Heating Element Burning Out?

Question:

Our element keeps burning up. We believe it is due to the fact that the coconut oil is not melted when it goes into the heating pot.

Answer:

Cold oils have nothing to do with the heating element. The entire purpose of the tank is to heat. You could put ice in the tank. Time is the only thing affected by the temperature of the material to be heated.

Higher temperatures require checking the water jacket level more often. It is easy to forget.

One thing that happens a lot, people will turn up the thermostat all the way thinking this will heat faster. This system does not work that way. The heater if full on when the thermostat calls for heat. This is not like an oven where there is a “rheostat” which controls the current going thru the element and therefore controls the temperature level.

What generally happens is the tank overheats, steams out the jacket water and is forgotten. The heater continues working hard, trying to heat at the highest limit.

Another factor:

It has been our experience that when a company has multiple employees handling the tanks, that watching the water levels is forgotten because everyone assumes “someone else” has checked it. This is yet another reason why we always supply one extra element when a tank is originally ordered.

When your tank is not heating:

Heating elements last years when they are kept sufficiently covered in water. A good example of this is a home water heater. They have been known to last twenty years or more with the same element.

Things to check for:

  1. Is the Tank on a separate circuit or not?
    • What else is running on same circuit?
    • What are the amps for the circuit the tank is on?
    • If the tank is “sharing” with another piece of equipment, it can starve the available current. If the circuit is not “sized” properly (fuse or breaker is too large for the wiring) it can reduce the electricity for all. This is also very dangerous, something has got to give and it is always the wiring.
  2. How often is Water being added to the Tank?
  3. How often are Water Levels checked?
  4. What temperatures are you in general maintaining when using the Tank?
  5. Is the Tank unplugged from the wall socket when not in use? This can prevent the heat accidentally coming on overnight or when not being used.
  6. Is the Outer Tank being drained periodically to remove sediment?
  7. Do you have hard water which can cause mineral build up (lime, sulfur, iron, etc.) on your heater element? This will encase the element, preventing it from emitting heat, which is its sole purpose. Elements do have a limit as to how much heat they can withstand.
  8. Is the electrical cord in good shape and what is it plugged into? Power Strip, Extension Cord or Wall Plug? Extension cords and power strips can reduce the current flow. They can heat up and start a fire.
  9. Have your Breakers been tripped or a fuse blown?
  10. Has the wall outlet been checked to see if it is working?
  11. Has the Element been tested to see if it is good? Refer to your Tank Instructions.
  12. Have you tested the Thermostat to see if it is working? Refer to your Tank Instructions.