Author Topic: Aquarium pump humidifier  (Read 1931 times)

Offline newcheemomma

  • Medium Cheese
  • ***
  • Location: Eastern Washington USA
  • Posts: 45
  • Cheeses: 2
  • Default personal text
Aquarium pump humidifier
« on: July 03, 2011, 01:52:49 AM »
 I just made a humidifier for my cheese caves!
I used an aquarium pump and a small air stone, connected by flex tubing. Then I submerged this in water contained in a small rubbermaid container with a lid. I drilled several holes in the lid and set the stone in  the center for stability. The temp is maintained by the wine cooler, and verified by my digital thermometer/hygrometer. The humidity has maintained a constant 75%RH @ 62F (which is fine for now since I'm still drying). When its time to age, I will add a Na Cl sat mountain to get it to its final destination of 85-90% RH. In my trials with my other cooler, this has worked wonderfully and quickly. I'm very pleased! I still have a chest freezer for long term aging, but I'm waiting for the thermostat regulator. I've included a pic and would love some feedback,
Thanks!
;)
Mauricia


Guests, join the CheeseForum.org community to remove this ad.


Offline Tiddlypom

  • Medium Cheese
  • ***
  • Location: Adelaide, South Australia
  • Posts: 20
  • Cheeses: 2
  • Default personal text
Re: Aquarium pump humidifier
« Reply #1 on: July 03, 2011, 02:33:22 AM »
Your wine fridge is amazingly clear of wine bottles - I had to surreptitiously remove just one today to fit my cheese in alongside all the others...

Offline Tomer1

  • Old Cheese
  • *****
  • Location: Israel
  • Posts: 1,655
  • Cheeses: 33
  • Default personal text
Re: Aquarium pump humidifier
« Reply #2 on: July 03, 2011, 07:07:03 AM »
Someone should really manufacture a proper cheese aging fridge with builtin humidity regulation system instead of making us modifiy wine coolers.
Amatuar winemaker,baker, cook and musician
not in any particular order.

Online ArnaudForestier

  • Old Cheese
  • *****
  • Location: Madison, Wisconsin
  • Posts: 1,176
  • Cheeses: 29
  • Default personal text
Re: Aquarium pump humidifier
« Reply #3 on: July 03, 2011, 07:18:39 AM »
Newcheemomma, my only concern is the small water volume in your container - I don't know, but would expect you'd have to be filling this quite a bit - maybe more than once per day?  The other issue I foresee is that the RH changes all the time, depending on, among things, the number of cheeses you place in the cave, their stage of affinage, and the ambient RH.  I know I've tried various regimes in my 2 caves (converted, regular refrigerators), but the only satisfactory solution I've found are humidifiers with internal humidistats (getting me up to 90-92%), and a pretty ugly assembly of water containers with rags in them, to get me the final 2-3% I desire (in my Beaufort cave). 

All this said, if this works for you, congrats.  A pretty nifty little solution, if so. :)
- Paul

Offline newcheemomma

  • Medium Cheese
  • ***
  • Location: Eastern Washington USA
  • Posts: 45
  • Cheeses: 2
  • Default personal text
Re: Aquarium pump humidifier
« Reply #4 on: July 03, 2011, 06:29:04 PM »
@Arnaud-Thank you. I appreciate your encouragement and have wondered myself about water volume. I've switched to a larger container with lid and a larger airstone. I may still need the "ugly assembly of damp rags in bowls" however, but I'm hopeful.  Thanks again.
(BTW, I love to read your posts. I always come away better :P)

@Tomer, Bravo! Well said! But then again, where's the challenge in that?

@TiddlyPom...I don't drink wine  :-\
Mauricia


Guests, join the CheeseForum.org community to remove this ad.


Offline iratherfly

  • Old Cheese
  • *****
  • Location: The Cheese Caves underneath Manhattan; New York City NY
  • Posts: 1,913
  • Cheeses: 108
  • Cheese, milk's leap toward immortality (Clifton F)
Re: Aquarium pump humidifier
« Reply #5 on: July 04, 2011, 12:29:38 AM »
I have actually been using an aquarium pump to go straight into my cave with no humidifier. I find it to be unbelievably effective. It creates some air convection and movement that equalize the moisture in the cave. There are no more water beads on the back wall of it and the hydrometer shows 10% more relative humidity on average.  The washed rind cheeses are especially happy with this. There is however a risk of contamination because these pumps don't clean the air they force into the cave...

Offline newcheemomma

  • Medium Cheese
  • ***
  • Location: Eastern Washington USA
  • Posts: 45
  • Cheeses: 2
  • Default personal text
Re: Aquarium pump humidifier
« Reply #6 on: July 04, 2011, 01:15:30 AM »
I have actually been using an aquarium pump to go straight into my cave with no humidifier. I find it to be unbelievably effective. It creates some air convection and movement that equalize the moisture in the cave. There are no more water beads on the back wall of it and the hydrometer shows 10% more relative humidity on average.  The washed rind cheeses are especially happy with this. There is however a risk of contamination because these pumps don't clean the air they force into the cave...
Wow Ira! That's fantastic. Being new to this I just want to make sure I'm understading you: you just use the pump and hose and it has increased your RH by ~10 %? May I ask what percentage of RH youre seeing in your cave using it this? I've had some concerns that I wont be able to get the humidity high enough post drying.  I really would like to be able to use it as a real cave, but the highest its been is 83 and it fluctuates.
Your post has greatly encouraged me...thank you for replying! ;D
Mauricia

Offline iratherfly

  • Old Cheese
  • *****
  • Location: The Cheese Caves underneath Manhattan; New York City NY
  • Posts: 1,913
  • Cheeses: 108
  • Cheese, milk's leap toward immortality (Clifton F)
Re: Aquarium pump humidifier
« Reply #7 on: July 04, 2011, 01:40:03 AM »
Frankly, 83% is pretty great! The Problem is that we home cheesemakers make varieties of cheese and the different types all need different humidity ranges.  The best practice in home cheese cave is the use of aging containers. This way, you fill your "mini cave" with several "micro caves"; each with its own unique conditions.

To do that, put the cheese in a container that elevates the cheese over the surface (with an open mesh over a plastic grid so it does not touch the bottom of the box and allows air flow from under the cheese as well as above it).  A good rule of thumb is to keep at least 70% of the box' volume for air after the cheese is in.  Drop a hydrometer in the box so you can monitor the individual humidity of that box. Open the lid of the box to let more air in and reduce humidity. Close the lid more to trap moisture in and increase humidity.  Now you have several boxes and each has its own atmosphere; a box on top of the wine fridge partially open is about 57°F and 85% RH - perfect for a Tomme, while on the bottom you have Camembert aging in another box that is closed further and has 95% RH and since it's the bottom of the wine fridge, it's only 54°F.

I keep my cave on the lower side, just to "help" all the other boxes maintain their humidity but not make it a breeding ground for all the organisms I keep there at once. It used to be about 58% and now after the aquarium pump it's around 70%. The aquarium air hose is a very important helper and you can drag it into a box that particularly need it for a day or too (great for washed rind cheeses instead of airing them out for 30 minutes a day). Normally I just stick it in the door seal to pump air in to the overall internal atmosphere of the wine cooler. I hope it's more clear now.

Online ArnaudForestier

  • Old Cheese
  • *****
  • Location: Madison, Wisconsin
  • Posts: 1,176
  • Cheeses: 29
  • Default personal text
Re: Aquarium pump humidifier
« Reply #8 on: July 05, 2011, 06:43:06 AM »
@Arnaud-Thank you. I appreciate your encouragement and have wondered myself about water volume. I've switched to a larger container with lid and a larger airstone. I may still need the "ugly assembly of damp rags in bowls" however, but I'm hopeful.  Thanks again.
(BTW, I love to read your posts. I always come away better :P)


newcheemomma, sounds good, congrats.  And thanks for the kind words - have to say, everything I blather on about is on the shoulders of some pretty gifted others here, but glad whatever I write is of some help. :) 
- Paul