Cool basement in summer, aquarium heater..?

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beergears

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I have a cool basement*, and it will remain pretty much that way through the summer.

Brewing ales (not venturing into lagering yet), should I consider a bath+aquarium heater setup to boost up temp. to ale fermentation temp. range?


*Note: SWMBO would not use this adjective to describe the basement...
 

FatMonsters

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I did this for the winter as my basement was a little cold. I used a big tupperware bin and a aquarium heater and it kept my temperatures higher. I bought a cheap aquarium heater, which broke, but it took me a little while to find the right settings...
 

Anthony_Lopez

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Solar radiation (which is pretty much what your talking about here) dissipates exponentially the further you get from the bulb (or heat source) Best equation for your solution is:

Water bath + cooler + aquarium heater = (steady+healthy+fermentation)/time
 

7Enigma

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beergears said:
following up on my own post..
Wouldnt' I be better off with a insulated chamber and a temp-controlled light bulb and small circulating fan..?
I think the aquarium heater would be a better choice. I have the VisiTherm Stealth heaters for my aquariums and they work really well They are plastic instead of glass, have an autoshutoff if they come out of the water (some break/burnout if you forget to unplug them), and are pretty cheap. Go to Petsmarts online website and print out the product, and then take it to the store. Petsmart is horrible at jacking up prices in store, and so you just hand them the sheet with the price and they will override the price.

I think for a 5 gallon container you probably want 100-150 watt heater.
 

iamjonsharp

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I have the same situation here, especially in the winter when the basement can be in the 50's.

I use a big rubbermaid storage container (60 or 80 qt i think?!?) and a JEBO Aquarium Fish Tank Automatic Heaters 150W 50GAL. I can fit 2 6.5 gallon carboys in it. I think the heater was under 20 bucks including shipping on Ebay. Built in thermostat in the heater, I've checked the heater settings vs. temp of water and it's within a degree or two.

The only drawback to the 150W model JEBO is that the temp control on it starts at 68F, you may want to look into a heater that can start temps at around 64F.

It works well for me, very inexpensive, it's prob about 35 bucks total (even cheaper for me as I already had the rubbermaid container), way cheaper than brew belt or heater + ranco controller. I collect the runoff water from my Immersion Chiller into buckets so I can haul them down to the basement to fill up the rubbermaid cooler so I'm not wasting water. And you can add bleach to the water to keep it from getting gross.
 

wilserbrewer

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I am a bit surprised your basement will be too cool for ales throughout summer. What temp. is the basement? What temp are you looking to ferment at. IME most are looking to lower ferment temps during the summer months, not raise.
 

7Enigma

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I am a bit surprised your basement will be too cool for ales throughout summer. What temp. is the basement? What temp are you looking to ferment at. IME most are looking to lower ferment temps during the summer months, not raise.
Well he is located in Boston so I'd wager it is a bit cold for brewing ales right now. I'm in SE PA and my basement it sitting at @60F right now, so if he's closer to 50 it would probably be a good idea to bump up those temps a bit.

Maybe by late summer the basement temp will rise to the point where he doesn't need a heater, but from my own experience it takes a LONG time for the basement to warm up during the spring summer. That soil holds a LOT of "unheat".
 

zccef

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titanium aquarium heaters are always nice just make sure they are in water. if not they will try to heat the ambient temp of the room and become super hot causing plastic to melt and possibly glass to shatter. this can happen with the plastic and glass heaters as well they will just melt or shatter where titanium will just get as hot as the sun. maybe a ceramic heating element? it fits in to a normal incandescent socket doesnt give off any light could be a nice combination with one of those thermal foil blankets. it could be used in combination with a thermostat to gain the exact temp you are looking for, might not be a cheep setup though. i use the heaters for my fish tanks and used the ceramic element for my iguana have not tried either on beer just offering ideas/experiences.
 

wilserbrewer

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Well he is located in Boston so I'd wager it is a bit cold for brewing ales right now. .
The high today in Boston is 92. How much you wanna wager? :mug:

I'm just thinking he is trying to correct something that's not a problem. Lots of ale yeast do well at the 58 - 62 temp range.
 

7Enigma

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titanium aquarium heaters are always nice just make sure they are in water. if not they will try to heat the ambient temp of the room and become super hot causing plastic to melt and possibly glass to shatter. this can happen with the plastic and glass heaters as well they will just melt or shatter where titanium will just get as hot as the sun. maybe a ceramic heating element? it fits in to a normal incandescent socket doesnt give off any light could be a nice combination with one of those thermal foil blankets. it could be used in combination with a thermostat to gain the exact temp you are looking for, might not be a cheep setup though. i use the heaters for my fish tanks and used the ceramic element for my iguana have not tried either on beer just offering ideas/experiences.
Most of the better brands today have auto-shutoff when removed from water (they sense this by a rapid increase in temp). I think K.I.S.S. is the way to go on this one. Make sure you get a heater rated for the proper temp range (60-80F), and be done with it.
 

7Enigma

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The high today in Boston is 92. How much you wanna wager? :mug:

I'm just thinking he is trying to correct something that's not a problem. Lots of ale yeast do well at the 58 - 62 temp range.
Air temp and ground temp are 2 very different things. Boston (like most of the NE) is having an unusual heat wave right now that will end tomorrow (here in PA we've been in the 90's for the last 4 days and tomorrow the high is 65F and the low near 50). Look at their 10 day forecast and you will see the majority of the days are in the mid-low 60's and at night in the upper 40's. That is AIR-temp. The ground temp at basement level will be much colder and will stay that way for the majority of the summer.

Remember even when soil temp at hop/vegetable/flower levels gets warm the soil several feet down will maintain a much colder temp, and that is where the basement will be losing the heat.
 
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