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Old 09-10-2008, 03:29 AM   #1
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Default Inline Coolant Chiller - No pond pump required.

I've mentioned this idea floating around in my head a few times in previous recirculating icewater chiller threads and although I don't like to post anything without test results, I'm taking a chance.

First, this concept isn't chiller design specific meaning it would work for anything from IC, CFC, to plate chillers. The basic limitation of all of them is the temperature of the coolant water going in which can get into the mid 80's for most of the summer for people on municipal water systems. (you year round 45F well water rednecks can skip this altogether ).

Many folks combat this with either an inline prechiller (copper coil submersed into icewater) or supplying their chiller with icewater directly by pumping with a pond or small sump pump.

Prechiller:
Pros: no need for electricity as pressure is supplied by tap water.
Cons: Copper prices, an additional layer of thermal transfer, no direct reuse of output water, and the need to agitate or stir the icewater to keep stratification down.

Icewater pump:
Pros: Very fast chilling due to coldest possible coolant, possible to recirculate for less water use.
Cons: Price of pump, need for electrical power.

I tried to combine the pros of both of these solution into what I'm calling an in-line ice prechiller. Call it whatever you want. The income tap water encounters a large container of ice and is then forced into your wort chiller under the original tap pressure. The only gotcha here is finding a vessel that has a large enough opening to pour ice in but also take a good 10 psi of pressure.

I've seen these barrels in both 13 and 8 gallon from various container recyclers. I used it for fermenting at first, then grain storage, and now this:



The lid gets a 5/8" hole and I threaded in a 1/2" male NPT to male garden hose fitting. An Oring goes in between the fitting and lid and it looks like I don't even need to back it with a locknut because it threaded in nice and tight.

Then I did the same thing through the side wall of the barrel with a female garden hose fitting. On the inside of this fitting, I clamped on a short piece of PVC tubing.


So, the water flows from the tap into the sidewall fitting and goes down to the bottom of the barrel. As this fills the barrel, the air is forced out of the lid fitting and through the chiller. Eventually the icewater is forced out. It doesn't need to take the full city water pressure because you'll never fully block the outflow. It will only see your chiller's typical backpressure and I don't recommend running it full blast either. I MAY need a screen on the output for when the ice pieces melt small enough to lodge into the ID of the fitting.

The other alteration I'm thinking is to reverse the fittings so it outflows from the "dip tube" since the coldest water will be down there and I would be able to swap out the lid fitting to a schrader valve to force the last of the water out with compressed air.

I'll be back with the results after my next brew day whenever that is. I welcome your criticisms and your opinion of whether this will work or not.

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Last edited by Bobby_M; 09-10-2008 at 12:29 PM.
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Old 09-10-2008, 04:18 AM   #2
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one beauty of living in the pacific northwest...
my tap water is cold enough, even in the summer, to get down to pitching temps,
just from tap water alone.

as to your design, you, yuri, and john beere are awesome inspirations around here.

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Old 09-10-2008, 12:27 PM   #3
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Its stuff like this that makes me wonder how successful a venture into the homebrew shop realm would be if I were partnered with the people from HBT.

Some of the crap you guys come up with with a little bit of polishing is simply rediculous....and marketable

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Old 09-10-2008, 12:32 PM   #4
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Brilliant idea, Bobby! My tap water is cold enough, but I hate wasting water. I've been thinking of the recirculating idea with ice and a pond pump but haven't done it yet. Especially when I go to 10 gallon batches, I'd like something more efficient to run.

Keep us posted on this!

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Old 09-10-2008, 12:36 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rabidgerbil View Post
one beauty of living in the pacific northwest...
my tap water is cold enough, even in the summer, to get down to pitching temps, just from tap water alone.
The nice thing about having a private well is that I can get into the mid 50s with my plate chiller at full throttle all summer long. Most people throttle their wort flow, I throttle the coolant water flow.
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Old 09-10-2008, 01:15 PM   #6
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Would it be better to have the input closer to the bottom of the container? It seems like the warm water would come into the top and be the first water forced out the top resulting in very little contact time with the ice.

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Old 09-10-2008, 01:25 PM   #7
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yeah, I was thinking the same thing. Put a tube from the inlet down to the bottom of the container so all the influent has to work it's way up through the ice.

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Old 09-10-2008, 01:34 PM   #8
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I know the first post is wordy and most will skip half of it but I said.

"...through the side wall of the barrel with a female garden hose fitting. On the inside of this fitting, I clamped on a short piece of PVC tubing.....So, the water flows from the tap into the sidewall fitting and goes down to the bottom of the barrel. As this fills the barrel, the air is forced out of the lid fitting and through the chiller. Eventually the icewater is forced out."

There's a piece of tubing clamped on to the inside of the inlet that goes to the bottom of the barrel. I would have put the fitting on the bottom, but I wanted to be able to fill it will ice and water without having the hose connected. Putting both fittings up high allows me to do that without integrating any valves and such.

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Old 09-10-2008, 02:13 PM   #9
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yup...missed that, sorry.

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Old 09-10-2008, 02:28 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tonedef131 View Post
The nice thing about having a private well is that I can get into the mid 50s with my plate chiller at full throttle all summer long. Most people throttle their wort flow, I throttle the coolant water flow.
Not trying to jack the thread, but I am the same... in the winter, if I don't throttle back the cooling water a ton, I end up with 38 degree wort in my carboy. Even during the summer, I have to throttle it back a little.
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