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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > DIY Projects > Fermenters > Hot Box idea
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Old 01-18-2010, 03:44 PM   #1
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Default Hot Box idea

Here's my problem. We use a programmable thermostat to keep our house at 20 C (68 F) during the mornings, evenings, and weekends, and drop to 15 C (59 F) during the daytime when we're at work and at night. This just about cuts our heating bills in half. Since I started brewing again I temporarily upped the daytime/night temp to 18 C (64 F).

To save on heating I would really like to get this back down, and I would also like to set up my brewing in the basement which is usually a couple degrees cooler.

I was thinking about building an insulated box big enough for about a half dozen buckets & carboys and install some sort of heater and thermostat. Does anyone see a problem with using one of those heating light bulbs you see in some bathrooms? I believe they are in the lower infrared end of the spectrum so shouldn't harm the beer right?

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Old 01-18-2010, 04:11 PM   #2
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They make heating pads that also work well. I think if you insulate the box well, you should have no problem getting 5F above ambient. Sounds crazy, but I bet you could find a non-functioning chest freezer for free and it would work fantastically. People are trying to get rid of them all the time.....not sure if Canada has Craigslist and Freecycle...but you could look around.

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Old 01-18-2010, 04:47 PM   #3
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OOOHHHHHHHh that kind of hot box. My Bad. I was having flashbacks from college reading the title.

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Old 01-18-2010, 05:51 PM   #4
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I did the same sort of thing with my fridge that broke a couple weeks ago, works pretty well.

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Old 01-18-2010, 06:14 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ScubaSteve View Post
They make heating pads that also work well. I think if you insulate the box well, you should have no problem getting 5F above ambient. Sounds crazy, but I bet you could find a non-functioning chest freezer for free and it would work fantastically. People are trying to get rid of them all the time.....not sure if Canada has Craigslist and Freecycle...but you could look around.
Interesting idea... We do have Craigslist, but it doesn't seem as popular around here as it is down there.
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Old 01-18-2010, 06:22 PM   #6
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Look around and see if you can find a drum heater that fits your carboy. I use them on my keg fermentor and they work great. Here's an example: http://www.grainger.com/Grainger/items/3CDA3?Pid=search

Grainger has a boatload of different types and sizes. More expensive than a heating blanket, but they're made for constant operation and durability.

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Old 01-18-2010, 06:36 PM   #7
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I have my fermentation room in the basement with a very small forced air heater and line voltage thermostat. We keep our home at 65*F during the day, 62*F at night and 50* when not at home.

My room isn't usable for much besides storage and measures 6'H x 6'W x 10'L. It used to be the coal room but now sports brewing. I used 2" rigid foam insulation on all surfaces and It works very well.

At any rate, you can use any heat source with a line voltage thermostat. I wouldn't use a heat lamp, the heat would not be transferred around your hot box very well.

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Old 01-18-2010, 06:49 PM   #8
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I have a small closet, that I ferment in in the winter. I use a ceramic heater that I got years ago. You can set it to desired ambient temp and it will turn off when it reaches it. That was the easiest solution for me.

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Old 01-18-2010, 06:58 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tonkota View Post
At any rate, you can use any heat source with a line voltage thermostat. I wouldn't use a heat lamp, the heat would not be transferred around your hot box very well.
My plan was to use a line voltage thermostat for sure. I do have a small space heater I could use, but was worried it would be too much for a 4'x3'x3' (ish) box even with a line voltage thermostat.
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Old 01-18-2010, 10:01 PM   #10
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Quote:
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My plan was to use a line voltage thermostat for sure. I do have a small space heater I could use, but was worried it would be too much for a 4'x3'x3' (ish) box even with a line voltage thermostat.
That is a pretty small space. You will not need much wattage if the box is insulated well. You might pickup 20' of heat cable (~5W/foot) which would be about 100W. You could weave the cable around the box and have great distribution.

http://www.acehardwareoutlet.com/%28...rce=GoogleBase

BTW, I put this in my dogs house and poured concrete over it for winter time heat. He rarely comes out of his house
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