The use of secondary fermenter can be done successful if the home brewer does some planning. The recommendations mention here should help the home brewer be successful.
The use of a secondary fermenter is used to help clear the beer only after the beer has completed its fermentation and the yeast have cleaned up itself during the stage where the it breaks down diacetyl, acetaldehyde, etc. The take away point is not taking the beer off the too soon or you will create off flavors that cannot be removed from the finished beer.
The use of a secondary fermenter will only help a beer that has had a healthy fermentation. First, the home brewer should be planning on doing a yeast starter to ensure the pitching of the correct amount of yeast cells per milliliter based on the starting gravity and volume of the beer being made. Secondly, the brewer needs plans to proper aerate the wort before pitching the yeast. Next the wort temperature at pitch should be at the correct fermentation as well as the yeast starter (there should be less than a six degree differential between the two).
The location of the primary fermenter during the fermentation should be at the ideal temperature for the yeast during the fermentation and clean up period.If bottle-conditioning is planned, the wort in the secondary should left at the same as primary fermentation conditions to ensure you have enough yeast cells per milliliter to carbonate. If force carbonation is planned, then placing your secondary fermenter in location where the temperature is below 45°F is advised. The beer should place in the bottle or keg no longer than three weeks after being placed in the secondary. If you keep your planned bottle-conditioned wort longer than three weeks or if you have high alcohol wort, plan on needing to add additional fresh yeast at bottling.