Heating Tube for Fermenter Fridge

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Kye

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Hi all,

I've just picked up a tall larder fridge that I plan to use for controlled temp fermentation via an inkbird. Can anyone recommend a heating tube/other heating equipment that they have used in a similar set up and that has been proven to work well? Need to operate in the 12C to 23C range for lager or ale fermentation. Clearly then the fridge will do the job for cold crash or cooling to 12C in the summertime (right now would need to heat to that temp given how cold the garage is!)

Cheers
 

Chippy_Tea

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A lot of members use a one foot tube heater like the ones in the link below -

If you decide to use this method please note they must be fitted horizontally, a few members didn't know and mounted them vertically which can lead to overheating.

 
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A lot of members use a 60w x 1 foot tube heater like the ones in the link below -


Ive got something similar to this and it works really well. I would suggest you get one without the built in thermostat if you are using the ink bird as that will control the temperature for you.
 

Chris_S

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If you are unable to source one without a thermostat, then I’m assuming you would just turn it up to maximum and let the inkbird control it.

What sort of temp is achievable with a 60w tube in the enclosed space of an undercounter fridge?
 

EveryoneKnowsADave

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I picked this up from City Electrical Factors (CEF) + a plug for less than £30. I control it from within the keezer with an Inkbird STC1000.

Works a treat. It has a twisty heat setting dial on one end. I turned it to about 75% of max so that it's never running at max output. Hopefully that'll help it cope with a lifetime of multiple on/off switching.

Must be installed horizontally!
20210111_183914.jpg
 
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Chris_S

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Most of the tube heaters I’ve looked at don’t have the option for no thermostat.
 

EveryoneKnowsADave

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If people are using an Inkbird or other controller why pay extra for a heat tube that has a thermostat?

Not sure if this is what you mean but my keezer is in an uninsulated shed in the garden so in winter temperatures regularly drop below freezing. The heating tube helps maintain a +°c during the winter. I never thought about thermostat or non thermostat versions to be honest, not sure if non thermostat versions are available?
 

eyuptm

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Dimplex, from Toolstation- item no. 17033, £14.98... Depending on the height of your fridge, you may find 2 are required- mine is 6' tall, and there's quite a variation in temp between the top FV and the bottom... Can be 4°C, so I'm going to put another in the bottom, and control them with the STC 1000 monitoring the top FV....
 

Kye

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thanks for all the super helpful suggestions, I'm going to try that toolstation one @eyuptm , one in stock today, cheers!
 

EveryoneKnowsADave

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Just another thought @Kye . I've installed a couple of USB 140mm fans in my keezer after reading that they help to remove hotspots. £17 delivered from Amazon. They may well be available elsewhere cheaper too. I've plugged them into the same double socket that the inkbird controls the heating through so they come on and off with the heating tube. Forgive the wires, still to be tidied!

20210115_132813.jpg
 
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My tube heater doesn’t have a thermostat. Given that’s what the Inkbird does, I’m struggling to understand why it would need one? Set the Inkbird to the temperature you want to achieve and walk away.
 

EveryoneKnowsADave

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My tube heater doesn’t have a thermostat. Given that’s what the Inkbird does, I’m struggling to understand why it would need one? Set the Inkbird to the temperature you want to achieve and walk away.

Probably doesn't. I didn't really research those too much and just grabbed what was available at the time. Toolstation and Screwfix were sold out where I live, toolstation couldn't even back order. CEF had one on the shelf so I went for that. Like you say. Inkbird does the job so a thermostat is not required.
 

Kye

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If you can get a tube heater with a thermostat built in then why would you use an Inkbird, or is it that the tube heater thermostat isn’t accurate enough? I am thinking of costs here. I ask because I have just returned to home brewing and need to look at some sort of ‘keezer‘ solution. I used to ferment in the airing cupboard but don’t have one now.
yep as @Markk says it's to control cooling and heating, and deal with seasons ie I could prob ferment a lager now but in the summer I'll need cooling to c 12degC via the inkbird. so gives full flexibility and better control and accuracy. only worry now is can the mdf shelf I made for the larder fridge support 23kg or more!
 

Kye

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Just another thought @Kye . I've installed a couple of USB 140mm fans in my keezer after reading that they help to remove hotspots. £17 delivered from Amazon. They may well be available elsewhere cheaper too. I've plugged them into the same double socket that the inkbird controls the heating through so they come on and off with the heating tube. Forgive the wires, still to be tidied!

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thanks for this @DavieC. I've been running the keezer without fans (and without foam insulation - see pic) but honestly not sure if its worse off or not. doesnt seem to be constantly on and beer temp is pretty consistent. have you found it better with the fans? I'll see how the heater goes in the fermenter fridge and post back on here when have some results. Good to have the tips re the fans if it's a bit too 'rangey'.
 

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EveryoneKnowsADave

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thanks for this @DavieC. I've been running the keezer without fans (and without foam insulation - see pic) but honestly not sure if its worse off or not. doesnt seem to be constantly on and beer temp is pretty consistent. have you found it better with the fans? I'll see how the heater goes in the fermenter fridge and post back on here when have some results. Good to have the tips re the fans if it's a bit too 'rangey'.

I'm undecided at the moment actually. Not sure if the fans are moving the warm air or adding a cooling effect. I'll persevere and if they're not adding anything I can always use them in the home office 😄
 
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