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Old 03-06-2013, 01:44 PM   #1
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Default Anyone ever use EMT instead of copper to cool beer lines?

Trying to run a short length of line up out of a Sanyo minifridge to the bar top ~3 feet above. Right now the lines are exposed and get too warm. I know some people use copper pipe to run the lines through and let the exposed copper inside the fridge cool the lines on the way up. Anyone ever try it with EMT electrical conduit? Would aluminum be too poor of a conductor to make a difference? Copper is just so darned $$$ compared to something like EMT.

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Old 03-06-2013, 04:18 PM   #2
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Aluminum might work, it is fairly conductive. But the copper pipe is usually a solution for a tower, not an exposed 3 foot run. You need something less passive, I think you're going to be better off with some PVC, pipe insulation and a fan or blower to push cool air to the tower.

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Old 03-06-2013, 04:22 PM   #3
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I'm confused. If the beer is in a mini fridge, then why would the copper inside it make a difference? I mean the copper will be at fridge temp, and so will the beer. In this case, a plastic hose would be better because as it exits the fridge, it will be better insulated from the 3 foot exposure to the tap on the bar.

Infact copper between the bar and fridge would be a way to level the temps between the bar air and the fridge air (ie conduction) and seems like a less energy efficent thing to do.

Edit:
rereading the OP, I see that the first 3 feet are too warm, which could be an entire glass I suppose. In that case, the aluminum should work, it is fairly conductive, although with less mass, it has less thermal mass to keep the beer cold. You might want to get the pipe insulation on whatever your solution is. (that black stuff) it is $$$ but again, it helps keep the cold and hot where they are supposed to be.

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Old 03-06-2013, 04:59 PM   #4
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I should follow up that I did intend to externally insulate the pipe with some insulation as well. The reason I am staying away from the fan is that we had a beast of a time with this particular setup with the fridge icing up from using the fan. Once we shut off the fan it worked perfectly. The beer is not too terribly warm/foamy, but if $6 worth of EMT and a little leftover pipe insulation will help it even a few degrees I think it will be worth it. Thanks, guys!

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Old 03-06-2013, 05:10 PM   #5
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Gotcha. Try it out and report back! You mean the inside of the fridge was icing up or the coils? If it's the inside, it sounds like you've got an air leak somewhere. You can always try an Eva-Dry.

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Old 03-06-2013, 05:16 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zachattack View Post
Gotcha. Try it out and report back! You mean the inside of the fridge was icing up or the coils? If it's the inside, it sounds like you've got an air leak somewhere. You can always try an Eva-Dry.
Yeah the coils would freeze solid in an hour or two. We had a fan blowing cold air up into the tower. I think the loss of air was drawing (warm humid) air in from somewhere else, but I could never find any leaks. The compressor would never shut off. As soon as I took the fan out, it was better. Maybe I can run the lines through the EMT and run the EMT through some PVC. I think there's already some PVC and pipe insulation laying around. Should be an interesting experiment.
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Old 03-06-2013, 08:25 PM   #7
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I think EMT is made of low grade iron which is a poor temperature conductor. Aluminum is better but only half as good as copper.

You don't need a lot of copper, just make sure some of it extends into the fridge, the closer to the cooling plate the more effective it will be.

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Old 03-06-2013, 11:23 PM   #8
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Don't forget, the EMT will rust.
PVC would be an alt.
Find your leak, it doesn't seem like a big deal without the fan, but it still leaks dollars.

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Old 03-07-2013, 12:34 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by isohoppy
Don't forget, the EMT will rust.
PVC would be an alt.
Find your leak, it doesn't seem like a big deal without the fan, but it still leaks dollars.
I thought EMT is aluminum. I made wind chimes from it two years ago and the only rusty spot is where the steel pin goes through.
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Old 03-07-2013, 01:53 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pabloj13 View Post
I thought EMT is aluminum. I made wind chimes from it two years ago and the only rusty spot is where the steel pin goes through.
That's because it's galvanized steel.
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