Fermenting fridge - is this OK?

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TheOsprey

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Hi, I'm getting around to building my fermenting fridge... Slowly...

I picked up a fridge for free from a neighbour, but as it was free I didn't really ask any questions about the inside.

It's like this inside. Will I be OK putting the FV above the gap (where the salad drawer would go) with the heater below? Or will that lead to too much heating from below?

I'm not sure the glass shelf will hold 5 gallons, so I was going to build up to the shelf level with wood (just to preempt weight warnings).
 

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Markk

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That looks much like mine. Do away with the glass shelf, that won’t hold, and build a wooden one. My shelf has slats to allow the heat To rise through. If you attach the temp probe half way up the side of the FV it shouldn’t matter too much where the heat comes from.
 

TheOsprey

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That looks much like mine. Do away with the glass shelf, that won’t hold, and build a wooden one. My shelf has slats to allow the heat To rise through. If you attach the temp probe to the centre of the FV it shouldn’t matter too much where the heat comes from.
Thanks - any chance you could upload a picture of yours at some point? Particularly the shelf...
 

NPi

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I would swap out that shelf for as thick a sheet of marine ply as you can get in there. You can then drill a few holes in the ply and the heat will naturally migrate upwards. Your alternative is to use a heat pad, which would sit under the FV, but on top of the new shelf.

Next big investment will be some sort of controller, I would suggest an inkbird.

Best of luck
Nick
 

TheOsprey

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I would swap out that shelf for as thick a sheet of marine ply as you can get in there. You can then drill a few holes in the ply and the heat will naturally migrate upwards. Your alternative is to use a heat pad, which would sit under the FV, but on top of the new shelf.

Next big investment will be some sort of controller, I would suggest an inkbird.

Best of luck
Nick
Ooh I think I've got some of that in the garage. Thanks!

I'm on the lookout for an inkbird going cheep (I'm regretting that joke already but I'm leaving it in!)
 

NPi

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Have a look out for the forum sponsor competitions, there is one that's just ended (but you could always be cheeky and try adding an entry 😉), run by inkbird. Funnily enough it's for a new FV heater!

You may even want to buy that over a "normal" inkbird, as it will control your heating for you.
 

TheOsprey

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Have a look out for the forum sponsor competitions, there is one that's just ended (but you could always be cheeky and try adding an entry 😉), run by inkbird. Funnily enough it's for a new FV heater!

You may even want to buy that over a "normal" inkbird, as it will control your heating for you.
Funnily enough I saw that one, but I didn't enter because a) I was kind of set on a tube heater and b) I couldn't work out how I could control the temp.
 

LPD1979

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Hi, I'm getting around to building my fermenting fridge... Slowly...

I picked up a fridge for free from a neighbour, but as it was free I didn't really ask any questions about the inside.

It's like this inside. Will I be OK putting the FV above the gap (where the salad drawer would go) with the heater below? Or will that lead to too much heating from below?

I'm not sure the glass shelf will hold 5 gallons, so I was going to build up to the shelf level with wood (just to preempt weight warnings).
My fridge is very much like yours but as others have mentioned I have changed out the glass shelf for ply with holes to allow for the heat to rise.

I have also installed some PC fans to circulate to air to try and keep temperature even all around.

I use and inkbird for temp control.

Hope this helps
 

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Baz Chaz

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Great timing picking up this thread!

Arriving today, new fridge to replace our 10 year old one, my OH thought I was unusually enthusiastic looking for a new one due to her wanting me to renovate the kitchen and utility room! Should finish the work over the weekend so 'project fridge' is next job.

For the moment, planning to replace the bottom shelf and use aquarium heater in the salad tray half filled with water, (brew day next week) until can get round to doing a proper job! Although weight of the FV shouldn't be a problem, starting doing smaller 15 litre brews.
 

gavp1979

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I use a heatbelt in my fermentation fridge instead if a tube heater which seems to be working well (only a couple of brews in using this method though). I know you said that you are going to replace the glass shelf because of the weight but in my keg fridge I slid another of the glass shelves into the same slot as the bottom one as a 'temporary' fix and it is happily holding 2 cornies at the minute, one full and one about half full, you can just about see the 2 lips of the shelves in the attached picture15942803617124883636342395341077.jpg
 

Leard

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My fridge looks very similar to yours. I just sit the FV on the glass shelf and it seems to hold fine. The heat tude has been screwed to the inside of the door. I'm able to maintain a steady temperature.
 

stan.distortion

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I'd be wary of heat mats, read up on them and many have the opinion they may put too much heat into the trub and that may lead to off flavours. I use one but tape it to the inside of the fridge rather than under the FV (a tube heater would be a no-brainer imo).

Also, you don't need a whole lot of wattage. The other half of my fridge freezer is heating only (the fridge side is kaput) and the heat source is just a 7w energy saving bulb in a pringles can. It was to hand at the time and I've never seen any reason to upgrade it, that keeps a FV with 18l and another 15-20l of carbing bottles at a steady temperature about 10 deg C above ambient. It could take a couple of days to increase temperatures by, say, 5 deg C but it gets there reliably and holds very steady.
 

Baz Chaz

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Rather like the tube heater ..... looks like a Saturday morning visit to screwfix!

Working on drilling hole for heater cable in the side of the fridge to sit where 'salad drawer' was. I'm presuming all the electrics etc are at the back, the sides just being insulated?
Found some marine ply to replace the glass shelf as well!

Will see how it goes as to buying an inkbird or not ......
 

TheOsprey

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After watching this I'd be happy enough with just propping up the overhanging edge.
Wow, that takes a lot more weight that I expected. And my FV would be half resting on plastic. Thanks.

My fridge is very much like yours but as others have mentioned I have changed out the glass shelf for ply with holes to allow for the heat to rise.

I have also installed some PC fans to circulate to air to try and keep temperature even all around.

I use and inkbird for temp control.

Hope this helps
Your DIY skills outstrip mine, it seems!


I use a heatbelt in my fermentation fridge instead if a tube heater which seems to be working well (only a couple of brews in using this method though). I know you said that you are going to replace the glass shelf because of the weight but in my keg fridge I slid another of the glass shelves into the same slot as the bottom one as a 'temporary' fix and it is happily holding 2 cornies at the minute, one full and one about half full, you can just about see the 2 lips of the shelves in the attached pictureView attachment 29033
I'm increasingly coming round to the 'just support the glass' idea...

If you go down the tube heater road I don't think you can get much better than this HERE. The same as in the picture from @LPD1979.
Yeah that's the one I'm going for, and I can walk to toolstation! Cheers.

My fridge looks very similar to yours. I just sit the FV on the glass shelf and it seems to hold fine. The heat tude has been screwed to the inside of the door. I'm able to maintain a steady temperature.
Screw it! Sitting on the shelf it is![/QUOTE]
 

stan.distortion

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Rather like the tube heater ..... looks like a Saturday morning visit to screwfix!

Working on drilling hole for heater cable in the side of the fridge to sit where 'salad drawer' was. I'm presuming all the electrics etc are at the back, the sides just being insulated?
Found some marine ply to replace the glass shelf as well!

Will see how it goes as to buying an inkbird or not ......
You're very unlikely to hit anything important drilling a hole in the side but unplug it first regardless and put something in there to protect the cables as the edges will be sharp, a bit of tube or cut up plastic bottle would work fine. I've got a couple of Inkbirds and wouldn't hesitate to get another, a great bit of kit that just plugs and plays and does exactly what it says on the tin but maybe have a look at STC1000's too, way cheaper and does the same job but a bit more work involved. If I'd known how important temperature control was I'd have started with the STC's instead of the inkbirds as you could easily end up needing half a dozen temperature controls and the extra work could be worth the 100 quid or so saving.
 

rocketman_k

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I bought my heater online from Superlec Direct.....I wanted one without the integral thermostat as one of my fridges is too narrow for the type with thermostat. Rather than drilling the fridge I routed the cables through the drain hole. I found (on both of my fridges) that the drain hole inside the fridge was a smaller diameter than the drain tube so I opened up the hole to match the tube size. (I used a tapered reamer but a drill bit held in the hand would also work)
wiring.jpg

Opening up the hole made enough room for a mains cable, temperature probe cable and a spare 2-way cable for adding a fan in the future. I made sure the cable dipped into the evaporating tray on top of the compressor before routing it vertically, that forms a "drip loop" so that any condensation that flows through the drain hole goes where it should rather than dripping off the wiring behind the fridge.

I use STC1000 controllers, I usually mount them inside the cases of surplus electronics such as old printers or monitor switches.
 

Baz Chaz

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Thanks guys, thinking time now

@stan.distortion, I like the plug and play aspect of an inkbird, plus I don't brew as much (volume) as I used to, gone to 15 litre brews. The STC's might need just a bit more electrical knowhow than I have!

@rocketman_k, will look at Superlec Direct as well re heater.

Edited bit .... Heater ordered from Superlec, the smaller sized will be a better fit.

Now thinking about Inkbird ;)

cheers
 
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