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10ACbrew

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Hi, I recently switched to a counterflow chiller from IC. I use a March pump located on the bottom of my brew stand which goes to the CFC which is positioned on the stand with wort out at same level as Whirlpool port on kettle. So, the cycle is Kettle to Pump to CFC back to Whirlpool arm of kettle.

Question 1) After sanitation whirlpool, I remove hose from whirlpool port on kettle and pump into fermenter. When I stop the pump to disconnect the hose, I end up with air bubbles and have difficulty getting the flow re-started. Is the CFC located in the correct position or should I relocate it to avoid the air bubble issue?

Question 2) Any thoughts on recirculating from CFC back to kettle until Pitch Temp is reached, then either draining or pumping into fermenter? I'm not sure what happens to the cold break I was accustomed to seeing in bottom of kettle when I used the IC.

Thank you for your thoughts and responses.
 

Vale71

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What you're seeing in the kettle is hot trub. Pumping back into the kettle means turning your CFC back into an immersion chiller only with added complexity. CFCs must be used in single-pass mode to take advantage of their high transfer efficiency.

As for flow not starting correctly what matters is the position of your pump and not the chiller. Since it's a non-self-priming pump it needs to be positioned as low as possible so that it will self-prime through hydrostatic pressure alone.
 
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you could also plumb in a tee with a ball valve on your output to bleed the air out when you start your pump again. so on the bottom of my pump (output) i have a ss female pipe tee, it threads onto the pump then i have a ball valve on the other 2 ends of the tee, one pointing forward with a male quick connect and the other points straight down with a barb that i stick a bucket under, anytime i get an air pocket when i turn my pump on i just open that valve for a quick second and it purges the air, then close and pump away.
 
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10ACbrew

10ACbrew

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What you're seeing in the kettle is hot trub. Pumping back into the kettle means turning your CFC back into an immersion chiller only with added complexity. CFCs must be used in single-pass mode to take advantage of their high transfer efficiency.

As for flow not starting correctly what matters is the position of your pump and not the chiller. Since it's a non-self-priming pump it needs to be positioned as low as possible so that it will self-prime through hydrostatic pressure alone.
Thank you, Vale71. Good point on turning the CFC back into an IC. As for the pump location, it is already well below the BK. So, my thought now, based on hydrostatic pressure is that too much wort during sanitation recycle must have gone back to BK leaving an air pocket somewhere in the circuit.
 

NewJersey

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I also have a cfc and pump back in to the whirlpool port until I see out temps at whatever is desired into the fermenter. With my cold winter groundwater this has been literally a couple minutes. If nothing else you could lump back into the kettle only long enough to see how slow you need to pass the wort through the chiller to have it be cool enough to go directly into fermenter.
 

ScrewyBrewer

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Question 1) After sanitation whirlpool, I remove hose from whirlpool port on kettle and pump into fermenter.
I have a somewhat similar setup and disconnect the hose from the pump to the whirlpool port then connect the kettle outlet directly to the inlet of the CFC letting the fermenter fill by gravity. The only way to get my tap water to cool the wort to pitching temperature which takes awhile especially in Summer.
2020-05-29 12.16.16.jpg
 
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From what I've read, March/Chugger pumps should have the outlet oriented up to avoid air pockets. From your pic, yours are the opposite. You might try rotating the head and see if it primes easier.
well thanks for that... honestly that makes a lot more sense. I set it up how the spike directions told me to but never looked at anything for the pumps themselves. i have had it this way for 2 years and honestly dont have any issues using the drain valve occasionally to purge air. in any case ill flip them for my next brew day and see what that does for me. thanks
 
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10ACbrew

10ACbrew

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I have a somewhat similar setup and disconnect the hose from the pump to the whirlpool port then connect the kettle outlet directly to the inlet of the CFC letting the fermenter fill by gravity. The only way to get my tap water to cool the wort to pitching temperature which takes awhile especially in Summer.
View attachment 716051
That makes good sense. I was trying to just keep everything going through pump but may need to switch to gravity. My stand has burner pretty low so it would require some reconfiguring but it is a good idea. Thanks for the suggestion.
 
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I dont know why spike has them set up this way, i guess it doubles as an easy way to drain the kettles at the end of the day. once i hit my pre boil volume i turn the pump off and let any leftover runnings drain into a bucket via that valve. 3vessel herms btw. kind of a moot point for the OP so ill bow out as to not hijack his thread. brew on fellas.

cheers!
 
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You should, as a rule of thumb, always flow downwards on pumps that are not self-priming. Having a loop that goes down, and then back up to the pump, is a good way to get air bubbles.

One thing that has not been mentioned is that you can sometimes get STEAM bubbles when you create a vacuum at boiling/near-boiling temps. It has me puzzled when I first started using my new kettle and a pump that I would see "air bubbles" in my kettle drain, when in fact it was steam.

MC
 
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You should, as a rule of thumb, always flow downwards on pumps that are not self-priming. Having a loop that goes down, and then back up to the pump, is a good way to get air bubbles.

One thing that has not been mentioned is that you can sometimes get STEAM bubbles when you create a vacuum at boiling/near-boiling temps. It has me puzzled when I first started using my new kettle and a pump that I would see "air bubbles" in my kettle drain, when in fact it was steam.

MC
Thanks, Misplaced_Canuck! I reconfigured the placement of the CFC yesterday and was successful in getting through a walk through with just water so hoping for smooth transition for next brew day.
 

Beenym88

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This post made me feel better I just got a CFC and had so much trouble on my brew day on Tuesday I bailed on it and used my immersion chiller. Definitely want to work the kinks out to save water and time. The other issue I have with it is getting the thing to dry it seems impossible to get it to fully drain.
 

Jtvann

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You should, as a rule of thumb, always flow downwards on pumps that are not self-priming. Having a loop that goes down, and then back up to the pump, is a good way to get air bubbles.

One thing that has not been mentioned is that you can sometimes get STEAM bubbles when you create a vacuum at boiling/near-boiling temps. It has me puzzled when I first started using my new kettle and a pump that I would see "air bubbles" in my kettle drain, when in fact it was steam.

MC
I never knew this. I thought that you should route your lines so that the pump was fed from the bottom and flowed up. This so that any air bubbles would float up through the pump as the rose.
 

Vale71

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One thing that has not been mentioned is that you can sometimes get STEAM bubbles when you create a vacuum at boiling/near-boiling temps. It has me puzzled when I first started using my new kettle and a pump that I would see "air bubbles" in my kettle drain, when in fact it was steam.
That's in fact air. Even at near boiling temps steam bubbles would be extremely short-lived and collapse within milliseconds. This can only happen in the pump head itself and causes the issue known as cavitation. If you see any bubbles traveling through the lines it can only be air and you should check your connections for possible air ingress.
 
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That's in fact air. Even at near boiling temps steam bubbles would be extremely short-lived and collapse within milliseconds. This can only happen in the pump head itself and causes the issue known as cavitation. If you see any bubbles traveling through the lines it can only be air and you should check your connections for possible air ingress.
Negative captain. It's steam. Once it gets near the pump, it does collapse. I'm going Kettle -> (hose) -> Pump -> (hose) -> Plate chiller, and there is no "air" coming out of the plate chiller. Ever. And the pump and plate chiller (and hoses) are not leaking.

MC
 
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I never knew this. I thought that you should route your lines so that the pump was fed from the bottom and flowed up. This so that any air bubbles would float up through the pump as the rose.
Let me rephrase: You should flow downwards TO the pump, and up FROM the pump out. For one thing, a mag-drive pump just won't prime if it's higher than the level of the liquid.

MC
 

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Negative captain. It's steam. Once it gets near the pump, it does collapse. I'm going Kettle -> (hose) -> Pump -> (hose) -> Plate chiller, and there is no "air" coming out of the plate chiller. Ever. And the pump and plate chiller (and hoses) are not leaking.

MC
To vale71’s comment about checking connections, I’ll say that I recently switched from camlock connections on everything to hard plumbing on the pump inlet side and camlocks on the out. I’ve noticed a lot less bubbles.

You guys can have fun arguing whether the bubbles are air or steam.
 
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