Leaky Bits

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Leaky Bits

Postby Ross Ab » Sun Jul 23, 2017 6:31 pm

Hi everone, my name is Ross and after retiring decided to take up brewing beer and wine. I bought a beer kit from Wilco and turned out quite well. Then decided to try all grain! I bought HOW TO bREW by J. Palmer and researched all I could hoping to get it right first time. I have converted a larder fridge and built an STC 1000 temperature controller where my first brew is fermenting nicely, however........I have converted two plastic buckets for heating the sparge water and a boiler for boiling the wort. Although I managed to do everything I noticed leaks coming from the kettle elements. I have tried everything from Silicone sealant ( breaks down when water gets hot) Araldite ( sticks to the element backplate but not the flexible gasket. Tried moving the gasket inside the container, just sqeezes out the side.The elements are fixed by 3 srews. Can anyone help restore my sanity !!!!
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Re: Leaky Bits

Postby oliver90owner » Mon Jul 24, 2017 7:08 am

Use a heating element with a screwed-on flange? Alternatively you need to make the entry point more rigid before attaching the element.
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Re: Leaky Bits

Postby Jedster » Mon Jul 24, 2017 9:38 am

Hi Ross,
Welcome to the forum. Leaks, I hate leaks...

I wouldn't be using products like silicone sealant or araldite as they are not designed to work with food, or boiling liquids. You can buy food grade silicone sealant, but as you found out it won't withstand the high temperature, and I might be concerned about the boiling wort coming into contact with the araldite and contaminating the wort. Plus, araldite is hard and brittle, and you will need something that copes with the flex and expansion. Also, when you say the element is fixed by 3 screws, what do you mean, fixed to what?

The bucket will become very flexible during the boil (the flex will depend on the exact material) and it will be expanding. If the hole is too big, that is also going to be an issue. Presumably, you have a flanged heating element on the inside with a securing nut on the outside? Assuming the hole is not too big, have you tried using a thicker silicone or fibre washer?

J
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Re: Leaky Bits

Postby Hamish » Mon Jul 24, 2017 1:26 pm

Hi Ross, welcome along.

First question, did you rob the elements from a domestic kettle?, a cheap Tesco one for example.
Planning:
Fermenting:
Maturing/Conditioning:
Drinking: Shop bought stuff
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Re: Leaky Bits

Postby Ross Ab » Wed Jul 26, 2017 2:23 pm

Thanks for your comments. I have tried to copy the brewing setup from Copperkettle home brew video as its cheap and I love saving money! I bought the elements online. Instead of a large fixing nut the elements have 3 small srews which screw through a circular plastic unit into the metal backplate of the element. The plastic part is where you fit the plug.
The other end goes into the wall socket! I have now made some washers out of a silicone baking sheet (pinched from the kitchen). Have done a leak test and so far so good. Will try a boil test soon so keeping fingers crossed. I'm a bit reluctant to purchase 4 screw in elements at £19 each if I can get this to work. Any further thoughts would be appreciated.
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Re: Leaky Bits

Postby Hamish » Wed Jul 26, 2017 7:05 pm

Sounds like you have a Strix element, is it similar to this...

Image

Mine came from Tesco kettles (£4.78 at the time if I remember correctly 8-) ), no matter how tightly you screw it up there will always be a gap, it relies on the silicone gasket (taken from the kettle) to maintain a seal. If yours is the same I would suggest grinding a millimetre or so off each of the 3 prongs so that it clamps your bucket more tightly.

I hope you're plugging heat rated sockets (C15, rated to 120C) into the back of the element too!!!.
Planning:
Fermenting:
Maturing/Conditioning:
Drinking: Shop bought stuff
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Re: Leaky Bits

Postby Ross Ab » Thu Jul 27, 2017 8:35 am

Yes Hamish very similar to your photo, bought the proper cable leads to suit so they are ok.The silicone washer tended to sqeeze out the sides hence the leak although only small but still a nuisance! Will see if my silicone washers do the trick. Will let you know....incedentaly what's a nano cellar ?
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Re: Leaky Bits

Postby Hamish » Fri Jul 28, 2017 5:45 pm

Ross Ab wrote:....incedentaly what's a nano cellar ?
:lol:
Its simply a controlled temperature fridge that I store the beer in and dispense the beer from. :)
Planning:
Fermenting:
Maturing/Conditioning:
Drinking: Shop bought stuff
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Re: Leaky Bits

Postby Ross Ab » Mon Jul 31, 2017 12:29 pm

Hamish..just to let you know all leaks now sorted,the silicone washers are doing their job.Had a problem with the units cutting out, but after removing the small plastic pin which trips the negative side, all systems are go! Having to buy in the beer while waiting for my first all grain to finish fermenting and conditioning.
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Re: Leaky Bits

Postby Hamish » Wed Aug 02, 2017 5:47 pm

Image
Planning:
Fermenting:
Maturing/Conditioning:
Drinking: Shop bought stuff
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