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Thread: Electric/Propane burners re: Indoor Brewing

  1. #16
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Posts
    186
    Originally posted by O2 Mash
    This is interesting. What makes a burner inefficient? Doesn't all of the gas get utilized when it comes out of the burner?
    Well, O2, It's not rocket science...

    Oh wait, it IS rocket science. And i'm not a rocket scientist!



    My pedestrian understanding of incomplete combustion is that if the fuel leaves the combustion zone (i.e. the flame) and cools before it has had a chance to completely oxidize, it will result in carbon monoxide and other gases in addition to CO2. Factors that affect this could be fuel-to-air ratio and mixing and the speed at which the hot, expanding gasses are carried away from from the flame.

    Complete combustion of propane would result in CO2, H2O, and nothing else.

    I don't have any idea how smothing out the imperfections in the burner casting would affect efficiency -- it doesn't make any sense to me either. Is there a rocket scientist here?

  2. #17
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Posts
    186
    Originally posted by Yeastie Boy

    I was looking at the electric setups you all linked to (with the water heater elements) but most seem to be in plastic buckets, which makes me really uneast about the whole thing. I know they're doing it, but eeeeee, that seems like it just shouldn't work.
    The heating element would not be in contact with the plastic, it would be in contact with the water or wort in the bucket. It wouldn't be quite as simple, but as O2 mentioned there's no reason you couldn't mount a heater in a stainless steel brew kettle. And make sure you wrap the thing in insulation, because no immersion heater you buy will match the heat output of a gas burner.

    For a research project a couple years ago I mounted industrial immersion heaters (3 or 5,000 watts/230V) into a 10 gallon stainless steel sinks to heat some cleaning/sanitizing solutions. In one sink I had the heater welded in the sink, in the other sink I used a stainless steel "cold weld" compound and it worked great -- easy and no leaks.

  3. #18
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Posts
    222
    IMO, the plastic bucket is actually a good idea because it is insulated (some what) more so than just a metal kettle. And if it gets dirty or cracked, just toss it out and get a new one. My Dad and another brewer in our club use natural gas for brewing. My Dad uses the burner out of a gravity furnace and the other uses the burner out of a hot water heater. You are right, both are under 75K BTU, but it does not take that much longer to boil 7-13 gallons of liquid. 45 min. vs. 30 with my propane cooker. The nice thing is that there are no tanks to fill, (or store) and both are burning very clean and efficient. My Dad just uses a small window fan to exhaust the carbon monoxide and put fresh air back into the room. The other guy has a small exhaust hood right above the kettle. Then he opens a few windows to draw in fresh air. He also has several carbon monoxide detectors through out the house. My Dad's friend is a HVAC engineer, and he did some calculations to determine how much fresh air was needed to make my Dad's system safe. He said that the window had to be open 6 inches minimum. As I said before, do what you feel safe doing, don't take my word for it, find out what works best for you.
    Burner efficiency is just like a car (emissions testing will give the results on a car). It is the mixture of fuel and oxygen. Too much fuel, and smoke will appear, indicating that there are particles of fuel that have not been burned. Too much oxygen and the burner won't ignite, or the car will not run. On a car you adjust the carburetor or fuel injection air flow, to control the burning of the fuel. On a burner, you adjust the burner orifices, or air manifold. When they talk about grinding the casting, they are allowing you to add more oxygen into the mix, by making the manifold chamber bigger (kind of like adding a K and N filter on a car). The same thing is needed when switching from propane to natural gas. If the bottom of your boil kettle has a black film on it, it is probably running to rich and needs more air to burn clean. The flames should be mostly blue and give off no visible smoke or particles. The reason why the "jet" style burners are such a pain, is that they are not adjustable and they use up way more oxygen than normal burners, because they burn more propane and thus are higher BTU. Getting the carbon monoxide out of the room is important, but it is also important to add fresh oxygen rich air back into the room. If you are going to fire up 4 stove top burners, you might want to crack a window as well. YMMV.
    Last edited by chris1kanobi; 09-03-2004 at 10:04 AM.
    "Abstainer: a weak person who yields to the temptation of denying himself a pleasure."
    --Ambrose Bierce

  4. #19
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Posts
    99
    Yeastie Boy


    My final 2 cents:

    I believe people over complicate things way to much. I guess some would say I half-ass things but I don't believe that true I just try to solve the problems the easiest way. I don't know what kind of basement you have but if you have some large swing open doors that you enter and exit from the outside of the home like the many homes where I come from you could brew near them with them open and moisture/CO2 should not be a problem. If you have a fan and a window that you can open you probably won't die a horrible death from CO2 poisoning either but the moisture over a prolong period of time could be a concern. I really don't think you need a whole lot of equipment to pull it off. If you are worried about harmful CO2 levels get the turkey fryer, a CO2 moniter, and boil some water for a hour and half or so and if the moniter goes off then worry about ventillation and upgrades and you are out 20-50 bucks for the monitor wich if you have a gas furnace or other appliance it is nice to have in the house anyway, just like a smoke detector. Other wise BREW IT UP. Relax don't worry have a homebrew. If you do have problems then worry about the ventilation systems and what not. I bet it should not be a big deal though. But if you do die I take no responsibility.........LOL :>)
    Thats just the way I roll.

  5. #20
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Posts
    436
    Originally posted by tyesai
    Yeastie Boy


    If you have a fan and a window that you can open you probably won't die a horrible death from CO2 poisoning either but the moisture over a prolong period of time could be a concern. I really don't think you need a whole lot of equipment to pull it off. If you are worried about harmful CO2 levels get the turkey fryer, a CO2 moniter
    I'm not sure that CO2 is very harmful, and if you buy a CO2 monitor, the alarm would probably go off quite often. Now, CO might be a different story.
    O2 Mash
    “Brewing beer is neither complicated nor expensive, however it is the responsibility of the brewer to make it as complicated and expensive as his wife will allow."

  6. #21
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Posts
    598
    Originally posted by O2 Mash
    I'm not sure that CO2 is very harmful, and if you buy a CO2 monitor, the alarm would probably go off quite often. Now, CO might be a different story.
    CO2 is very harmful at high concentrations, that is how the old halon fire extinguishing systems worked, it deprived the fire of oxygen. Of course it extinguished the occupants as well.
    "To beer, the cause of and solution to all of life's problems" - Homer Simpson

  7. #22
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Posts
    99
    You know what I meant.
    Thats just the way I roll.

  8. #23
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Posts
    2
    What is the method behind Natural Gas Grill? I loved the food of it but could not learn more about it.

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