Electric element in build - do they "need" airflow or not?

Discussion in 'Other Builds' started by dward51, Dec 11, 2011.

  1. dward51

    dward51 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I've been looking at some of the other builds in posts, and I have a question about using electric elements and digital PID's for control.  Some of the builds also have a high temp air circulating fan that blows air across the electric heating element.  Usually these are the finned elements. The webpages I've looked at where the elements are being sold do not mention constant airflow.

    Is this something that must be done to keep the element from burning out or is there some advantage in temp stability throughout the cabinet? 
  2. roller

    roller Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member

    No they do not need airflow but you do need some ventlation in your smoker to keep the smoke from getting stale..
  3. michael ark

    michael ark Master of the Pit

    What he said plus it needs air for the wood to smolder to make smoke.
  4. tjohnson

    tjohnson Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Insider OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Air is a good thing

    You'll get better combustion and less creosote

    Also, you need to evacuate the moisture somehow

    You can always shut the intake down

  5. dward51

    dward51 Master of the Pit OTBS Member


    Yes I was clear on some air is needed to sustain the smoke flow and combustion of the smoldering pellets. I'm planning on using one of Todd's AMNPS in the build for the smoke source if I ever get my design finalized in my head. I'm familiar with the need for some sort of fresh air intake and exhaust for that to work.  The desire to use an AMNPS is one reason I'm asking this question as I'm thinking the constant airflow movement from a re-circulation blower will decrease the burn time on the AMNPS as it would be like "fanning" or constantly blowing the smoldering pellets making them burn much faster.   Another question I would have with a re-circulation if is does the smoke build up on the fan shaft and eventually gum up the bearings?  Smoke "seasoning" seems to coat pretty much everything inside every smoker I've ever seen.  I would plan on doing "hot" smokes as well (225 to 250 range).

    I have seen several metal cabinet builds on here (converted food warmers) where they used a high temp squirrel cage blower to constantly move air over the finned elements.  Walleye1's build is one I can think of off the top of my head.  I just was not sure if this was a must have to keep the heating element from burning up or just something the builder decided to do.


    Here is a few of his photos with what I'm talking about.  In the first one the blower and return duct are on the lower left of the side of the cabinet.  The 2nd photo is of the inside showing the air intake to the fan and the return over the finned elements. Of course he used a Bradley puck smoker for his build so the smoldering pucks are somewhat shielded from the fan air flow.

    And to Walleye1 if you read this, that is one sweet build you did.


    Last edited: Dec 11, 2011

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