Fermentation Chamber Heater

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mgortel

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Someone please help! This shoul dbe easy but i am finding it to be ridiculously difficult to find a solution for a fermentation heater to put in my chest freezer for winter.

I have a Johnson Controls temperature controller so I just need a 70-80 watt heat sourse. I tried a heating pad but did not work since it has a reset switch that shuts off every 10 mins of so.

Tried 12' long heat trace from Home Depot....but has a thermostat on it that requires temp to be 40F before it turns on.

WTF...this should be easy..I know a lightbulb would be perfect but I am worried about the light in the fermenter..

I am looking for a simple off the shelf solution to this....there has to be something out there I can just buy and plug into my temp controller and valoi!

Thanks!

Mike
 

flanneltrees804

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Drill a hole in a paint can and put the light bulb in the can... plenty of heat without the light.

I think I'm gonna put two bulbs in mine in case one burns out while I'm not looking.
 
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mgortel

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Ahhh.....paint can and lid from home depot.....mount lightbulb in lid part......and bingo!
 

chumpsteak

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I use a "my heat" personal ceramic heater. It's about 8 inches tall and has all kinds of safety features built in. Costs about 15 bucks at the Walmart or Home Depot.
 

Mithranbeer

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I use a lightbulb with the same setup you have, just throw a t-shirt over my Carboy.
 

blackcows

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I use a "my heat" personal ceramic heater. It's about 8 inches tall and has all kinds of safety features built in. Costs about 15 bucks at the Walmart or Home Depot.
+1 to this, I looked at several solutions and in my opinion this was the easiest and most cost effective. Cost was a about 12 bucks at Wal-Mart. Thought about the hair dryer but the wattage is a bit high in my opinion. Didn't want to mess with the paint can and bulb solution when I could buy something already done for $12.00.
 
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mgortel

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Yeah I like this MY Heat heater idea....gonna stop at Wally World tomorrow......thanks guys!
 

jtejedor

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So does this my heat work well. I got a cheap little one like this at target and it keeps shutting off and not coming back on. I have to unplug it for a while then it starts working again. Not good for a fermentation chamber.
 

chumpsteak

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Been using mine going on 2 years now. Keeps my chamber warm in the winter (chamber is in the garage) with no problems. I have fans in my chamber that help move air around and my chamber is very well insulated so I don't think the heater has to work very hard.
 

MattHollingsworth

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cheap hairdryer on a low setting... Will move the air in the chamber too
+1. I use a combination of methods. Sometimes a heat strap thingy, but often a hair dryer. I use the hair dryer for the warm chamber for bottle conditioning 100% of the time. Also use it in another fermentation chamber when I have a few fermenters there fermenting at the same time. It's a cheap and easy solution and totally works to control ambient temp.

Been using that setup for 3 years with no trouble.

I tried using one of those small heaters at first, three years ago. It generated too much heat, though. The hair dryer can be turned to a low setting and doesn't overheat the chamber. For the bottle area, I think I even have it on high, though I'd have to check.
 

blackcows

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So does this my heat work well. I got a cheap little one like this at target and it keeps shutting off and not coming back on. I have to unplug it for a while then it starts working again. Not good for a fermentation chamber.
Granted I only have 4 days experience but it is 23 degrees outside this morning and my fermenter, in the garage, is at 66 right now which is exactly where i set it.
 

kevink

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Buy 2-3 feet of this.

Attach to 120V wires with these.

Connect to your controller.

You have just made one of these.
This is the way to go! It adds the heat to the fermenters, not to the air in the fermentation chamber. I use 2' of Flexwatt heat tape per 6 gallon carboy. This leaves a good sized area on the carboy where you can strap a temperature probe. My probe lives is under the green block of foam on the right side of the front carboy. The heat tape was not on the carboys in this picture. It's actually hanging above the AC unit for storage.

 

Rbeckett

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Mike,
Just build the bulb in a can that is on this site and your good. I also have a reptile heater that you place under a tank and it will warm a carboy of ferment bucket nicely too. As long as you have a temp control it will turn off and on to suit your preferences. Some of the hydroponics stores also sell a germanating heat pad that will wrap around a keg or carboy and secure with a belp of strap. Too easy, if youre willing to look outside the box for a simple solution. The herp heater is the one I use in my fermentung chamber/lager keezer and it worls great for me with the STC-1000 controller.
Wheelchair Bob
 

pdxal

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I've also heard of people using aquarium heaters with the fermentor in the water bath, but no reason you couldn't have it in water adjacent to the fermentors as a heat source too.
 
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mgortel

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Hey guys thanks for all the great advice....sounds like this thread will help others besides myself which is great.

I went with the $12 "My Heat" heater to give that a try.....my fermenter is in my garage and it gets pretty darn cold out there in the winter months here in PA....so I figured the higher heat output might be needed (200 watts). Obviously probably more heat than is needed....but I do have the A419 Johnson Controls temperature controller...so no issue there.

I like some of the other ideas as well like the seed germenation mats.....and of course the lightbulb in a can idea.

For the question about Carboys...I have not run my fermenter yet with a Better Bottle....but I would think that as long as you dont direct the heater right onto the carboy you will be fine...i.e. no melting of carboy.

Brewing this Saturday and the weather is supposed to be cold over the next 10 days so will be a good test of my setup.

One thing to note so far in my dry runs with the 200 watt heater is that it does overshoot my setpoint temperature in the chamber by 2 degrees....as a result of the heater having some heat in the ceramic coil when it shuts down at setpoint...and then that heat dissipates to the air in fermen ter.....HOWEVER.....I am figuring that will be tempured once I have 5.5 gallon of beer in there (or 11 gallons ). i.e. the thermal mass of the beer will minimize overshoot both above and below setpoint.
 

CBelli

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I think a regular light bulb would work fine... (I've used it for years) keep in mind that "light strike" comes from UV of the light acting with the hops in the beer. In other words sunlight is the evil thing. To my knowledge incandescent light will not effect the beer because there is no UV in the 1700 degree kelvin wavelength.... if there was we would get sunburned from reading lights!!
 

usfmikeb

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One thing to note so far in my dry runs with the 200 watt heater is that it does overshoot my setpoint temperature in the chamber by 2 degrees....as a result of the heater having some heat in the ceramic coil when it shuts down at setpoint...and then that heat dissipates to the air in fermen ter.....HOWEVER.....I am figuring that will be tempured once I have 5.5 gallon of beer in there (or 11 gallons ). i.e. the thermal mass of the beer will minimize overshoot both above and below setpoint.
Yeah, I don't think you'll have any issues there, should work fine with the full carboy.
 

Tyru007

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I keep my chest freezer at about 45 degrees and use a 80 watt of fermawrap to keep my ales at proper temperatuer. Temperature probe is located in 12" of SS thermowell in the middle of the carboy. This allows me to do many temperatuer ranges in the same chamber
 
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