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Protecting heating elements

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

I have a Master Built smoker and have already burned through one heating element. Does anyone have any tips for extending the life of our electric smokers?

post #2 of 7

Did you contact Customer Service about this to determine if there's a problem with your smoker? How long have you had it and which one do you have?

post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 

They replaced the element (And I've had it for a while) I'm just wondering if there's anything people do to extend the life of the smoker.

post #4 of 7

That's an outstanding question. You didn't say which MES you own. What I personally do, since I have a MES 30 Gen 1, is to keep it in my garage when not in use. I don't expose it to bad weather or freezing temperatures but that's just me. I also make sure I clean the two sensors on the rear wall after or before every smoke. The round one on the left is the hi-temp limit switch which shuts down the controller if the temp goes up to 325° or so. I had my MES go up to 295° without it shutting off, which can happen if you let that sensor get dirty. The toggle switch-looking sensor on the right is the interior temperature sensor which is used by the controller. 

 

I'm not a fanatic about cleaning the inside of my smoker but I do take damp paper towels and wipe gunk off the ceiling, out of the top vent, and I wipe dried meat and grease gunk of the walls on either side of the racks. I also wipe off accumulated grease gunk off the inside of the door, off the door seals, off the floor, and any gunk on the outside of the wood chip holder. I always foil over the bottom drip pan and the water pan.

 

Even after all that the inside is as black and stained as any regularly-used smoker. I just wipe off anything that can fall on cooking food and I clean those other spots I talked about.

 

As for the heating element, you'll read lots of posts about how the temp swings on MES smokers. What I recommend is that you read the top posts on how the MES controllers work during the heating cycles and during the smoke. Too many guys keep raising and lowering their set points which only serves to throw off the controller. Read the posts so that you know the fundamentals of how the controller works and how to more easily regulate it. I've gotten to the point where I can easily stabilize the set point for hours at a time. This helps to extend the life of the heating element in my opinion. My smoker is over 3 years old and still performing like a champ. 

 

If you use an extension cord, I recommend reading the thread started by jted called "Smokers and extension cords". I'm sure other members will have other suggestions besides mine.

post #5 of 7

To protect it keep it as dry as you can including humidly. Also keep it working efficiently by delivering 120 volts as  much as  possible.  Jim

post #6 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by jted View Post
 

To protect it keep it as dry as you can including humidly. Also keep it working efficiently by delivering 120 volts as  much as  possible.  Jim

Jim, if I plug my extension cord into the outlet on my patio and it reads 120 volts with a volt meter at the smoker before I plug smoker into it, does that mean the smiker will receive the full 120 volts?

 

I don't know the guage of the wires in it as it is an old cord probably 35 years old or so. I got it back then from an electrican that was working on some plant electrical problems. It came off a large roll of cord and had to have ends put on it. It is approx 10 feet long. It is pretty large in diameter so I am guessing it is probably 14 guage and maybe even 12 guage wire. Cord stays cool an doesn't even think about getting warm when in use on the smoker.

post #7 of 7

No it won't receive the whole 120 volts. You will receive almost 120 volts,  something like 119.75  you will lose a  little during the factory cord travel.  So little it does not matter. As far as your made up cord. It was made of  a product called SO cord. A 3 conductor cord that electricians use as a utility cord. The cords are fairly heavy duty as  are  the ends.  The thing you have to look at is the jacket. After time  it may want to crack. I have some #10 so cord that I did not take care of and it is bad. As far as the size you can't go by the diameter of the jacket. With that said  A 10 foot cord is a very workable length. Inspect the jacket for any cracking and you are good.

I spent many days doing electrical inspections, One of the main things we inspected were extension cords and cords on electrical tools and equipment. One electrician spent a shift or more  doing them.  Most every craft inspected something. Even ladders were inspected.    Jted

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brickguy221 View Post
 

Jim, if I plug my extension cord into the outlet on my patio and it reads 120 volts with a volt meter at the smoker before I plug smoker into it, does that mean the smiker will receive the full 120 volts?

 

I don't know the guage of the wires in it as it is an old cord probably 35 years old or so. I got it back then from an electrican that was working on some plant electrical problems. It came off a large roll of cord and had to have ends put on it. It is approx 10 feet long. It is pretty large in diameter so I am guessing it is probably 14 guage and maybe even 12 guage wire. Cord stays cool an doesn't even think about getting warm when in use on the smoker.

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