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Old 05-26-2010, 02:34 AM   #1
cameronsto
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Default Fermentation closet.

I've been contemplating this for awhile and want to make sure I'm not missing anything. I've done a few searches but haven't found anybody that's done exactly this.

I have a closet off the garage that I'm wanting to turn into a fermentation/cellaring closet. Living in the South, the temperature swings wildly so I'm wanting to air condition and heat (Summer/Winter) the closet to control the temperature for fermentation and also be used as a beer cellar. I've thought about using an old fridge, but it won't give me the space I'm wanting.

Here is my current setup and the proposed location of a window air conditioner.



My questions and concerns are:

  • Using a temperature controller, will I be able control the temperature enough, limiting the temperature change to a couple degrees?
  • Should I be concerned about venting the A/C into the garage?
  • Should I be concerned about the water heater being in the same room (HW in the diagram above)?
  • Am I missing another reason not to do this?

Thanks.

Cameron
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Old 05-26-2010, 02:55 AM   #2
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I'm not an expert, but I can give you my $0.02.

  • I'd insulate the heck out of the room. That way, you shouldn't have an issue with keeping temps.
  • Venting the AC into the garage will cause carbon monoxide... no, wait, something else causes that. The only thing coming out of the AC on the hot side is hot air. Not a problem.
  • The water heater could be used to warm the room in the winter. You may want to insulate the heck out of that too for the summer.
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Old 05-27-2010, 12:20 PM   #3
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I have no clue as to how well the room is insulated now. I know the floor isn't (it's a crawl space) but the ceiling is. I can't think of a way to check for insulation without cutting into each wall which I guess I'll just have to do.

The water heater barely puts off any heat. It's cool to the touch and in the winter it wouldn't keep the room warm with the door closed. This could be due to poor or no insulation though.

The air conditioner should remove humidity from the room so I shouldn't have to worry about condensation right? I plan on sticking with ales for a while so I'll only be keeping the room at around 65 degrees F.

Thanks for the reply.

-Cameron

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Old 05-27-2010, 12:53 PM   #4
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The air conditioner should remove humidity from the room so I shouldn't have to worry about condensation right?
Oh yeah, I forgot, there could be condensation dripping out from the hot side too, so that's another thing coming out of the AC unit besides hot air. As long as you have a floor that can get wet, or some way to collect the moister, it shouldn't be a problem. Once you get the humidity out of the room, you shouldn't have much though.

I take it the inside walls are drywalled? You may have to pull all that down to insulate it. Unless you use blown in insulation. You'll probably be cutting a hole for the AC unit, so that would be the time to check for any insulation in the walls.
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Old 05-27-2010, 01:08 PM   #5
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You could frame out another wall over the existing one. Insulate the holy crap out of it, and you'll have 8" of insulation (assuming the existing wall is insulated)

Is the water heater gas or electric? If it's gas, it's got to be vented. If it's vented, it'll be pumping expensive cold air out of the room in the summer. In fact, I'm not sure I'd put a gas water heater in a sealed room - Sounds dangerous...

OTOH you could move the water heater to the garage. It's not too difficult to run 2 water pipes and electric or flex gas line. I had to move mine when I bought my house because it was in the way of the projector in the theater. PEX tubing makes it even easier

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What does the primary pressure gauge on the tank tell us? That's right, the temperature. Put it on a scale if you want to know how much is in it...
Put some duct tape over the gauge - Or better yet - Replace the high pressure gauge with a plug - High pressure gauges are useless!
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Old 05-27-2010, 01:14 PM   #6
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SweetSounds, I hadn't thought about the water heater being gas, but since it's been installed in a closet sized room, I'm assuming it's electric. And yes, moving it out would be a good idea, makes more room for more fermentation vessels.

BTW, you need to start brewing. Having all those taps serving air is a waste.

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Old 05-27-2010, 01:23 PM   #7
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SweetSounds, I hadn't thought about the water heater being gas, but since it's been installed in a closet sized room, I'm assuming it's electric. And yes, moving it out would be a good idea, makes more room for more fermentation vessels.

BTW, you need to start brewing. Having all those taps serving air is a waste.

I know!!! I've been slacking on the brewing to plan the AG rig...
I'm going to try maybe tonight to get a blonde going. And I've got an Imperial Stout kit ready to go too. But the IIPA and the Stout are both 3 month secondaries - Not too good for filling up the pipeline! The blonde could be ready in 5 or 6 weeks though I killed my pipeline with the Florida trip a few weeks ago - 15 gallons in 5 days, Gone...

I'm definitely behind
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What does the primary pressure gauge on the tank tell us? That's right, the temperature. Put it on a scale if you want to know how much is in it...
Put some duct tape over the gauge - Or better yet - Replace the high pressure gauge with a plug - High pressure gauges are useless!
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Old 05-27-2010, 01:45 PM   #8
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The air conditioner is going to make your water heater work harder, I'd insulate that water heater and line the walls in that closet with insulation panels. The only other thing that I can think of is that your garage is going to be hella hot in the summer!!!

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Old 05-30-2010, 02:09 PM   #9
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The water heater is gas. It's vented through the ceiling which I'm a little concerned about, but since cold air sinks and hot air rises, I don't know how much of an issue it will be.

I'm torn between tearing down the walls to check/install insulation and just putting an A/C in the wall to see how it does. "If it's worth doing, it's worth doing right"...but I want to brew!

-Cameron

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Old 05-30-2010, 03:23 PM   #10
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Check out this thread, http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f51/my-l...-cooler-11440/

Also a search on the forum for walkin or fermentation chamber will yield a host of threads on other solutions

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