For the sake of my marriage I'm trying to avoid the temptation of becoming a gear whore, but managing my temps better is the next step I am wanting to take.
I've only been brewing for about 8 months, but they all have been the cooler months. With my fermenter in the spare bedroom I was able to maintain ~68 degrees +/- 2 degrees, which seemed pretty good to me. When I bottle conditioned, I put the cases of beer high up on a shelf near the ceiling where they stayed ~66-70 degrees. Great for fermenting, but a little chilly for bottle carbing, so carbing has taken up to 4 weeks sometimes.
Now I'm headed into the summer where my house temp is going to fluctuate wildly. I have a heater for the winter, but no AC for the summer. In the past my house fluctuates between 65 and 80 degrees, way too warm for fermenting, but just fine for bottle carbing.
I think for winter time bottle carbing I am going to make a box that will fit up to 4 cases in it. In the box will be two 100 watt light bulbs w/ a thermostat to keep the temp at 70+ degrees.
But for summertime fermenting, does everybody really have a refrigerator with a thermostat hooked up to it for their summer brews? Or, is there a cheaper option for maintaining consistently cool temps that I am missing? I would hate to have to stop brewing for 4 months out of the year, but dropping several hundred $$$ on a cooling system would have me in the dog house for sure. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.