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Old 02-06-2013, 08:14 PM   #1
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Default Soldering Copper

Saw a good deal at a local Home Depot for 20' sections of 3/8" copper pipe. What is the possible downside to soldering the two 20' sections together and using that? Do I really need to do a 40' immersion cooler or would 20' work fine for 5 gal batches? Most of the smaller ones I have seen start out at about 25'.

Thanks for the help.

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Old 02-06-2013, 09:05 PM   #2
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Down fall would be a leak. Don't they carry the 50' coils at your Home Depot? If so get that and biuld a ribcage IC. Good luck and have fun.

Cheers

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Old 02-06-2013, 09:08 PM   #3
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My first IC was a 25' one...it is sitting in my garage doing nothing now. I would highly recommend going with a 50' x 1/2" IC instead of a 3/8". It allows greater flow and more surface area which means spending less time waiting for your wort to cool and some added benefits of faster cooling. As to your question, yes you can solder two pieces together. Your one concern is that the joint lets go while cooling and you end up filling your boil kettle with tap water and ruining your beer.

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Old 02-06-2013, 11:27 PM   #4
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Could perhaps make a 20' counterflow chiller with a 20' prechiller.

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Old 02-07-2013, 12:12 AM   #5
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Sweat soldering copper is easy peasy as long as you remember the three rules:

1. Clean it really well
2. Make sure it's really clean
3. Clean it again

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Old 02-07-2013, 12:26 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jungatheart View Post
Sweat soldering copper is easy peasy as long as you remember the three rules:

1. Clean it really well
2. Make sure it's really clean
3. Clean it again
I'd suggest cleaning it one more time. There's no real downfall to joining the two together. You don't have copper joints in your homes waterlines randomly failing and they have more pressure on them. Do it right and you'll be fine.
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Old 02-07-2013, 12:47 AM   #7
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go to your local plumbing supply store and ask them about a 50' piece of tube copper. They can get it if they don't have it. You won't have to soilder anything that way and if you do you can probably get a plumber to do it for you for free. Plumbers do a ton of soildering anyway and you would know its done right

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Old 02-07-2013, 05:22 AM   #8
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For 5 gallon batches, 20 feet will be just fine, use the money you're not spending on the extra 20 feet to buy elbows & short, straight pieces to fit it to your boil kettle.

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Old 02-07-2013, 12:45 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ACarver View Post
...20' sections of 3/8" copper pipe....
Pipe? Make sure they aren't (rigid) pipe. You cannot coil that stuff, it will fold up.

Or are they "coil" remnants? 20' is not a common length for (hand bendable) coil stock.

Also there are 3 main wall thicknesses in copper, K being the thickest and M the thinnest. L is in between the two and the most commonly available. There maybe some M coil out there too, given the current price of copper, but I'm not sure how that holds up to bending relatively tight radii without special bending tools. Any should work for a chiller coil, but the thinner the wall, the better (faster) cooling you'll get. So there is the trade-off between workability and performance.

I agree that 1/2" will give a much faster chill. So 25' of 1/2 inch may give similar efficiency as 50' of 3/8".

And soldering copper is not that difficult. Look on YouTube for some demos if you feel the need.
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Old 02-07-2013, 04:59 PM   #10
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Thanks for the input guys, decided I would cut my 50' coil in half and sell the other 25' to a buddy. Coiled it around a paint can last night and got a great looking coil. Now I will make some calls to see if anyone I know has a tool to bend it 90 deg.

Only supprise so far was how expensive the 3/4" - 3/8" garden hose adapter was. Ended up paying between $10-11 for it. Still a great value to make one for < $40 instead of buying one from Northern for $70.

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