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Old 02-04-2011, 02:39 AM   #1
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Default Old fridge as a fermentation chamber

SWMBO "convinced" me to get a new fridge for the kitchen. I have a new fermentation chamber for the garage!!! I have a 2 stage ranco and plan to use the fridge and a ceramic "under desk fan" to control my temps. Do I need to worry about anything, or is there anything I am not thinking about?

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Old 02-04-2011, 03:15 AM   #2
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I wouldn't put a convection heater in a fridge. Maybe a heating fermenter belt, or a pad.

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Old 02-04-2011, 03:39 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ihomebrewing
I wouldn't put a convection heater in a fridge. Maybe a heating fermenter belt, or a pad.
Any thoughts on how a ceramic heat light.
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Old 02-04-2011, 04:04 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by excaptn View Post
Any thoughts on how a ceramic heat light.
You don't want light near your fermenting beer.
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Old 02-04-2011, 04:11 AM   #5
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It's a bit of work but I machined out a heater from the automatic ice-maker from the converted fridge. They have a heater to warm the mold and release the cubes, so i machined the mold into a series of fins and added a fan to it.... pretty cheap if you have access to a milling machine. Works like a charm.

(kind of like how the indians used every part of the buffalo)

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Old 02-04-2011, 05:55 AM   #6
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I would not feel safe with a ceramic heater in the fridge. It might be ok but why risk. I tried a heating pad from Walgreen in my fridge but it was not really efficient. It takes 30 min to get the pad up to temp and it would run 24/7 just to maintain the temp. Also, seemed that most of the heat was being wasted heating up the floor or the wall of the fridge. Now I have a simple 40 watt incandescent light bulb with a clamp lamp and it works great. Dont worry about the light. incandescent light does not produce UV so it will not skunk your beer. I also put in a 120mm computer fan inside to circulate the air and it works great.

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Old 02-04-2011, 12:10 PM   #7
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I've heard of people using hair dryers on the low setting to heat a fermentation chamber. I personally don't see the harm in using any of the convection heaters available on the market. They are all UL approved (albeit not for our applications) and quite safe. I would probably create a baffle so it doesn't blow directly onto the carboy/bucket to prevent temperature spikes in the beer.

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Old 02-04-2011, 12:23 PM   #8
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I use a light bulb (40 watt)in a paint can. It's currently sitting on a cement paver. Total cost was around $12.

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Old 02-04-2011, 12:37 PM   #9
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I understand the concern about the space heaters. which was my main concern and reason for posting. So here our my options.
Space heater and rick meltdowns or fires, but it the most efficient way to heat the fridge.
Heat pads-most safe alternative but is not efficient and has long run times
Incandescent light- some debate on how the light will effect the beer
Ceramic reptile light (emits no light just heat) melting issues if properly secured.
Water bath with aquarium heater-high condensation and mold issue created.

Did I miss anything?

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Old 02-04-2011, 01:18 PM   #10
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If you cover a light with something (why I have it in a paint can), then you don't have the light issue. I had really short bulb life using foil. Here is a step by step: Fermentation Can Heater. My only change is that I am using an oven light bulb at 40W and it keeps up with outside temps here (low around 20). Oh, and I didn't route the power cord through the side of the can, I have the 2 wires going in through the lid and ground wired to the lid.

I have used the water bath with heater/pump before and it works really well. It does raise the humidity significantly and I have noticed mold in the fridge pathways. I still use this method for Saison, when I want the temperature up around 90.

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