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Old 10-26-2009, 02:01 PM   #1
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Default Waterbed Heater - Fridge - Ranco Dual Stage

I have an upright fermentation fridge setup in my garage. I am using a Ranco dual stage controller to switch on/off between the fridge and a waterbed heater that is inside.

The problem I am experiencing is uneven heating caused by the waterbed heater which I have placed in the bottom of the fridge about six inches below the rack that the carboys are on. The bottoms of the carboys get much warmer than the rest. I tape the Ranco probe to the middle of a carboy and set the temp at 66°F.

I have also placed a sheet of cardboard between the heater and the carboys as a direct heat shield. That helped a little, but not a whole lot. I have noticed that on a couple recent cold nights, fermentation gets explosive despite the Ranco's reading of 66°F. The bottoms of the carboys are getting warmer than the middle where the probe is taped.

Does anyone else use a waterbed heater in a fridge? If so, any advise or lessons learned about placement or setup of the heater to minimize uneven heating?


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Old 10-26-2009, 02:05 PM   #2
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one more thing, I was contemplating placing a small fan in the fridge also on the heating circuit of the ranco. whenever the waterbed heater runs, the fan would too. i think this would help distribute the heat more evenly.

any thoughts?


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Old 10-26-2009, 02:06 PM   #3
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Yes, a small fan blowing directly at the heater is how I would handle that. In fact, running a fan on low full time wouldn't be such a bad idea either because it would keep temps even everywhere.
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Old 10-26-2009, 05:10 PM   #4
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Not sure how much room you have to work with but I'd try putting a shallow rubbermaid filled with water directly on top of the heater. Tape the probe to the side of the rubbermaid container or one of the fermenters.
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Old 10-26-2009, 05:16 PM   #5
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the temperature of fermenting beer will be greater than that of the water in the container due to the heat output of the yeast doing their thing.
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Old 10-26-2009, 05:52 PM   #6
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thanks for the responses. i am going to put a fan in there this evening.
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Old 12-03-2009, 12:42 PM   #7
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UPDATE:

6 weeks ago I installed a fan that runs nonstop in the fermentation fridge. Works like a dreram. Now the carboy temps are uniform and the waterbed heater never gets as hot as it used to.

Now I think that a fan is a necessary piece of equipment for this type of setup.


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