Many people have asked me how to keep their worm bin warm during the winter months which are setup in their garage or basement. So I finally purchased all the material to build a homemade worm bin heating system which can easily be built within an hour or so.
I set this up with an air temperature in the barn of 61 degrees Fahrenheit. Internal worm bin (4′ x 8′ x 1′ deep) temperature was 68 degrees. After running on high for 12 hours, the temperature in the buckets of water was 89 to 90 degrees. The internal bin temperature had risen to 73 degrees Fahrenheit, a total of 5 degrees Fahrenheit. The temperature of the exterior sides of the tubing was 78 degrees.
I was able to raise further by digging a hole in the worm bed since four foot by eight foot, and place the bucket in the center. One this acted as some insulation and two added additional heating area to the bedding. I was able to maintain approximately 75 degrees Fahrenheit this way. If using in a smaller worm bin, simply insulate around the exterior of the five gallon bucket to retain as much heat as possible.
Keep in mind this is not something that will work when temperatures fall down to the forties every night or colder, but great for a garage or basement area where you need to boost the heat for your worms a little!
First, the needed supplies are as follows:
1 – 5 Gallon Bucket
1 – 2 Gallon Bucket (Easily fits within the 5 Gallon Bucket)
50 Feet of 3/8 inch flexible tubing
1 – Fountain Pump (capable of pumping up at least 4 feet)
1 – Adjustable Thermostat Aquarium Heater… Submersible Pump Only Large with thermostat
2 –Dozen Wire Ties
These materials will run right around $75.00 to purchase.
First, drill a hole through the lid just large enough to pass the thermostat cord through in the center of the lid. You do not want to make this too large as you will lose too much water due to evaporation. Also drill two ¼ inch holes or so next to each other off to one side of the thermostat wire so as to secure the wire with a wire tie later on.
You need to drill two ¾ inch holes near the top of the five gallon bucket to thread your tubing through. Be sure to drill just below your lid once the lid is snapped securely in place. At the same time make a “U” cut in the top rim of the five gallon bucket large enough for your pump electrical wire to lay in. Be sure this also goes low enough that it will not interfere with the lid when you go to snap it down.
Next is to drill holes in the bottom of the 2 gallon bucket. I used a 3/8 inch bit for this.
Next you need to proceed by drilling holes in the side of the 2 gallon bucket making two of them close to the bottom so as to use a wire tie to anchor one end of the 3/8 inch tubing.
Once the holes are drilled you are ready to coil the tubing on the exterior of the 2 gallon bucket. Use a wire tie for the end of the tubing to secure it on the bottom of the 2 gallon bucket. Continue by coiling around the bucket and securing with ties about every three revolutions. You should end up coiling about 25 feet of the tubing around the 2 gallon bucket. Be sure to use a wire tie at the top of the 2 gallon bucket where you finish the coiling.
Take the other end of your tubing and feed it through from the inside of the 5 gallon bucket to the outside. Pull the tubing all through so as to be able to place the 2 gallon bucket inside the 5 gallon bucket.
Now you need to drill two ¾ inch holes near the top of your worm bin so as you can still place your lid on. Run the tubing through one of the holes, from the outside to the inside of your worm bin. Next begin coiling by running back and forth in the bottom of your worm bin. Using wire ties to secure the tubing on the bottom of your bin making use of your aeration holes drilled on the bottom. If needed drill and extra hole here and there to secure on the bottom of the bin.
Run the tubing through the second ¾ inch hole in your worm bin from inside to outside.
Now run the tubing from the outside to the inside of the second ¾ inch hole near the top of your five gallon bucket. Place the pump with suction cups to one side of the 2 gallon bucket, drape the power cord through the “U” slot near the top of the 5 gallon bucket and attach the end of the tube to the pump.
Pull your power cord for the heater through the bottom of the center hole in your 5 gallon bucket lid. Before snapping the lid in place, place on top of the 5 gallon bucket and run a wire tie to support the power cord of the heater so as the heater dangles just about ½ inch above the floor of the 2 gallon bucket.
Photo does not show the tubing ran in the worm bin
Now fill with water and plug the pump in only. Once the tubing fills with water, add additional water to fill the 5 gallon bucket just below the holes drilled for your tubing and pump cord on the side of the five gallon bucket. Be sure the heater is completely submerged under water. Plug heater in and adjust temperature on heater as needed.
Be sure to check the temperature of the worm bin daily and adjust your thermostat as needed. Also be sure to check the water level as the thermostat needs to be submerged under water at all times.
The Worm Guy