Successful Fermentation Chamber Heat Source

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Komocabo

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I thought I would share my happiness with my recent improvements to my fermentation chamber.

Here is the story: I have been using an upright freezer and an STC-1000 as a fermentation chamber during the summer and have been very happy with the results for keeping a stable fermentation temp.

Well, it is getting colder now, and the ambient temp in the garage is getting too cold to keep the temps warm enough inside of the chamber. I have been debating the best way (cost effective, SAFETY, efficient, etc.) to heat the chamber. I looked over many forum pages, and I'll go ahead and say that I am not comfortable, nor do I feel safe using the "light bulb in the paint can" thing. This is partly due to the fact that my freezer is the older style with coils running inside of it, and there can be a considerable amount of condensation, so I am reluctant to go the cheap DIY route.

So, after some research, I decided to purchase this item for about $25 on Ebay:
Zoo Med Laboratories Repti - Care Heat Cable 50Watt, 23 feet long
http://www.ebay.com/itm/181222274552?ssPageName=STRK:MEWNX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1497.l2649

I plugged this into the (previously wired) "heat" side of the STC-1000, and placed the cable along 3 sides of the fermentation chamber. So far, I have been VERY happy with the results. First of all, the first 6 feet or so do not produce any heat, and the amount of heat that is produced is meant for reptiles to crawl on (so not dangerously hot). Additionally, it is water resistant! Best of all, my fermentation temp is perfectly where I want it, and is very stable. (Note: I have the STC-1000 probe placed midway on the fermenter, taped with a rag that I use as "insulation" from the ambient temps to allow for the probe to read the fermentation temp, rather than the ambient temp.)

Overall, I found that this is a VERY effective, low-cost, and safe method to add as a heat source for a simple fermentation chamber, and I wanted to share my results. I would recommend this to any one here. :mug:
 

Jorb

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Great idea. I was looking for something for my new fridge.
 
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Komocabo

Komocabo

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I can't take all the credit. I got the idea from another thread, but couldn't remember a) where it was, and b) if someone actually tried it or not...

Works like a charm though!
 

Atterazlac

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Great idea. What is the ambient temp of the area where the chamber is located? Do you think it would hold heat in my garage when it drops to the lower teens in the winter? Thanks!
 
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Komocabo

Komocabo

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We had a cold spell and the outside temp was 0°. The temp in the garage got to about 35° and I noticed no problem. The freezer is very well insulated as it is, so as long as you keep it closed, I don't see why you would have any problems.

I would give it the old college try and post results. Its not that expensive, and IMO MUCH safer than the paint can contraption...
 

petrolSpice

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I am using a "fermwrap" that works pretty well, but it's on the fragile side and needs to be taped to the carboy. Any heat pad/mat would work.
 

SpeedYellow

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Seed germination mats are cheaper and extremely effective. Works for me. And you can use them for seed germination in January too. :)
 

wilconrad

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Nice!

I've got the ol light bulb in a paint can setup in my ferm chamber; it was -10 here in KC during this recent cold snap and it held my fermenting pale ale at 64 no problem (it's in the garage).
 
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Komocabo

Komocabo

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Seed germination mats are cheaper and extremely effective. Works for me. And you can use them for seed germination in January too. :)
That's the gift that keeps on giving, Clark.
Really though, that's awesome. I like the dual purpose aspect. Good idea
 

Surly

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I have a need to add a heat source to my standard refrigerator I use as a fermentation chamber. I use it with a 15 gallon conical.

If I read the above correctly, the refrigerator can be located in very cold areas such as an outbuilding and the heat sources placed within the refrigerator can control wort temps in the lower 60F area even if the ambient temperature is below zero.

I could always build an insulated, "shroud" around the refrigerator to add efficiency.
 

JustLooking

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Wonder if one of these for $20 in a water filled jar would work?


 
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wilconrad

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I just held a hefeweizen at 68 in my garage freezer for 2 wks with a light bulb in a paint can. It was absolutely frigid out for most of that time. It works and it's cheap.


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KindofBlues71

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I wonder what's more efficient, heating the chamber or the fermentor? Personally, I think it's the latter (based on zero science) so I use heat tape from reptilebasics.com. I bought two 1 ft x 3 ft pieces, cut them to fit around my Better Bottles with a 3" gap for the temp probe and powered by an STC-1000. The heat tape is sold by the foot in diffferent widths, and you need to buy a wire set to power it (which they'll assemble for free). Works great, low cost, and I plan on buying more in the future.

I am not affiliated with the company in any way, I'm just a happy customer.

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