Hello everyone,

I need some help understanding how many watts or kW it takes to heat up 160 gallons of water in one hour using electric elements.

Reading on a different thread I see it takes 70 watts per liter for a one hour heat up. So is it right that it would take 49280 watts to heat 160 gallons in a hour? That seems like a lot of power.



  • edited March 2018

    There is a distillers calculator somewhere in this forum:

    StillDragon® Community Forum - Distiller Calculators Collection

    This will help a lot.

  • Tim, the 50kW seems about right - I heat 2/3rd of that within an hour at 33kW.

  • I agree with @squeakyclean. My still is heating up in 1,5 hours when I charge it with 110 gallons. I have 5 element à 5500 W.

  • edited March 2018

    @hudsonbaydistiller said: I need some help understanding how many watts or kW it takes to heat up 160 gallons of water in one hour using electric elements.

    Math to the rescue!

    1 BTU = Increase 1 pound of water by 1 degree (probably the only measure in imperial that has logical numbers).

    So, if you wanted to heat 160 gallons of water from 60 degrees to 212 degrees F:

    160g * 8.3lb/g = 1328 pounds of water

    212f - 60f = 152 delta T

    1328 * 152 = ~202 KBTU total

    1000 BTU = .293KW


    Approximately 60kw to do it in 1 hour.

    Approximately 30kw to do it in 2 hours.

    Now, this doesn't take into account efficiency and losses (means you need more power than this), but it doesn't take into account the lower specific gravity of wash/beer (means you need less power than this).

    Plug in the numbers as appropriate, if you are starting with a wash of 75f for example, and that you don't really need to get to boiling (195f more likely).

  • thanks guys thats the info i was looking for . i ll tell you the big pic of what im looking at .

    we heat our equipment with a outside wood boiler (250 gallon hydronic system . this heats our house and the distillery as well as pre heating equipment up to around 185f . we then jack the last of the needed heat with electrtic elements .

    now at our old place wood was not a issue and easy to find very cheep heat . at the new place were building it costs me 2 grand for a semi load of wood .

    in the winter its no biggy to burn the boiler because of the area were heating anyway, but as spring gets here we would like to look into an option to heat just the mash water (420 gallons per batch ) 4 times a week . seems like a pain keeping the big stove burning all summer to heat mash water .

    electricity or propane would be only option this site doesnt have natural gas .

    our mash tun is 400 gallons but we only run 200 gallon batch , 3 water infusion ,160 gallons @ 150f first water , 100 gallons 2nd water @ 180f, third water 160 gallons @ 185f , third water is held over in mashtun and kept warm with hydronic system and is first water of next mash .

    we have also thought of using a steam generator with electric element to steam inject the mash tun as others do with same type of mash tun . maybe thats the answer im not sure .

    so i guess this is a what would you do kinda question . thanks for letting me pick your brain .


  • You can’t use heating oil to fire a boiler? We burn dinosaurs.

  • edited March 2018

    I use dinosaur farts (LPG) to fire mine.

    I'm more like I am now than I was before.

  • that may be answer but it would mean a whole different boiler , our outside boiler is only capable of burning wood . tuesday we are going to the city to meet with a boiler manufacture and see what options they have for low pressure steam . grim/kapea what size is your boiler and what are you burning ,gallons per hour . thanks tim

  • 4.45gph oil for 15.7hp.

  • thanks grim ...this may sound stupid but 15.7hp would heat how big of a mash tun .

  • never mind i jus did the math that would run both our stills and the mash tun .

  • edited March 2018

    265g still and 530g mash with a staggered start. 20hp would be better though. Roughly 200kw.

  • thanks grim that gives us some real world numbers to ponder on . ru cooking corn in your mash tun and if so is it jacketed or injected . tim

  • Cooking corn, steam injected as jacket is used for cooling.

    Like I said, at that scale, 20hp would provide more flexibility.

  • I use a half barrel sanke beer keg for a boiler (15.5 gal). Gas usage varies with how my still head is configured, and what kind of run I am doing. Three different still heads; a stripper, a VM packed column, and a bubble plate with up to 16 plates. Each travels at different speeds, requiring different heat inputs.

    I'm more like I am now than I was before.

  • google: electric-heat.xls

    you can thank me later...

  • good stuff guys thanks . lots of researching to do , cotherman its later and thanks . tim

Sign In or Register to comment.