Author Topic: Heating a fridge in cold shop...Will this work?  (Read 1190 times)

Offline roguejim

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Heating a fridge in cold shop...Will this work?
« on: October 27, 2015, 06:57:49 PM »
Day-afternoon temps have been in mid-60s; night temps in mid-40s.  Shop is uninsulated, and currently at 58F, outside air temp, 53F.  Supposedly, temps will hit 68F by this afternoon.

I have a side-by-side refr/freezer that holds 2 carboys, stacked, on the fridge side.  I use a Johnson thermostat/controller to maintain ale/lager temps in Summer.  Since temps are dropping at night, I'm thinking of hanging an incandescent (halogen, maybe?) light bulb inside to keep it warm.  What watt bulb would you guess would suffice?

Offline toby

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Re: Heating a fridge in cold shop...Will this work?
« Reply #1 on: October 27, 2015, 07:10:53 PM »
You should look into the reptile heating options.  They make bulbs and heating cords for terrariums that are made to operate in a wet environment.  I use a ReptiHeat cable which is made to heat, but not get hot to the touch (so it's plastic safe).

Offline narcout

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Re: Heating a fridge in cold shop...Will this work?
« Reply #2 on: October 27, 2015, 07:40:34 PM »
I've never tried using a light bulb, but this this stuff works pretty well:

http://www.northernbrewer.com/shop/electric-fermentation-heater

You can tape it to the inside of the refrigerator so that it heats the whole space up rather than wrapping it around just one carboy.

Is your temperature controller dual stage?

Offline Pinski

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Re: Heating a fridge in cold shop...Will this work?
« Reply #3 on: October 27, 2015, 08:48:24 PM »
I have one of the ceramic reptile lamps with the metal "safety cage" around it.  I place the safety cage on a pyrex pie pan that fits perfectly onto the condenser box in my fermentation freezer. I works great and has consistently for a couple years now.
Steve Carper
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Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: Heating a fridge in cold shop...Will this work?
« Reply #4 on: October 28, 2015, 01:50:43 AM »
I don't like to use a bulb, but I have (on a separate thermostat) and then I face it away from the beer to minimize heat intensity and to help screen light (my fermenters are buckets or plastic Speidels).  About a 40 watt incandescent will be plenty.
Hodge Garage Brewing: "Brew with a glad heart!"

Offline roguejim

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Re: Heating a fridge in cold shop...Will this work?
« Reply #5 on: October 28, 2015, 02:30:12 AM »
I've never tried using a light bulb, but this this stuff works pretty well:

http://www.northernbrewer.com/shop/electric-fermentation-heater

You can tape it to the inside of the refrigerator so that it heats the whole space up rather than wrapping it around just one carboy.

Is your temperature controller dual stage?

No.

Offline roguejim

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Re: Heating a fridge in cold shop...Will this work?
« Reply #6 on: October 28, 2015, 02:31:12 AM »
I have one of the ceramic reptile lamps with the metal "safety cage" around it.  I place the safety cage on a pyrex pie pan that fits perfectly onto the condenser box in my fermentation freezer. I works great and has consistently for a couple years now.

How do you control the temp?

Offline Stevie

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Heating a fridge in cold shop...Will this work?
« Reply #7 on: October 28, 2015, 03:03:02 AM »
Two stage controller. You could also get a separate single stage controller. If the temp is low enough you could also switch an existing controller to heat.
« Last Edit: October 28, 2015, 03:10:54 AM by Steve in TX »

Offline Pinski

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Re: Heating a fridge in cold shop...Will this work?
« Reply #8 on: October 28, 2015, 02:33:58 PM »
I have one of the ceramic reptile lamps with the metal "safety cage" around it.  I place the safety cage on a pyrex pie pan that fits perfectly onto the condenser box in my fermentation freezer. I works great and has consistently for a couple years now.

How do you control the temp?

As Steve mentioned, two stage Ranco controller is what I use.

Somebody else mentioned light as an issue with the reptile "lamps".  The one I have is a black ceramic bulb that emits no light. To minimize radiant heat intensity on the fermenters I set the lamp cage in a pyrex pie plate which also holds the lamp securely out of the way on the condenser shelf.
Steve Carper
Green Dragon Brew Crew
Clubs: Oregon Brew Crew & Strange Brew
BJCP Certified

Offline Stevie

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Re: Heating a fridge in cold shop...Will this work?
« Reply #9 on: October 28, 2015, 02:47:51 PM »
I use a ceramic type. Infrared only

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Re: Heating a fridge in cold shop...Will this work?
« Reply #10 on: October 28, 2015, 04:52:50 PM »
I guess that I am the last brewer standing who ferments with the seasons.

Offline Stevie

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Re: Heating a fridge in cold shop...Will this work?
« Reply #11 on: October 28, 2015, 04:56:17 PM »

I guess that I am the last brewer standing who ferments with the seasons.
Some of us can't no matter what the season. North Texas for instance can be 80° from April-October

Offline Pinski

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Re: Heating a fridge in cold shop...Will this work?
« Reply #12 on: October 28, 2015, 05:02:49 PM »
I guess that I am the last brewer standing who ferments with the seasons.

I ferment with the seasons too, but its more about style preferences at certain times of year.
Do you not regulate temperature?
Steve Carper
Green Dragon Brew Crew
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Offline toby

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Re: Heating a fridge in cold shop...Will this work?
« Reply #13 on: October 28, 2015, 06:38:17 PM »
I guess that I am the last brewer standing who ferments with the seasons.
If I waited for the seasons to brew, I would be brewing belgian saisons 10 months out of the year, and fruity ales the other 2 on the average year.  ;)

Offline dilluh98

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Re: Heating a fridge in cold shop...Will this work?
« Reply #14 on: October 28, 2015, 09:17:06 PM »
I guess that I am the last brewer standing who ferments with the seasons.
If I waited for the seasons to brew, I would be brewing belgian saisons 10 months out of the year, and fruity ales the other 2 on the average year.  ;)

Central TX here. I feel I'd be lucky to even get drinkable fruity ales in that 2 month window.  ;) I suspect we'll still be hitting some 90s in November...