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Old 10-12-2009, 06:09 PM   #1
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Default DIY glycol cooling?

OK SO i was thinking of this. If i have a keezer with a loop tower. Can i put a gallon of antifreeze in the freezer and aquarium pump it around the tower bound to the beer lines rather than air cool?

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Old 10-12-2009, 07:32 PM   #2
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Yes. Several folks (including me) have but typically for longer run. Mine is 10' from fridge to faucet, plus loops.

There's an awesome thread on using copper pipe as a passive cooling solution for a tower attached directly to a fridge. I'd try that first since it's cheap, easy, and should be pretty effective.

Keep in mind the pump will generate some heat, the pump will vibrate/hum, you'll need to power it which means another hole someplace, the propylene gycol (pink RV antifreeze) can evaporate, so use at least a covered reservoir, and have enough glycol so that the bulk of it is in the reservoir getting cold, not in the lines getting warm. Don't get me wrong, glycol is awesome for cooling and I love mine, but it has a few downsides.

If you do go that route, for me bending the copper carrying the glycol was not easy. Once in a tight coil it becomes pretty ridged and I used plastic quick connects to make 90 degree angles. Easy and saves a lot of space, but make sure the tubing isn't bent where it enters the quick connect, that will leak.

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Old 10-12-2009, 08:03 PM   #3
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If your reservoir is inside the keezer, there's no reason to use glycol because you don't run it below freezing temps. The reason they use some concentration of glycol in cooling systems is so that they can chill the fluid down below freezing to make them more effective. Use water.

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Old 10-12-2009, 08:49 PM   #4
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Totally agree with Bobby M. No need to use Glycol with it being poisonous and all. Some sanitized water would be more then sufficient.

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Old 10-12-2009, 09:27 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by lazybean View Post
Totally agree with Bobby M. No need to use Glycol with it being poisonous and all. Some sanitized water would be more then sufficient.
Definitely worth pointing out that you should NOT use ethylene glycol. I specifically said the "pink RV version", but updated to specify Propylene glycol which is not nearly as toxic as ethylene glycol (like you'd put into a car radiator). Hmm, wikipedia even says it's used in oral applications, so I assume non-toxic but I'm still not going to drink any.

+1 to Bobby_M's suggestion to use water if it's stored with the kegs. My setup uses an classic upright fridge with the reservoir in the freezer well below zero and the kegs in the fridge at 38. My line wasn't close to cold enough at keg storing temps, although others have had success. I think it depends a lot on the length of the line being chilled.
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Old 10-13-2009, 01:05 PM   #6
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My line wasn't close to cold enough at keg storing temps, although others have had success. I think it depends a lot on the length of the line being chilled.
I cool my pink glycol (guess I could switch to water, but it's all working right now) in my kegerator (about 38F), and pump it on demand into my fermentation chamber, but the line length is about 3 feet, wrapped in A/C-type high-density foam. Also, it didn't work until I hit 3 gallons of coolant. So line length, and available volume play as important a part as temperature. If I had a freezer compartment, as Spotter does, I'm sure I could use less volume.

however, with the set-up I have, I can now hold 2 5-gal carboys at 62F indefinitely if I want.
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Old 10-13-2009, 02:57 PM   #7
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I've read everyone talk about reservoirs, but I'm not sure what should I use if I do decide to go this route. I read that some people use a corny keg to recirculate, but what if you only have room on the freezer hump?

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Old 10-13-2009, 03:08 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spotter View Post
Definitely worth pointing out that you should NOT use ethylene glycol. I specifically said the "pink RV version", but updated to specify Propylene glycol which is not nearly as toxic as ethylene glycol (like you'd put into a car radiator). Hmm, wikipedia even says it's used in oral applications, so I assume non-toxic but I'm still not going to drink any.
TY Spotter, i never knew that was the difference with the pink stuff.
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Old 10-13-2009, 04:18 PM   #9
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I've read everyone talk about reservoirs, but I'm not sure what should I use if I do decide to go this route. I read that some people use a corny keg to recirculate, but what if you only have room on the freezer hump?
I use a squarish plastic bin with a lid I could easily cut. I wanted one that held more than a gallon, fit front to back leaving as much left over on the sides as possible, and would fit under my freezer shelf. I took a few measurements and looked around places until eventually I found one that fit and was cheap. Turned out to be at a grocery store.

During the initial setup and testing I used a bucket, and after noticing evaporation added saran wrap.
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Old 10-13-2009, 04:28 PM   #10
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Rubbermaid bin would be fine. Slot the lid neatly for pump cord and send/return hoses.

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