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Thekeez 06-06-2011 12:28 PM

Water saving wort chiller
I have a bunch of guys that I brew with, usually 3 or 4 batches at one time. We all just converted to all-grain! It has been a smooth transition but we use a ton of water cooling down that many batches with my wort chiller. Has anyone ever used a pump to sort of circulate the water to cool wort? Maybe fill a utility sink with ice water and use a pump to feed the water through the wort chiller and drain it back into the ice bath to cool the water back down. Thoughts?

HokieBrewer 06-06-2011 01:11 PM

Currently using a plate chiller, but I'm considering switching to an immersion chiller. When I do I'm planning on doing exactly that. Big bucket of ice water to pump to chiller back to bucket.

DrawTap88 06-06-2011 01:39 PM

I tried doing that over the winter using snow to cool the water down. Didn't work too well. I did use less water, but it took a lot longer since the water coming out was heating up the cooling water. Had to change the water a few times and add a ton of snow.

Paul07293 06-06-2011 01:51 PM

should work but the ice is gonna melt fast when the hot water comes back from the chiller. My buddy pumps water from his swimming pool through the chiller. Warms up the pool at the same time! I run the input water really slow and just collect the warm water for cleanup later.

Yeahman99 06-06-2011 01:54 PM

This is how I do all of my chilling. Works great for me. I use old plastic tubs (butter, cottage cheese, etc.) of frozen water in one of my spare ale pales with the pump in it. I also sit my kettle in an ice bath. Works like a champ!

CrazedArmadillo 06-06-2011 01:55 PM

What about running the heated water exiting the chiller into your mashtun for the next batch? That way you can reuse the water, plus it's preheated and you'll save on fuel needed to heat the water.

JetSmooth 06-06-2011 02:01 PM


Originally Posted by CrazedArmadillo (Post 2983628)
What about running the heated water exiting the chiller into your mashtun for the next batch? That way you can reuse the water, plus it's preheated and you'll save on fuel needed to heat the water.

This is what I'd recommend.

I haven't used my new setup yet, but am planning on capturing my "waste" cooling water for my clean in place process. I have a CFC made with a vulcanized rubber hose, so I wouldn't use the water to rbew with. But cleaning with hot water will be awesome.

Bobby_M 06-06-2011 02:21 PM

Whatever you do, do not make the mistake of thinking that saving water is necessarily saving money. If you use the heat capacity of ice to reduce water consumption, you have to figure out what it costs to get the ice. If you buy it from a store, it's easy to figure out. If you make it in your freezer, the electricity used is harder to figure out but it's certainly not free.

kpr121 06-06-2011 02:32 PM

I dump or 'waste' the first 5 gallons or so when the output water is extremely hot. This gets used as cleaning water, added to the washing machine, or let sit to cool down to be used to water the garden. Once the wort is down to 110-120ish I switch to a bucket of ice water and recirculate the water with a pump. By time I hit pitching temps, I am almost out of ice. This water is used in my swamp cooler as it is usually around 50-60 deg. I adjust with makeup water if it is too low or frozen 2-liter bottles if too high.

Although now that my pool is open I need to refine my process. Its much easier for me to just pump from/to the pool till I get to 110, then go to the ice bucket.

archiefl98 06-06-2011 02:49 PM

My water costs $4.05 per every thousand gallons. I would think a hundred gallons per chill would be a nice high estimate. That's 40.5 cents worth of water. Even if I double it I still haven't purchased a bag of ice yet.

Hook up the lawn sprinkler to the output hose and I'm actually getting some extra use out of my water.

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