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Old 02-15-2010, 07:03 PM   #1
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Default Immersion Chillers - why does cold water feed the bottom of coil?

I was reworking my IC yesterday and when hooking up my inlet & outlet hoses, I thought: If heat rises, why send the cold water feed to the bottom of the coil (where wort is cooler) vs sending it to the top of the coil where the heat is of the wort is greatest?

Wouldn't it be adventageous to have the coldest water meet the warmest wort - that's at the top?

Just wondering what the thought is on this.

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Old 02-15-2010, 07:15 PM   #2
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I would think that the wort would be hotter at the bottom due to the contact with the bottom of the pan. Just like soup in a bowl... it cools at the surface quicker than at the bottom where there is no air.

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Old 02-15-2010, 07:31 PM   #3
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I can only guess that because you’re shooting cold water directly to the bottom of the coil and then having it work its way up, you’re getting broader coverage of cold/cool water throughout the wort.

That cold water heats up very quickly once it enters the submerged tubing and if it begins to coil on the down-direction instead of the up direction, the span of cold/cool water is smaller.
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Old 02-15-2010, 08:02 PM   #4
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Probably because someone didn't think it through. Feeding cold water to the bottom of the cooler will result in stratification if you don't stir. Some coolers are designed with most of the coils near the top, but that can be a problem if you have a wide kettle and they aren't submerged.

Gentle stirring speeds up the process, regardless of the flow direction or coil configuration.
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Old 02-15-2010, 08:51 PM   #5
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My IC is set up with the same connections on the IN as well as the OUT. Never really paid attention which end I hooked up to the house or drain. So, basically I haven't noticed any difference in over a year of using it.
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Old 02-15-2010, 09:59 PM   #6
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without having a good picture in my head what it is you have going on I can tell you that I got enormous improvement in my immersion heat exchanger when I did three things:
1.) I added an extra coil that runs horizontal inside the larger diameter coil that coils vertically
2.) ran each coil on fresh cold water to double the cold water flowing through the coils
3.) and raised the whole rig on little legs to keep it up near the top of the wort.

The result is I get un-stratified cooling of the wort 'cause the cold wort falls and the warm rises. The thermally driven movement of the warm and cold wort does all the stirring for me.
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Old 02-15-2010, 10:21 PM   #7
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I always hook mine up so the cold water goes into the top.
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Old 02-16-2010, 04:38 AM   #8
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I always stir my IC. It decreases the chill time from 20-25 min to 12 min.
I have a cheap home-made IC, the copper tube is probably too thin, but it's long, and it's a real messy coil, but I use it to stir the cooling wort and it works great. It takes about 10 gallons of cold tap water to chill 5 gallons from boiling to almost room temp. in 12 minutes.
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Old 02-16-2010, 04:42 AM   #9
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Air rises, so having water go in at the bottom and out the top ensures that no air pockets will build up?
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Old 02-16-2010, 04:47 AM   #10
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here's my 50' x .375. i cool top and bottom with separate coils.

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