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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > General Techniques > Whirlpool Problem with Pump!
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Old 12-06-2011, 04:29 AM   #1
Stankonia
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Default Whirlpool Problem with Pump!

A couple weeks ago I brewed for the first time on my new single tier, 3 vessel system. It was also my first time using the march pump.

The pump worked fine for me as far as transferring from HLT to MLT, and MLT to BK.

I brewed using all leaf hops without a bag for them. I used a SS scrubby on my dip tube to filter them. I've done this before with no problem when using gravity to drain.

I installed a second ball valve on my BK with a side pickup tube (The SS one from BargainFittings) with the idea to whirlpool for the last 5-10 minutes of the boil, and during cooling. The inlet of the 2nd valve is installed at the same level of the outlet valve..just to the side of it. However, it doesn't have anything filtering it.

When I had everything hooked up to get it stated and turned the pump on there was instantly nothing going through the pump. I think what happened is when I opened the inlet valve (before turning the pump on) it sucked up some hops and clogged the hose coming from the outflow side of the pump. Could it have been anything else? Here is basically what I did:

1. Open Outflow BK valve
2. Open Valve on Outflow of Pump
3. Open Inflow BK Valve
4. Turn ON the Pump


This is my first time using a pump, so let me know if that looks wrong..

From reading around it sounds like I can run the pump while having the valve on the outflow side closed. Is that correct? Assuming that, maybe what I should have done:

1. Open Outflow BK Valve & Open Valve on the Pump
2. THEN turn the pump on
3. Open Inflow BK Valve.

Would that prevent anything from getting sucked up the tube I'm using on the inside of the BK for the whirlpool??


I REALLY appreciate any help! I want to brew again this Sunday...but I really need to figure this out before I do.

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Old 12-06-2011, 04:48 AM   #2
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leaf hops clog pump inlets... actually doesn't take much to clog a pipe or fitting. Use a hop bag or hopback.

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Old 12-06-2011, 04:59 AM   #3
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That could very well be..but the SS scrubby has worked for me in the past to prevent leaf hops from getting into the dip tube. And when I took the hoses off of the BK valves there was a chunk of leaf hop stuck into the end of the hose going back into the keg to the whirl pool dip tube...So I'm guessing the pump lost prime, since the other side of the pump was clogged up??

Also, the pump worked fine when I used it 20 minutes later for cleaning after manually draining to the fermenter...so I don't think the pump was clogged.

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Old 12-06-2011, 05:31 AM   #4
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I probably should have clarified that I was referring to the pump tubing... Gravity fed lines are not moving at the same rate as the pump, and therefore the pumped lines are more likely to attract trub into the lines. I am not sure about the leaf hop stuck in the out. Losing prime is when an air bubble sits inside the pump.

My experiences is from recirculatin the mash. Before the pump, I could sparge anything. Now, I need 1 pound of rice hulls per 5 gallons of beer or so to prevent a stuck sparge or mash because the draw on the pump is so much more than gravity...

A scrubby will help anything from getting into the pump inlet or tubing or pipes or connectors or bulkheads or diptubes, etc... I agree

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Old 12-06-2011, 04:26 PM   #5
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I don't have a pump but have worked with pumps in general.

1. You want to make sure the pump is well below the level of the valve (actually below the liquid level) by a good amount (couple of feet).
2. Open all valves from the kettle outlet to the valve suction.
3. Turn on pump.
4. Slowly open valve on pump suction. This valve should be connected directly to the pump discharge and not on tubing.

In order to get a prime, you may need a way to eliminate any vapor that may be in the pump and suction lines. But if you open the discharge valves before the pump is turned on, you will have a difficult time priming your pump and operating your pump at deadhead (zero flow) for a short period of time shouldn't cause any damage.

These are general operations that have been successful for me. I am sure those more familiar with March pumps (or similar) will chime in with their experience.

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Old 12-06-2011, 06:00 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by baldilocks View Post
I don't have a pump but have worked with pumps in general.

1. You want to make sure the pump is well below the level of the valve (actually below the liquid level) by a good amount (couple of feet).
2. Open all valves from the kettle outlet to the valve suction.
3. Turn on pump.
4. Slowly open valve on pump suction. This valve should be connected directly to the pump discharge and not on tubing.

In order to get a prime, you may need a way to eliminate any vapor that may be in the pump and suction lines. But if you open the discharge valves before the pump is turned on, you will have a difficult time priming your pump and operating your pump at deadhead (zero flow) for a short period of time shouldn't cause any damage.

These are general operations that have been successful for me. I am sure those more familiar with March pumps (or similar) will chime in with their experience.
1. The pump is definitely below the valve and liquid level

2. So I should open the kettle output valve - I would have to open the valve on the pump as well to get the air out and let the BK drain to the pump correct? Then close it before turning the pump on?

3. Turn the pump on with the pump valve still closed, then slowly open it?

4. I don't have a discharge on my pump. I just have 2 hoses (with QDs) going to and from the pump.

Thanks for your help! I'm just a little confused about working this pump. It worked so easy for me going from HLT to MLT, then MLT to BK, but that was obviously a different scenario since it was draining into an empty vessel instead of one already full of liquid.

It sounds like I need to let liquid flow down to the pump, getting all of the air out of it, then hook it up the 2nd ball-valve on the kettle (while keeping it closed) then slowly open the inflow kettle valve while the pump is running.

I think for my next brew I'm going to use a hop-spider type setup to contain the hops while I'm still getting used to working the pump. Maybe eliminating one variable (hops floating around freely) will help.

Thanks again for the help!
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Old 12-06-2011, 10:05 PM   #7
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I guess a picture is worth a thousand words. Try to post a picture of your setup and I am sure others or myself can perhaps help a little better.

Here is how I see it as you described:

kettle - valve - hose - pump - hose - vessel

Usually you would want some resistance at the discharge of the pump (liquid outlet). If you don't have a valve between the pump outlet and where you are pumping the liquid to, then perhaps try pinching the hose a little. Best scenario, you would want a valve at the pump outlet before you attach a hose to provide this resistance (back pressure). You don't put it at the other end of the hose to prevent overpressuring the hose and either bursting the hose or having the hose come off of a fitting/barb. [As a pump's flow is reduced by use of a valve, the pressure will increase. Once flow is allowed to pump out, then the pressure will decrease to a pressure associated with that flow. (hope I didn't lose you)]

For you, without a valve on the pump outlet, perhaps pinch the hose with your fingers and then start the pump. This may provide enough backpressure. Slowly release your pinchers to allow flow to your next vessel/kettle.

But I would wait for others to post also since I am not as familiar with pumps in the homebrewing world.

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Old 12-06-2011, 11:35 PM   #8
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You're right, I probably should post a pic. However, I do have a valve on the pump to control outflow. This is basically the set up:

Kettle --> Valve --> Hose --> Pump --> Valve --> Hose --> Valve --> Kettle (2nd kettle valve for inflow)

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