Introduction: Installing a Water Tank Heating Element in a Polar Ware 321BP 32 Quart Stainless Steel Brewpot
I'm a long term homebrewer. I brew outside with gas when the weather is nice but when it's rainy, too cold or too hot I brew inside. It turns out that over half the time I end up brewing inside. The problem with brewing inside is it takes my electric stove over 1-1/2 hours to barely bring 6 gallons of wurt to boil!
So I decided to solve my problem once and for all - I installed a 2000 watt, 120V electric heater element in my new brew pot. Now I can bring my wurt to boil in 50 minutes or if I'm really in a hurry I can put the brew pot on the stove AND plug in the electric heater and bring my wurt to boil in less than 25 minutes! This conversion can be plugged directly into a 20 amp kitchen outlet because it only draws 16.6 amps, or it can be plugged into our soon to be released electric brew pot controller.
I used a 32 quart Polar Ware brew pot because I believe they are an excellent value for the money. They aren't over priced like some of the brewpots on the market today but they aren't flimsy stainless steel like the cheapo Chinese brewpots either.
For more information, see http://www.kegkits.com/electricbrewpot.htm.
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Step 1: Disclaimer and Parts List
This is a step by step guide for doing your own install but first I need to warn you - Drilling holes in your Polar Ware Brew Pot will VOID YOUR WARRANTY!
Also, don't hold me responsible if you screw up your install. These instructions are as complete as possible but we all have different mechanical abilities. If you are unsure about any of this then please invite a friend to help and celebrate with a few beers after the project is done.
Parts List (most parts available at Lowes and Home Depot):
1 – 2000 watt 120V screw in style water heater element
1 – Water tight electrical box with three 1/2" holes
1 – Water tight electrical box cover
1 – 1/2" cord connector
1 – 1" NPT Pipe Stainless Steel Lock Nut (P/N K419-16, available from our web site for $7.95)
1 – 14 Gauge, 16 Amp rated Power Cord (P/N 109284, available from our web site for $11.95)
3 – Ring terminals
1 - Polar Ware 321BP Brewpot
These parts are also available as a complete kit from amazon.com.
We also offer a 240V version of this kit with a Camco 02962/02963 5500W 240V Screw-In Lime Life Ripple Water Heater Element on Amazon.com.
Drill - To drill holes in your nice new brew pot
Small drill bit - to start hole
3/8" drill bit
1/2" conduit punch
1" conduit punch
Ideal P/N 36-305 Carbide Tipped hole cutter
Drill press - hand drill can be used, but dril press is much easier
Heater element socket
Large slip joint pliers
#2 plillips screwdriver
1" adjustable wrench
Step 2: Start With a Perfectly Good, Leak Free Brewpot
Step 3: Drill a Small Hole Where the Element Will Be Mounted.
The hole is started with a small bit because it's less likely to skate around on the side of the pot.
I pre-measured by placing the water tight box on the side then I moved it up about 1/2". This makes sure the box is mounted high enough so that the pot is not straining the box when it's sat on the counter.
Step 4: Oh, and Congratulations, You Just Ruined a Perfectly Good Brewpot
- now you have no choice but to plug the hole with a heating element!
Step 5: Open the Hole Up With a 3/8" Drill Bit.
Step 6: Insert the 1/2" Greenlee Conduit Punch and Tighten Intil the Punch Pulls Through.
Pic 1 - Punch set
Pic 2 - Punch on outside ready to tighten
Pic 3 - Punch on inside ready to tighten
Pic 4 - Tightening punch with adjustable wrench
Step 7: Now Insert the 1" Greenlee Conduit Punch and Tighten Intil the Punch Pulls Through.
Pic 1 - 1" punch on outside ready to tighten
Pic 2 - 1" punch on inside ready to tighten
Pic 3 - Tightening punch with adjustable wrench
Step 8: A Picture of the Finished Hole
Step 9: Inside of Water Tight Box.
You are going to drill out the raised ridge section in the middle.
Notice the green screw? You will attach the power cord green ground wire to that screw later.
If you drill the hole dead center the boss the green screw is in will be in the way of the water heater element. So you have to drill the hole off center - see below.
Step 10: Here's Where a Drill Press Helps a Lot.
Getting ready to drill the hole - it's hard to see but the box is to the left a little bit so that the hole will be to the right. Just make sure that the drill bit is still drilling out the entire raised area on the inside if the box.
Step 11: Here Is a Better Picture of the Hole Partly Drilled
- you can see that it is not centered.
Step 12: Layout the Parts That Will Be Inserted Into the Brewpot
Step 13: I Originally Thought a O-ring Seal Would Work Better
I originally thought thet a O-ring seal (left side) would work better than the original seal that came with the water heater element (right side) but I was wrong!!!
I assembled everything with the O-ring but no matter what I did the connection leaked water. I pulled the O-ring seal out and installed the original water heater seal and I had no problem making the connection water tight.
Step 14: Drop the Element Into the Inside of the Water Tight Box Then Insert It Into the Brewpot
Step 15: Push the Seal Onto the Threads As Far As It Will Go
Step 16: Thread on the Stainless Steel Nut and Hand Tighten As Tight As You Can
Step 17: Hold the Nut With a Pair of Slip Joint Pliers
Step 18: And Tighten the Water Heater Element With a Water Heater Socket
Depending on how strong you are, you may need help with this step because the element has to be very tight
Step 19: Don't Forget to Leak Test Before You Go Any Further!!!!
Our first and second leak tests failed.
We had to tighten the nut until the stainless steel side was almost flush against the nut before our brewpot was water tight.
Step 20: Straighten the Box
You will see that the box is not straight after all of the tightening. Just use a large screwdriver to straighten the box but make sure you din't damage the water heater element with the screwdriver.
Step 21: For Power, Use a Power Cord Rated at 16 Amps or Higher
We use the 16 amp power cord we stock for resale. If you can't fine one pre-made you can always buy a 6' - 8' length of power cord and a plug end from Lowes or Home Depot.
DO NOT USE A SMALLER GAUGE, LOWER RATED OR LONGER POWER CORD!
Step 22: Go Ahead and Feed the Wires Through the 1/2" Cord Connector.
Step 23: Trim the Wire Ends
Then crimp on three blue color coded ring terminals
Step 24: Feed the Wires Into the Box
Step 25: Attach the Wires to the Element
Attach the green ground wire to the green ground screw first.
Then attach the white & black wires to the water heater screws. I put the black on top and white on bottom but the order does not matter.
Step 26: Thread the Cord Connector Into the Box & Tighten
Then tighten the nut on the outside end to compress the rubber seal inside around the power cord.
Step 27: Install the Box Cover
Put the cover gasket on the cover, push through the screws, then install the cover
Step 28: Completed With the Element Starting to Heat!
Step 29: To Use the Pot, Plug It Directly Into a 20 Amp Kitchen Outlet.
Or you can use our new Brew Pot Boil Controller.
With our boil controller, you will be able to adjust the rate of your boil.
Our 240V brew pot boil controller is available through Amazon.com.
And our 120V brew pot boil controller is also available through Amazon.com.