Heating Pads Choosing the right size:
For example the 3 inch x 20, 7 watt pad versus the 10 inch x 20, 18 watt, and the 3/4 inch x 24, 25 watt Heat Belt.
1. What is the ambient temperature and how much do I need to raise that temperature?
The wattage is spread over the area (of the heating pad)
2. What size and type of container?
1 gallon. 2 gallon, 5 gallon, 10 gallon or larger.
Glass, Plastic, Ceramic, Clay, Wood?
Keep in mind that the heat generated by an active fermentation can warm up a typical 5 gallon batch by 2-10 degrees F. More so when brewing in Wood. Anaerobic fermenting holds the heat and generates more heat.
3. How many containers, and are they all the same size or different sizes.
Wrap a-round is the most efficient but limited to the number of units that it can heat.
Flat use can serve a variety of different containers and shapes.
Flat use (in my opinion) also has a better eye-appeal and is less messy to use. (personal choice)
4. Aerobic or Anaerobic Brewing?
This is important for Kombucha Brewers. Air flow / ventilation is important to aerobic brewing, and to maintaining lowest alcohol levels possible. An active ferment generates heat and evaporation. Overheating generates stress for the yeasts, higher acid production, and greater loss through evaporation. The O2 / CO2 balance affects a Kombucha ferment more so than anaerobic ferments. (or Second Stage Kombucha Ferments). Proper Temperatures can also be maintained by increasing / decreasing airflow.
5. Heating Area. There is a consideration for where the heat source concentrates. There are Top Feeding Yeasts (Ales) and Bottom Feeding Yeasts (Lagers). Bacteria like acetic acid producing bacteria (Kombucha) are more active on the surface. Lactic acid producing bacteria are all over the place. Not all are equal in their temperament (pun intended). Kombucha bacteria are active only over 74F-90F. Lactic Acid bacteria generally active 60F-90F. Lager yeasts like 40–54F while ale yeast favor 55–70F .Optimal temperatures vary considerably. Brettanomyces (Ale) being one of the higher temperature yeast in the 70 & 80's. Small brewing vessels due to thermal dynamics have little notice unless you're in the mid to high 80'sF. We recommend placement considerations when fermenting 10 to 40 Gallon. Over 40 gallons the brewing dynamics (especially of Kombucha) may change depending upon the shape of the container.
Heating pads makes for better, more predictable, brewing at very low cost.
Thermostatic Temperature Controls just makes life easier.
All our heating pads may be daisy chained (linked) together and used with one of our Kombucha Temperature Control Thermostats. (up to 1,000 total watts) Our units are Digital and can read in Centigrade or Fahrenheit. LED lights display the precise temperature from 68F to 108F. These units are designed to maintain the temperature that you set. Just set it and forget it.
Dimmer switch or retrostatic regulators will only maintain a certain constant heat output. In other words are always on. These are usually indicated by settings of High, Medium or Low. For example if the maximum output is say 10 watts (High) the output can be lowered to Medium (say 5 watts) or Low (say 3 watts). With a constant heat output the ferment remains in danger of overheating unless externally monitored by someone. (to unplug the unit when temperatures rise). The danger is more specific to smaller volume ferments in the pint, quart or 1/2 gallon size. A difference between 3 watts or 5 watts, (in the example above) may be negligible in a gallon or larger container. But you'll have to account for the differences in nighttime and daytime extremes. Remember all ferments do better in a constant environment. As a brewer your sole function is to give those microbes what they like most - they'll be Happy. You'll be Happy.
In summary our Digital Temperature Control Thermostats maintains the desired temperature (turns on/off) whereas a dimmer switch maintains a constant heat source much the same as any heating pad without any regulator.
Not really rocket science. But it does take some thought. But don't worry. We're here to help. If you find that what you bought doesn't work out the way you expected feel free to return for full purchase price or credit.
Satisfaction Guaranteed for TWO full years from purchase date.
note: does not include Golden Retriever, Gecko or Kombucha Continuous Brewing Container.
Questions - just ask eddy@HappyHerbalist.com.
Text 919-518-3336 toll free 888-425-8827