Indoor brewing with no vent hood

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ToddPEI

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I just moved to a new basement apartment, and the stove doesn't have a vent hood. Will this be an issue for steam? Will I be creating an environment for mould? Any ideas of what i can do? Would a dehumidifier be enough? Or am I just over-paranoid?

I'll be doing small batches (4g), I don't know yet what my boil-off will be, my brewing equipment is still in transit from my last apartment.
 

kh54s10

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I don't know if it was due to my brewing, about 6 batches inside before getting a turkey fryer and moving to the garage, but since then I have peeling paint on my kitchen ceiling. I have been in the house for 12 years and started brewing July a year and 2 months ago.

The funny thing is that it is 4 feet to the right of the stove. No mold or mildew though.
 

jammin

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How big is your brew space?

With no ventilation it could get pretty muggy in a small space.


I bet cracking the door and using a fan would take care of any excess humidity.
 

djt17

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Do you have an exhaust fan in the bathroom? Open a window in the kitchen & turn the fan on. I do this when I brew inside.
 

MMJfan

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I don't have a vent hood in my kitchen, but we do have 10 ft ceilings and a ceiling fan... :)
 

AnnapolisBrewer

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I would not worry about it at all especially with your ceilings and a ceiling fan. I would not recommend having the fan on when you transfer the wort to the fermentor for fear of dust/dirt/germs getting into the bucket. I don't even use my vent in my kitchen when I brew and I have never had any issues. There is not that much of a boil off anyway. I do a full boil of 5.5 gallons and I typically lose about .5 gallons. Thats not enough to cause any issue IMHO.
 
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ToddPEI

ToddPEI

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Thanks for all your opinions everyone. I just wanted to make sure, and settle my fears.

Cheers
 

jbaysurfer

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LOL...I'd put some exhaust in. Cheap as can be, but the only basements I've been in out here (west coast) are damp. I'm imagining it's damp where you live. I believe the answer is: Yes. You are inviting mold.

Sorry to dissent. You probably will be fine if you can crack a door and get a fan going. But I own, so I generally try to fix stuff the way I want it. Is there a window or vent nearby? maybe a single fan drawing air into that vent with a door cracked insures you'll have no problems?
 

emjay

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jbaysurfer said:
LOL...I'd put some exhaust in. Cheap as can be, but the only basements I've been in out here (west coast) are damp. I'm imagining it's damp where you live. I believe the answer is: Yes. You are inviting mold.

Sorry to dissent. You probably will be fine if you can crack a door and get a fan going. But I own, so I generally try to fix stuff the way I want it. Is there a window or vent nearby? maybe a single fan drawing air into that vent with a door cracked insures you'll have no problems?
I have to agree with this guy. If you're not boiling off much, you're probably not boiling properly.

So, on the low end, a half gallon. On the high end, let's say two. Even with "just" a half-gallon boiled off, that's still a great deal of water, and that water's gotta go somewhere, unless you live somewhere extremely dry. In my old house I'd brew in the kitchen in my 15gal Blichmann kettle. I did have a good range hood, but the best burner was at the front of the range, so part of my kettle stuck out a bit further than my hood... probably around 20% of the surface area of the kettle.

Now, since the hood sucks air, it got the vapor from more than just 80% of the kettle, but not all of it. And so, by the end of the boil, the ceiling around the hood (and part of the cabinets) would be soaked and just dripping wet. The Blichmann kettles come with a small rectangular sheet of stainless steel for use as a heat shield for the ball valve and sightgauge, which I used to solve most of the problem by standing it up on the handle and leaning against my range hood, so that the water vapor would either have to flow into the hood, or condense on the sheet.

That solved most of the issue, but not all of it. The point is that, any way you look at it, it's a LOT of water. It would soak the ceiling so bad that, as I'm building an ebrewery in the basement of my new place, I felt I had little choice for my situation but to get a commercial, 6 foot, custom-made stainless range hood. That's a little (a lot) overboard for the vast majority of brewers and circumstances - my system will be able to make ½bbl batches and have a very high boil-off rate - but a cheap off-the-shelf range hood, vented out of the house, is more than worth it for the piece of mind. My dad was a contractor that specialized in fire, floods, and mold, and mold can be a VERY serious issue. I'm not saying it's guaranteed, but if you run into a mold problem down the line, there's no doubt you'll be wishing you had spent the under-$100 (or even if it was a couple grand) and just avoided the issues.

I'm trying not to exaggerate, and the truth is that you will usually be fine. But mold is no joke, and a cheap hood costs so little, that it just seems silly to me not to do it.
 

seabass07

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^+1!

Even with the windows opened, porch door opened, stove vent on, and bathroom vent on, it gets extremely steamy in my apartment. Whether mold will be an issue is probably more dependent on how conducive your normal weather is to mold growth, but that much water sitting in an apartment with nowhere to go is just begging for problems. With 6 gallon batches, my boil off is around 1-1.5 gallons. I wouldn't want that staying inside.
 

bioguy

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1 gallon is a _lot_ of water to have in the air. 18 mL of water expands to 22.4 L when it turns into steam. 1 gallon = 3785.41 mL. this turns into almost 1,245 gallons of water vapor. I'd open the windows and use a fan to get rid of the steam.
 
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ToddPEI

ToddPEI

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@bioguy, 1st year chem answer, awesome. I'm a Chem graduate, so I love it when chemistry can be used to explain things.

My kitchen is in the sub-basement, so the window is pretty small, and the bathroom is one floor up, so the fan won't do much good.

My plan of action will be to brew with the small window open and a fan to circulate the air. I will be looking into getting a dehumidifier as well. Hopefully that will be enough. Thoughts?
 

Erroneous

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I'm wondering if it is required to have a hood in personal kitchens above ranges. Might be able to get your landlord to do it if it is.
 

bioguy

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(Off topic)

@bioguy, 1st year chem answer, awesome. I'm a Chem graduate, so I love it when chemistry can be used to explain things.
Chemistry can be used to explain (almost) anything.

Guess what I do for a living?
 

alpha224

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bioguy said:
(Off topic)

Chemistry can be used to explain (almost) anything.

Guess what I do for a living?
I would guess you manage a Burger King...but seriously, chemistry was one of those subjects that never really clicked with me till college.
 
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ToddPEI

ToddPEI

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@bioguy, From your name I would have guessed that you were a biologist... but i'm not sure anymore.
@alpha224, Chemistry is actually the reason that I love brewing. I have a masters in chemistry, and my undergrad was honours in chemistry, and a minor in biology. I love applying all I learned in classes to what I brew.
 

KBentley57

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@bioguy, 1st year chem answer, awesome. I'm a Chem graduate, so I love it when chemistry can be used to explain things.

My kitchen is in the sub-basement, so the window is pretty small, and the bathroom is one floor up, so the fan won't do much good.

My plan of action will be to brew with the small window open and a fan to circulate the air. I will be looking into getting a dehumidifier as well. Hopefully that will be enough. Thoughts?
A dehumidifier will pull moisture out of the air, slowly. It won't be able to pull the moisture out of the air at the same rate as the boil is putting it in. It might be alright if you let it run continuously. Another thing to think about is the heat. To use some chem, water vapor has more energy than liquid water; if you want to pull that vapor out of the air, you have to remove some energy from it. That energy has to go somewhere, and is dumped back into the room through a heat exchanger. Practically, a dehumidifier behaves like a small ac unit.

So now on top of the heat from the boil, you have the heat from the dehumidifier to worry about. You then have to remove that heat with your AC, and its a snowballing process of inefficiency.

Do you have a window anywhere close to nearby? I would be willing to get a little creative and made a removable range with a window fan, flex dryer hose, cardboard and duct tape. It would be the most energy efficient solution to dump the heat outside in one go than to transfer it between systems a couple times.

The best part is, it could collapse and be stored away so as not to look gaudy.
 

jbaysurfer

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Probably a dead thread, but I'm unsure why a fan is precluded because the bathroom is upstairs? Get a vent hood, attach some flexible ducting (straight ducting is better but a bit more work), run the ducting to the window, exhaust it out the window. Solved!

Cheap hoods are running from $45 at Home Depot, can't be much more then a dehumidifier, and it's the correct application for the problem.

Sorry I'm no Chemist, but I don't think you need to be for this problem. http://www.homedepot.com/Appliances...oreId=10051&superSkuId=202829990#.UFJwZY2PX54
 

dallasdb

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If you're renting why worry about mold? Just move out in a year and onto the next place!
Mold is a great way to break a lease.
 

jonmohno

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I always use a fan and open most windows and vent all I can.Just because I dont want the smell. It should be vented anyway like any cooking or frying. I hate when there is frying going on with no windows/fan on. It makes your house have that otherpersons house smell if you dont.
 
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