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Old 12-08-2011, 05:26 PM   #1
TyTanium
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Default Ferm Chamber - inside or in garage?

Trying to decide the best location for my fermentation chamber (Minifridge + small ceramic heater w/dual-stage controller)

Either inside the house (steady 70* ambient)
or
In the garage, (~40* in the winter, but much more variation)

Which is more power efficient? Using the fridge compressor to cool ~10 degrees or using the space heater to raise ~20 degrees, on average...

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Old 12-08-2011, 05:31 PM   #2
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in the house is going to be most efficient because the external temp is going to be always closer to the internal temp you want to set.

that being said, if it's not going to be 90 in the summer and 40 in the winter, i think you'll not see much noticeable change in the power consumption because a fridge is built to be an insulated box. so i say put it where it's most convenient with regards to your brewing and where SWMBO is happiest with it.

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Old 12-08-2011, 05:46 PM   #3
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Thanks, good thought that it won't make much of a difference either way.

I realize that other things equal, the option with the smallest temp differential would obviously be more efficient, was just thinking that a small heater draws far less power than a fridge compressor.

And either spot is just as convenient - out of the way so SWMBO has no preference.

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Old 12-08-2011, 05:50 PM   #4
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If you run a refrigeration unit with low exterior ambient room temp you risk ruining the compressor. Appliance Talk: Refrigerator in the Garage

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Old 12-08-2011, 06:04 PM   #5
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william, how does running the compressor less hurt the fridge? obviously he won't need cooling in the winter months, just heat from the heater. he doesn't care about the freezer temp (which his little mini-fridge doesn't even really have), he just wants a set temp in the ferm chamber.

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Old 12-08-2011, 06:08 PM   #6
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Great article. Not clear why I risk ruining the compressor though?

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Old 12-08-2011, 06:09 PM   #7
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Yeah unless you are looking to cold crash in it you shouldnt have a problem running it in the winter. That article you linked to talks about using the fridge at normal fridge temperatures, not 60-70F like youd be using for ales.

I keep my ferm chamber out in the garage, with a window AC unit to cool and a small space heater to chill. In the winter I unplug the AC, and in the summer I unplug the heater. Its been working fine for me lately!

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Old 12-09-2011, 12:12 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TyTanium View Post
And either spot is just as convenient - out of the way so SWMBO has no preference.
Which spot is going to be more convenient for you, or tick the woman off less, when the blow off jar overflows and leaks out onto the floor?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TyTanium View Post
I realize that other things equal, the option with the smallest temp differential would obviously be more efficient, was just thinking that a small heater draws far less power than a fridge compressor.
If you really care, given similar temp diffs, the refrigerator will remove the heat using less energy than a resistive heater will add heat. Refrigerators (heat pumps) have a COP, commonly around 2, which you multiply the energy input by to get how much heat is moved. The motors and cycle aren't 100% efficient, so some heat load will be added to the room. The closer the ambient is to the desired temp, the higher the COP. However, whether heating or cooling, the costs for your application are so low, it doesn't really matter.

That article really has no bearing on your use, assuming you are using a temp controller going off wort temps, and not using the freezer portion to hold vaccines to save a village in Alaska or something. As I mentioned above, in general, the lower the ambient, the better the fridge performs.
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Old 12-09-2011, 07:14 PM   #9
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Outstanding, thanks for the detailed response.

And I guess I'll have to throw out my village-saving vaccines.

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Old 12-09-2011, 08:36 PM   #10
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And I guess I'll have to throw out my village-saving vaccines.
Darn, I forgot to include the liability exclusion waiver with that advice. So I guess I am on the hook for the dead villagers?
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