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They cost less to run than stills fueled with propane. Propane is about the most expensive fuel out there, electricity is slightly less, and wood is the cheapest. If you're not set up to run your stills over a wood fire, consider using an electric element to save some money. The cost difference isn't huge, but there are other advantages too.
Electric elements offer the greatest control. Distilling over a fire is definitely the most "sexy" way to run a batch, but it takes quite a bit of skill to dial in the perfect temperature using wood for fuel. Elements can be coupled with thermostats to offer precision temperature control.
They are lower maintenance than wood and propane. One should ALWAYS monitor their still when running a batch and never leave it unattended. However, if a thermostat is being used, less attention needs to be paid to the fuel supply. The lack of an open fire is also a safety advantage.
What We Don't Like About Electric Element Stills
Good elements can be hard to find. I've seen several elements weather pretty quickly. They should always dried once the still is emptied to prevent this. If an element starts to corrode, ditch it and get a new one. We have have had a custom stainless steel element manufactured which we are extremely happy with. If you are looking for a 100% stainless heating element this is what you want.
Distilling indoors, which is a big no no, seems more likely to take place if someone is using an element. Ethanol fumes are explosive and distilling indoors could lead to a concentration high enough to turn your house into a rocket. Also, ethanol burns with an invisible flame. Should something catch fire, you might not know it until it's too late! These are just a few of many things that could go wrong when distilling indoors....turning your relaxed Sunday afternoon into a local news field day. The bottom line: NEVER distill indoors, element or not.
Electric Distillation Control Boxes
The biggest advantage to using electric to heat a still is that one is able to very precisely control the temperature. Our controller is designed to work with our 5 and 10 gallon copper moonshine still kits as well as our 8 gallon stainless steel stills. Our controller offers precision heat control - it is very easy to use, no cycling, simple dial knob adjustment. This controller is designed to work on any still up to 10 gallons in volume.