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Old 10-26-2009, 04:38 AM   #1
WoweeZowee
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Default Conical Fermentor Heater

I have a 7 gallon stainless steel conical fermentor that I would like to keep at slightly warmer temperatures for fermentation. Currently the fermentor levels out at about 60 deg F. I have been looking at this type of drum heater, but I am unsure what kind of wattage will be sufficient to hold the fermentor in the 70 deg F range. I am assuming that the 150W model would be enough - is the 300W model too much power? The 5 gallon models come in wattages between 150 and 550.

Has anyone thought of an easier way to regulate the temperature of a SS conical?

Thanks
Karl

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Old 10-26-2009, 01:50 PM   #2
bendavanza
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wrap it with a heating pad, use a thermostat to control it.

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Old 10-26-2009, 01:58 PM   #3
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I have a small fermentation room / closet and I just use a $19 ceramic space heater to keep the room temp at 68*F, low tech and cheap but it works well. And it is a cheaper alternative for multiple fermentation vessels. I'll will admit that the more expensive ceramic heaters seem to have better thermostats where the cheaper ones seem to fluxuate at a wider range of temps. But that's not always the case as you can get an expensive heater with a widely varible thermostat whereas some of the cheaper heaters I purchased over the years have a really tight variation.

I like ceramic heaters for several reason, they are relatively cost effect (heat vs electricty used) for an electric heater, they don't get so terribly hot like the type where the heating elements glows red hot. So in my mind that greatly reduces the chance of a fire if something where to accidentially come into contact with the heater.

Another reason I like using the ceramic heater vs a heating pad or belt is if the surrounding air is at 68*F the the liquid inside the fermenter or claifying tanks is also. Where as if you have a belt or pad you'll have hot spots and cold spots inside the fermenter where the belt/pad is in contact vs where the cold air is in contact with the fermenter.

You may only have 1 fermentation vessel right now but if you are into the hobby you'll soon have beers in the primary, secondary and aging/conditioning stages, so for me it's easier just to have a small room or closet at the right temp rather than try to keep mulitple vessels at the right temp.

One thing you have to do is work with the heater to figure out what setting equals what temp, I'll start with a guess and set the thermostat at a level I think is about right then check it several hours later if it's too hot or too cold I'll move the setting and try again later. Once I get it about right I'll let it run and measure the room temp after 24 hours, (make sure the thermometer you are measuring with is at the level where your fermentation vessel is) then using a sharpie I'll mark the exact location the thermostat is set to and the temp it achived. Then I'll move the dial up and or down and mark the heater again indicating the temp at the new setting. So I may end up with settings of say 66, 70 & 74 marked on the heater so if I want it at 68 I'll set the dial between the 66 and 70 marks.

Also because it's warmer higher in the fermentation room I'll have the primary, secondary and the thermometer at a mid-level location with the heater at the same mid-level location and the conditioning beer will be at a lower and slightly cooler level. Also I can do micro adjustments by moving the heater up or down to a higher or lower level in the closet.

Another thing I do to keep the temp constant through out the closet, if there seem to be to fo much of a variation (such as in the dead of winter) is put a small $10 fan on the floor blowing the cooler air up or put it up high blowing the warmer air down. This also causes the heater to cycle on and off more often keeping the temp really stable.

Doing stuff like this if half the fun of brewing IMHO and finding and using every day items rather than going out and buying specialty high $ items is fun and interesting too.

Hope you find this somewhat helpful

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Last edited by abracadabra; 10-26-2009 at 03:35 PM.
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Old 10-26-2009, 02:08 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bendavanza View Post
wrap it with a heating pad, use a thermostat to control it.
That is what I do with mine. I have it connected to a Love TS controller and it works fine.
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Old 10-27-2009, 03:14 AM   #5
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Thanks for the great ideas. Now I have to decided which one to implement. Let the engineering begin!

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