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I'm planning to install a water heater element in my boiling kettle.

I have been looking at the Reliance and Camco elements but since neither is easy to get by in Finland I really need to go for a sure bet. Unfortunately the product descriptions are not detailed enough.

In special, which size of hole would I need to make on my kettle for those?

I have an 44L aluminum kettle 40cm in diameter with walls about 6mm thick (yeah, that tick, they are for making tomato sauce).

Also, any recommendation on the wattage? Is 4500W too much for boiling about 35L of wort?

We are going to get a bigger kettle (85L) some time soon and if the experiment goes well with the 40L kettle we will install a heater on that one also (to boil about 70L I reckon).

Any preferences between the brands above?

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1 Answer

up vote 2 down vote accepted

I use a 5500W reliance element for boiling 56L wort (ca. 15 gallons) on about 80% duty which gives a vigorous boil. This is the typical pre-boil volume for hitting 10 gallons packaged beer.

The element uses a 1" NPS thread (although check carefully - there are also elements with 1-3/8" thread.) You can get 1" NPS locknuts at bargainfittings.com. There's a great write-up on installing elements to kettles at theelectricbrewery.com, which describes all the fittings needed and hole punch sizes. In Europe, Q.Max make hole punches - they are considerably less expensive than Greene-Lee punches, and did the job well.

Since you have 240v single phase in Finland (as I do in Norway), you can't follow the electrical side of things as written, which is designed for 240v split phase. But if you know electrics then making the necessary adjustments is straightforward. If you aren't familiar with electrics, then get help from a friend that does.

EDIT: I remembered I have a spare reliance element, 5500W 1" NPS - a rough picture below. The screw thread is at least 10mm, possibly 11mm. I'd imagine you have plenty of room with the 3mm wall. The rubber grommet is of course removable, and you will probably want to replace this with a silicone one and a retaining shim as described in the electric brewery. Reliance 5500W element

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www.bargainfittings.com appears to be offline. How long is the element thread? Since the walls of my pot are 5 mm tick I'm a bit concerned the thread will not reach the other side of the wall so I can attach the locknut to it. –  Cleber Goncalves Nov 12 '12 at 14:51
    
Are you sure the walls are really 5mm thick - that's incredibly thick for a pot. The base may be, but I doubt the walls are, unless it's perhaps an old pressure cooker. Have you checked with calipers? –  mdma Nov 12 '12 at 15:35
    
any suggestion on where to get those in the nordics or in Europe? –  Cleber Goncalves Dec 1 '12 at 8:22
    
I got mine from amazon and then used jetcarrier.no to ship to Norway. Any other package-forwarding service will also work. –  mdma Dec 1 '12 at 19:29
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