Author Topic: maintaining temps in freezer  (Read 2041 times)

Offline factory

  • Cellarman
  • **
  • Posts: 95
  • Virginia Beach, VA
    • View Profile
maintaining temps in freezer
« on: February 26, 2013, 08:32:46 AM »
I have a Frigidaire Stand up freezer that I intend to use for fermentation and lagering.  I bought a Johnson Controls A419 Temp controller to control the freezer compressor.

My problem is that right now, and for the next month or so, the average temps in the garage are below 50F and the internal temp of the freezer hovers around 50 while it is unplugged.

My question is, can I just put a lamp inside to warm it up and then let the temp controller regulate the temp?  I'm thinking about a 25W bulb, but do I need a 50W or 60W?  It is a 19 cu ft freezer if that helps.

Offline micsager

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1000
    • View Profile
Re: maintaining temps in freezer
« Reply #1 on: February 26, 2013, 08:45:52 AM »
I think that would work.  Although not the most efficient way to go. 

Offline yso191

  • Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 629
  • Yakima, WA
    • View Profile
Re: maintaining temps in freezer
« Reply #2 on: February 26, 2013, 09:31:07 AM »
Regardless of the heating solution you come up with, it would be best to get a dual stage temperature controller if you can afford it.  Then you can just set it and forget it, and you won't be working against yourself with the strategy of leaving the heat source on all the time.
Steve

Offline anje

  • Assistant Brewer
  • ***
  • Posts: 232
  • Lafayette, IN
    • View Profile
Re: maintaining temps in freezer
« Reply #3 on: February 26, 2013, 09:47:47 AM »
Personally, I'd probably opt for a little space heater instead of a bulb. Probably overkill, but you don't want your beer light-struck before you even get around to bottling.
<-- microbiologist brewster n00b.

Hops and toothpaste don't mix.

Offline factory

  • Cellarman
  • **
  • Posts: 95
  • Virginia Beach, VA
    • View Profile
Re: maintaining temps in freezer
« Reply #4 on: February 26, 2013, 10:44:44 AM »
Good points.  I was looking for a cheap way out.  :)  I guess I'll just go buy another temp controller.  I was looking at a mini space heater for the job, so that's probably the way I will go.

Offline dean_palmer

  • Cellarman
  • **
  • Posts: 84
    • View Profile
    • The Beer Journals
Re: maintaining temps in freezer
« Reply #5 on: February 26, 2013, 10:48:11 AM »
A regular incandescent bulb works fine for this. The danger comes from full spectrum bulbs or bulbs that emit UV light.

I'm using a small space heater on a second Ranco controller for the few times I may need heat, but that's rare here in Florida. You can see the little purple heater in the lower left corner and the controllers upper left side. I'm considering some sort of heating pad attached to the fermenter itself as soon as I find one capable that doesn't shut off automatically.

« Last Edit: February 26, 2013, 11:01:28 AM by dean_palmer »

Offline tschmidlin

  • I must live here
  • **********
  • Posts: 8130
  • Redmond, WA
    • View Profile
Re: maintaining temps in freezer
« Reply #6 on: February 26, 2013, 10:52:14 AM »
A friend of mine was just saying he uses a seedling grow mat on a temp controller to warm up his fermentations.  He's using a small stainless conical.
Tom Schmidlin

Offline the_pig

  • Cellarman
  • **
  • Posts: 32
    • View Profile
Re: maintaining temps in freezer
« Reply #7 on: February 26, 2013, 11:21:29 AM »
If the temp stays at or below your target during the winter, another option would be a big plastic tub full of water with an aquarium heater.  It's a little extra equipment, but it sounds more efficient.  (Less wear on the refrig. too.)

That wouldn't work if there is any cooling required though.

Offline anje

  • Assistant Brewer
  • ***
  • Posts: 232
  • Lafayette, IN
    • View Profile
Re: maintaining temps in freezer
« Reply #8 on: February 27, 2013, 11:13:08 AM »
A regular incandescent bulb works fine for this. The danger comes from full spectrum bulbs or bulbs that emit UV light.
True, UV is the main danger. I'm probably tending toward paranoia.

That said, you've got a sweet stainless conical there. Those of us with buckets and carboys would have more to worry about light-wise to begin with.
<-- microbiologist brewster n00b.

Hops and toothpaste don't mix.

Offline flipper

  • 1st Kit
  • *
  • Posts: 3
    • View Profile
Re: maintaining temps in freezer
« Reply #9 on: February 27, 2013, 09:46:42 PM »
I use a "reptile heater" to provide the heat needed.  It is basically a low wattage heating pad that is intended to be adhered to the bottom of a reptile tank.  The first one I got was 7W, but for the bigger chest freezer I've got now I got a larger 16W one.  When it is "cold" out in the garage, I just put the heating pad in the chest freezer and leave it plugged in.  I have the A419 temp controller.  It will run the freezer and the temperature will undershoot the setpoint by a couple of degrees, the heating pad will slowly bring the temp back up until the controller turns on the freezer again.  I admit a dual stage controller would probably be better, but this is working fine.  There are higher wattage (60W or 100W) ceramic bulb style heating elements, drawback to those is that they aren't supposed to get wet.

Offline DrewG

  • Brewer
  • ****
  • Posts: 359
  • Thread Killer
    • View Profile
Re: maintaining temps in freezer
« Reply #10 on: March 10, 2013, 07:25:11 AM »
2 stage ranco controller and a fermwrap (35ish bucks) works great for me.
"Well, the Mexicans got a saying - what cannot be remedied must be endured."

-Barbarosa

Offline ajk

  • Assistant Brewer
  • ***
  • Posts: 183
  • Foam Blowers of Indiana (FBI)
    • View Profile
maintaining temps in freezer
« Reply #11 on: March 10, 2013, 08:33:09 AM »
Not to feed your paranoia, but even an incandescent does give off *some* UV. That said, I use a 100-W bulb (and opaque fermentors).

Offline jamminbrew

  • Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 800
  • theAntipunk
    • View Profile
Re: maintaining temps in freezer
« Reply #12 on: March 10, 2013, 10:25:46 AM »
I have the same basic set up as Dean, but I use a chest freezer, and a two stage controller. A small space heater is great.
Member, AHA
Member, Brew Brothers of Pikes Peak
BJCP judge# D1248
In caelo cerivisiae nil, hic igitur bibimus.

Offline tom

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1110
  • Denver, CO
    • View Profile
Re: maintaining temps in freezer
« Reply #13 on: March 10, 2013, 02:44:26 PM »
Or a hair dryer.
Brew on

Offline factory

  • Cellarman
  • **
  • Posts: 95
  • Virginia Beach, VA
    • View Profile
Re: maintaining temps in freezer
« Reply #14 on: March 11, 2013, 12:15:41 PM »
I ended up buying a second temp controller vice getting a two stage controller.  One will control a small space heater whilst the other will control the freezer.

Now to brew my first lager  :)