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Old 04-18-2012, 02:42 PM   #1
Cpt_Kirks's Avatar
Sep 2008
Lakeland TN
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Right now, I cool my wort with a plate chiller fed with ice water from a 70qt cooler. I have to add water and ice to the cooler while the submersible pump is running.

I have been considering replacing the cooler with a plastic barrel. I can get 55 gallon plastic barrels fairly cheap, and cut one down to about 30 gallons, which would be perfect.

Now, I'm thinking of replacing the ice. I use three or four bags of ice per 10 gallon batch. More in the summer, when the hose water gets up to about 80*F.

If I picked up a little dorm fridge cheap off CL (school will be out soon, and those will be going for nearly nothing), and pulled the refrigeration unit out, would it be enough to get 30 gallons of tap water down to nearly freezing overnight?

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Old 04-18-2012, 05:14 PM   #2
rockytoptim's Avatar
May 2009
Livonia, MI
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My guess is no and I don't have any numbers to back this up. 30 gallons of water is a lot of thermal mass to lower from ~70 degrees (your tap water) to almost freezing. I don't think the dorm fridge will have the cooling capacity.
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Old 04-18-2012, 07:46 PM   #3
Apr 2012
Chicago, Il
Posts: 21

Here’s a lil thermodynamic calculation.
Specific Enthalpy Water @ 80 degrees=38.2 Btu/lb
Specific Enthalpy Water @ 40 degrees=8.1 btu/lb
Density of water= 8.33 lbs/gal
Avg cooling capacity of a mini fridge, aprox. =150 btu/hr
Weight of 30 gal water= 30 gal * (8.33 lbs/gal)= 250 lbs/ water
Energy @ 80 degrees = (38.2 Btu/lb)*(250 lbs)= 9550 Btu’s
Energy @ 40 degrees= (8.1 btu/lb)*(250)= 2025 Btu’s
Change in Energy = 7520 Btu’s
Time to remove 7520 Btu’s with mini fridge=(7520 btu’s)/(150 Btu/hr)= 50 hrs
So that means a normal mini fridge can take 30 gal of water from 80 degrees down to 40 degrees in about 2 full days. If you get a more powerful refrigerator you can reduce that time significantly.

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Old 04-18-2012, 08:10 PM   #4
Oct 2011
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I use my immersion chiller in a bucket with ice water to pre chill my tap water. I use about 20 lbs of ice and it takes 10 to 15 minutes to cool 5 gallons.

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Old 04-18-2012, 08:21 PM   #5
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Jun 2011
Spanish Fort, AL
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Originally Posted by Randall View Post
I use my immersion chiller in a bucket with ice water to pre chill my tap water. I use about 20 lbs of ice and it takes 10 to 15 minutes to cool 5 gallons.

I use one bag of ice in a 40 qt cooler and put a 25' 3/8" immersion chiller in it as a pre-chiller. I use an immersion chiller to cool my wort and it takes me about 15 gallons of water to get to 62*. I imagine the same set up would work as well if not better with a plate chiller.

It would probably save you a lot of money on ice and water...
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