I changed the element in my reactor tank after the old one was starting to make a crackling noise went it was turned on.(in wvo, of course) It had a layer of black crud on it. The new one was quite at first but after 2 days its also starting to get noisy, could it cause a fire?
Maybe I'll have to consider using an in line element set up.
Fire becomes much more of a threat when the element is not immersed in oil. Most folks here will probably advise against heating directly in any tank that will contain methanol, instead heating in a seperate tank. As a compromise you might consider an in-line heater. Make sure it is below the level of the tank so it will always contain liquid. (I also installed a flow switch in my system so it will not heat unless oil is actually flowing past the element.) You will need an "NPS" T-fitting if you want to get a good fit on a screw-in type heating element. They will not snug up in the standard "NPT" pipe fittings. I invested in a 1" NPS pipe tap and will be glad to machine a fitting for you. PM me if you are interested.
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I've had the same 3kw immersion heater in my tank for nearly four years. It occasionally gets covered in black burnt crud if the oil has a lot of protein in it. In fact, I twice had smoke emerging from the top of the oil due to the crud 'burning' on the element! When the tank is emptied its important to scrape off the burnt crud.
I've never had the element making any strange noises - are you sure its not dampness/water in the oil you hear? Anyway, if the element works I wouldnt change it.
The only thing with an in-line element is the pump always has to circulate . It would be nice if I could use a hot water loop to heat my wvo ,but the budget is too tight right now for such a luxury.
are you using double loop elements? the single ones don't last as long..
also you might look into the element that will survive a dry firing..
then next set of element for me are from a double oven unit..I just need to figure out how to seal the wire connections.
fyi..inline double loop element last a long time..I'm still on my first double loop inline..4+yrs later..and several pumps later.
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