these belts are just on or off. You need to monitor the temp of your must/wine when you have these on. I have seen people use dowels as spacers between the primary and the belt to lower the temp. Also you can raise or lower the belt on the primary to affect your result. Be aware also the flucuations in room temp has a good deal to do with the must/wine temp. For best results, I aim for a target temp and see what works for the conditions. It's not a set and walk away solution. ( i did that once)
Thanks for that. I was off searching past threads and saw some interesting info. My other thought is using a heating pad we have in storage that is meant for humans but don't know why it wouldn't work for this. The threads I saw about using a belt on cold bottles has me a little concerned tho. I think what I may do is fill my primary with just water and try this out to see what I get at the different heat settings. A velcro back support belt would be my attachment device and should work ok.
the problem with most human heating pads is that they have built-in safeguards which prevent them from being always on. they typically shut off automatically after 30 min or an hour or so. the cold carboy warning is merely that you don't want to apply any sort of heating device to a glass carboy that, for instance, has been in the basement or garage for any length of time. let it warm up to room temp and then apply the belt and you should be fine.
I read the same thread about brewbelts on glass being an issue but don't really believe that these belts kick out that much heat at any given time. They are warm and do heat things up but think they carboy would have to be VERY cold to crack/break with a brewbelt on.
That said, my carboys never get below 65ish. I suppose if they were a LOT colder something could happen.
And as stated....brewbelts as far as I can tell are either on (plugged in) or off (unplugged).
I have been using brew belts for about 7 years on my primaries and carboys. They are a stay on product with no real adjustment but stay at about 74* unless you are already at a decent temp like 70* in which you wouldnt need one anyway. I use it in my basement where it is about 60-65* I put them on immediatly when I start a batch to keep the temp up till the wine really gets going good and at that point the wine is creating its own heat from the vigorous fermentation and then Ill shut it off for a few days until the fermentation starts to slow down and then Ill turn it back on until its finished fermenting and the wine is stable . degassed and done clearing. They use much less electricity then a heating blanket. Any heating unit can be controled by a seperate thermostat like Mike said. As long as your carboy isnt ice cold like say 40* its fine to put a belt on.
I use heating pads that have a setting to keep on continually. They seem to work really good. I bought the second one at WalMart a couple of years ago, for about $20-25. Make sure you do get the ones with continual "on".
I do use a brew belt but have not used a heating pad - for those of you that do you use them, do you just wrap them around your bucket/carboy? I recall reading of instances where these pads have caught on fire where the bucket/carboy was sitting on top of the pad.
Don't know if this will help anyone...The only time I've ever needed external heat apllied was in the primary stage of fermentation. I've never applied heat to to my secondaries. Don't know if you guys will all laugh at me for this one, but a few years ago I came across an aquarium heater with an internal thermostat in the range of where I needed to be for heating my fermenters. I'll shoot for about 75 F. It is very closely regulated as it was for tropical fish, which I understand are sensitive to heat fluctuations. The good part it is a set and forget device which allows me to clip it on the side of the primary, set the thermostat and walk away.
This surely won't appeal to the purists out here who are laughing already, but I'm low tech and sometimes low budget. I remember I only paid about 8 bucks for the tank heater.
I don't know what type Fauxfly was using but I have kept fish for many years.
For a primary from 1 - 20 gallons you could use just about any 15-25 watt heater. They are all rated by gallons anyways so you can read the box. You should always get the submersible type the hang-on ones are junk. You do not have to submerge the whole thing just up to a certain line usually. The quality of most heaters is usually directly related to how well they maintain a set temperature.
Ive used, Visi-therm and Ebo-jeger; both are quality manufacturers but any would work if you are willing to pay attention to the temp. Aquariums usually shoot for 72-78 degrees and unlike a brew belt they are not always on they will turn themselves off once the must is up to temp. Most being made of glass would sterilize easy.
My only concern would be that a lot of them are plastic at the top and I doubt that is food grade plastic.
Right on Torch...you really do get what you pay for. The make and model are'nt readable on mine, I think its fairly old. It is the submersible kind and I can regulate it to a degree or two. The regulation is according to my other thermometer which is always floating tin the must in the primary stage.
I've been really happy with mine, like I said, the temp is right in the range I wanted for fermenting. I've seen the belts and I think it would be a lot easier to use a submersible aquarium heater than a belt. For the money I think they are the same price, heaters being glass, I was in love!! Mine is the 25 watt and takes a few hours to raise the temp of a full 6 gallon primary, but by the time I'm ready to pitch yeast, I'm at the right temp. I also like how it is regulated with a thermostat on the unit, The little light comes on when the element is on.
Like I said the purists are probbably laughing their heasds off.
I use a submersible. By leaving heater on bottom with temp set at 70 the natural heat rise(convection) keep temp consistent though out must. The on the side of tank heater will create a warm and cold spot. Fish tanks normally circulate water though filter so it work in tank but not in must. I have been doing this for a year now and will not go back
A follow up here, bought a belt, seems like a long time ago now and have used it many times. Most of my uses have come in the cool season (heating) and I have only used it on my plastic primary. When the ferment is underway, usually I can unplug during the day and sometimes plug it in at night when I let the house cool down to 60 or plug in after checking the temp in the morning. With towels wrapped around the primary, to insulate, usually the ferment generates enough heat to maintain 75-80. When I rack to a carboy the ferment is so close to done that I have not used it and let it sit upstairs for about a week before moving to wine area in basement which in the winter stays about 55-60. Glad I purchased and am thinking about another, I don't like the idea of a foreign object in my wine, sorry.