Do the drippings hurt lifespan of heating element?

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by livewirecs, Apr 19, 2015.

  1. livewirecs

    livewirecs Fire Starter

    Should I cover the heating element? Would the food drippings hurt it?
  2. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Don't know for sure...... but .... my guess is..... anything that drips on a heating element causes immediate contraction from the temperature change.. that can't be good over time....
    livewirecs likes this.
  3. livewirecs

    livewirecs Fire Starter

    That's what I'm thinking! Thanks!
  4. cmayna

    cmayna Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Do you have a chip tray sitting on top of the heating element?  What type of smoker do you have?  If your element is exposed with possible drippings from above, I would create a drip pan above the element but just big enough to protect it.  Don't let the drip pan block the smoke from coming up to the meat.
  5. livewirecs

    livewirecs Fire Starter

    It didn't come with a drip pan but I put one in on the bottom shelf.
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2015
  6. mummel

    mummel Master of the Pit

    My guess would be yes.
  7. tjwheels

    tjwheels Fire Starter

    My heating element is some what covered and hard to get at but I will take a dry green scrub pad and wipe it off the best I can after every 4-5 uses. The salesman at Bass Pro gave me that advice, he claims to be a long time smoker and offered plenty tips.
  8. dcarch

    dcarch Smoking Fanatic

    Drippings on a heating element will do no damage.

    The actual heating element is a nichrome resistance wire embedded inside a thick ceramic jacket, and the ceramic jacket is inside the metal tubing you see. 

    The drippings can never get to the nichrome wire.

    Over voltage is the main cause of heating element failure. Something like for every 5% voltage jump, the life of heating element will be 50% shorter.

    Last edited: Apr 20, 2015
    livewirecs likes this.
  9. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Do you have a Masterbuilt electric smoker? If so, drippings will never hit the heating element thanks to the wood chip tray cover which also covers the heating element. Some guys foil over the cover just to prevent grease drippings onto it. I don't.

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