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Old 12-06-2010, 02:00 PM   #1
EdMerican
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Default Home made immersion coil chiller... thoughts?

Please forgive the long winded thought process, but here goes. I am definitely new to brewing but in doing all the research I can about equipment and the process, I have obviously come across the coil chillers that are widely available. It occurred to me that they are just a coil of copper or stainless tube, and they come without a pump. Local hardware stores sell a 20' coil of 5/8 copper tube for $35. It is easily bent and seems like its almost pre-made to be a coil chiller save for a small number of bends and a touch of stretching. I also have a canister filter from an aquarium that I got rid of that pushes something to the effect of 300 gallons/hr and has a 2.5 gallon capacity. If its half filled with ice and topped off with water it seems like it could get the job done. Am I completely off base here? It will be a while before I will need a chiller, but I am a gear junkie and like to look to the future. Short of calling me a total idiot I can take a beating, so be honest, direct, and if I am being totally stupid, please let me know. OR if you think its an amazing idea feel free to heap loads of praise upon me (though I don't expect it)

Slainte

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Old 12-06-2010, 02:47 PM   #2
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I think you right on track my friend. I just built myself one similar to how you are describing yours. i used 50ft of 1/4in, (itwas cheap) and connected it to an old pond pump. after alot of tinkering and adjusting i got it to work nicely with only a little mess. I used it saturday on my 2nd time brewing, so it's not too soon to make one, and i went from boil to pitching temp in 40min. i was very impressed. i just had the pump in an ice chest and filled half water half ice like you are suggesting. good luck with the build

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Old 12-06-2010, 03:24 PM   #3
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I do the same, made coil from 20' of 5/8 copper from Home Depot. I too use a pond pump in a bucket of ice water. Just to note, when you first hook up your chiller, you are going to want to run normal tap water until you get below 100F then change to the ice water. This happens very quickly assuming you are not in a desert with 80F tap water. I start off connected to a hose and once the water coming out of the IC is not super hot, I change to the pump and recirculate the output back into the ice bucket to save some water. This cools 5 gallons to 70F in under 20 minutes.

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Old 12-06-2010, 03:34 PM   #4
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Well, it's nice to know that I'm not completely in the weeds on this one The way it sounds from you guys though, the built in reservoir may not be enough to draw enough heat out on the filter setup I've got I guess when i get to that point I'll find out if its sufficient or not...

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Old 12-06-2010, 03:45 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mariojr View Post
http://coppertubingsales.com/copper_tubing_prices.php

Get 50' of the 1/2 in Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Tubing and make yourself a nice IC and never have to worry about it again. Time is money too!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G8EolKTDZUQ


after a bit of thought, (and after viewing another thread) would a 20' coil be enough though? The one in the above post seems MUCH more "gooder"
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Old 12-06-2010, 04:36 PM   #6
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The one in the video is a ton of coils, when I use mine that has maybe only 10 coils or so, the water goes in at ~40 degrees and comes out scalding hot, so it seems to me that it is big enough to do the job. As long as I stir the wort while chilling, I can get the 5 gallons cooled in around 8 or 9 minutes. If you are going to be using ice water, that will cut down the time/coils needed even further.

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Old 12-06-2010, 04:37 PM   #7
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Make sure you check copper prices at your hardware store! I ended up paying more for my home-made chiller than I would have spent buying a pre-made one online.

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Old 12-06-2010, 04:53 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EdMerican View Post
after a bit of thought, (and after viewing another thread) would a 20' coil be enough though? The one in the above post seems MUCH more "gooder"
20' is not enough for a IC chiller but is fine for a Counter Flow Chiller

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Old 12-06-2010, 08:33 PM   #9
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Home depot has 50' of 3/8 (which seems to be pretty standard) for $43, 1/2" x 50' for $56. Can't find a 50' chiller for less than $80. I would assume bigger is better in this case. Maybe I should just buy it now for when i need it in the future and avoid price fluctuations?

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Old 12-06-2010, 09:14 PM   #10
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That is a good price. My local neighborhood harware store charged me $1.78 a foot for 3/8" copper!!! > That's what I get for supporting local business.

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