WARNING: My fermentation heating pad caught fire last night.

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Gordie

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So the GFCI was tripped in my garage this morning. Opening my chest freezer I see a thin layer of brown smoke residue on everything (two sanke keg fermentors, airlocks intact - no electrical-fire rauchbier) and the heating pad is fried. Only cosmetic damage to the freezer, luckily.

I got lucky. I'd recommend swapping out heating pads (bought at Long's Drug) for heaters that are engineered for the purpose.


Gordie.
 

gregdech

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Was it taped to the side of the fermenter or was the fermenter sitting on it? Just wondering since I too use these heating pads.

Cheers,

Greg
 
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Gordie

Gordie

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Neither. Just sitting on the compressor hump. Nothing on or next to it.
 

drez77

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This is interesting. I used 2 medical heating pads taped to my conical this winter to maintain the temperatures. I had them on a temperature controller for 2 weeks with no problems. I will have to think twice next time.
 
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Gordie

Gordie

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Yup. Medical heating pads. Sealed in a vinyl cover with a cloth cover on that.

Near as I can tell, it fried because I screwed up by accidentally setting the controller to a 1 deg differential (rather then my usual 4 deg) and it probably was switching a lot more that it should have. The center of the pad was burnt and melted through. You could stick your finger through it. Placed an order for a couple "Brewer's Edge" pads yesterday...
 

ajwillys

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Hmm, I use reptile heating pads but mine aren't switched, just the fridge is. I wonder if I have the same risk? They normally don't get very hot.
 

TXCrash

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Medical heating pads are designed for short term use. Reptile pads are designed for long term use. Seems like most medical heating pads have a timer function which must be overridden to use for more than a couple hours. Medical heating pads are also designed to sit ON something, or if sat on - on something soft (bed, or fat butt) - reptile heating pads are meant to sit on the bottom of an aquarium (something hard).
 

AnOldUR

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Stop bumping this thread . . . you're making me nervous! :eek:




My Saison has had a medical pad wrapped around it for over two weeks and still got a long way to go.
 

HopheadNJ

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Hmm, I use reptile heating pads but mine aren't switched, just the fridge is. I wonder if I have the same risk? They normally don't get very hot.
Just had a similar experience... Reptile heating pad shorted and burnt up inside of mini fridge. Close call to say the least. Ive got my fingers crossed that electrical fire stink didnt penetrate the pale ale that was in there!!
 

cannman

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Just had a similar experience... Reptile heating pad shorted and burnt up inside of mini fridge. Close call to say the least. Ive got my fingers crossed that electrical fire stink didnt penetrate the pale ale that was in there!!
How long or rather how old were these pads? Were they on 24 7 or something that was controlled by a device for periodic engagement?

I have seedling mats in my mini frig...
 

HopheadNJ

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I've been using the pad with no issues for the past 2 years with a temp control kicking it on when necessary (not that often). Pretty scary stuff, thankfully the fridge contained it all


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cannman

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I've been using the pad with no issues for the past 2 years with a temp control kicking it on when necessary (not that often). Pretty scary stuff, thankfully the fridge contained it all


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I just went to my ferm chamber and made sure that units were connected to a GFCI outlet (check) and on a surge protector (check). They are fairly expensive to replace each year... what's a better solution for a mini fridge to keep at proper ferm temps??
 

day_trippr

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Reptile bulbs are a bit pricey but won't burn up a fridge :eek:

Cheers!
 

Homercidal

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I use a simple 150W light bulb in a clip-on holder with a reflector. Operates as a heat lamp, but it's just a big bulb. Honestly, 150W ended up being much more than necessary to keep the inside of an insulated freezer warm. I could have gone with a 60-75 watt bulb easy I think.
 

Howhownow

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I think other folks are right about the issues with the medical heating pads due to their intended use. I am more surprised that people have had issues with the reptile heaters.
I went with one of these http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0001WV010/?tag=skimlinks_replacement-20 because for the same price I got a pad that was meant to deal with moisture and condensation, as well as be on for long periods of time. It can also fit two carefully placed fermenters on top of it. I can only get about 15° above ambient, though.
 
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brew_ny

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I use a simple 150W light bulb in a clip-on holder with a reflector. Operates as a heat lamp, but it's just a big bulb. Honestly, 150W ended up being much more than necessary to keep the inside of an insulated freezer warm. I could have gone with a 60-75 watt bulb easy I think.
do just that with the kegs in the freezer a 100 watt bulb is more then enough to keep them in a unheated garage

S_M
 

cannman

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I use a simple 150W light bulb in a clip-on holder with a reflector. Operates as a heat lamp, but it's just a big bulb. Honestly, 150W ended up being much more than necessary to keep the inside of an insulated freezer warm. I could have gone with a 60-75 watt bulb easy I think.
do just that with the kegs in the freezer a 100 watt bulb is more then enough to keep them in a unheated garage

S_M
With glass carboys, I take the temperature internally via a ss probe mounted in the bung, and a waterproof thermometer is stuck down this probe and wired to the STC 1000. If I install a lightbulb instead of the seedling heat pads, I can think of 2 issues: 1) Light. 2) might take an extraordinarily long time to heat the center of the wort to the requested temp, thus causing external portions of the wort to become unevenly heated and possibly out of requested range...? Or is the 100 watt so possible this is not a problem?

What about ceramic heat lamps?
 

nutty_gnome

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I still use a red reptile light bulb and I ferment in buckets in a fridge. I did have trouble with a regular lightbulb meting my pail when it came loose and fell on the pail... I reported on that a few years back in this thread... https://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/oh-no-my-ale-pail-melted-309829/

I have thought about the pricey ceramic bulb linked above but the incandescent one I have is still working... maybe when it dies....
 

rekoob

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I use a simple 150W light bulb in a clip-on holder with a reflector. Operates as a heat lamp, but it's just a big bulb. Honestly, 150W ended up being much more than necessary to keep the inside of an insulated freezer warm. I could have gone with a 60-75 watt bulb easy I think.
This is what I use, pretty sure it's a 60 watt bulb, maybe even a 45 watt. I made one of those paint can type deals (quart size), and run it off my dual controller.

Does the can get hot? Yup.
Do I ensure it touches nothing? Yup.
Have I ever changed the bulb? Nope.

I have been using it for years... heck, might even be up to 8 or more years. It's only used in the cold months and with the insulation properties of the freezer even in the non-heated garage, it doesn't turn on all that much to maintain temp.
 

Stealthcruiser

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I use a medical heating pad, when heat is needed.
I wrap the vessel in it, with the attached ties, as opposed to setting it on it.
I put it on one side, and the temp probe 180 degrees across from it.

Are these heating pad / reptile mats / seedling mats bearing the weight of the fermenter(s) ?
Seems to me that the "pinch point" on the elements could cause a problem.

If this is not the case, disregard please.
 

cannman

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I use a medical heating pad, when heat is needed.
I wrap the vessel in it, with the attached ties, as opposed to setting it on it.
I put it on one side, and the temp probe 180 degrees across from it.

Are these heating pad / reptile mats / seedling mats bearing the weight of the fermenter(s) ?
Seems to me that the "pinch point" on the elements could cause a problem.

If this is not the case, disregard please.
Initially, it was the medical heating pad that went south. Then a herp pad revived the thread. But I think you're on to something with the pinch point. I have since removed the seedling pad from under the carboy and will think about alternatives throughout the day...
 
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