Heating Element Sizing

When chosing a heating element to fit into you brewery there are a number things that you need to consider, such as:

  1. What power is available at your premises? Do you have single phase or three phase power?
  2. What current are your power points rated to that you intend to power your brewery from? Standard Australian / New Zealand household power points are rated to 10A.
  3. What volume of liquid will you be mashing and boiling? A 2200W heating element is a good size for say up to 23L final volume home brew in your fermenter, but would not be ideal for a 50L final volume. While the heating element will eventually be able to heat that volume of liquid to the required temperature, it will take a long time moving between mash steps and coming up to a boil, extending your brew day. Towards the end of this page we have provided a calculator to get an indicative idea of how long a given volume of water will take to increase in temperature for all of our heating elements.
  4. Size of the pot the element will be installed into. On our product information pages we provide the flange to tip dimension. This is the physical size of the heating element inside the pot. We recommend having at least a couple of centimeters of space between the end of the heating element and the pot wall.

All of our stainless steel heating elements act like basic resistors in an electrical circuit to produce heat. As such the power output and current draw for the same heating element will vary according to the supply voltage. In Western Australia where we are based the supply voltage is 240V +/- 6%. This means that the voltage can be anywhere between 226V and 254V. At our premises we regularly see voltages over 250V, see picture below of the display from our UPS.

Our heating elements have been sized to ensure that even at the upper voltage range they will still remain compliant to the rating of the power point (ie 10A) and have some current remaing to still run another low current device such as temperature controller and magnetic drive pump. See table below in which you can input any value for voltage to determine the corresponding power output and current draw of all of our heating elements.

Element Size Power Output (W) Single Phase Current (A) Three Phase Current* (A)
2200W 2200 9.17 9.17
3300W 3300 13.75 13.75
4500W 4500 18.75 18.75
5500W 5500 22.92 22.92
9000W 9000 37.50 37.50
12000W 12000 50.00 50.00
*Per phase

The below calculator uses the following equation to output the heating time in minutes:
Time = (Cp x M x dT) / (P x 60)
Cp = Specific heat of water = 4186 J/kg/oC
M = Mass in kilograms (for water 1kg = 1L)
dT = Temperature change in oC
P = Element power in watts
Then divided by 60 to return the time in minutes rather than seconds.
Volume (L):
Start Temp (oC):
Target Temp (oC):
Temp Change (oC): 50
Element Size Time to Heat Water (mins)
2200W 20
3300W 20
4500W 20
5500W 20
9000W 20
12000W 20