I recently received an email from fellow Ontarian (a person who lives in Ontario, Canada), and long-time RWC follower, Gerry Magill. He wanted to share what he was doing with his new(ish) VermBin96 system – specifically, what he has built to help moderate temperatures during the hot summer and cold winter.
I was so excited by Gerry’s e-mail that I immediately asked him if he’d be ok with me sharing the info here on the site. He happily obliged, and even sent me some photos!
Here is what he had to say in his original message:
I have been considering winter vermicomosting. My propery is very small so a trench type of vermicomposting was not a comon sense consideration for me. I had sucess with a VB24 indoors and thought I would like to expand to a VB96 outside in a shed. I live in the Kingston Ontario area so we have some cold winters (not as cold as Northern Ontario) so keeping the bin warm enough was a concern. I watched the posts from Mark and heard the challenges with heat cables to keep the bin warm so I thought I would try something different. I built the VB96 (8′ long, 2′ wide, 2′ deep) and ran 1/2″ PVC piping inside the bin like a radiator.
I purchased a 12 volt solar water pump and hooked it up to a small solar aray.The pump is inside of a small cooler that holds about 3 gallons of water and through the very hot summer we had here added ice to the cooler, and was able to keep the bin at about 75 degrees F all summer long. I have now put an aquarium heater in the cooler and so far this fall (only a few days below 0) I have been able to keep the temps. above 70 degrees F. The aquarium heater is plugged into a 110 volt outlet and I am searching for a 12 volt alternative, to keep the system off the grid. I am excited about the sucess of the system so far.
When Gerry sent me the photos, he provided me with this additional info as well:
The heater is a 1000 watt aquarium heater. As you can see the thermometer is showing 70 degrees F. The pipes in the bin run end to end, are 7 inches apart and 7 inches from the sides and ends of the bin. This gives me 3 runs of piping. I fill the rad from the bottom level which ensures all levels are full before emptying back into the reservoir (cooler). Let me know if I can answer any other questions.
One of the things people often wonder about with the VermBin Series bins is how well they can handle hot/cold extremes. While the (optional) insulation panels CAN certainly help (especially with the larger bins in colder weather) – unfortunately there really is only so much you can expect. Unless of course you take matters into your own hands the way Gerry has!
Thanks VERY much, Gerry, for letting me share this fantastic information! Hopefully you can keep us posted on your progress.
[By the way – In case you are wondering, the Kingston area typically has winters that are more severe than what we experience in Southwestern Ontario, so it will definitely be interesting to see how Gerry makes out!]