Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Equipment/Sanitation > How much heat from a lightbulb?
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Old 02-01-2007, 05:18 PM   #1
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Default How much heat from a lightbulb?

I have an old (I mean old) upright freezer that I've been thinking about using in the basement as a fermentation chest. My basement runs around 55-60 in the winter, so I'm thinking that a light bulb triggered by a Ranco or Johnson controls would probably be enough to keep it fairly steady at 68 or so for ales. Anyone done this?

I'm very wary of space heaters, plus I think it would fluctuate more that way, since the heater would only run a very short time before reaching the set point.


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Old 02-01-2007, 05:23 PM   #2
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It should work but don't you want to shield the wort from the light? Maybe if you can at least shade it with a piece of sheet metal. Perhaps a heat rock for a lizard tank would be better.


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Old 02-01-2007, 05:36 PM   #3
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When I was building my walk-in cooler, I left the light on one night... the next morning, the inside of the cooler was so hot I couldn't even breath in there.
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Old 02-01-2007, 06:40 PM   #4
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Get the smallest (lowest wattage) appliance bulb you can find and stick it in a section of 3" metal dryer flex.
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Old 02-01-2007, 11:58 PM   #5
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I use a light bulb to keep my unit at a steady temperature, for years. I use a electric thermostat to control the light bulb and temperature. It works great. My light is shaded from the beer. My unit is not a 100% air tight.
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Old 02-02-2007, 01:07 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobby_M
It should work but don't you want to shield the wort from the light? Maybe if you can at least shade it with a piece of sheet metal. Perhaps a heat rock for a lizard tank would be better.
If you use a normal incandescent bulb, you don't need to shield your wort from it.

If you are paranoid about it, wrap foil around the bulb.

IN response to the original question, you can do this. However, you need to get the right type of controller. Most controllers are set up to turn ON when the temp gets too HIGH. You want one that operates the other way; ON when temp too LOW.

I built a little heater out of a cheap furnace thermostat and a lightbulb to accomplish this.


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Old 02-02-2007, 01:42 AM   #7
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Check out my fermentation fridge. I haev a 100 watt lightbulb connected to the Ranco Digital controller. The light bulb is under a coffee can, so it acts like a radiator.
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/gallery/...age.php?i=1675
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Old 02-02-2007, 01:45 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brewsmith
Check out my fermentation fridge. I haev a 100 watt lightbulb connected to the Ranco Digital controller. The light bulb is under a coffee can, so it acts like a radiator.
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/gallery/...age.php?i=1675
Nice. One thing I regret having done was buying the single-item controller instead of the dual-item controller.
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Old 02-02-2007, 01:46 AM   #9
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Now without the link... and a little more info. If you get the digital controller, you can set it to heat or cool. Right now my garage stays too cold, so I have it set to heat. My next brew is going to be a lager, so I'll switch it to cool.
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Old 02-02-2007, 01:48 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Walker-san
Nice. One thing I regret having done was buying the single-item controller instead of the dual-item controller.
That temp controller was one of the best homebrew items I ever spent $100 on. And rigging up the light cost be less than $10, including a 6 pack of bulbs.


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