Hello.... I'm a relatively new kit maker as well. I had a similar issue, and have decided to ferment on my main level and then age in the basement.
However, in my search for ways to keep the primary fermenter at a steady temp I did uncover a few fun ideas. One was to place it in a large tub, filled with water, with an aquarium heater inside the tub! I thought that was over-kill, but genius, as you could set the heater to the desired temp and it would heat the water and the liquid in the bucket to the set temp. Another was to place it in a small room and turn up the heat (an obvious suggestion)... which I would do in our downstairs half-bath, but realized there is no radiator there... and hubby understandably does not want me plugging in any electric heaters for such periods of time. A third was to build a large wooden box and affix a high wattage bulb in the top, then place it over the bucket, but this could heat it up TOO much, and again I would worry about it being a hazard.
Well, I stopped in Defalco's on the way home and they just happened to have a sale going on Picked up a bucket heater for 16$ CAD. I think between there and Canadian Tire, I'm not going to have much bill money left lol.
I hold no responsibility if you do this and drop it on your head or the floor.
I live in a one room cabin with limited space. I keep my fermenter and carboys ontop of the refrigerator and on top of a sturdy bookcase. It's warmer there.
This can be dangerous locations for some, like me They do weigh quite a bit. Thats why I am mentioning it, not recommending it.
I'm sure there are safer locations, but it works for me. Though the bucket heaters(belts) are probably the most safest way. I have never used one, but don't imagine they pull that much "juice", pardon the pun.
How much DO they use? Could you plug several of them into a multi strip without a problem like overheating an outlet and creating a fire hazard, therby really heating up your brew area?
Yeah 25W isn't much at all, small price to pay to keep the temp where it needs to be. I've seen, and experienced problems due to incorrect temperature. Are those belts "adjustable" as far as raising or lowering the heat they put out, or do they remain constant?
The one I picked up is a preset constant. I'm guessing there are adjustable ones available... anything for a price I figure if I notice it's too warm, I'll stick a towel in between the heater and bucket. The package said it will "Maintain 30-35L of fluid at 23-28deg C"