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Heating 275 gallon tote?
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I recently built a heat and settle tank to get the worst of the water out of my oil using a 275 gallon tote and 220 feet of ice melt cable (5 watts per foot, total of 1100 watts). I used 1-100 foot section and 1-120 foot section. I first pull the tank out of its cage then the tank was wrapped with the cable about 2 inches apart and held in place with duct tape. Then I put a 2 inch thick piece of celotex foam insulation in the bottom of totes cage then I reinserted the tank and wrapped the cage and tank with 3 1/2 inches of insulation. I figured that the pressure of the tank full of oil against the outside cage would help keep the cable in place. I filled the tank with oil and plugged in the heat tapes. 24 hours later my oil was 145 F. Unplugged and let settle for 24 hours. Temp. was 135 F and I drained about 100 gallons of water off. Worked slick. Did this 2 more times and worked great. Today, my fourth try, I plugged in the tapes and came back 24 hours later. The upper tape was hot and working fine. The lower tape was dead cold. Did a resistance check on the cable and it is dead. Has anyone else done any thing like this? Will these cables take this kind of heat? Maybe I just got a bumm cable? If so, I will bite the bullet and tear this thing all apart and rebuild. Maybe there is a better cable? Maybe a better way to heat a tote? Any thoughts?
 
Location: smithville flats, ny | Registered: August 28, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Hmmm.
I wonder if you could plumb up a pump and in-line heating element
and recirculate like a plastic processor? Maybe even add an eductor?

I've never used an inline heater, so I could surely be wrong. Just a thought.

How hot can a tote actually handle? I store my feedstock in 330gallon totes and I like the idea you have.

Brian


1996 K2500 4x4 6.5TD
 
Location: Southern Indiana USA | Registered: June 20, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Hi Lew,
That ice melt cable is meant for free air operation only. It is a fire hazard if used while covered up by insulation as it was not designed for that. There are many different types of heat tracing made to be concealed in insulation, they typically operate from a thermostat instead of the self regulating type like your ice melters.
Check out this link for many different options. If you emailed one of their engineers they could likely give you an idea of your most cost effective solution...
You may find the right stuff to be cost prohibitive!

Not to be a negative Nancy but heating up a plastic tote with heat tracing seems like a bad idea to me. I would be more inclined towards an immersion heater with a proper thermostat and highlimit control.
When (not if) the heat tracing shorts out or worse has an arcing fault it could start the tote on fire...
Be careful and Good luck!
Jon
 
Location: Wellington County, Ontario Canada | Registered: February 07, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I don't know how they can actually handle. I think I remember someone saying that they had theirs up to 180 F with no problems, just can't remember where. I went with the heating cables for two reasons. 1) Set it and forget it (kinda) 2) I have a lot of PHO and was nervous about pumping this when it was cold. OK, maybe 3 reasons. 3) Only 1100 watts to run. And it worked great, until it died. Maybe I need a better heat cable, or I just got a bad one?
 
Location: smithville flats, ny | Registered: August 28, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Maybe I need a better heat cable, or I just got a bad one?

Confused
Did you read what I posted?
I am not just speculating, I am an electrician with experience in such matters.
If you intend to cover the heat trace with insulation you will need IC (insulation contact) rated heat tracing. You will continue to burn out the ice melt cable in that application if not burn down your tote.
Jon
 
Location: Wellington County, Ontario Canada | Registered: February 07, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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John Heron

Yes, I read what you wrote and checked out the site that provided, thanks. I appreciate your concerns and appreciate your willingness to help. We lost our power last night due to thunderstorms and I was unable to reply. The cost of those cables was not prohibitive at all if you considered $/watt. My concern is that I was originally applying 1100 watts over 220 feet of cable. The longest one on that site, as I recall, was 20 feet and that was something just short of 1100 watts, I think 1085. Like I said, we lost power so I am going from memory. The cost for their tape was about the same as it was for the two tapes that I had originally purchased combined, so no problem there. My concern comes with having that much heat, I know not a lot, concentrated in just 1 1/2 wraps around my tote. The much longer tape made at least 20 wraps, spreading the heat out over a greater area.

Anybody have thoughts or concerns or experience with applying that amount of heat in that short of a cable to a tote?
 
Location: smithville flats, ny | Registered: August 28, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post



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Your concerns about the shorter tape are valid considering you are wrapping plastic.
I would definitely contact someone from one of the heater manufacturers and see if they can help you with your application. I have seen silicone pad heaters that are made to wrap around poly drums that may work for you also but again I doubt they are made to be covered in insulation.
Let us know what you come up with.
Jon
 
Location: Wellington County, Ontario Canada | Registered: February 07, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Do a google search on "tote heaters".
Check out the first link that popped up;
http://www.heatingyourtanks.com/
Jon
 
Location: Wellington County, Ontario Canada | Registered: February 07, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I've used heater spears in totes of semi-solid oil. My preference is to use a low wattage element (2000 or 1500 watt/220 volt) running at half voltage (120 volts). This may not seem like much, but is enough to melt an entire tote of grease overnight. It also stirs up the grease, so the settling must happen after getting everything warm, and insulated.

We fabricated a mounting clamp that holds the heating element about 6 inches from the bottom.

It also works well for heating 55 gallon barrels of grease.

I prefer to use two shutoffs - one is a thermostat with a remote probe that sticks into the grease, the other is a timer with the "on" clip removed. I use these timers in several places, as backups to other sensors that might fail and cause problems. They can be turned on manually, but shut off and stay off automatically.

Cheers,
JohnO
 
Location: Moses Lake, WA, USA | Registered: August 15, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Johno,
Ditto. I do the same thing only I have a portable PID box that I plug the heater into at 120v, I have not used it in a tote but it would work as good for that as it does in a drum.
Cheap, easy and safe.
Jon
 
Location: Wellington County, Ontario Canada | Registered: February 07, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Johno

Were you using just one heating element to heat up an entire tote overnight? And to what temp. did it get overnight? I just want some form heat to evenly heat my tote so that I can settle the majoority of water out and liquify my PHO and animal fats.

John Heron

Tote blankets are way too expensive, about $1,400. I have left an e-mail for one of the companies with the other heat tapes that you had mentioned. Hopefully they will have some positive input.

My limited short experience with the ice melt tape was inspirational. I just need to find the right product for what I need. I did learn that when just the upper heat tape was working, that it would only heat the upper part of the tank, there was no mixing. I thought that I would get more mixing even with just one tape, but just 2 inches below where the working tapes ends, there was no heating taking place at all. It's almost as if it created a thermocline.
 
Location: smithville flats, ny | Registered: August 28, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I use both a spear and an in line heater. They both use a 5500 watt 220v element. I plug the spear into 110v as I leave for work in the morning. 120 degrees when I get home. The inline then brings it to processing temps. 'Course I'm not trying to settle water out as you are wanting to do. HTH Smile


Blessings. Joe 1999 Chevy Suburban w/new optimizer 6500 TD and 1995 Chevy Cube van 6.5L. WWW.RillaBioFuels.com
WWW.RillaBioFuels.com
 
Location: Sterling Hts. Michigan USA | Registered: October 18, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post



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lew: we just use one element to liquify the grease enough to pump into the processor, not heat it enough to process. The grease starts at cool room temperature, and mostly solidified. It only needs heating to perhaps 80degF for our needs.
Cheers,
JohnO
 
Location: Moses Lake, WA, USA | Registered: August 15, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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joe m

are you heating a tote or a barrel?
 
Location: smithville flats, ny | Registered: August 28, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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A tote. 225 gallons. Smile


Blessings. Joe 1999 Chevy Suburban w/new optimizer 6500 TD and 1995 Chevy Cube van 6.5L. WWW.RillaBioFuels.com
WWW.RillaBioFuels.com
 
Location: Sterling Hts. Michigan USA | Registered: October 18, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I have a portable heat spear, and in addition to other safety measures, I also put a 1/2" x 1/2" wire mesh cover over the heating element, so that even if everything else fails, it can't get in direct contact with the container, be that five gallon bucket, plastic 55 gal barrel, plastic fuel tank on my car, plastic tote, etc.

This wire mesh is known as "hardware cloth" and is fairly cheap. Compared to a leak or a fire, it's virtually free.

Finest regards,


troy
 
Location: north america somewhere close to the midwest, or not | Registered: May 29, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
I also put a 1/2" x 1/2" wire mesh cover over the heating element

Great idea! I will be adding one to mine now as well!
Thanks,
Jon
 
Location: Wellington County, Ontario Canada | Registered: February 07, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Hi Guys. Sorry for jumping in, but I have also been trying to come up with an inexpensive and safe way to heat a plastic tank (a recycle bin about 300 litres, the ones with the big flip lid) full of WVO. This tank is my first stage of settling and filtering and the tank is in a shed outside. Winter is coming and this won't work much longer (I am in Ontario Canada). My plan was to take some heat trace cable, 10 watts per foot and put it right inside the tank with the oil. I was thinking maybe 20 feet for a total of 200 watts. My plan was to put it on a timer, a few hours on each day. I would monitor the temp and adjust the time on to get the results I want. What I want is the tank temp to rise and fall to help remove the water.

What do you guys think???
 
Location: Oshawa, Ontario. Canada | Registered: September 19, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post



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steamertodd

Why would you want the temperature to rise and fall?
 
Location: smithville flats, ny | Registered: August 28, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Last fall I put together a small tank (about 30 litres) The tank has a cone bottom with a drain valve at the bottom to drain off the water and junk. This tank has 40 watts of heat trace cable on the upper 3/4 of the tank and it is insulated. The bottom 1/4 is bare. The tank has another valve near the bottom at about 1/4 way up the tank, this is where I drain off the good oil. I heat and cool this tank on a timer for 2 or 3 days (130 degF to 70 degF)and it removes a great deal of water. It is the best way that I have found to remove most of the water. A hot pan test shows that the oil still has a bit of water but not much. I want to replicate this but on a larger scale. I think heating and cooling helps the water settle out.
 
Location: Oshawa, Ontario. Canada | Registered: September 19, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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