Membership questions? Log in issues? Email info@brewersassociation.org

Author Topic: Using a heater  (Read 2202 times)

Offline kgs

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1068
  • Sonoma County, CA
Using a heater
« on: December 29, 2016, 02:10:12 pm »
My winter fermentation challenge is that the fridge I have available for fermenting won't maintain a high enough temperature, particularly at night, even with a Johnson controller. The room it's in doesn't go to freezing, but it is cold enough that the fridge never makes it past the high 50s. I use 5-gallon buckets for 3-gallon batches and have a Danby no-freezer small fridge. Am I correct that I'd plug the fridge into the wall for normal operation, plug the heat source into the controller, and put the heat source on the inside wall of the fridge, with the probe taped as usual to the fermenter with a little styrofoam or other padding over the probe?

I'm looking at this:

https://www.williamsbrewing.com/BREWERS-EDGE-SPACE-HEATER-P518.aspx

Thanks in advance.

Good price, if it does what I need it to do. I'm just confirming this setup.
K.G. Schneider
AHA Member

Offline Stevie

  • Official Poobah of No Life. (I Got Ban Hammered by Drew)
  • *********
  • Posts: 6858
Re: Using a heater
« Reply #1 on: December 29, 2016, 02:39:31 pm »
Why would you plug the fridge in to the wall? Single stage (heat only) should do well, but a dual stage controller might be better.

When I lived in Dallas, my ferm freezer was in the garage and it often dipped to below 30 in the winter. Though I had a dual stage, I only operated one at a time depending on the need.

Offline mabrungard

  • I spend way too much time on the AHA forum
  • ********
  • Posts: 2909
  • Water matters!
    • Bru'n Water
Re: Using a heater
« Reply #2 on: December 29, 2016, 02:43:01 pm »
Since my chamber temperature is thermostatically controlled, I just put a heating pad in the chamber when its not warm enough.
Martin B
Carmel, IN

BJCP National
Foam Blowers of Indiana (FBI)

Brewing Water Information at:
https://www.brunwater.com/

Like Bru'n Water on Facebook
https://www.facebook.com/Brun-Water-464551136933908/?ref=bookmarks

Offline EnkAMania

  • Brewer
  • ****
  • Posts: 485
Re: Using a heater
« Reply #3 on: December 29, 2016, 02:54:11 pm »
Since my chamber temperature is thermostatically controlled, I just put a heating pad in the chamber when its not warm enough.

I used the heating pad method as well.  It's a pretty funny setup.  The heating pad shuts off after an hour, so I have the pad plugged into a timer that runs the heating pad for 55 minutes every two hours. 
Some day we'll look back on this and it will all seem funny

Offline kgs

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1068
  • Sonoma County, CA
Re: Using a heater
« Reply #4 on: December 29, 2016, 03:11:30 pm »
Why would you plug the fridge in to the wall? Single stage (heat only) should do well, but a dual stage controller might be better. ...

To address those crazy temperature swings that can have us in teeshirts by mid-afternoon. But maybe not needed?

K.G. Schneider
AHA Member

Offline narcout

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2218
  • Los Angeles, CA
Re: Using a heater
« Reply #5 on: December 29, 2016, 03:20:36 pm »
Ideally, in your situation you'd probably want to run a 2-stage controller with both the fridge and heater plugged into it.

They aren't horribly expense, and Auber is actually having a sale right now:

http://www.auberins.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=8&products_id=334

If using a single stage controller, I think you'd want to unplug the fridge and have the heater plugged into the controller.  I did the opposite for a long time, and it worked well.
Sometimes you just can't get enough - JAMC

Offline M-O-O-N That spells beer!

  • Assistant Brewer
  • ***
  • Posts: 168
  • South Jersey
Re: Using a heater
« Reply #6 on: December 29, 2016, 06:16:33 pm »
Am I correct that I'd plug the fridge into the wall for normal operation, plug the heat source into the controller, and put the heat source on the inside wall of the fridge, with the probe taped as usual to the fermenter with a little styrofoam or other padding over the probe?

I have a Fermwrap plugged into the Johnson A419, the heater is taped to the wall of the freezer but the freezer is not plugged in. The probe is attached under bubble wrap and taped to the side of the fermenter.

Na zdrowie!

Offline kgs

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1068
  • Sonoma County, CA
Re: Using a heater
« Reply #7 on: December 30, 2016, 11:29:55 am »
Since my chamber temperature is thermostatically controlled, I just put a heating pad in the chamber when its not warm enough.

Got out the heating pad, plugged it in to test its temperatures, went away for a bit... one little problem... https://www.flickr.com/photos/kgs/31948393166/
K.G. Schneider
AHA Member

Offline 802Chris

  • Assistant Brewer
  • ***
  • Posts: 151
Re: Using a heater
« Reply #8 on: January 04, 2017, 01:33:18 pm »
Inkbird dual stage controllers have been on sale on amazon for less than $30 for the last month. They heat and cooler and are rated to run most fridges and a heat pad. You could probably find a heat pad at CVS on sale for under 20.