Question for those who have converted warmers with air recirculation fans & electric heating element

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Master of the Pit
Original poster
OTBS Member
Nov 24, 2011
McDonough, GA
I scored a great deal on a full height commercial McCall, reach in, insulated, fixed mount proofer/warmer (not on wheels),  it's a model 1020H. It's 84"x34"x28". This unit has the electric element in the top in an external box with two air recirculation fans which intake air from the top of the unit and push it down and back into all levels via a louvered channel along the right side.  Sort of like a convection unit to keep the temps even across the warmer interior.  Heating element is 1,750 watts.  Cabinet will run at 200 degrees as is.

I've seen photos of several builds that use recirculation fans over the electric elements, but they are usually in the base of the unit and added on by the builder. My question for the guys who have converted units that use recirculation fans, have you had any issues with holding temps in the box as I know we need air intake and exhaust for the smoke source.  I'm planning on using one of Todd's pellet trays.  I did not know if the fans would also tend to push air out the intake and exhaust vents, or will they mostly keep the recirculation pattern inside the cabinet?

2nd question would be do I ax the existing element and just use the fans as is and put a new element in the base of the unit with some baffles to shield it from drips and direct drips to pans, etc...

Since the unit is made to run at 200* "as is" and I do not plan on smoking any hotter than 250, I'm seriously thinking about leaving the closed cell foam in place.  My plan is to run it at 250 to pre-heat and them dial back to 220-225 for smoking when the food is loaded, using that extra 25 degrees to help offset the cold food some (similar to the way I run my WSM).  I will be changing out the analog thermostat to a Omega digital controller and checking the thermal limit sensor rating and changing it if needed.  The unit will most like have a dedicated outlet and 30amp with 10 gauge wiring is an option to give a cushion (as is current draw is rated at 19.6 amps and I would like more of a cushion than a 20 amp circuit would give).

Any suggestions welcomed as I want to get this right before cutting into the cabinet as it's all stainless inside and out.  I'll try and snag some photos later as I had to leave it at the other house (no room here for now). It's still got untold number of years of dust in the upper electrical compartment, but the unit interior was clean.
dwards, morning....  I think you will have to do a test run without food in it... see what it does.... how strong the fan is..... how hot the element gets.... If the AMNPS works in that environment.....  and go from there....   Dave is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.