Replacing Heating Elements
If you need to replace heating elements that were not originally made for brewing, you may find them difficult to remove as over time the iron base will have rusted and bonded to the stainless steel locknut (1" NPS).
We recommend replacing these heating elements with our heating elements specifically made for brewing. Our heating elements have a base made of stainless steel that will not rust.
This guide shows you how to correctly remove old rusted elements without damaging others parts. Once replaced with our heating elements specifically made from brewing, you will not experience any future difficulties in the unlikely event you ever need to replace one.
Replacing heating elements (the grey / black curvy part in the picture above) doesn't normally need to be done. They are not like light bulbs or other consumables that wear out or break down. Clean them after each use and they'll last forever.
Parts and tools
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New Camco 02965 heating elements specifically made for brewing (stainless base)
Old rusted Camco 02963 heating elements (with rusted iron base)
"Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall move the world" - Archimedes, 3rd century BC
The key to separating a heating element with a rusting base from the stainless steel locknut (1" NPS) is to use tools that provide enough leverage to break the rust bonds. These tools are shown in the picture below.
Nothing needs to be removed from the kettles in order to remove and replace the element. The HERMS coil stays in place in the HLT.
- Remove the electrical box cover.
- Disconnect the three wires.
- Use a small flat edge screwdriver or similar to remove the food grade silicone adhesive/ sealant from around the heating element.
- Use an adjustable wrench with 2" jaw on the inside of the kettle to hold the stainless steel locknut (1" NPS), and a Camco 9953 element socket on a 24" breaker bar with 1/2" drive on the outside to turn the element. This combination of tools will make the job very simple despite any rust. We highly recommend the specialized Camco 9953 element socket over a normal socket not only for the correct depth, but also because the end is ground flat to better fit the thin nut permanently attached to the element. Most general purpose sockets have beveled edges making it harder to catch the thin edge of the element nut.
- To install the new heating element specifically made from brewing, follow our heating element installation instructions. If the stainless steel locknut (1" NPS) is tarnished from the element rust you may wish to replace it as well.
- Once installed we recommend a new bead of food grade silicone adhesive / sealant around the edge of the heating element nut (a safety precaution, though many people skip this step). Allow to cure overnight before reattaching the wiring and replacing the electrical box cover.
- That's it! Before brewing you may wish to give everything a good clean after installation per our cleaning instructions.
Questions? Visit our Replacing Heating Elements forum thread.
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