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Old 01-30-2011, 07:31 PM   #1
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Default Wort Chiller Copper Questions

I want to make a wort chiller. For the design I want to build I need 50 feet.

Both of my local stores have two options for copper tubing. The first is L grade and it only comes in 20 foot lengths. The L grade says it is for use with water and so I'm assuming would be safe to submerge in my brewpot in the form of a chiller. Problem is that unless I find it on the internet I can't get the 50 feet I want.

My second option in tubing is labeled refrigeration coil and comes in the length I need. I'm not familiar enough with copper to know if there is a difference between L grade and the type used for refrigeration coil. Is there any reason I should not use the "refrigeration" coil for a chiller?

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Old 01-30-2011, 07:56 PM   #2
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Copper is copper....K type is thicker. For a chiller you want thinnest.

https://coppertubingsales.com/storefront/index.php?cPath=21_117&osCsid=4rmii00n6vhmm35ilp0l 3pl121

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Old 01-30-2011, 09:30 PM   #3
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thank you

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Old 01-31-2011, 01:10 AM   #4
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Two differences between plumbing and ACR (refrigeration) copper tubing:

Plumbing copper is measured by its "nominal ID (inside diameter) So 3/8" tubing has an OD (outside diameter) of 1/2".

ACR copper is measured by is OD. So 1/2" tubing has an OD of 1/2".
Now, if you are going to solder fittings onto the 1/2" ACR tubing, you will need to use 3/8" plumbing fittings. (It is a whole 'nother ball game if you are going to use flare fittings)

Plumbing copper tubing normally comes in a 60' coil. ACR copper tubing comes in a 50" coil.

One more thing - ACR copper tubing is manufactures to a more stringent specification and comes with the tubing purged and the ends capped. This prevents corrosion (oxidation) in the interior of the tube. A real plus with all of this? ACR copper is generally less expensive.

HTH.

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Old 01-31-2011, 04:17 AM   #5
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P-J

Thank you - that helps explain some things that had me scratching my head.


I don't plan on doing anything more than just using hose clamps. Based on your experience or knowledge of the products, which would you use. I'm not in a big hurry to do this as I have one that works, I just have an idea on how to improve upon the design. So if I had to order it I don't mind, I just want to order the right one.

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Old 01-31-2011, 04:42 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Oldyote View Post
P-J

Thank you - that helps explain some things that had me scratching my head.

I don't plan on doing anything more than just using hose clamps. Based on your experience or knowledge of the products, which would you use. I'm not in a big hurry to do this as I have one that works, I just have an idea on how to improve upon the design. So if I had to order it I don't mind, I just want to order the right one.
I would use 1/2" OD copper tubing - especially if you are planning on a 50' length of copper for the coil. I've built quite a few of them and it can be a fun project.

Here is a LINK to a story (web page I put up for a friend) on a chiller build that I did. In that case I used a 60' coil of 3/8" plumbing copper (1/2" OD) because I got it dirt cheap at the time ($10 for the coil). I used garden hose fittings from Lowe's for the connections. I just needed to drill out the hose fitting to fit onto the copper and soldered it in place.

I hope this gives you some ideas.
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Old 01-31-2011, 04:58 AM   #7
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Great looking chiller. Don't suppose you want to swing by and give me some pointers?

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Old 01-31-2011, 05:02 AM   #8
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Great looking chiller. Don't suppose you want to swing by and give me some pointers?
I'd love to - but - that would be one long drive.
Just plan it out, You can do a really nice build. PM me if you want to talk it out.

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Old 01-31-2011, 01:41 PM   #9
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How about using 2 20' sections connected with a soldered coupler? I know you said you needed 50' but maybe 40' would work. I've seen many guys say they've used as little as 25' successfully.

BTW, thats my scheduled DIY project for next weekend.

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Old 01-31-2011, 04:13 PM   #10
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How about using 2 20' sections connected with a soldered coupler?
I did consider this but I'm a bit worried about my soldering ability and I think I'd always be wondering if I was going to have a leak.
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