Water Heater Element: Burning Grease?

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Donniej's picture
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Joined: 01/07/2005

I'm still working on my re-invention of the wheel and in the pursuit of the perfect heating method for for getting the grease hot to filter it, I am trying a 110V 1500W water heater element. I just wired it up and put the heating element in a bucket with a gallon of grease. In seconds it was boiling the grease on the element and started to smell like food cooking again. After a few seconds more I pulled th eplug and rinsed the elment off only to find that it was covered in burnt grease. The grease in the bucket looked OK and was noticably warmer...

So, is this a bad idea? Am I burning the grease only to cake up the element?

Tomorrow I plan to MIG weld it into an old oxygen cylinder in my garage and mount some 1/2" pipe fitting with a nozzle on the out side to control flow speed... The hope is that this could then be tied into my pump and filter system and then into storage drums.

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Her
"Do I smell McDonalds?"
Me
"No, that's my Bimmer"...
Her
"Will it make me fat?"
Me
"You're already fat"

ourwebstop's picture
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Joined: 05/27/2004

Dunno DonnieJ,

That's how I always heat up my oil prior to filtering -- 110V 1500W water heater element stuck in the side of a 55 gallon drum. I've been doing it that way for something like 5-6 months. I do see that the heater element is black and maybe has a bit of "encrustation" on it, but I haven't had any problems yet. Just make sure that element is submerged before turning it on!

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Brian
vw.ourwebstop.com

Donniej's picture
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Joined: 01/07/2005

Great! That's exactly what I wanted to hear (-:

I will post my results later...

-------------------------
Her
"Do I smell McDonalds?"
Me
"No, that's my Bimmer"...
Her
"Will it make me fat?"
Me
"You're already fat"

Donniej's picture
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Joined: 01/07/2005

It went a little like this...

The old oxygen cylinder is ~3' tall and ~4" wide (medical type).... I cut the top off the cylinder and cut out a hot water heater element screw in fitting out of an adapter plate for Home Depot ($5) then welded it in until I got it good enoough to hold compressed air. I took a 1' long 1/2" nipple and cut it in half so there was one bare end and one threaded end... I drilled 1/2" holes in the cylinder on the side at each end and welded the pipes on. I put a ball type valve on the top to regulate flow and put male garden hose fittings on each end.

Using a 2000 watt 110V heating element, I hooked it up to cold water, cracked the valve and plugged it in... it took a minute but then the water started getting warm and then hot (steaming!). Flow is going from bottom to top with the heater up top. I just painted it and also plan to insulate it as to use the body of the cylinder to help heat the grease. I'll probably keep the valve shut for the first minute or so to pre-heat the cylinder, maybe with water in it to prevent the grease from burning.

More details and pics to follow.

-------------------------
Her
"Do I smell McDonalds?"
Me
"No, that's my Bimmer"...
Her
"Will it make me fat?"
Me
"You're already fat"

jwspin's picture
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Joined: 04/11/2005

i was thinking of doing a similar setup but using an old propane tank, keep us posted

-jared

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Ride a Bike, When That Wont Work Then Drive a Veggie Car.

vegged-out's picture
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Joined: 08/12/2004

If you are worried about the element being too hot this works :
Use a 220 volt element hooked up to 110 volts.
Michiel

Mike Hauser's picture
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Joined: 12/02/2004

I'm using a 220V heating element at 110V. Doing that reduces the power to 1/4 so that the element I use has about 1100W. The best part about it is that it heats my tank more evenly because it's bigger (longer) than a 110V element.

I also have a 110V water heater element. At 1500W it's energy density maybe 2-3 higher than the 220V's operated at 110V.

When I drained my main stock tank yesterday that is heated with the 220V element it was pretty dark, very similar looking to the 110V element. The 110V element is darker but I have also used it more.

I don't think this is something to be too concerned about. The charring causes particles but those should be easily retained in your filter. It will also break down some of the fats because they get too much heat from the heating element but that should be insignificant compared to what is going on in a fryer.

-------------------------
84 Mercedes 300SD, Modified Greasecar Kit.

Donniej's picture
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Joined: 01/07/2005

It worked... we had to play with the flow rate, had the first element burn out, ended up reversing direction and still need to insultate it but it worked! I don't know the rate but it was probably a couple gallons per minute... I was happy that the entire contraption was sealed tight and using "washing machine" hoses everything was sealed and stayed clean.

I had it standing up with the element at the top but when the oil got low the element was dry and burned up. I took that oppurtunity to get a longer 220V 3800W element but still used 110V (thanks for the tip guys!). I flipped the setup so the heating element is on the bottom and the oil is pumped up, this ensures that the element will stay wet. I also plan to put it in a large box and fill it with insulation to keep in the heat... that sucker gets hot!

I'll up-load the pics and add a link tomorrow.

If there's sufficient interest I may build a few for sale, if anyone would like more detailed info so you can build one out of pipe fitting just let me know and I'll post them. This could probably be made from a 1.5' or 2' (4") steel nipple with end caps and bolt/thread on fittings...

-------------------------
Her
"Do I smell McDonalds?"
Me
"No, that's my Bimmer"...
Her
"Will it make me fat?"
Me
"You're already fat"

Donniej's picture
Offline
Joined: 01/07/2005

Here's some pics of what I've been doing...

http://www.warriorscentral.com/524/42505/

( just pics, no HTML)

-------------------------
Her
"Do I smell McDonalds?"
Me
"No, that's my Bimmer"...
Her
"Will it make me fat?"
Me
"You're already fat"

Mike Hauser's picture
Offline
Joined: 12/02/2004

Be careful with exposed heating elements. They get hot enough to ignite the oil. If you leave it on and it gets exposed you most likely will have a fire.

-------------------------
84 Mercedes 300SD, Modified Greasecar Kit.