Author Topic: Hot Water Heater Burner?  (Read 2295 times)

Offline wingnut

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Hot Water Heater Burner?
« on: October 14, 2010, 06:54:59 PM »
So I am helping my brother replace his 20 year old water heater this week-end.  (His old one has developed a leak in the tank)

Being a homebrewer, I have become fixated on possibly detaching the burner unit from the tank and useing for brewing purposes.  I figure if it can heat up 30 gallons of water to 140F, it should be able to heat 5 or 10 gallons to 212F!!. 

My primary goal is to be able to use the house Natural Gas instead of going through propane tanks. Knowing that it has safetys for pilots not being lit....etc adds a layer of safety as well.

As a secondary benifit, I can probably connect some controls in place of the present thermostat to make my kettle a direct fire mash tun and have more control over mash temps than my present infusion/cooler setup.

Anyone have any experiance with useing a hot water tank heater as a burner? Anyone have advice on extrating the burner intact? (Since the tank is still in service, I have not seen how easy or hard it may be?)

Thanks for any advice!
-- Wingnut - Cheers!

Offline weithman5

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Re: Hot Water Heater Burner?
« Reply #1 on: October 14, 2010, 07:10:56 PM »
i just replaced my water heater and thought of this very idea.  i decided it would probably still be easier to spend the 30 bucks on a good natural gas burner from a restraunt supply store.  of course i have been too lazy to do this as well. ???
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Offline Kit B

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Re: Hot Water Heater Burner?
« Reply #2 on: October 14, 2010, 07:19:56 PM »
Many people use them & they work.
Just be sure that you are either outside or have some form of venting (water heaters typically have a chimney).
I'd recommend electric heater elements, over gas.
Why would anyone want to drink stale beer?

Offline BrewArk

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Re: Hot Water Heater Burner?
« Reply #3 on: October 14, 2010, 08:10:19 PM »
Years ago Bill Owens put out a small "how to build a home brewery" book that included using an old water heater.  I used much of stuff in the book. When my water heater leaked, I started to disassemble the burner from the heater & realized that it was rather cheaply made.  That combined with it having to be hard plumbed to the house kept me sticking with my propane burner.

edit: looks like the "book" is still available on Amazon
« Last Edit: October 14, 2010, 08:18:22 PM by BrewArk »
Beer...Now there's a temporary solution!

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Offline wingnut

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Re: Hot Water Heater Burner?
« Reply #4 on: October 15, 2010, 12:32:48 AM »
Years ago Bill Owens put out a small "how to build a home brewery" book that included using an old water heater.

edit: looks like the "book" is still available on Amazon

Hmm... looks like another book to add to my christmas list!!
-- Wingnut - Cheers!

Offline Tooth_Fairy

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Re: Hot Water Heater Burner?
« Reply #5 on: December 06, 2018, 12:10:09 PM »
I've been working on brewing with tankless only bc it's such a space and time economy. I'm not used to be tighening my belt when working on a product, so does my co-ally. We do use heater as mentioned in this article and fuel it with propane. It's a considerable option 'cause our workspace is limited.

Offline KellerBrauer

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Re: Hot Water Heater Burner?
« Reply #6 on: December 06, 2018, 01:11:54 PM »
My advise as a union pipefitter with over 35 years experience in the HVAC industry specializing in burners and controls:  “Spend the money and buy a burner made for your intended purpose”.  Anything other than that is a foolhardy risk NOT worth taking.  Just my opinion.
« Last Edit: December 06, 2018, 01:16:45 PM by KellerBrauer »
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Offline BrewBama

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Re: Hot Water Heater Burner?
« Reply #7 on: December 06, 2018, 07:49:01 PM »
I use a PID controller and an SS element to maintain mash steps (https://www.amazon.com/Tri-Clamp-Sanitary-Still-Heating-Element/dp/B078M7SD3B)


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