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Old 10-22-2013, 05:24 AM   #1
evandena
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Default Glycol chiller buid question

I've built a gylcol chiller out of an old dehumidifier. It's currently set up to chill a glycol/water bath in a cooler.

I'm having trouble finding a suitable pump to pump the solution through my conical's internal stainless coils. I'm currently using a ~300 GPH fountain pump, but it doesn't quite have the power to lift the solution through the chiller when it's empty. Once it get's going, it stays going, but it takes some care and feeding which I'd like to avoid.

So my question is, do people normally circulate the glycol solution from the reservoir (cooler) through the chiller, or should I use a copper heat exchanger in the reservoir and pump within a totally closed loop?

Either way, it gets kind of tricky to disconnect the chiller and clean it. Not sure how to deal with that, since I would be breaking the loop...

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Old 10-22-2013, 10:58 AM   #2
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Well a glycol system is supposed to be a total closed system with ALL the air vacuumed out. If you have to disconnect the system then your just causing yourself the problems. Maybe add a ball valve to both sides of where you have to disconnect it to keep the system closed loop (kind of) when you disconnect it. Just a thought there but I am not sure what your asking about the copper heat exchanger

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Old 10-22-2013, 10:59 PM   #3
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Hmm, maybe I can add some quick disconnects and keep it a closed system.

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Old 10-22-2013, 11:35 PM   #4
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I pump out of the chilled glycol reservoir straight into the immersion coil ... My pump doesn't seem to have any trouble starting , and of course, once it gets going it there's no way for air to get inside since the return (to the glycol reservoir) is submerged, so it siphons and assists the pump.

...for comparison, I use a Beckett 150 gph (110vac) submersible fountain pump ...as I recall it has a 4 ft lift. the pump is just 1/64 hp .

I get the impression our systems differ though. I chill the 2 gallon glycol reservoir directly with the dehumidifier's evaporator.

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Old 10-22-2013, 11:56 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SleepyCreekBrews View Post
I pump out of the chilled glycol reservoir straight into the immersion coil ... My pump doesn't seem to have any trouble starting , and of course, once it gets going it there's no way for air to get inside since the return (to the glycol reservoir) is submerged, so it siphons and assists the pump.

...for comparison, I use a Beckett 150 gph (110vac) submersible fountain pump ...as I recall it has a 4 ft lift. the pump is just 1/64 hp .

I get the impression our systems differ though. I chill the 2 gallon glycol reservoir directly with the dehumidifier's evaporator.
Your setup sounds the same as mine. How high does the pump need to lift?

My pump is about 6" off the ground, and the top of my conical is maybe 5.5'.
I think I'll try building a stand to raise the pump up.

Also, do you disconnect/reconnect the chiller lines to the coil for cleaning/storing purposes?
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Old 10-23-2013, 12:21 AM   #6
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You could add these http://koolance.com/help-quick-disco...toff-couplings in line. This would for sure remedy the mess part, and might also help hold liquid in the line to prevent the hard start up.

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Old 10-23-2013, 12:23 AM   #7
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Is your chiller hooked up in this manner? One end of the fermenter coil is in the glycol reservoir, below the glycol level, the other end of the coil is hooked to the suction side of the pump and discharges from the pump back into the reservoir? If you're trying to "lift" the glycol out of the reservoir, then pull through the tubing in the fermenter and push into the reservoir, you might need a self priming pump or a check valve so prime isn't lost if the pump isn't self priming. I'm not familiar with a fountain pump. If it's submersible, it may be too small until you get gravity to help it along. The pressure drop through the fermenter cooling coil might be too great. Your pump is only 5 GPMs.... Not all chillers are closed loop. AEC, Harris, Applied build reservoir tank chillers. Their reservoirs aren't air tight. The chilled medium is pumped out of the reservoir, pushed through the process, through the chiller barrel and back into the tank. Air isn't an issue because the tank is at atmospheric.....There's no need of a closed loop system in your chiller. You'll be adding more pressure drop by adding a secondary heat exchanger. Pump the coolant directly from the tank through the fermenter coil, back to the tank. This method will help circulate the coolant around the direct expansion evaporator in the reservoir tank. Put two Aeroquip quick disconnects on the coils in and out. When the fittings are snapped off, coolant won't be lost. Get the right pump and your good to go. Glycol can ruin certain type pump seals. Maybe a fountain pump will handle glycol.

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Old 10-23-2013, 12:45 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VladOfTrub View Post
Is your chiller hooked up in this manner? One end of the fermenter coil is in the glycol reservoir, below the glycol level, the other end of the coil is hooked to the suction side of the pump and discharges from the pump back into the reservoir? If you're trying to "lift" the glycol out of the reservoir, then pull through the tubing in the fermenter and push into the reservoir, you might need a self priming pump or a check valve so prime isn't lost if the pump isn't self priming. I'm not familiar with a fountain pump. If it's submersible, it may be too small until you get gravity to help it along. The pressure drop through the fermenter cooling coil might be too great. Your pump is only 5 GPMs.... Not all chillers are closed loop. AEC, Harris, Applied build reservoir tank chillers. Their reservoirs aren't air tight. The chilled medium is pumped out of the reservoir, pushed through the process, through the chiller barrel and back into the tank. Air isn't an issue because the tank is at atmospheric.....There's no need of a closed loop system in your chiller. You'll be adding more pressure drop by adding a secondary heat exchanger. Pump the coolant directly from the tank through the fermenter coil, back to the tank. This method will help circulate the coolant around the direct expansion evaporator in the reservoir tank. Put two Aeroquip quick disconnects on the coils in and out. When the fittings are snapped off, coolant won't be lost. Get the right pump and your good to go. Glycol can ruin certain type pump seals. Maybe a fountain pump will handle glycol.
I would agree with with all except the Aeroquip connectors, unless doubling the total cost of your conical fermenter is acceptable.
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Old 10-23-2013, 12:59 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VladOfTrub View Post
Is your chiller hooked up in this manner? One end of the fermenter coil is in the glycol reservoir, below the glycol level, the other end of the coil is hooked to the suction side of the pump and discharges from the pump back into the reservoir? If you're trying to "lift" the glycol out of the reservoir, then pull through the tubing in the fermenter and push into the reservoir, you might need a self priming pump or a check valve so prime isn't lost if the pump isn't self priming. I'm not familiar with a fountain pump. If it's submersible, it may be too small until you get gravity to help it along. The pressure drop through the fermenter cooling coil might be too great. Your pump is only 5 GPMs.... Not all chillers are closed loop. AEC, Harris, Applied build reservoir tank chillers. Their reservoirs aren't air tight. The chilled medium is pumped out of the reservoir, pushed through the process, through the chiller barrel and back into the tank. Air isn't an issue because the tank is at atmospheric.....There's no need of a closed loop system in your chiller. You'll be adding more pressure drop by adding a secondary heat exchanger. Pump the coolant directly from the tank through the fermenter coil, back to the tank. This method will help circulate the coolant around the direct expansion evaporator in the reservoir tank. Put two Aeroquip quick disconnects on the coils in and out. When the fittings are snapped off, coolant won't be lost. Get the right pump and your good to go. Glycol can ruin certain type pump seals. Maybe a fountain pump will handle glycol.
Yes, it's setup as you describe. I'll take a picture tonight.
My only issue with the current design is the first start up. The system will remain in a closed loop fashion through fermentation, but when hooking the chiller up to the glycol line after brew day the pump has to "lift" enough glycol to fill the empty line.
I have a second pump inside the reservoir to circulate around the expansion evaporator to preven freezing, since the coil fermenter pump won't be running all the time.
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Old 10-23-2013, 02:04 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by evandena View Post
Your setup sounds the same as mine. How high does the pump need to lift?

My pump is about 6" off the ground, and the top of my conical is maybe 5.5'.
I think I'll try building a stand to raise the pump up.

Also, do you disconnect/reconnect the chiller lines to the coil for cleaning/storing purposes?
I'm only pumping about 3 feet up, you can see a pic of it in my thread: http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f51/imme...97/index2.html

And yes, I disconnect it once I'm done with the ferment.
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