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FermWrap vs. Heating pad

GoodisBeer

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Well that's my question...any thoughts regarding a FermWrap vs. a heating pad?

I have my fermentation fridge in the garage with a johnson temp control since I've been kicked out of house after an exploding fermentation, works great in summer months.  But these 50°F days and colder nights won't work.  Wanted to reverse the johnson temp control and add a heating element.

Can I wrap a PET carboy with a FermWrap?
 

ultravista

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I use a seedling mat heater, it's meant for warming a small greenhouse. Bought it at Lowes. At 15 watts, it does a good job of raising ambient temperature. I hang it off a Johnson A419 to regulate the temperature.
 

grathan

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Why not try both? I am sure the fermwrap fits a plastic carboy. I would think the more enclosed the more even the hot and cold spots would be. But certainly the wrap would be better than the pad if only 1 could be picked.
 

Skippy

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The fermwrap or a brew belt adds about 10F to your fermentation.  This might not be enough if your ambient is 50F.

Sounds like it's time to say "can I PLEASE ferment in the house again, Honeybuns".  ;)
 

GoodisBeer

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I'm figuring it should be enough considering the heat generated from fermentation and the insulation of the fridge.  If Lowes has seedling mats out already I might pick one up and experiment with it before brew day or ill go with the FermWrap.
 

ultravista

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The one I have looks like this.

ImageReader.aspx
 

grathan

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I have that same seed mat, it also only goes 10 degrees above ambient while a heating pad would probably provide a lot more heat. seed mat being about 17 watts, fermwrap about 40 watts (claiming 20 degrees over ambient at Midwest) and heating pads start at about 45 -75 watts. Most controllers could handle 1000 watt ceramic heater.
 

ultravista

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During the colder months, I ferment in the house that is heated to 73F or so. The mat give me enough heat to bring the wort up a few degrees.
 

jomebrew

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I use both.  I have a dorm fridge in the garage that I use in the warmer months.  I leave the external temp controller set to 67 and have the probe taped to the carboy with a little insulated wrap and blue painters tape.

I usually use the heating bad that is half wrapped and between the fridge wall and carboy.  The heating pad is on a lamp timer that comes on every 20 minute for 10 minutes.  I adjust the time on if needed.  sometimes it needs more and sometimes less.  If the wort gets too warm the fridge kicks on and keeps it from getting above 67. 

I keep my computer fan running in the fridge all year.

I use the wrap similarly.  Once the fridge warms up and fills with CO2, it seems to stay pretty warm.  A double layer of cardboard boxes would work well too. 

Cheers!
 

GoodBeer

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I am using a FermWrap from MoreBeer http://morebeer.com/view_product/16674/102282/The_FermWrap_Heater and a Johnson controller in my freg that is in my garage and it is working great.  Although my garage floor is heated I only keep it from freezing, tonight it was 44°F in the garage and my fermenter was at 68°F.

Cheers and Happy New Year
 

GoodisBeer

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Tested a heating pad and johnson controller in fermentation fridge (in garage), after changing the the relay, this weekend. Outside temperatures were high of 55°F and lows of 32-34°F.  Fermentation fridge was set to 65°F and it maintained in 1°F range.  Ok. Ready for brew day. Thanks for all the input.
 

ChrisNH

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What kind of heating pad did you settle on? What size?

Thanks,

Chris
 

GoodisBeer

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ChrisNH:
I went out and looked the heating pad this morning and couldn't find any identifying marks. However, I'm fairly sure sure it was a sunbeam, the kind you can find at Walmart or a drug store. The thing is I was looking for a new one so I wouldn't have to use my wifes, but all the new heating pads that are sold now have "auto shutoffs". Didn't want the thing to auto shut off on me in the middle of the cold night.  So I bought the wife a new one and I used the old one. Honestly I do not believe the auto shutoff to be a problem because the heat from the pad combined with the heat produced from fermentation in an enclosed insulated fridge is fine. I actually had to remove the heat pad and cool the fermentation last winter because of the heat generated.
The size approx 12"x14", I can't remember.
Goodluck, I'll use the same system this winter.
 

RiverBrewer

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I have four fermwraps from NB and they work great! You won't feel any high heat from them like from a heating pad, they are very safe on buckets and PET. Just tape them on with electrical tape. You do need a controller. They easily clean up!
 
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