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Old 04-01-2014, 07:14 PM   #1
murphyslaw
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Default CFC Clogging

I built a CFC out of copper tubing and a rubber garden hose. The first time I used it I got a clog after about 2 gallons. So I bought a cheap pump and built a hop spider before my next batch. Testing it out before hand, I could pump hot water through the CFC and back up into the kettle easily. I made a video to show a friend:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_5sKvJNcsxg

As shown in the video, I would like to feed the wort through a pump, then the CFC, and back into the kettle.

During my next batch, I had the wort recirculating for two or three minutes perfectly. Near boiling wort in and cold wort out. Then it stopped. I flipped it over to run wort through in the opposite direction, which cleared the clog, but then it clogged again. Flipped it back to the original orientation and it wouldn't go. Back to the IC.

I only used 1 or 2 oz of hops and using the hop spider there was very little trub left when I transferred to the fermenter. So I don't think "too much trub" is my problem. Perhaps a stronger pump? There is one bend that is less than perfectly smooth, though I wouldn't call it a kink. The wort makes it through ok for a little while, but maybe over time a little trub collects.

I really dislike using an IC because the tap water is too warm during the summer to really get the temp down. At the same time, I don't want to sink a bunch of money into fixing the CFC without really knowing what will work. So if anyone has any other ideas, I would be greatly appreciate it.

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Old 04-01-2014, 07:16 PM   #2
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I think the first place to start is pictures of that bend//kink

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Old 04-01-2014, 07:53 PM   #3
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Do you have a bend/kink? Are you pumping pellet gunk in with it?

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Old 04-01-2014, 07:58 PM   #4
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Thanks, I'll post a picture of the bend/kink when I get home. Its not severe, but if these things can gravity feed, then something must be wrong for it to get clogged even with a weakish pump.

I'm sure there's some pellet gunk, but I only used 1 oz and had it in a hop spider. There was very little gunk left in the pot when I transferred.

If it is the bend/kink, I may be able to lop off a foot or two of the CFC to remove it.

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Old 04-04-2014, 02:39 PM   #5
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Its hard to see since the copper is inside the hose and the hose is black, but these are the best I could get for pictures. The bend/kink I am referring to is near the G in "Goodyear" not on the top coil but on the one below it.

It doesn't look like much, but if you sort of trace the arc of that coil, you can see that it isn't a smooth arc.

20140402_091957.jpg   20140402_092048.jpg  
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Old 04-04-2014, 04:09 PM   #6
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It appears you have a restriction. I pump everything through my CFC when chilling and have never had a problem with clogging. I use a March pump. A kink in the copper is going to be difficult to blindly repair. I can't really help on fixing your CFC but I can offer information on how I made mine.

When laying out my inner copper for my CFC, I taped off one end and poured salt into the tubing to minimize kinking. I slowly settled it down into the entire length and then capped it. I used electrical pulling lubricant to slip the copper into the rubber hose. I carefully bent the hose/copper around a corny keg. Uncapped and shook salt out and then flushed.

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Old 04-14-2014, 09:06 PM   #7
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Well, I just got a chugger pump and SQ14 burner as I slowly collect parts for a brew rig. I am hoping the chugger can keep the wort moving. If not, I'll have to ditch the thing.

I hooked it all up this past weekend just to test everything out with water. Just opening the valve--without turning on the chugger--gravity and hot water instantly cleared the clog. Doesn't make a whole lot of sense but I'll give it another chance with my next brew and see how it goes.

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Old 04-24-2014, 09:34 PM   #8
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the chugger will be fine, i have the same exact chiller (with the same good year hose and everything) and a chugger pump and pumped this nasty hop mess recently (almost a pound of hops in a 5 gallon batch)

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Old 04-29-2014, 09:23 PM   #9
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Well I got the chugger pump and brewed outside this weekend. Everything went well, but the wort stopped flowing through the CFC after a few minutes of cooling. I thought maybe there was an issue with air caught in the hose between my kettle and the pump so I detached the hose from the kettle, forgetting to close the ball valve first!

Hot boiling wort all over me!!???

Nope. Nothing came out.

The bag on my hop spider was blocking the ball valve inlet. I reconnected the hose, moved the hop spider, and it all worked fine. Cooled within 15 minutes.

That doesn't explain why it stopped flowing in the first instance--I built the hop spider to counteract the first clogging. Either way, it worked and I'm happy.

Thanks for all the input!

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Old 04-30-2014, 01:58 AM   #10
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What size copper tubing?

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