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Old 08-10-2012, 04:25 PM   #1
swallace
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Default Need pond pump recomendations for use with Therminator

Hello brewers,

I'm trying to figure out which pump to buy to circulate cold water through my Blichmann Therminator. I'm not really sure of the science behind flow rates, but I've read that a higher GPH flow, isn't necessarily optimal.

2 pumps I'm looking at in particular are:
92 GPH http://www.harborfreight.com/92-gph-miniature-submersible-fountain-pump-68389.html

200 GPH http://www.harborfreight.com/200-gph-miniature-submersible-fountain-pump-68372.html

Does anyone have any advice on which to use? or other recommendations, but these 2 are inexpensive.

5 gallon batches, wort will be gravity fed at least for now.

Thanks!

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Old 08-10-2012, 04:43 PM   #2
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The 200 is on sale for the same price as the 95. No brainier there. More flow=faster cooling.

As for efficiency, there's tons of debate but it's all about what you want. Lower flow will use less water while chilling, higher flow will chill faster. That's a generalization because every setup is different, but you get the idea.

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Old 08-10-2012, 04:47 PM   #3
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Manual - http://www.blichmannengineering.com/therminator/Therminator%20Owners%20Manual-V8.pdf

From the Notes on Southern Climates
"A good rule of thumb (assuming 5gpm of water flow) is that the TherminatorTM
will chill about 3-5oF above the cooling water temperature at moderate wort flow rates (about ¾-1gpm),
and about 10oF above the cooling water temperature at higher wort flow rates (about 1.5-2 gpm)."

Based off of that, I'm assuming that they expect a 5gpm flow rate from a hose bib. I just got a therminator for doing A.G. and have been really happy with it, however I do run a pre-coil sitting in an ice bath to chill down the cooling water, as I'm in Florida and the tap isn't cold enough to chill it.

If a 200gph pump is divided by 60 minutes, you get 3.33gpm pump, which isn't the 5gpm that Blichmann assumes. You may be able to squeak by if you set the pump into a cooler in an ice bath to get much colder cooling water temps, but do not re-circulate the hot water back into the cooler. I did that with a coil and small pump in the kitchen, as my faucet doesn't accommodate fittings, and putting the hot water back in slowed the whole cooling process considerably.

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Old 08-10-2012, 05:06 PM   #4
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+1 Don't put your exit water back into the ice water until it gets down to the tempurature of your tap water. If you need to add more tap water to the ice bath, that would melt the ice less. After that point it's more efficient to recirculate.

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Old 08-10-2012, 05:12 PM   #5
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I dont think either pump is good enough.

A pump may lose a great deal of power as it pushes the liquid above its level.
Even their more expensive Harbor Freight 260 GPH drops off a bit if its sitting in a cooler, and the intake is 2 feet above it.


Instead try this:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B006M6MTMI/ref=gno_cart_title_2

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Old 08-13-2012, 04:11 PM   #6
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I use a pump rated at 950 g/hr, but it pushes much less than that (probably less than 100 g/hr) due to the 50ft of chiller line. I don't think the height has much to do with it because the head pressure due to the height is regained when the return line goes all the way back down to the icewater bucket.

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Old 08-13-2012, 04:40 PM   #7
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I really don't think that a pond pump will have enough "guts" to push through a Blichman. I use a therminator, and using my well water pump, I see a fairly obvious water throughput change when comparing an open hose vs the water output of the Blichman.

I can cool 10.5 gallons down to 72-73F in about 20 minutes (+/-) with my well water that's at apx 68-69F.

Here's how it was playing out on Saturday:


MC

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Old 10-25-2012, 02:08 PM   #8
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After using a number of pumps from small "pond pumps" like in the links above (useless) to the current 1/2HP submersible from Harbor Freight, I can definitely tell you that bigger is better and the little pond pumps are not efficient and don't have the power to push through hoses and chillers of any type. Regardless of the rated GPH, it's like asking a olympic sprinter to take the place of the weightlifter, it just doesn't work for what we need. You need to have the water go through at high volume enough to take away the maximum heat the chiller can exchange, if you don't, you are simply wasting the capacity of your chiller.

Get at least a 1/4hp submersible, and there is no reason why a 1hp isn't fine if you find it cheap for some reason. Just don't go small.

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