As luck would have it, right after I brewed my first 5 gal batch of beer, a guy I work with put a 14.9 cu.ft. chest freezer out on the curb. He got it while cleaning out his grandomother's house (she recently died). Obviously, it's not on the curb any more! It's old, ugly and heavy, and it got rained on pretty good. But, it was icy cold when he hauled it away, so I should be good to go!
When I lifted the lid, rain water drained out of the back of the lid for a few minutes. I cleaned it up with some bleach water, and I've got it propped open in the sun on my back porch for a few days. It's not supposed to rain anytime soon, so I'm letting it air out.
I bought this Ranco 2-stage temp controller
and this little ceramic heater
. My plan is to get three small (6"x6") pieces of plywood and build three sides of a box - one side as the base for the heater to sit on, and the other two sides vertical, forming a corner. I'll turn the ceramic heater to face into the corner of this wood box, so that when it's on: 1) the heat isn't being directed right any one fermentation vessel , and 2) it's not blasting the side of the freezer with heat.
Since I'll eventually have a couple of vessels (pails, carboys, whatever) in there at once, my plan - instead of just measuring the temp of one of them - is to suspend the probe in about a gallon of water sitting in the middle of the freezer. I figure that should put me close enough to being on the right track.
Sound good? Any suggestions?