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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > DIY Projects > Chillers and Stir Plates > Is it worth the trouble to make own immersion wort chiller?
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Old 06-16-2009, 12:45 AM   #1
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Default Is it worth the trouble to make own immersion wort chiller?

Ok, I've only brewed two batches thus far, but I'm done with trying to cool 4 gallons of hot wort in an ice bath. It's nearly 10 miles to the closest store that sells big bags of ice and they aren't cheap. Not to mention the long time needed to cool to pitching temps.

Since I like making things I was poking around for prices on the materials to make my own immersion chiller. They are pretty simple devices so I knew it wouldn't be a whole lot of trouble. But I was actually kind of shocked once I started pricing the copper tube. Around here about the best I can do on 50' of 1/2" is anywhere from $100-$125.

Just for simple comparison sake, you can pick up a 50' chiller from midwest for $115 + about $12 shipping and it already has fittings.

Am I missing something here? Is there a super secret discount copper place online where you can get tubing for like half off? I'm sure I could still save a couple bucks making my own, but after you figure in fittings and the time involved I'm not sure I need to save 5 dollars that badly.

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Old 06-16-2009, 12:47 AM   #2
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My chiller is 25' of 1/4". Not the fastest setup, but it works. Takes about 20 minutes to cool 5 gallons.

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Old 06-16-2009, 12:55 AM   #3
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mine is similar to david's, it is 20' of 3/8". didn't cost that much, maybe $15 for the tubing. i recently bought another 20' so i could extend the input and return arms over the edge of the keg, but i didn't change the length of the coil. takes me about 1/2 hr to get it down to pitching temps. i think i can improve it if i compress the coil more; as it stands now, a few coils sit above the wort while cooling.

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Old 06-16-2009, 01:01 AM   #4
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I had the same concern, Honestly, I just freeze a few block of us in my spare freezer downstairs, I put them in tupper ware and pop them into the sink with cold water. I probably have 6 or so tupperware ice blocks that I put in the water, and it cools it down in no time. I have also read that I can put these ice blocks directly into the wort if I were to boil the water before freezing it... Although I have not done that.

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Old 06-16-2009, 01:03 AM   #5
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Interesting. I guess I could go smaller. I was just trying to futureproof my setup so that's why I was looking at something like 50' x 1/2". But if there is that much of a price difference to go down I guess it could be worth it and can just worry about a bigger chiller when the time comes.

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Old 06-16-2009, 01:20 AM   #6
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wel the place talked about around here is CopperTubingSales.com :: ICS Indsutries ::

SIZE (O.D.) 50 Foot Coil 100 Foot Coil
1/8 $ 15.94 Not Available
3/16 $ 18.81 Not Available
1/4 $ 20.72 $ 41.44
5/16 $ 24.77 Not Available
3/8 $ 27.97 $ 55.94
1/2 $ 34.60 $ 69.20
5/8 $ 47.16 $ 94.32
3/4 $ 56.30 $ 112.60
7/8 $ 79.07 Not Available
1-1/8 $ 121.74 Not Available
1-3/8 $ 171.48 Not Available
1-5/8 $ 240.27 Not Available


so as long as your have the torch and some time you might be able to save more than 5 bucks on the deal if you make it yourself. I want to upgrade my chiller, but I just have not purchased the tubing yet.

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Old 06-16-2009, 01:26 AM   #7
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Ahh, well that was probably part of my problem. I think all the stuff I was looking at around here was type K and not refrigeration tubing. That would explain the significant price differences.

Thanks for the link to that site. That is much closer to what I was expecting to pay.

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Old 06-16-2009, 01:35 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marubozo View Post
Ahh, well that was probably part of my problem. I think all the stuff I was looking at around here was type K and not refrigeration tubing. That would explain the significant price differences.

Thanks for the link to that site. That is much closer to what I was expecting to pay.
Where are you at in Michigan? You can get a 50 foot coil of 1/2" OD for about 45$ at Lowes. After shipping, that's pretty close to what you'd pay for at the coppertubing site. Depending on what type of fittings you use to make the water connections, you'll add 5-15$, plus the cost for any tools needed. Personally I think it's worth making your own.
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Old 06-16-2009, 01:46 AM   #9
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I made mine for about $60, no welding.

I bought 50 feet of 3/8 copper tubing, 20 feet of plastic tubing, a bag of hose clamps and a barb that connects to my faucet. That left me with a good sized chiller and prechiller that i put in ice since my faucet doesn't run very cold. Here's where I got the instructions: Chilling Your Brew: Building an Immersion Chiller | Home Brewing Beer Blog by BeerSmith

with that setup i get 5 or 6 gallons down to 80 in about 20 minutes...by then I run out of ice and can't get it colder. I think if I wait until I get down to 100 to add the ice (or buy more ice), it could do better.

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Old 06-16-2009, 01:49 AM   #10
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and i got the tubing for 40 or 50 bucks at home depot.

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