Heating fermenters with elect blanket ? ?

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Heating fermenters with elect blanket ? ?

Postby Wraith71 » Mon May 15, 2017 5:44 pm

Ok winter is on the doorstep and back to the age old question of how to keep up the temps.
In the past I've tried the fish tank heater suspended directly into the wash .. ( seemed to work ok but pain to clean after and sanitize ) .. , then putting a 30ltr fermenter into a larger bin full of water and pop the heater between and again seemed to work ok BUT again pain to remove ( lifting out and stirred up sediment) to fill boiler. Have'nt gone down the path of heat boxes with lamps.. fire hazard in my books .. had a shocking experience with a heat belt ( melted the fermenter). Now I tend to use 50 ltr stainless kegs as fermenters and was thinking of trying out an electric blanket or throw rug wrapped around a pair of them with an old doona as insulation.
Anyone tried this ? ? or care to weigh in on their success ? :-B
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Re: Heating fermenters with elect blanket ? ?

Postby copperhead road » Mon May 15, 2017 6:10 pm

I think electric blanket is a fire hazard, if you have not got enough head room in the fermentation vessel and it pukes , electricity and moisture/water don't get on well together if you know what I mean. :handgestures-thumbdown:
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Re: Heating fermenters with elect blanket ? ?

Postby Fishleg » Mon May 15, 2017 6:31 pm

Yeah I'd be wary of the blanket idea. What about those heat pads you get from the hbs?
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Re: Heating fermenters with elect blanket ? ?

Postby Wraith71 » Mon May 15, 2017 6:58 pm

I did take a fair bit of that into account , thus the up-grade to stainless 50ltr instead of plastic 30ltr .. more headroom. Will be in my garage ..concrete floor with power on its own circuit, and has a photo-electric smoke/fire alarm and the doona is an old wool one. Not that I'm a fan of dicing with danger.
Not taking the mickey outta you Copperhead .. but I'm pretty sure we're all running liquid with electricity or Gas burners with fumes coming out somewhere. :think: I had contemplated using a heatpad from a waterbed but the wattage seems over-kill and concentrates the heat too much in one place. This hobby always has a certain amount of risk .. bit like watching some one cross a croc infested river to see who makes a safe path. ( or get their ass bit!) :scared-eek:
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Re: Heating fermenters with elect blanket ? ?

Postby Fishleg » Mon May 15, 2017 7:12 pm

Not so much the liquid issue with the blanket but just the fact that the blanket itself is quite combustible if something were to go wrong.
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Re: Heating fermenters with elect blanket ? ?

Postby Wobblyboot » Mon May 15, 2017 7:19 pm

Iv used heat belts running on temp controllers with towels around them in my laundry for last couple yrs :teasing-tease:
I use 2 on the 220l in garage sitting on 8mm rubber with thick fire proof insulation I got from job I was on and it gets cold out there in winter. I usually set the temp at 27-30 and they at temp and off more than they on, good insulation and controller are the most important parts in my opinion :handgestures-thumbupleft:
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Re: Heating fermenters with elect blanket ? ?

Postby hillzabilly » Mon May 15, 2017 7:28 pm

For my 200lt fermenter,I wrapped about 50mts of 13mm black retic poly pipe around the middle of the fermenter ,taped it lightly, then added a layer of foam insulation over that.Then covered the whole section in silver duct tape,I then run water thru this from a 30lt ex fermenter with a 150wt aquarium heater inside with a small pond pump running things .Has worked so well I did the same to my 50lt fermenter and have not had any probs with stalled ferments.Have also found the bigger ferments seem ta hold their heat better than smaller ones particualy at start up and in the early stages,with most added heat only being needed towards the end of fermentation .anyhoo cheers hillzabilly ;-)
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Re: Heating fermenters with elect blanket ? ?

Postby Wraith71 » Mon May 15, 2017 7:37 pm

Fishleg wrote:Yeah I'd be wary of the blanket idea. What about those heat pads you get from the hbs?

Yea I was thinking about that .. but dunno if one would have enough oomphf or if 2 would be too hot .. hence the blankey idea ..at least it has a controller for temp.
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Re: Heating fermenters with elect blanket ? ?

Postby Wraith71 » Mon May 15, 2017 7:42 pm

hillzabilly wrote:For my 200lt fermenter,I wrapped about 50mts of 13mm black retic poly pipe around the middle of the fermenter ,taped it lightly, then added a layer of foam insulation over that.Then covered the whole section in silver duct tape,I then run water thru this from a 30lt ex fermenter with a 150wt aquarium heater inside with a small pond pump running things .Has worked so well I did the same to my 50lt fermenter and have not had any probs with stalled ferments.Have also found the bigger ferments seem ta hold their heat better than smaller ones particualy at start up and in the early stages,with most added heat only being needed towards the end of fermentation .anyhoo cheers hillzabilly ;-)

Wholly crap you got some MacGyver in you ! ..Mite break out the white board and sus that.
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Re: Heating fermenters with elect blanket ? ?

Postby hillzabilly » Mon May 15, 2017 8:00 pm

It's good ta control temps easily as well ,I found an aquarium chiller unit that has an output for ya heater to connect to ,then you just adjust the temp on that and it turns the heater (set at max temp) on when your circulation water temp drops,added bonus is it can chill the circulation water to 10'c as well giveing ya the best of both worlds ,in summer as well.Some may say thats a lot of cost and fafin around but without good consistent fermentations it's pretty hard ta get any where in this hobby ,and yeh we all live in different climates as well wich require some ta work a lot harder for there supply.cheers hillzabilly ;-)
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Re: Heating fermenters with elect blanket ? ?

Postby bluc » Mon May 15, 2017 8:30 pm

Good idea hillzabilly :handgestures-thumbupleft: i considered one for cooling water never considered using it for mash :-B
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Re: Heating fermenters with elect blanket ? ?

Postby Wraith71 » Mon May 15, 2017 8:39 pm

Wobblyboot wrote:Iv used heat belts running on temp controllers with towels around them in my laundry for last couple yrs :teasing-tease:
I use 2 on the 220l in garage sitting on 8mm rubber with thick fire proof insulation I got from job I was on and it gets cold out there in winter. I usually set the temp at 27-30 and they at temp and off more than they on, good insulation and controller are the most important parts in my opinion :handgestures-thumbupleft:


Hey Wobbly thanks for the tip , I must admit it was ages ago that I fried the last heatbelt .. and with a bit of luck modern tech has caught up and their made better now. I do have a temp controller laying around .. the elec blanket I had in mind was a small bed size usually used for children. It has a fairly good rubber membrane on it due to bed wetting from little ones. Thanks to our cotton ball , bubble-wrap nanny state you really cant buy anything that may hurt a fly .. let alone human!
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Re: Heating fermenters with elect blanket ? ?

Postby Buzz » Tue May 16, 2017 10:56 am

I've used an electric blanket and home made thermostat to control the ferment temperature when making homebrew. Used a double bed blanket folded in half and then wrapped around the plastic carboy and tied in place with strips of old cotton sheets. Plug the outer blanket into the thermostat with the thermostat bulb tucked in between the plastic carboy and the blanket. This way i could use the inner blanket as insulation to stop the heating element being in direct contact with the plastic. I did try using the blankets the other way round with the outer one as insulation but the element being in direct contact with the plastic left a brown mark on the carboy the shape and thickness of the element. :shock:
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Re: Heating fermenters with elect blanket ? ?

Postby Swedish Pride » Tue May 16, 2017 8:06 pm

i use a blanket, and then a wrap of reflexit outside of that, keeps it about 5 degrees warmer than the ambient temp.
the easiest way to heat your ferment is in my view with an aquarium heater, but I'll not go back to that after my last one died in the fermenter, smelled like burnt plastic for a few days.
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Re: Heating fermenters with elect blanket ? ?

Postby Lowie » Tue May 16, 2017 8:26 pm

I've tried all sorts over the years and believe it or not, wrapping your fermenter up in cardboard works pretty well, and it gets cold in croweater land. I now have a fermenting fridge ($50 cheapie) that I put a heat pad in for winter. This works really well, uses bugger all electricity, and keeps my beer at a good fermenting temperature in the freezer section - aided by another heat pad. Both are temperature controlled with an stc controller :handgestures-thumbupleft: Problem is, I now have more fermenters than fridge space, so back to the cardboard this winter...
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Re: Heating fermenters with elect blanket ? ?

Postby Wraith71 » Wed May 17, 2017 3:39 pm

Lowie wrote:I've tried all sorts over the years and believe it or not, wrapping your fermenter up in cardboard works pretty well, and it gets cold in croweater land. I now have a fermenting fridge ($50 cheapie) that I put a heat pad in for winter. This works really well, uses bugger all electricity, and keeps my beer at a good fermenting temperature in the freezer section - aided by another heat pad. Both are temperature controlled with an stc controller :handgestures-thumbupleft: Problem is, I now have more fermenters than fridge space, so back to the cardboard this winter...

Yea I feel your pain on that one ... Going back to using kegs instead of 30ltr plastic .. the space frontier is all out of whack.. that's the problem when you go custom .. it never ends .. 8-}
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Re: Heating fermenters with elect blanket ? ?

Postby Hazardcone » Wed Jul 05, 2017 10:17 pm

Hi All, this is my first post. I'm a rank newbie but have progressed from using a water distiller and Turbo wash to a 2m Boka and TPW in about 6 weeks!!

I tried a TPW last and it started off really well but slowed down to a crawl when the temp in the fermenter went down to 16C. I used an old electric blanket from a single bed, wrapped it around the carboy and turned it on full. It raised the wash to 26C in 2 days and finished the fermentation off in another 2. I'm going to use this method again in my next fermentation as it's getting pretty cold here in South Aussie.

Electrical safety is always a concern. I have RCD protection (Safety Swithes) on all my house circuits and if there is an electrical fault of any sort the RCD kicks the power off.
For what it is worth I recommend the electric blanket method for keeping the fermentation temp up. You might have to fight with the missus to get it off the bed though!

BTW this is an awesome forum. Thank you to all of the members who have provided very useful advice and tips. I'm hooked!
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Re: Heating fermenters with elect blanket ? ?

Postby oglennyboy » Thu Jul 06, 2017 9:08 pm

I've been using a couple of baby electric blankets for beer brewing for the last couple of years in Hobart / Huonville, where the basement is a rock solid 10 degrees through winter and 14 in summer. With a thermowell & temp controller, as said before it's off more than its on for fermenting temps under 22 degrees.
I have a Teddy's FFV running at the mo' in a 60 & 30L fermenter, and it needs extra insulation to keep above 30* without being on all the time.
Same deal as others: RCD on the house circuits, smoke alarm, plenty of headroom. Am going to get a couple of those foil-y car windscreen sun-shields and see if that helps too.
cheers
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Re: Heating fermenters with elect blanket ? ?

Postby res » Fri Jul 07, 2017 1:28 pm

On my large fermenter, 200+ ltr olive drum, I use both an electric blanket and aquarium heater controlled through a STC 1000.
Works perfectly and never had a problem. I reckon using both means that neither has to work very hard. A little from the outside in and a little from the inside out. :handgestures-thumbupleft:
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Re: Heating fermenters with elect blanket ? ?

Postby shortybronx88 » Fri Jul 07, 2017 3:47 pm

I dress my fermenters up in my Hockey Jerseys (Ice Hockey) and put a heat belt on it plugged in a kegking temp controller. They sit right where they need to be. And this is a 70L fermenter. Heat is on bugger all, its the insulation that matters!
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I have also been known to make a few random brews with differing level of success

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