Originally Posted by wadefisher
I do not advise using a Plate chiller for recirculating wort through. Too many problems. A counter flow chiller works wonderful for this situation. I like my CFC much better than my plate chiller overall for it flexibility and ease of cleaning compared to a Plate Chiller. Plate Chillers in my opinion are over rated for homebrewing. And yes I have and use both regularly.
wadefisher, you opinion on this is important to me, and if you have both plate and CFC chillers, you are in a unique position to contrast these two pieces of equipment from experience. I've used a copper garden hose CFC but never used a plate chiller. Below is my view on the contrast between these two pieces of equipment for mash recirculation - if you think any thing is wrong or if there are any important aspects I have overlook, I would appreciate the input before I have committed my design:
PLEATE CHILLER + IN-LINE FILTER PROS FOR MASH RECIRCULATION (VERUS CFC):
-very compact (highest ration of heat transfer surface to volume)
-minimum volume means highest responsiveness and minimum dead volume in heat exchange
-all metal so no concerns handling temperature on either chilling water or wort paths (no possibility of chemical leakage, even at boiling temperatures)
-can be baked in oven to 'bake off' any materials caught in the chiller (this sounds like a PITA, but at least it is an option, where with CFC it is not).
-price performance ($/m^2 of heat exchange surface area) - plate chillers seem to leave all competing technologies in the dust in this department...
PLEATE CHILLER + IN-LINE FILTER CONS FOR MASH RECIRCULATION (VERUS CFC):
-trouble / complexity of cleaning (though this needs to be considered when a good filter in in place before the plate chiller - less clear there is a significant difference in this case)
-possibility to get clogged (this seems to be the big negative versus CFC, but if a good filter can take the possibility of clogging off of the table, it seems like the plate chiller would be the better option).
If you have any thoughts where I am wrong about some aspect of this and/or have overlooked another significant pro/con, I would greatly value that input...