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Old 12-01-2012, 03:44 PM   #1
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Default Fermentation Chamber Heater Needed?

I just got a 7cuft GE Chest Freezer,,along with a Johnson Controller. I live in Ramona, Ca. where in the winter it can get below freezing during the night but never during the day. Seeing that the temp could be below freezing for a few hours, is there a need to have an "aquarium" type heater?
My freezer will be in the garage. Something tells me that I should not need a heater.

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Old 12-01-2012, 04:15 PM   #2
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Not sure whether you will "need" one, but ... the goal is to keep the fermentation temperature as constant as possible. As the temperature in your garage drops below your fermentation temperature, so will the temperature in your freezer. If, during a cold snap your garage stayed at 45-50 degrees for a week or more, the temperature of your fermenting beer would probably get pretty close to that, and that's probably not what you want.

After a bit of research (mainly on HBT) I bought a Brewer's Edge space heater from William's Brewing. It may not be the least expensive option ($35) but it's nice, takes up no room, and comes with adhesive backing for mounting to the wall of your freezer.

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Old 12-01-2012, 04:20 PM   #3
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Any old space heater with a temp controller will work, or you could get one with. Built in thermostat (check it, sometimes they are 5-10 degrees off!) some people just use a lightbulb or a greenhouse-style heated mat.

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Old 12-01-2012, 04:27 PM   #4
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The controller will turn on the compressor when temp gets above "designated" temp?
The freezer is insulated like a Igloo cooler?
Is there a device to tell me the inside temp without opening the lid and reading a thermometer?

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Old 12-01-2012, 04:40 PM   #5
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You'll need a heater. Especially if you want to ferment any Belguim-Type beers and you want to ramp up the temperature to 75 or so. Even when I do an ale i like to start out on the low side of fermentation temps and then towards the end bump it up to ~70. This time of the year you have to have some sort of heat.

I actually built one of these: http://http://www.wortomatic.com/art...ion-Can-Heater, and it worked great but I wanted to have some airflow in my chamber so I bought one of these: http://http://www.walmart.com/ip/Las...eater/16503222.

You can get them at Walmart for $11, not 18. I really like it. I hook it to my temperature controller on the heat cycle and set it for 70 and when it runs it also circulates air which I think keeps the inside of your chamber from getting stale.

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Old 12-01-2012, 04:44 PM   #6
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You can use a PID from auberins and an SSR to control a freezer using a light bulb as the heat sources. The Johnson will only control one side (like all Johnsons, it is single minded!)

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Old 12-01-2012, 04:49 PM   #7
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I use a 7cu ft chest freezer as well..and the Johnson Temp Controller..and its in my garage....and I also use the My heat Personal Heater from Walmart....$12.00 Works great.

I have the sensor sitting in my chest freezer about mid height (away from the wall), and I set the heater on the high end of freezer (where compressor is) and plug into temp controller. Works like a charm!

One bit of warning though....during the first couple of days when the fermentation is rocking...the chamber got a little warmer than I wanted on my first use of this setup....because there was so much heat generation from the yeasties....so now I put a 3/4" block of wood under lid to prop it open to let any excess heat out....during the first couple of days. The heater will still maintain temperature with no problem....but if too much heat builds up it will allow it to escape. Once the initial fast rate fermentation is over I remove block.

Oh yeah...like another poster said....make sure to set your controller to heating mode....

here is another option for heater....but it is more expensive....

http://www.williamsbrewing.com/BREWE...-P518C100.aspx

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Old 12-01-2012, 05:11 PM   #8
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So the Johnson Controller will allow the freezer to turn on when the set temp gets to warm........but what will control the heater?

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Old 12-01-2012, 05:24 PM   #9
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You need a two stage temp controller. Johnson control makes one for about $100

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Old 12-01-2012, 05:26 PM   #10
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Yep...if you need to control freezer and heater....you will need a dual controller or buy another A419 and use one for heater and one for freezer.....

More economical to buy the dual controller of course.....

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