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Thread: Tips on cleaning heating elements

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
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    Wisconsin
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    74

    Tips on cleaning heating elements

    Anybody have any good tips/tricks for cleaning brew-kettle heating elements (without CIP)? I've soaked them overnight in PBW or even just clear water and they usually clean up pretty easily with a green scrubbie but it's a huge PITA to get inside the curves that way. I was thinking maybe a gadget similar to those rings with steel wool they sell for cleaning car battery posts only with some type of softer bristles on the inside but don't know if such a thing exists.

    Any ideas?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
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    Europe
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    61
    When we had an electric system we used to remove them and soak them in caustic overnight and then spray them down with a power washer before the next use. Lots of cracks and crevices with ours that were impossible/impractical to clean, but we made the best of it and never had off flavors due to scorching, though ours were ultra-low density elements.

  3. #3
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    Dec 2013
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    Colorado
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    Why no CIP???

    I had troubles for about 2 years till I finally found something that works. I run a CIP cycle with Acid Brite #2 from Birko. It is the only cleaner that I've found to work.

  4. #4
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    Oct 2013
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    Europe
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    I don't know what other people's heating elements look like, but the spray ball wouldn't come close to cleaning out all the gunk inside our heating elements. Definitely needed to dismount, soak, and spray.

  5. #5
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    Apr 2016
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    Wisconsin
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    Ours are the foldback kind - like these:

    https://www.amazon.com/Dernord-Foldb...LgL&ref=plSrch

    Some pretty tight spaces in those grooves!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Location
    western , NY
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    Quote Originally Posted by somenerve View Post
    Ours are the foldback kind - like these:

    https://www.amazon.com/Dernord-Foldb...LgL&ref=plSrch

    Some pretty tight spaces in those grooves!
    Switch to ULWD (ultra low watt density) elements and you'll generally have less buildup on the element surface to deal with than lwd. I clean my ripples with a non abrasive scrubby pad or bar keepers friend because once you create the small scratches in the surface it just makes the beerstone stick better to the surface of them.

    Some folks actually use a piece of rope and work it all through the element like dental floss and claim it makes easy work of cleaning them too.. I also know some folks on the homebrewing thread with the ulwd elements dryfire them which cleans them up real fast but is probably not ideal for the life of the element.
    Last edited by augiedoggy; 07-12-2018 at 06:44 AM.

  7. #7
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    Oct 2017
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    western , NY
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    Quote Originally Posted by scotts View Post
    I don't know what other people's heating elements look like, but the spray ball wouldn't come close to cleaning out all the gunk inside our heating elements. Definitely needed to dismount, soak, and spray.
    I dont think its the spraying action at all thats doing the cleaning in some cases as it is the chemicals ability to disolve the buildup in many peoples applications... the sprayball is just supposed to provide good moving/rinsing contact of the cleaning solution so it can do its thing.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
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    Carmel, IN
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    Quote Originally Posted by augiedoggy View Post
    Some folks actually use a piece of rope and work it all through the element like dental floss and claim it makes easy work of cleaning them too.
    Something like 1/4 to 3/8 inch polypropylene rope should work well, as element floss.
    WaterEng
    Engineering Consultant

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Location
    Wisconsin
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    Thanks for the input everyone! I brewed yesterday and left them soaking overnight so I’m going to give the flossing idea a try today.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Daytona Beach
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    33
    For those who CIP we use Loffler Lerapur 283 with Lerasept O. All we have to do is spray down and clean. 7 BBL Stout kettle with 4 elements. Does a fantastic job.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2017
    Location
    Apex NC
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    Just a quick note - I've tried dry firing my elements in my homebrew system, all it did for me was convert the protein deposits on the element into ash deposits on the element which still needed to be scrubbed off. I tried it once and realized it was a fool's errand

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Moorhead, Minnesota
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    570
    We do a caustic cip with our sprayball on our kettle, then use copper mesh scrubbies and wrap them around each element and scrub from end to end.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Darby, Mt
    Posts
    130
    We power wash after the brew then soak the elements in acid in a special PVC tube we made until the next brew. Powerwash again before use.

    If something gets caked on- we'll use a scrubby. It make take a few soakings to get it off completely (the stain on the element- no residual gunk)


    Sent from my Pixel XL using Tapatalk
    JC McDowell
    Bandit Brewing Co.- 3bbl brewery and growing
    Darby, MT- population 700
    OPENED Black Friday 2014!

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