Author Topic: Heating elements for fermentation  (Read 1993 times)

Offline sdevries42

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Heating elements for fermentation
« on: April 10, 2014, 03:52:26 AM »
I am looking to find a heating element that I can hook up to a temperature controller and place in a chest freezer to maintain appropriate temperatures during fermentation. Anyone have recommendations on a good heat source?

Offline klickitat jim

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Re: Heating elements for fermentation
« Reply #1 on: April 10, 2014, 12:41:20 PM »
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Offline a10t2

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Re: Heating elements for fermentation
« Reply #2 on: April 10, 2014, 01:19:11 PM »
I bought a desktop ceramic space heater at Wal-Mart for about the same price. The low setting is 200 W, which is more than enough to heat my ~30 cu ft fermentation chamber, and it has its own fan and a thermal cutout that disables the heating element at 100°F.
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Offline yso191

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Re: Heating elements for fermentation
« Reply #3 on: April 10, 2014, 03:03:08 PM »
I have been using a Walmart hair dryer.  $15.  Works great.

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Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: Heating elements for fermentation
« Reply #4 on: April 10, 2014, 03:59:06 PM »
I have been using a Walmart hair dryer.  $15.  Works great.

That scares me.  I have visions of fire.

Maybe it's no less risky than a ceramic heater, but still.
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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Heating elements for fermentation
« Reply #5 on: April 10, 2014, 04:12:06 PM »
40 Watt fermwrap is one that I have.
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Heating elements for fermentation
« Reply #6 on: April 10, 2014, 04:18:03 PM »
+1 to the Fermwrap. Works well.
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Offline yso191

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Re: Heating elements for fermentation
« Reply #7 on: April 10, 2014, 04:24:48 PM »
I have been using a Walmart hair dryer.  $15.  Works great.

That scares me.  I have visions of fire.

Maybe it's no less risky than a ceramic heater, but still.

Well, I like that it is cheap, and that it circulates the air in my upright freezer.  I also have it on the low setting.  It tends to run about 3-4 minutes at a time so no long run times.  The cool end of the dryer is stuck in the box.  Even when it is around zero outside, my garage stays about 40-45* so it really doesn't have that much work to do.

I do have one of the heating pads Jim uses.  I bought it after the hair dryer, but have never used it.
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Offline Multifaceted

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Re: Heating elements for fermentation
« Reply #8 on: April 10, 2014, 04:42:58 PM »
I just use a reptile heating pad. Works well and virtually takes up no space.

Offline AmandaK

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Re: Heating elements for fermentation
« Reply #9 on: April 10, 2014, 04:47:40 PM »
I have a couple of ferm wraps for my Better Bottles, but I use a low wattage ceramic heater for the 15g conical.
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Offline klickitat jim

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Re: Heating elements for fermentation
« Reply #10 on: April 10, 2014, 05:07:57 PM »
My suggestion is to avoid a heater with too much mass unless that mass is very low heat. When I first got dual temp control I tried a small ceramic hot plate. When the thermal probe read the cut off temp it would shut off power to the hot plate, but the temp in the freezer would continue to climb. The freezer would cycle on and run until it was to cutoff, then bang the hot plate is back on, and round and round we go. Temp swinging like 30+º. I switched to the heat pad and no problems.  After countless random checks my temp is always within 2º of what I have dialed in, which is X with a 2º lag but no deadband.

Offline nbarmbrewer

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Re: Heating elements for fermentation
« Reply #11 on: April 10, 2014, 05:09:53 PM »
I made my own fermwrap with Flex Watt heat tape that I found on amazon and I tape it to the side of the fermenter. I made 3 of them for about $30-$40.

Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Heating elements for fermentation
« Reply #12 on: April 10, 2014, 05:15:24 PM »
I have a couple of ferm wraps for my Better Bottles, but I use a low wattage ceramic heater for the 15g conical.
My fermwrap is on the conical. I also have a 60 Watt incandescent bulb in a utility/trouble light hanging from the dump port. The bulb is contained and just hanging so no fire hazard. With SS light is not a worry. The trouble lamp was not getting use so I put it to work in the winter. Next batch I may not need it.
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Offline yso191

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Re: Heating elements for fermentation
« Reply #13 on: April 10, 2014, 05:46:16 PM »
My suggestion is to avoid a heater with too much mass unless that mass is very low heat. When I first got dual temp control I tried a small ceramic hot plate. When the thermal probe read the cut off temp it would shut off power to the hot plate, but the temp in the freezer would continue to climb. The freezer would cycle on and run until it was to cutoff, then bang the hot plate is back on, and round and round we go. Temp swinging like 30+º. I switched to the heat pad and no problems.  After countless random checks my temp is always within 2º of what I have dialed in, which is X with a 2º lag but no deadband.

Jim do you just have the pad in the freezer, or wrapped around the container you are heating?  I get a 2* swing using the hair dryer.  Part of the reason I haven't started using the heating pad is the hassle of wrapping the conical every time.  If I could just hang it on the wall or something - and experience a smaller temperature swing - that would be ideal.
Steve
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Offline klickitat jim

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Re: Heating elements for fermentation
« Reply #14 on: April 10, 2014, 05:53:01 PM »
I use the ambient method. Pad taped to inner wall. Thermal probe on opposite wall. I purposely ferment cooler than normal and ramp after growth phase so works well for me.