Comparing DIY to commercial glycol chillers

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kgranger

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I've been thinking about switching from my DIY window unit hacked glycol chiller, mainly after realizing that I am spending a fortune on glycol to fill the reservoir every year for maintenance, needing about 4 gal glycol to 8 gal water to fully submerge the A/C's coils. After looking at a few models, looks like their reservoirs are much smaller, requiring a lot less glycol. After 5 years, I could see myself saving hundreds even after the initial large purchase of the chiller.

Any opinions on DIY vs commercial this context? I was looking at this BrewBuilt one, seems like it's on the cheaper end, but I only have two 15g conicals I'd be chilling: BrewBuilt™ IceMaster Max 2 Glycol Chiller With Two Built In Temperature Controllers and Pumps | MoreBeer

Looking for any other recommendations! I don't need anything crazy, but quiet operating is a plus!
 
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kgranger

kgranger

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side note: should I just swap the cooler in my DIY chiller with a slimmer, smaller capacity one to reduce how much mixture I need? Or does this not work effectively with a DIY chiller?
 

Wagon_6

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I have an Ss Brewtech and am very happy with it. I helped a buddy get and setup the brewbuilt and it’s pretty slick. I like how the pumps are built in. Only downside is heat if you need it. I think there’s a way to “hack” them into controlling a heater but it’s beyond my capabilities. Otherwise you would need a second controller. I need heat in the winters since my brewery is in the basement.
 

Bobby_M

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I built a DIY chiller with something similar to this, but not the exact model. The coil just barely squeezed in and left just enough room for maybe 3 submersible pumps.
1664574104464.png

It held just under 3 gallons. Why are you replacing your glycol every year?
 
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kgranger

kgranger

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It held just under 3 gallons. Why are you replacing your glycol every year?
Just from what I read as far as recommended maintenance if you use it regularly. But I’m no expert, so maybe this isn’t as necessary?
 
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kgranger

kgranger

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The only thing you need to worry about is the mix ratio drifting. You can either notice when ice builds up on the coil and add more glycol, or use a refractometer to check. No need to replace it.
What’s a good target gravity I should shoot for?
 
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I switched from a diy to ss brewtech a couple years ago. Mainly for a smaller footprint, but also happy with how quiet it is. I have yet to replace my glycol and it runs 2 spike cf15s.
 

SanPancho

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I've been thinking about switching from my DIY window unit hacked glycol chiller, mainly after realizing that I am spending a fortune on glycol to fill the reservoir every year for maintenance, needing about 4 gal glycol to 8 gal water to fully submerge the A/C's coils. After looking at a few models, looks like their reservoirs are much smaller, requiring a lot less glycol. After 5 years, I could see myself saving hundreds even after the initial large purchase of the chiller.

Any opinions on DIY vs commercial this context? I was looking at this BrewBuilt one, seems like it's on the cheaper end, but I only have two 15g conicals I'd be chilling: BrewBuilt™ IceMaster Max 2 Glycol Chiller With Two Built In Temperature Controllers and Pumps | MoreBeer

Looking for any other recommendations! I don't need anything crazy, but quiet operating is a plus!
Cover the glycol bath. The water will evaporate, increasing glycol ratio and decreasing your cooling power. This burns out systems often when uncovered and not maintained.

If your reservoir is too big, either move to a smaller one, or fill the excess volume. Those of us from the drought states are familiar with putting bricks or filled water bottles in toilet tanks to lower flush volume. Same deal.

Your glycol mix should be set for your lowest/crash temp. If you do 35f, you drop 10 for your delta T, then another 10ish for safety factor. So you need a glycol mix that won’t freeze until 15f. Look up a chart online for the ratio.

And to save wear and tear on the rig, set the glycol temp for the lowest temp you’re actively using- I.e. if you’re fermenting at 70 the bath only needs to be at 55-60. Lower than that and you’re wasting energy and running compressor excessively.

No reason to go spending ton of cash on new unit if you can take simple steps to dial it in.
 

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