Insulating a Char-Griller??

Discussion in 'CharGriller Owners Group' started by wdoss89, Oct 12, 2015.

  1. wdoss89

    wdoss89 Smoke Blower

    So some might think this is off the wall but since Im just getting started in the smoke and que world I am just seeking advice and pointers.

    One of the things I have been noticing when I smoke or just do a burn in my smoker to learn its odd points and the biggest one I see is the thin metal...ugh so much heat loss!!
    My idea is to take a welders blanket and literally bolt it to the top half of my main chamber all the way around. It would be a lot like just draping it over the thing and I am sure I could at least make it look good(wife and grandma are seamstresses).

    If anyone has experience doing something similar or any other suggestions would be helpful.

    Thanks to everyone!!
  2. fpmich

    fpmich Smoking Fanatic

    I'm interested the replies to this too wdoss89.

    I recently put two bath towels on my CG while having temp problems and the chamber temps rose almost 20* in a half hour.

    I was amazed!  But then the wife found out I used good heavy bath towels.... you know how that conservation went.  LOL

    I am trying to find a "Non-Fiberglass" welding blanket that I can cut to size and just pop rivet on or something like that.
  3. wdoss89

    wdoss89 Smoke Blower

    I did the same thing this past weekend to find out if it would help. In the windy conditions my chargriller wouldn't get above 210 degrees. Within 30 to 45 minutes my chargriller was up to about 275 and I had to back it way down.

    If you find a welding blanket let me know.
  4. fpmich

    fpmich Smoking Fanatic

    I can find non-fiberglass welding blanket, but too expensive online.  If I ever run across a source that is reasonable, I will post in the forums.

    PS.  Wife still ticked about towels.  I've got to find something else.  LOL
  5. fpmich

    fpmich Smoking Fanatic

    Hey!  Here is a link that doesn't sound too bad is price for a 3' X 3' piece.

    I doubt it's wind or rain proof, but I bet a space blanket tacked to the outside would work perfect.

    I just ordered it.  Will let you know how it works.

    I also order a 3 dollar item I may use someday, just to get it above $25.00 limit for free shipping.  Shipping on just the 3x3 blanket is $7.95.
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2015
  6. wdoss89

    wdoss89 Smoke Blower

    I was just about to post that same thing. I searched around and found a heck of a deal on the 6x6 that Im going to be ordering come Friday.
  7. wdoss89

    wdoss89 Smoke Blower

    So i may have found the deal on the 6x6 because online its average $95ish for that size and a local place can get it shipping and all for $75! Saved $20 and get the bigger size. Its gonna be in sometime next week so Ill be post up after that about the "cover" Im going to attempt to make out of it.
  8. fpmich

    fpmich Smoking Fanatic

    75.00 is a good deal.  Congrats!
  9. wdoss89

    wdoss89 Smoke Blower

    Yepp kinda thought so too. What i wanna do is try and see about making it "fit" my CC by sewing it together almost like a cover. And it'll extend all the way dow in the front and back. Then it'll fold up in the front if i need to open up!! Great plan just gotta see what I can do.
  10. fpmich

    fpmich Smoking Fanatic

    Great minds think alike vdoss89.  LOL 

    I'm waiting until I receive mine and try it, before deciding on how to attach it.

    I know I am 'not' going to rivet it to the CG.  I want it removable, but cut and fit to size somewhat.  There is Nomex thread rated for high heat, or just wire clips from the office supply, and magnets, are some of the options I'm thinking of.  Don't know yet.  Knowing me, it will be a cheap fix, like just some weight attached to keep it from blowing off.

    I may order a second 3X3 if this work great on the chamber.  Then I will have enough to also double my chamber insulation, as well as do something with the firebox.  We'll see.

    I sure wish I would've had the blanket a couple of days ago.  I did a couple of rib slabs, and the outside temps were quite nice.  Almost 70* at start of cook! 

    But... the wind was quite high.  15-20+ with higher gusts.  I can't believe how much the wind can suck out the heat, even in mild ambient temps.  I struggled keeping my CG close to 225*. 

    I got tired of adding just a few coals at a time to try to maintain temps.  That usually works, but not with strong breeze like that day.   So I added enough lit coals to fill basket about 2/3, or more, full.  One hour later chamber temps still at only 222*.

    Then... my wife said she was going out of town, to visit our friend in Gaylord, who was having her dog put down the next day.

    Not 15 minutes passed after she left, before I snagged a couple of bath towels again.  LOL 

    Put two folded bath towels on chamber and temps rose 35*, to 257* after 45 min.

    It held at 240*-257*  for the next 2 1/2 hours, and I did nothing to firebox at all.  Last coals were added 3 1/2 hours before.

    I'm a believer now in insulating when too breezy, even on mild days.  It's amazing.  Too bad it took me so long the test the theory out.  LOL

    I can see less coals being bought, more even heat, less tending firebox, and maybe even helping me learn stick burning to better success.

    I will post pic's and results for the CG Group and whether or not, it is successful.

    Good luck to you too. 

    I'm still jealous of you 6X6 score!
  11. wdoss89

    wdoss89 Smoke Blower

    Yeah I found the thread recently as well. I also contacted the tilman company and while I am waiting for the blanket they are sending me a swatch of fabric to test out.

    My only fear is even though this stuff has a high heat and melt point placing one on the fire box will disintegrate faster. Who knows though.

    Good. Luck with the wife when she gets home and finds the bath towels. Happy Smoking fpmich!
  12. fpmich

    fpmich Smoking Fanatic

    Received my material today.  It's easy to work with.  Soft and pliable.  Cuts and sews just like cloth.  Cuts with regular scissors.  Doesn't seem to rip or tear from cuts made in the cloth.

    I got started on fitting it, but it's raining tonight and tomorrow, so I've got to wait for drier weather to finish it.  RATS!
  13. wdoss89

    wdoss89 Smoke Blower

    Well I got my sample piece in. And I took a lighter and exposed it to open flame for 5, 10, 20, and 30 second times.

    Never melted or messed up at all really. So my plan is since Im gonna have extra material left over from making the chamber insulating blanket that Im going to double it up and try to have a firebox pad to lay on it.
  14. fpmich

    fpmich Smoking Fanatic

    HA HA!  I did the same thing!  But I held my finger on the cloth, right over the lighter flame.  I could feel some heat, but not too much.

    With your large 6X6 you should be able to double it on almost all of your smoker.  I wish now, I would've ordered that size.

    Now I've got piece it together, if I order any more.

    Here is what I got accomplished so far.

    I draped the cloth over the chamber with only the edge reaching the firebox side.  No drape-over there.  If I lose heat, I'd rather it be off the hot side for the smoker.  There was enough of a hangover on the cooler side to fold it down to almost cover the end.  Then I cut out where needed.

    First I cut out slits to barely fit over the two therm's.  Front anti-wind-blowing-off, anchor points taken care of right there.

    Cut slits to fit over handle brackets.

    Then cut hole to fit over stack.   I made it a little to large by mistake, but not too much.  It'll work.

    Then stitched up a little excess folds to fit a little better at the chamber end.

    Here is a shot of the front.

    Here is the back side.   I have a magnet on the firebox side that is loose.  But I have read that magnets DO get very hot when used to attached, so I think I'll just attach a hanging weight to that end, or maybe use a hook to a small bungee below.  The back side drapes about 3 inches below the hinge, so that is a plus.

    That is about all you can do with a 3X3 piece.

    Haven't fired it up yet, so you'll have to wait for that report.

    As to wind/rain proof, I've decided to not use Mylar space blanket.  I've read that when it get a nick, it will continue to tear further.

    I need a roofed covered gazebo .   Someone please convince my wife.  LOL
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2015
  15. wdoss89

    wdoss89 Smoke Blower

    I actually like that looks good brother!! All my sewing will be done by the wife though she rocks at it and will make it look pretty!!

    As far as the gazebo I completely agree...I have actually been looking into one that has mesh or complete side to keep wind out to. Its tall too which is good because id hate to melt the top because of the heat from the stack when i throw on a stack extension. My wife needed convincing until we were smoking a couple weekends ago and it started spitting rain and it was killing the heat because it was a cold rain and i had to keep shutting the cover on the stack so it wouldnt flood the chamber.
  16. fpmich

    fpmich Smoking Fanatic

    I JUST HATE IT when they change the weather forecast at the last minute.  They do it to me all the time. < old guy growls>

    Suppose to be rain today, so planned my cook for tomorrow.  Nope.  Tomorrow is 100% rain now and today is great.  Go figure.

    So this afternoon I may try some chicken thighs in the smoker as a first test.  Then on Thursday, with wind in the 25-35 mph range, I will do ribs, using only my new blanky and no wind break.  That will be the real test!  If I can keep smoker at 225*, or more, in those winds, this whole thing will be a success.  And even if I can't, I can still get some smoke on the ribs and finish off in oven.  No sweat.
  17. wdoss89

    wdoss89 Smoke Blower

    From the sounds of it I would say you live in Missouri almost. Lol that's pretty much how our forecast usually always is...they call for rain and it's just an estimated range give or take a day or two.

    I did a whole beer can chicken a couple weeks ago turned out pretty good. Wife got a little over board on spices but still good!
  18. fpmich

    fpmich Smoking Fanatic

    I sometimes have been accused of being from MO.  Always got to see for myself (Show Me).  Just like my plan to smoke in CG with 20-35 mph wind on Thursday.  Well, that probably won't happen as "NOW" they are calling for rain on Thursday as well.  Oh well the blanket isn't a wind break as much as it an insulator.

    And for that, it worked great yesterday!  Breeze was between 15-20 mph.  I smoked a ton of saved chicken bones for stock, and then large chicken thighs on smoker.  Blanket worked great!  Could lay my hand on the smoker and all it did was feel good.  Touching the metal barehanded was another story.  I had no trouble holding temps between 325* and 375* the whole time.  Chicken came out fantastic.  Cooked though well, fat rendered, but crispy, skin.  This is the 1st time I've cooked chicken in the CG for some reason.  I guess I was afraid of not being able to control temps above 300* 

    That blanket did the trick.

    The blanket did not help with side to side diff in temps as I thought it might.   But it worked great for maintaining temp even in wind.

    As I had to rotate chicken around from side to side to get done evenly, I did notice that the chamber temps recovered a 100% faster, or more, than usual, after opening the lid.

    That is a BIG PLUS!

    I've come to the conclusion that without a lot of expense, it is impossible to keep even temps all the way across the CG

    So I'm going to do away with the crap I have stuck inside, and just deal with it.  I end up having to deal with it anyway.  LOL

    I may add some mass to the bottom next year, but probably not.  If I can rig a quick way to hold the thermofelt to the bottom that will help.

    If I had a shelter for rain/snow, I would leave the felt on.  But mine just sits in the yard with no roof to protect it, so I have to put on, and take off things, to keep it dry.

    It's just like camping in a pup tent vs a motorhome.
    Are you saying my stitching isn't pretty vdoss89?  LOL  I used heavy upholstery thread from a neighbor.  I used blue, because if I used the black, I would have never got it done.

    Eyes aren't what they used to be any more. 

    Now when I add some felt to the firebox end, I think I will try to use Permatex RTV, because most thread is not all cotton or wool, and will just melt at higher heat of that end.

    Other than moving inside stack to an inch, or two, above grate level, and using stack on outside for draw, this is above and beyond the best mod for CG I've done so far.

    What is really stupid of me is took no pic's yesterday, AND worse yet, Kept no log on my first ever chicken smoke.  I always keeps logs.

    Stupid, stupid, stupid!    Guess I'll have to do them again so I can get a log.  LOL 
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2015
  19. wdoss89

    wdoss89 Smoke Blower

    Ill tell you what as far as the side to side temps I have had awesome luck with the baffle plates i put in...keeps them to within 10* to 15* at most from side to side. Wasnt to expensive like ive seen some of the others either. And Im still waiting on mine to come in...I feel like a dang kid at Christmas everytime I have ordered something lately.
  20. fpmich

    fpmich Smoking Fanatic

    I was complaining to my wife about my side to side temps.  They never used to be that bad.  I just can't understand it.

    The only thing I have done is replace my tinfoil pan lids, but I've always used them to help smoke and heat to travel under for more even temps.

    I switched probes around and used different ones, with same results.  My smoker has gone crazy!

    My last three cooks had temps side to side varying from 50* up to 100*.  What the Heck?

    Today was no different when I did some ribs.  Wind was only 12-15 mph.  Warm 70* day.  This was my 3rd cook since I had replaced the foil lids baffles.

    Later tonight I think the penny dropped.

    DUH!  You idiot! 

    You put them tight to both ends all the way across with no gap at far end (away from firebox)!  The only heat and smoke was coming from the front and back 2" openings along the length only (not end to end).  So in effect I think I made it no better, or maybe worse, than without any mods at all.

    My ribs turned out great anyway, because I knew I had to move them around.

    I will change them out and let you know the results of my next smoke.  But I'm pretty sure that was the trouble.

    PS>>>  The Blanket still did a great job of maintaining heat, and a quick recovery time, if I had to mess with firebox, or open lid on chamber.

    How is your blanket working for you vdoss?  You get it yet?
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2015

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