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How to check your electric smoker element

post #1 of 2
Thread Starter 

From time folks need to check there smokers element. Here is a easy way and the only way I know.



How to check your heating element.

Read this before you start any work.


How to check your smoker element. This also works on other elements (hot water heaters) There are a couple things you need to know. What is your house current(120V)

What is the wattage of your smoker's element a MES 30” is 800 watts. These are just examples if you have another just look at the data plate on the back. How we check the condition of the element is by measuring it's resistance

To do this you will need a multimeter. We are going to use a easy formula to find it. First un plug your smoker

The formula is v x v divided by wattage or 120v x 120v /800 = Resistance or 120x120=

14,400 divided by 800 watts = 18There are lots of formulas to find this number. If you don't like this one look at a OHMS Law pie chart..

You will need a Multimeter to check your element. These are rather inexpensive but you can spend a lot if you wish. I worked with a very good electrician who used a old craftsman meter. The company we worked for supplied us expensive Fluke meters he liked his old one. He probably had it as a apprentice 25 years earlier. 

 That shows you don't need expensive but reliable equipment.You want to set your meter to the resistance scale. It is often marked as a upside down horseshoe.

TURN THE POWER OFF UN PLUG THE SMOKIER suspect you have quit reading and started the checks.

If you have unplugged the smoker remove the element inspection plate or expose the connections on the element. At this point take a minute or two to inspect the connections. If they are dirty or rusty or even burnt clean or repair the connections. If you feel you need to replace them use High heat appliance grade female spade connectors.If you have a ground connection you can see  check it also. Sometimes they are exposed to a lot of heat and start to melt  Other wise just clean the male connections on the element.

Now that the connections are clear lets test it by turning on the meter and place a probe on each of the male spade terminals. Read your meter if it reads close to you prefigured resistance number the element is good.

If the resistance number is high it will heat less. If it is low by a significant amount the element is failing. It will heat to much or not at all. Water heater elements sometime explode in the heater. I hope this helps Sometimes the mystery is easy.   Jted


post #2 of 2

jted is right on with his calculation & formula. Smokers with electric elements in their units  would save some frustration if they purchased an inexpensive multimeter & practice using it before a problem shows up. That way if a problem shows up during a smoke they have a means of troubleshooting IMO.

  A G K

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