Excessive condensation during a cook

Discussion in 'UDS Builds' started by drdonny, Sep 19, 2017.

  1. drdonny

    drdonny Newbie

    Afternoon all,

    I recently built a UDS and had its maiden voyage to season it on the weekend.

    All went well except for one thing, loads of condensation on the inside of the drum... Drained about 200 ml out of the bottom when I had finished. I had to drain it and clean it as it'll rust out if I leave it full of water. Not a huge issue I guess, but on my weber kettle I just shut it down and cover it when cool - was hoping for a similar low maintenence affair. I assumed charcoal to be almost pure carbon, so a bit surprised to be getting so much water vapour. Smoke was thin but white for most of the smoke, this was prior to the wood even catching alight - not the thin blue I aim for.

    I didn't use a water pan, it sat at 230 F for 4 hours, only used two chunks of wood which were bone dry. Cooked one chicken, A bit of juice ran out but the majority is definitely condensation as the walls of the drum were covered in it. I used lumpwood charcoal which had been in my garage for a while, reckon it has absorbed water from the air?

    Exhaust is 2" diameter and fully open. Inlets are 2 x 3/4" inlet stacks and one 3/4" nipple.

    Pics here if interested:

    How much moisture do you guys get during a cook?

    Anyone experienced extra humidity from old charcoal?

    Cheers!
     
  2. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Somebody else can help you with the Humidity/UDS thing.

    However depending on the Humidity at my house, the Glass door in my Electric MES fills up with condensation on the inside, but that's mainly because it's insulate real good. I never put water in my Pan either, and my top vent is fully open.

    How high is the Humidity when you're getting all the condensation.

    Maybe your UDS is sealed up better than your Weber Kettle???

    Bear
     
  3. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Where are you located? I live in a dry climate and I've never had a condensation issue with my UDS except during the winter when smoking in 30 degree weather and snow.

    Even then it wasn't even enough to worry about.
     
  4. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Man, I live in Florida, the humidity capitol of the US, and I've never had a problem like that.

    I don't have a UDS, but I have a WSM & the principal should be the same.

    I know this is a stupid question, but is it possible that it rained on the smoker while you were inside & didn't notice it?

    Other than that I don't have a clue.

    Al
     
  5. Rings Я Us

    Rings Я Us Master of the Pit Group Lead

    Might be he cooked at temps lower that he thinks. It could cause moisture if it's below say, 225.
     
  6. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Here's how condensation can cover the inside of the door glass in an MES:

    This is without any water in the Water Pan.

    This was in September of 2015:

     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2017
  7. c farmer

    c farmer Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I use my UDS alot and never noticed this issue.

    I shut it down just like my kettle and mini wsm.

    That's odd. How did you notice the water on the bottom.? The ash should have soaked it up.
     
  8. drdonny

    drdonny Newbie

    Thanks for the comments chaps. I live in the UK, it was a dry, if not a little humid weekend. Definitely didn't rain.

    I had foil on the base under the basket as I haven't got around to making an ash pan yet. The water and ash didn't really mix and as it was a short cook, there wasn't a lot of ash anyway. The water was pooled around the base. Could see it condensing on the walls and lid throughout the cook too.

    What reasons could there be for mostly white smoke throughout? This is prior to and after the wood chunks burning, so it is from the charcoal itself. Some water would have come from the chicken, although I didn't brine it or anything. I measured the temp of the exhaust gases and also at 3" down from the lid (both the same).

    The bottom of my drum stayed cool, could hold your hand on it. The top got hot but not crazy. Interesting that an electric smoker fogs up too, kinda suggests meat juice.

    Maybe my water is a mix of water absorbed by charcoal being liberated as it gets hot and meat juice dripping into the base?
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2017
  9. Rings Я Us

    Rings Я Us Master of the Pit Group Lead

    You need a drip pan .. you were using one of those?
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2017
  10. c farmer

    c farmer Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I dont have a drip pan???    I have a deflector.

    That wouldnt stop the water on the walls.
     
  11. Rings Я Us

    Rings Я Us Master of the Pit Group Lead

    I had corrected myself but.. he said moisture on the bottom of his UDS I thought.. nothing about the sides was mentioned. (Now I see he says the sides were covered in moisture) lol my bad..
    I was thinking drip pan and deflector would catch juices or whatever. Or burn them off as they hit it.
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2017
  12. Rings Я Us

    Rings Я Us Master of the Pit Group Lead

    Gas tank can get water in it from night and day temperatures fluctuating here.. the mechanic said to keep a half or more tank of gas in my tank to prevent condensation.

    " Maybe my water is a mix of water absorbed by charcoal being liberated as it gets hot and meat juice dripping into the base?"
    He said . So I though no drip pan or deflector to stop it.


    It probably is from temperatures changing.. just like on car Windows dew is on everything in the morning.

    My car is wet every morning I go outside here.
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2017
  13. Rings Я Us

    Rings Я Us Master of the Pit Group Lead

    I bet it was that.. there was some juice or water in bottom and it just acted like a terrarium .. heated up and the condensation went up and dropped down on sides.
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2017
  14. somerset

    somerset Newbie

    What is the foil in bottom for?  I have never had any kind of issue like you are talking about nor can I think of anything that would cause that issue.
     
  15. gmc2003

    gmc2003 Smoking Fanatic

    I don't own or have never used a UDS, but from your picture I don't see vents on the bottom. If the two pipes with the shut offs running up the side of the drum are your draft vents then maybe there's no easy way for the moisture to escape during the cook except thru the stack. Thus collecting on the side walls and top, and when your shutting it down it drips down to the bottom. Just a theory.  

    Chris.  
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2017
  16. Rings Я Us

    Rings Я Us Master of the Pit Group Lead

    I see.... it looks about like a slow cooker where steam will condense on underside of the lid. Drip down. Not being hot enough to evaporate it fast enough. You could count on that moisture on the bottom to keep causing condensation once it is shut up after use.
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2017
  17. somerset

    somerset Newbie

    UDS does not build up condensation that I know of, or I can say for a fact mine never has...
     
  18. Rings Я Us

    Rings Я Us Master of the Pit Group Lead

    The UDS fairy came and used its magical water can in there during the night. 😬
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2017
  19. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Try elevating the drum so it's not sitting on the cold concrete... maybe an inch or so... It may be helping to cool the drum... Be sure the lid is sealed tight so cold air cannot enter around the lid.. that should help keep the smoker warm... and help with temp control....
     

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