different heating element. Why is the base rusting?
If using a different brand of element or the popular Camco 02963 model, the threaded silver coloured base of the heating element is not corrosion resistant and some rust may form on this base if water is left in the kettle for a prolonged period of time. These other 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 if using a heating element not specifically designed for brewing. 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 exacerbated if you have hard water. Some brewers will install a magnesium anode in the side of their kettle to combat this issue when using a different type of heating element. See this forum thread for some example installations and instructions.
How does this heating element kit compare to the Blichmann Boil Coil?
See this forum thread for our thoughts on the Boil Coil.
Only the bare heating element is included. If you require an enclosure, wiring, and plug to connect the heating element to your control panel, see our Heating Element Kit order page instead.
Camco 02965: 5500W (240V), ripple, ultra low watt density (ULWD)
Camco 02929: 4500W (240V), straight, low watt density (LWD)
Camco 02935: 5500W (240V), straight, low watt density (LWD)
Visit our official Stainless Steel Heating Elements product thread in our forum.
Questions? Email us at SpikeInnovations@TheElectricBrewery.com
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