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Old 12-08-2009, 06:26 PM   #1
loctones
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Default Best way to heat my beer fridge

With the cold temperatures we've been having lately, my beer fridge, which sits in the garage, has been dropping in temperature. It's gotten close to freezing a couple of times. I've heated it a few times by putting a covered pot of hot water in there, but I want a lazier solution. I have a temperature controller I can switch into 'heat' mode. I was thinking about putting a light in the fridge, controlled by the temp controller. The one thing I'm worried about is if the light will have an effect on the bottles of beer in the fridge. Is using a light a good idea? Any other ideas?

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Old 12-08-2009, 06:31 PM   #2
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First I would suggest unplugging the fridge or taking the fermenter out of there - it sounds like you garage is cold enough without any additional help.

If this doesn't do it, you can try buying one of those Brew Belts - http://www.northernbrewer.com/default/brew-belt.html

That is one of several models available, I think. It never gets that cold in SE GA so I have never used them, but I think several brewers here do use them with great results.

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Old 12-08-2009, 06:32 PM   #3
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If you use an incandescent bulb, there shouldn't be any problem. I'd start with 25 watts.

What I've been using is an old harddisk & case. Pulls about 20 watts and has a built-in fan for circulation.

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Old 12-08-2009, 06:37 PM   #4
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Hey fellow Coloradoan - this single digit high stuff sucks, doesn't it? We never even went below zero last Winter. I had to empty my beer fridge this morning and move it all inside. What a PITA...

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Old 12-08-2009, 06:38 PM   #5
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I'm in the same situation. I use a small space heater with a thermostat. It kicks in for about 10 seconds an hour and does the job. I have also been looking at this http://www.williamsbrewing.com/BREWE...EATER_P518.cfm Looks like it would do pretty much the same thing.

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Old 12-08-2009, 07:40 PM   #6
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I bought one of these..
http://www.northernbrewer.com/brewin...on-heater.html

but, instead of wrapping around the carboy I ty-wrapped it across the back of my fridge. Using a temp controller and a 110v computer size fan, I can keep the ambient temp in my fridge in the 70's if I wish. (Which I did last month with my Chimay clone. Basement was 52 and fridge was 73 near the end.) Not sure if it will work in a below freezing garage, but worth the thought.

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Old 12-08-2009, 07:52 PM   #7
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There's two different ways to go about this. You can leave your controller on "cool" and add a separate but low wattage heat source like a 25 watt bulb. They'll fight it out a bit but hold the set temp well.

The other way is to use a controller capable of heat mode. Unplug the fridge and install the heat source on the controller. This can be a hair dryer, a small space heater, a reptile heat rock, light bulb (which can now be a higher wattage like 100w but shield the light from the carboy) etc.

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Old 12-08-2009, 09:24 PM   #8
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Thanks, all. I should have been more clear on what I was doing--this is my finished beer fridge, not a fermenting fridge. I have bottles and a couple of cornies in there. I appreciate all of the ideas.

I do have some old junk hard drives lying around--great idea! I'm going try that, assuming I have an extra power supply somewhere.

jkarp, yeah, the weather is getting old. I'm okay with the cold if it means a lot of snow in the mountains, but that hasn't been the case in the areas I care about.

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Old 12-09-2009, 01:40 PM   #9
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My washing machine froze last night! Got ice down the front. Fortunately, it's warmer in the brewery, not much; but enough.

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Old 12-09-2009, 01:48 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hammy71 View Post
I bought one of these..
http://www.northernbrewer.com/brewin...on-heater.html

but, instead of wrapping around the carboy I ty-wrapped it across the back of my fridge. Using a temp controller and a 110v computer size fan, I can keep the ambient temp in my fridge in the 70's if I wish. (Which I did last month with my Chimay clone. Basement was 52 and fridge was 73 near the end.) Not sure if it will work in a below freezing garage, but worth the thought.
A+ this is what I do in my fridge. It was 40F the other day but my beer was sitting happy at 69F. I never thought of the fan idea, not sure if I would like it stirring all the air in there or not I might be worried about the bacterial dust getting stirred around. Maybe something maybe not but I have no problem with just the heater itself.
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