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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
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    Wheatfield, IN
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    2,068

    Question Tips for using barrel heaters?

    I've got some honey crystalized in barrels. I've not used the barrel heaters before. Its the heater band that fits around the barrel.

    Any tips on the best way to use it? Bottom to top? Top to bottom?

    Any suggestions would be helpful.

    Thanks.
    Dan Williamson
    B&C Honey Farm http://www.flickr.com/photos/9848229@N05/

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Fresno California USA
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    2,479

    Default Re: Tips for using barrel heaters?

    Start at the top so that the heated liquified honey can rise. If you start at the bottom it can overheat as it can't rise up through the solidified portion.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Central Ontario,Canada
    Posts
    141

    Default Re: Tips for using barrel heaters?

    Are you able to lift a barrel on its side so that it can be drained into another barrel? If so. there is a intermediate step that can save you a lot of headaches.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Auger Hole, MN
    Posts
    433

    Default Re: Tips for using barrel heaters?

    here's a better system thats simple aftert set up


    jack hammer a shallow hole in your bldg ands install 3 100watt light bulbs with heavy duty wire and receptacles. set barrel over hole and enclose with insulated box that also contains a milk house heater. adjust bulbs and heater for 110F to 120F usually in less then 2 days honey is liquified

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Wheatfield, IN
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    2,068

    Default Re: Tips for using barrel heaters?

    Quote Originally Posted by 123456 View Post
    Are you able to lift a barrel on its side so that it can be drained into another barrel? If so. there is a intermediate step that can save you a lot of headaches.
    No...I don't have a way to lift the barrel and set on its side.
    Dan Williamson
    B&C Honey Farm http://www.flickr.com/photos/9848229@N05/

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Lancaster CA
    Posts
    410

    Default Re: Tips for using barrel heaters?

    Does your barrel heater have a variable control? Mine has low, med and high also 1 thru 8 for frequence of on and off. I have always used MED and 4. If honey is real hard, start at top or middle ring and work down. I also use a digital temp control switch with a probe in the bung hole. The temp control drives a heavy electrical contactor that turns off the heater at your desired max temp. Also I use 3 inch styrafoam boards to build a box around the barrel with a heavy canvas that covers all of it. The temp control is outide of the box so I can moniter the progress. A friend had a raised platform with aluminum floor,2ea 100 watt bulbs controlled by a chicken brooder thermostst set at 130 degrees. For insulation he built a box from 3 in styrafoam that he raised and lowered with a rope and pullys. Much simpler and cheaper.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Wheatfield, IN
    Posts
    2,068

    Default Re: Tips for using barrel heaters?

    Thanks to all of you for the inputs. Mine is a "wrap-it-heater" or something like that. Its the same one sold by Mann Lake. I think it has two settings high and low.

    One thing I wanted to ask.... it says not to use it on plastic lined/coated drums. My drums do have some sort of coating on the inside that makes them food grade I'm assuming. The honey doesn't actually touch metal. I'm not talking about the plastic liners you can buy but rather something actually on the drum itself. Is that going to be a problem?
    Dan Williamson
    B&C Honey Farm http://www.flickr.com/photos/9848229@N05/

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Lancaster CA
    Posts
    410

    Default Re: Tips for using barrel heaters?

    99.9% of the barrels out there have food grade paint on the inside. No problem using heat band with them.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Jackson, MO
    Posts
    1,858

    Default Re: Tips for using barrel heaters?

    I bought a barrel heater, wrap around style from Granger. I went with the highest wattage, which oddly was the most expensive. I elevate my barrels on three small bricks so the heat doesn't dissipate into the concrete floor.

    Start high and work down. Low heat at first, warmer as the melting progresses.

    Grant
    Jackson, MO
    Beekeeping With Twenty-five Hives: https://www.createspace.com/4152725

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Wheatfield, IN
    Posts
    2,068

    Default Re: Tips for using barrel heaters?

    Thanks guys for all the help.
    Dan Williamson
    B&C Honey Farm http://www.flickr.com/photos/9848229@N05/

  11. #11

    Default Re: Tips for using barrel heaters?

    I have one with high,med.,and low. I only use med. on 3 or 4 . they work good as long as you dont go much higher. start at top and move it down

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    LA Co, Calif, USA
    Posts
    87

    Default Re: Tips for using barrel heaters?

    Do you put the band at the top of the drum even when solid granulation?
    Do you ever use more than one band? (Mann Lake shows 2 on drum)
    The band gets very warm, how do you reposition?
    Dadant catalog shows band at bottom?

    Thanks!

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    clayton cal.
    Posts
    203

    Default Re: Tips for using barrel heaters?

    heres some more thoughts about it-RDY-B
    http://www.honeybeeworld.com/diary/2009/diary010109.htm

    > I have a request for heating 80 drums of honey per week. Any hints for a good design of heating room.

    I have built several, and seen quite a few set-ups. and there are a few things one needs to know.

    I am assuming the intent is to melt the honey or to get it soft enough to come out of the barrels.

    Melting hardened honey right in the drums is not ideal, since the drums are not stainless steel and, under heat, some chemical leaching from paint is possible if the drums are not the very best.

    Also, it takes time for heat to soak through to the middle of the drum. Therefore the outside honey, which melts first, is kept much hotter much longer than ideal -- and much longer than necessary under other, better methods.

    Nonetheless, it is a good idea to warm drums up to 30 or 35 degrees C for a few days or a week before melting in any kind of hot room so that the actual melting takes the minimum time possible.

    Most honey plants I have seen invert drums in a hot box (~50 degrees C) over a grid of pipes with circulated hot water (50-70 degrees C). That way, the air is hot enough to liquefy the honey that is in contact with the drums and the whole slug of honey slides down under its own weight, and is pressed by gravity against the hot pipes which quickly melt it so that it runs quickly away from the heat, down into the tank below.

    The 3 to 4 cm stainless steel or galvanized pipes are separated by about 4 to 5 cm, so the honey drops in sheets as it melts into the tank below and which is stirred and heated to slightly above the melting point of the honey.

    This way, the honey is melted quickly and not in contact with higher heat for long. If melted in drums, the outer honey has to get quite hot for quite a while until the heat penetrates in to the centre of the drum, or the process will take a very long time. Since melting honey, like melting ice takes a lot of heat, this is slow. Also, when the last of the honey finally melts, the temperature may suddenly jump up, since there is no solid honey left to absorb the heat being applied. More below. http://www.honeybeeworld.com/diary/i...9/P1010025.JPG

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Lancaster CA
    Posts
    410

    Default Re: Tips for using barrel heaters?

    RDY-B If you are going to melt 80 barrels wk, the set up you described is what you need. I have seen that type unit elevated 24 inches with a pan and automatic pump that moved the heated honey elsewhere.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    clayton cal.
    Posts
    203

    Default Re: Tips for using barrel heaters?

    even to melt one Barrel the princable is the same -that is to soften the slug -or core so it slides down-and you can put the band at the bottom-my friend uses a hot plate he made from a heating element from a dryer and the drum sets on this and a box made of three inch foam goes over the drum -it has heat control from kelly so temp inside the box stays constant-heat from bottom and the slug slides down and keeps melting-the trick is the slug has to be made soft so it slides RDY-B

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St. Albans, Vermont
    Posts
    5,558

    Default Re: Tips for using barrel heaters?

    I used to use Grainger barrel heat tapes. Thawed hundreds of thousands of pounds that way. Best move I ever made...

    I built a hot room in my new honey house. It has radiant heat in the floor. I can melt 50-60 drums in less than 2 weeks with temperature set at 120F.

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