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-   -   PVC Tower Cooling Solution (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f51/pvc-tower-cooling-solution-43072/)

bradsul 10-29-2007 02:30 PM

PVC Tower Cooling Solution
I posted about this in my kegerator conversion thread but I think it's a good idea so I thought I would give it a thread so it would show up in searches more easily.

I wanted a way to cool my tower that didn't require wiring up a fan since the fridge I used didn't have a lot of excess space.

My solution was to use a 1/2" ID copper pipe per beer line that extends into the fridge and up into the tower. The copper transfers the cool of the fridge along it's length keeping the lines cool. In all of my tests (and now in subsequent usage) the first pour of beer is the same temperature as any other. I also don't get that initial excess amount of foam that I've seen reported quite often.

I drilled a 1.25" hole through the insulation to snuggly take the 2 pieces of copper pipe. The pipe should extend into the fridge about an inch and go up the tower to within 2" of the goose neck on the shank.


Spray foam the void and make sure to lean the pipes back slightly away from the shanks so you have clearance. If you just bring them up the center of the tower you will have a weird kink in your lines. Here are the assembled shanks with 3/16" beer line routed through the pipes.

Important: Be sure to use a file to round out both ends of the copper pipe so that you don't cut into your beer line.

david_42 10-29-2007 02:36 PM

Simple & elegant, like all good engineering.

FSR402 10-29-2007 05:09 PM

Are you all painting the PVC black or is there black pipe that I don't know about?

bradsul 10-29-2007 05:29 PM

I painted mine with a high gloss acrylic enamel. The pipes are black but it's a very dull finish, has writing on it and is rarely in good shape even after cleaning. The only end cap I could get in the correct size was blue so I would have had to paint anyway.

missing link 11-15-2007 03:42 PM

Making the copper stick into the fridge further would enhance the cooling significantly. You want more copper mass in the fridge than in the tower so that the larger mass cools the smaller mass.

bradsul 11-15-2007 03:47 PM


Originally Posted by missing link
Making the copper stick into the fridge further would enhance the cooling significantly. You want more copper mass in the fridge than in the tower so that the larger mass cools the smaller mass.

Yes that is true. Space considerations and clearance don't allow that in my case. But there is also less than 1C differential between the temperature of the copper in my fridge and at the top of the tower so I'm not worried about it in my case.

kornkob 11-15-2007 06:46 PM

It's notable that there is nothing about that solution that requires the use of PVC tubing. You could conceivably do this with any tower.

Regarding getting more copper into the fridge: one could use a pipe bender to bend the pipe as it entered the fridge and run the line along the top of the interioir, thus increasing the amount of copper in the fridge without requiring additional clearance.

Nice solution.

BeerCanuck 11-16-2007 01:52 AM

I think soft copper would work well in this application.
I have another sylvania conversion for my beer brewing buddy.
You got like a small hole through the top of a mini fridge :mug:


z987k 11-16-2007 08:48 AM

I'm torn over what to do with mine, I have a spare 120volt mini fan laying around that would be really easy to wire up, or I could go this route which takes no energy... what to do.

RadicalEd 11-16-2007 07:58 PM

Do the math:
find the price of copper in your neighborhood (very high nowadays). Find the price of running your fan for 5 years. Compare. Done!


Seriously though, the copper is a very nice solution and I'd go with it if the copper won't cost you an arm and a leg. Maybe you can get lucky at a local scrap yard.

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