Fermentation chamber heating?

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VirginiaHops1

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I use the Lasko MyHeat as well. It may be slightly more than necessary but seems to work perfect. It's pretty low wattage, has an overheat shut-off, and is cheap. I wouldn't feel comfortable using a more power space heater.
 

JLeuck64

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I've been using a hair dryer inside my refer/ferm chamber for years. I am not trying to heat above 65F though...
 

Deadalus

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Another seedling mat use here. I have two ferm chambers but I had a temperature controller with the seed mat that was being unused. I keep my carboys in a laundry tub in case of excessive blow off, so I pinch the mat between the tub and carboy. Today I realized I could slip the mat between the carboy and the webbed carboy carrier I use. I throw a towel over the carboy which is another way to hold the mat too.

Now the seed mat temp controller I am using starts at 68 or so which is fine most ale yeasts but may not be what you want to use if you need to ferment slightly cooler. It's not a big mat, I paid ~$20 for it on Amazon.
 

mattdee1

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Thanks! The Kreg system is the bomb, been using it for many years for actual cabinetry work, but it comes in handy for quickly banging utilitarian stuff together as well...

Cheers!
I've been using my Kreg jig for a few years, too. I've also used it for both "real" cabinets and quickie utilitarian stuff. Amazingly useful.

BTW - interesting data plots. Will you be providing a summary of your results? I'm very interested in this.
 

day_trippr

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Yes, eventually, once that batch has been kegged I'll put the interesting plots together with some words...

Cheers!
 

_BullDog_

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I use a low watt seed mat in my 7cu chest freezer. It’s all I need in the winter to keep the chamber 62-72 degrees depending on what is needed.
 

TwoHeadsBrewing

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I use a fermwrap heater, taped to the back of my chest freezer fermentation chamber. I have a dual stage Inkbird, and this setup keeps my temps dialed in perfectly. A little more expensive than a light bulb or cheap heater, but doesn't break the bank.
 

jimyoung

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Thought I'd share this picture:
---
20200708_085245.jpg

--- yes, it's melted out.

So here's the story. I used that for years but got a new fridge (old one broke), and positioning changed.
Late last night, I checked my lager and decided I needed to start my diacetyl rest early, so I start cranking it up. Light bulbs are fine for beer, right? no UV? right? hmm, better check. Google mentions something about blue light, so I start worrying about ruining my beer.. I know! I'll wrap the light cage in aluminum foil to block all the light. brilliant idea... oor maybe a late-night stupid idea.

I also noticed that next to my 100W bulb is a "Max 75w" stamp. Sigh - not my most brilliant installation.

So, there doesn't seem to be any smoke but the whole chamber stinks. I hope that the airlock/bung is keeping any smell out of my beer!!!

Now deciding between one of those cheap personal-size space heaters and fan, or, a reptile bulb in another cage + small circulating fan!
 
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Thought I'd share this picture:
---
View attachment 688531
--- yes, it's melted out.

So here's the story. I used that for years but got a new fridge (old one broke), and positioning changed.
Late last night, I checked my lager and decided I needed to start my diacetyl rest early, so I start cranking it up. Light bulbs are fine for beer, right? no UV? right? hmm, better check. Google mentions something about blue light, so I start worrying about ruining my beer.. I know! I'll wrap the light cage in aluminum foil to block all the light. brilliant idea... oor maybe a late-night stupid idea.

I also noticed that next to my 100W bulb is a "Max 75w" stamp. Sigh - not my most brilliant installation.

So, there doesn't seem to be any smoke but the whole chamber stinks. I hope that the airlock/bung is keeping any smell out of my beer!!!

Now deciding between one of those cheap personal-size space heaters and fan, or, a reptile bulb in another cage + small circulating fan!
I used to use a small heater with fan connected to my temp control until the heating element caught fire!! Fortunately the temp control turned off the power to the heater. There was a considerable amount of smoke inside the chamber but the beer was ok.
Now I use a ceramic reptile bulb. No light, just heat. It’s worked well for 5+ years.
And yes, light from an incandescent bulb will cause light strike (skunking) of your beer.
 

Stand

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jimyoung

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I just may try the seed mat. I'm a little nervous of fire now, I noticed that there's some damage on the roof of my freezer (it's < 2 weeks old.. my old freezer broke).

In terms of energy needed, check this out. The two bumps in fridge temp are me putting in a boiling coffee cup of water on the other end of the fridge. I'm surprised to see the beer raise so quickly just from that.

1594223980193.png


and maybe I'll wire in a cheap USB fan into the heating circuit, so that it does a little circulation for evenness.

Fire bad. Beer good. Must fix.
 

Stand

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maybe I'll wire in a cheap USB fan into the heating circuit, so that it does a little circulation for evenness.

Fire bad. Beer good. Must fix.
This exactly. You don't need a lot of airflow either. I have a tiny 5v fan, and temp stays very consistent (I have checked).
 

mattdee1

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Thought I'd share this picture:
---
View attachment 688531
--- yes, it's melted out.

So here's the story. I used that for years but got a new fridge (old one broke), and positioning changed.
Late last night, I checked my lager and decided I needed to start my diacetyl rest early, so I start cranking it up. Light bulbs are fine for beer, right? no UV? right? hmm, better check. Google mentions something about blue light, so I start worrying about ruining my beer.. I know! I'll wrap the light cage in aluminum foil to block all the light. brilliant idea... oor maybe a late-night stupid idea.

I also noticed that next to my 100W bulb is a "Max 75w" stamp. Sigh - not my most brilliant installation.

So, there doesn't seem to be any smoke but the whole chamber stinks. I hope that the airlock/bung is keeping any smell out of my beer!!!

Now deciding between one of those cheap personal-size space heaters and fan, or, a reptile bulb in another cage + small circulating fan!

Thanks for sharing. Let this serve as a cautionary tale to the rest of us--we need to be careful with this sort of thing.

I've been using the ceramic-reptile-bulb
You really don't need that much wattage to heat a chamber. Unless you live in the arctic circle, I would think something in the 15-20w range should be more than sufficient for most people.

+1 for seed mats they are waterproof, and that makes me feel a lot better. I use one of these: https://www.amazon.com/certified-Seedfactor-Waterproof-Germination-Hydroponic/dp/B074753J5V/ref=sr_1_2?dchild=1&keywords=seed+mat&qid=1594223421&sr=8-2&th=1
I remember trying a pretty low-wattage solution - I want to say 20W - and I found it was not quite enough during the winter in my chilly basement to maintain the temperature of 10gallons of fermenting beer (a pair of buckets) at or above the set temperature of mid-high 60s. Probably would have been enough for 5gal in a smaller chamber, though. I moved up to 40W and that seemed like a good amount without getting too crazy.

I think the general rule should be: go with as low a wattage as you can to serve the purpose, and when using light-bulb sockets, always stay well below the rated wattage of the fixture to be safe.
 

jimyoung

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I remember trying a pretty low-wattage solution - I want to say 20W - and I found it was not quite enough during the winter in my chilly basement to maintain the temperature of 10gallons of fermenting beer (a pair of buckets) at or above the set temperature of mid-high 60s. Probably would have been enough for 5gal in a smaller chamber, though. I moved up to 40W and that seemed like a good amount without getting too crazy.

I think the general rule should be: go with as low a wattage as you can to serve the purpose, and when using light-bulb sockets, always stay well below the rated wattage of the fixture to be safe.
Yeah, I'm worried about my garage in the winter - it gets fricken cold in there (down to -10c). I just ordered a 45w seed mat. If it's not enough I can add another 17w one, maybe taped to the side of the fridge...
 

bleme

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You really don't need that much wattage to heat a chamber. Unless you live in the arctic circle, I would think something in the 15-20w range should be more than sufficient for most people.

+1 for seed mats they are waterproof, and that makes me feel a lot better. I use one of these: https://www.amazon.com/certified-Seedfactor-Waterproof-Germination-Hydroponic/dp/B074753J5V/ref=sr_1_2?dchild=1&keywords=seed+mat&qid=1594223421&sr=8-2&th=1
That is the same one I use and it works great - even when I want to keep the chamber 95F for a kveik.
 

mattdee1

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I just may try the seed mat. I'm a little nervous of fire now, I noticed that there's some damage on the roof of my freezer (it's < 2 weeks old.. my old freezer broke).

In terms of energy needed, check this out. The two bumps in fridge temp are me putting in a boiling coffee cup of water on the other end of the fridge. I'm surprised to see the beer raise so quickly just from that.

View attachment 688555

and maybe I'll wire in a cheap USB fan into the heating circuit, so that it does a little circulation for evenness.

Fire bad. Beer good. Must fix.

Wow - very interesting experiment with that temperature plot.

I'm not terribly surprised, though, based on my experience repurposing common fridges and freezers for homebrewing tasks (namely, fermentation chambers and glycol chiller for draft trunk line.) Suffice it to say, I quickly became very underwhelmed with their cooling capabilities.

I think most people who use fridges and freezers for normal duty vastly overestimate the cooling power they provide. They open up a chest freezer and hear that "whoosh" sound and see everything rock solid frozen and it forms this impression of huge cooling power. But really, it's very limited cooling power, working in very well-insulated space over extended periods of time without being opened. Most of the power goes to maintaining temperatures, not pushing temperatures around. It's like the difference between a car accelerating rapidly and one maintaining speed on the freeway; strictly speaking, it doesn't take all that much power to drive at a "high speed;" you just need to overcome the losses and maintain. Accelerating quickly is a whole other matter, of course.
 

Stand

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Thanks for sharing. Let this serve as a cautionary tale to the rest of us--we need to be careful with this sort of thing.

I've been using the ceramic-reptile-bulb


I remember trying a pretty low-wattage solution - I want to say 20W - and I found it was not quite enough during the winter in my chilly basement to maintain the temperature of 10gallons of fermenting beer (a pair of buckets) at or above the set temperature of mid-high 60s. Probably would have been enough for 5gal in a smaller chamber, though. I moved up to 40W and that seemed like a good amount without getting too crazy.

I think the general rule should be: go with as low a wattage as you can to serve the purpose, and when using light-bulb sockets, always stay well below the rated wattage of the fixture to be safe.
I assumed 5g, but that's a great clarification. I do 10-11 gallon batches in an upright freezer, and I use a 45w seedpad. It is overkill for me, but that's probably because I live in North Carolina.
 

jimyoung

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Hey everyone - my seed mat came. Question: do people tape it to the side of their ferm chamber, or, put it on the bottom with the fermenter on top?

I'm switching from glass carboys to a SS bucket (4 legs), but don't want the weight to ruin the mat.
 

bleme

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Hey everyone - my seed mat came. Question: do people tape it to the side of their ferm chamber, or, put it on the bottom with the fermenter on top?

I'm switching from glass carboys to a SS bucket (4 legs), but don't want the weight to ruin the mat.
I usually bungee cord it around the fermentor but sometimes I just leave it loose in the chamber and I haven't been able to determine if it makes a difference yet.
 

monkeymath

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Hey everyone - my seed mat came. Question: do people tape it to the side of their ferm chamber, or, put it on the bottom with the fermenter on top?

I'm switching from glass carboys to a SS bucket (4 legs), but don't want the weight to ruin the mat.
I don't think you should put the fermenter on top. I have mine in a lower.rack in the fridge/chamber. Circulation is not ideal, but it still gets the job done.
 

jimyoung

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Around the fermenter or loosely beside seems like a great idea, I'll try that. Much simpler than what I was thinking. Thanks!!
 

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