Direct heating

Direct heating features a hotplate or heating element in close proximity to or even inside the boiler. Three common modes of direct heating are the hotplate, the concealed element and the immersion element.

The Hotplate

The Hotplate

Home Distillery
Fig. 3-5

The "Concealed" Element

A hotplate is an external device used for heating a pot or kettle. (We would include the burner on a kitchen stove in our definition of a hotplate). Hotplates may be fired by gas or electrically heated. There are a wide variety of hotplates available, and in general you get what you pay for.

The "Concealed" Element

Distilling Electric Heating Element

The concealed element is mounted within the bottom of the boiler, and is therefore "concealed" from view. The bottom of the boiler is often thick, functioning as a built-in heat diffuser. These elements are common in consumer electric devices, like coffeepots, teakettles and deep fryers, where they work very well. Since the element is not immersed in the liquid, it's relatively easy to incorporate circuitry to protect the element should the boiler run dry.

The Immersion Element

The Immersion Element

An immersion element is mounted through the side of a boiler and is in direct contact with the liquid. Electric water heaters use immersion elements. If the element is larger than needed, it will require direct and sophisticated power control to avoid surge boiling. A thermostat in the boiler will NOT prove satisfactory. (Thermostats work in water heaters because they operate well below the boiling point).

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