How do YOU try to reduce your water usage?

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seatazzz

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So we all know that beer brewing uses a LOT of water; for the strike, the sparge, chilling, cleaning, etc. Depending on where you live, water usage might not be very cheap. So, my question to all; how do you strive to reduce your water usage? No-chill, ice from the store, re-use water for cleaning, what have you. Here's me: I use a plate chiller, aka BIG water eater. If that chilling water is just running out into the street, down the drain, it's $$. Recently I started running my water-out hose from the chiller into the backyard; this gives the added bonus of watering the backyard, and the slightly snarky bonus of some of my nosier neighbors not making nasty comments about me "wasting" water. I heat up a few extra gallons of water with the sparge; what's left in the HLT after brewday is used to flush the pump, hoses, and chiller (both ways), and runs into the then-empty BK. That water (still hot!) is then used to scrub out the BK. Then it gets drained into my industrial mop bucket, and is used to clean up any spills/messes on the garage floor. By that time it's kinda dirty, but my garage floor doesn't care; a bit of fabuloso added to the bucket and we are sparkling clean. Dirty fabuloso mop water then gets dumped down the toilet, not to the street; makes the bathroom smell better, and I use the brush to do a quick scrub of the bowl as well.
 

madscientist451

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Wash the dog, dump in the washing machine and do a load of laundry, clean various things, but most of the time the extra water goes out to the lawn.
When its cold outside (below freezing) I just set the BK out on the back porch or in the snow if there is any and by morning, its chilled.
 

mashinary

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I run the output from the immersion chiller in to the mash tun so I have hot water for cleaning. Once I chill down to about 80, I switch from using the hose to a pond pump in a cooler filled with ice I made from other waste water. I use much less water and I can get 11 gallons of wort down to pitching temps quickly.
 

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I try to conserve water generally everyday with low flow aerators and water sense fixtures. I also have all the parts for a rainwater catchment system for my garden but it was late in the year to set up and I haven't had a chance to get the piping in.

I wasn't much considering my brewing usage as I was using my extra HLT water to clean my MT. But someone here mentioned capturing their plate chiller water so the last few brews I've been running that into 2 watering cans and a water barrel I have. It's not rain barrel sized, the next size down when you see food safe barrels for sale. Since I don't know the size plus it is not opaque I don't know quite how many gallons I capture. It's probably 10‐15 gallons total, there's about 5 gallons in the watering cans.

I still then use about 10-12 in cleaning the BK, HERMS coil, and the plate chiller. This I could capture...what's in say a PBW clone (All free and clear + TSP90). Regular TSP is not good because it has too much phosphate hence the alternative. I kind of was considering that part of cleaning as grey water. I just drain in my driveway. Goes to my own backyard. If it is safe for a vegetable garden I could use there but the rest of the yard needs no irrigation. If it needs to go to the treatment plant I have no problem doing that either, just didn't think much about it. All free and clear, TSP90, and no rinse Starsan are all sort of mild.
 

csantoni

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I capture the first 10 gallons or so of chilling water (IC) for cleaning and rinsing BK and all parts and accessories. My fermentation chilling is via a water chiller so I can easily switch it to chill my IC water once I’ve captured the first, hottest 10 gal.
 

MaxStout

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I capture the first 10 gallons or so of chilling water (IC) for cleaning and rinsing BK and all parts and accessories. My fermentation chilling is via a water chiller so I can easily switch it to chill my IC water once I’ve captured the first, hottest 10 gal.
I do the same thing, saving the first couple buckets of hot IC discharge water for kettle cleaning. The rest I use to water trees and shrubs around the yard.
 

CascadesBrewer

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Recently I started running my water-out hose from the chiller into the backyard; this gives the added bonus of watering the backyard, and the slightly snarky bonus of some of my nosier neighbors not making nasty comments about me "wasting" water.
Running your chilling water out into the yard sure seems like wasting to me. It is probably a little better than just running it down the storm drain though.

I don't live in an area where water is scare or expensive, but I do what I can. I limit my immersion chiller use to filling 3 buckets...one of those is for cleaning, one is for rinsing, and the third is bonus where my chiller usually gets a soak. I will then try to use this water for my potted plants or to water my hop plants. I use a mild plant based detergent, so I don't have an issue using the cleaning water in my garden. I have used a clean-ish bucket of water for flushing toilets.
 

jerrylotto

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Running water through my RO filter / membrane is the most wasteful step in my process. If I could find a use for the effluent, I would collect it, but the toilet tanks are all full and I don't have a dog. Distillation with a closed loop condenser and chiller would be more water efficient but much less so with the energy usage.
 

hottpeper13

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My RO filter is not piped to a pressure tank so I get 1 good gal for every waste gal. My pump for it pushes at 90 psi,and I end up with 5 TDS.
I put the effluent in the washing machine at with 1/2 tap water.

My house water is put thru a softener so watering plants and trees is out, but I capture all my chilling water for brewery clean up and the washing machine.

Also I use a trick that the big guys use and that is to throttle the incoming to the chiller so the output stays hot.
 

Mad Mann

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My home made dual circuit chilling system wastes no water each time I brew. Mixed distilled water with food grade Glycol for the coolant. Used Pex tubing buried in the yard to take the initial temp from 190 down to 130 then switch over to my home made glycol chiller. No wasted water at all for chilling.
 

cookinwood

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I use about 13-14 gallons for 5 gallon batches
9 for mashing/brewing
4-5 to clean up
This is the giant water saver….. I have a small top load freezer I think it’s 8cuft. Like $100 at the blue hardware store that’s set to 4f with 15 gallons of glycol mix in 3 5 gallon buckets. When brewing I use a blichmann brew easy v1 10gal
To chill, I recirculate wort using the pump, which passes over a thermometer before running through a plate chiller. On the water side I pull the glycol through with a small aquarium pump that I can pull from bucket to bucket that delivers to a bigger March pump (the anvil branded one I don’t know what it’s called….) to achieve good lift flow to return it to the bucket.
I recirculate for 10 minutes (adding any late additions or not) to drop the temp from boil to about 185-190 before turning on the glycol flow. Once turning on the glycol flow I set a timer for 10 minutes for each bucket. It takes around 40minutes total without using ground water with this system.. I think this acceptable.
After writing this I have thought about removing the aquarium pump and attaching spigots to the bottom of the bucket and gravity feed the anvil pump. Lol
 

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Deadalus

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I use about 13-14 gallons for 5 gallon batches
9 for mashing/brewing
4-5 to clean up
This is the giant water saver….. I have a small top load freezer I think it’s 8cuft. Like $100 at the blue hardware store that’s set to 4f with 15 gallons of glycol mix in 3 5 gallon buckets. When brewing I use a blichmann brew easy v1 10gal
To chill, I recirculate wort using the pump, which passes over a thermometer before running through a plate chiller. On the water side I pull the glycol through with a small aquarium pump that I can pull from bucket to bucket that delivers to a bigger March pump (the anvil branded one I don’t know what it’s called….) to achieve good lift flow to return it to the bucket.
I recirculate for 10 minutes (adding any late additions or not) to drop the temp from boil to about 185-190 before turning on the glycol flow. Once turning on the glycol flow I set a timer for 10 minutes for each bucket. It takes around 40minutes total without using ground water with this system.. I think this acceptable.
After writing this I have thought about removing the aquarium pump and attaching spigots to the bottom of the bucket and gravity feed the anvil pump. Lol
That's a 10 gallon batch as your example then? Is that for ale temps?

Does that system have good whirlpooling and if so does the trub settle out in that time frame?
 

Deadalus

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My home made dual circuit chilling system wastes no water each time I brew. Mixed distilled water with food grade Glycol for the coolant. Used Pex tubing buried in the yard to take the initial temp from 190 down to 130 then switch over to my home made glycol chiller. No wasted water at all for chilling.
Have you written this up somewhere? Sounds cool, would be interested to read more about.

Several interesting ideas so far, keep them coming!
 

McMullan

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I don't bother washing the car. My kids share bath water, after me, the wife and the dog, (in that pecking order) once a week. And our dog stinks. Fortunately, we don't have any water shortages where we are. Touch wood! I dread to imagine how I'd save enough for brewing otherwise. I used what became a surplus immersion chiller in a bucket of home-made ice connected to a CFC to help chill a lager wort over the summer. I reckon it would dramatically reduce my brewing water consumption if I did it routinely during the warmer months, when the tap water isn't as cool. That's assuming space is available in the freezer to make ice.
 

Mad Mann

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Have you written this up somewhere? Sounds cool, would be interested to read more about.

Several interesting ideas so far, keep them coming!
Have not written it up yet but I do have a schematic. Brew Your Own magazine has not responded to my inquiry yet. If you are aware of another venue, I'd love to try it.
 

cookinwood

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That's a 10 gallon batch as your example then? Is that for ale temps?

Does that system have good whirlpooling and if so does the trub settle out in that time frame?
This is for 5 gallon batches. The whirlpool is more for circulation of the wort through the pump/plate chiller. I would have to take a picture/video when I brew next to show the process. Because I am reintroducing the wort back into the boiling pot not into the fermenter after the plate chiller. Once the circulation is at least sub 68f that’s when I transfer to the fermenter. It’s not ideal, I know, but it aerates the wort and is acceptable for me. I could probably cut the 40minutes in half transferring straight to the fermenter if I could guarantee that the first pass of the wort through the plate chiller is cool enough.
 

Gilbert Spinning Horse

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BIAB, no sparge, no chill is 50L of water for 23L of wort.
Have you tried no boil too? I bring the wort up to 78ºC then toss in the whirlpool hops, put the lid on and leave it for a couple of hours. That drops it to 60C then with the drain off into the fermenter you're down to 50C. Give that a couple more hours sitting and its down to pitching temps. That'll drop your water consumption further as your starting off with your final amount of water plus grain absorption. Makes a great beer too.
 

Staticsouls

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Tldr sorry if this has been said

I stopped using my cfc and ic. I now freeze ice blocks and put them in my hlt. I recirculate to make it semi cfc. It's been pretty efficient for me I use about 30 gallons total in a brew day and yield 9 gallons of wort.
 

GoodTruble

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I just tried my first no-chill 5 gallon batch this weekend. Just let it cool down in the kettle to 95 degrees (took about 5-6 hours), and then transferred to a fermenter I set inside a mini-fridge until it reached 70 degrees (about 1 hour). Will see how it turns out. If the beer is good, I will gladly adopt this approach.

i also have hot-fill/no-chill bags from morebeer that I plan to test out during winter. Hot Fill Bags - Pack of 10 | MoreBeer
 

Ninoid

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Have you tried no boil too? I bring the wort up to 78ºC then toss in the whirlpool hops, put the lid on and leave it for a couple of hours. That drops it to 60C then with the drain off into the fermenter you're down to 50C. Give that a couple more hours sitting and its down to pitching temps. That'll drop your water consumption further as your starting off with your final amount of water plus grain absorption. Makes a great beer too.
I tried a dozen times to make a good No Boil beer, but I failed so I gave up. The beer would change the taste and spoil after less than a month in the bottles, I could not get the real and pleasant bitterness of hops, and it was not clear. Now I have a 30 minute boil and stand for another 30 minutes until the temperature drops below 70'C so I can pour it into a sealed plastic fermenter where it stands for about 24 hours before the yeast pitch and place airlock.
 

crazyjake19

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From my immersion chiller, the first 5 gallons is collected and mixed with PBW to go back into the brew kettle after transferring the wort to the fermenter. I let that hot PBW mix sit in the kettle for a few hours or whenever it's convenient to rinse.

After the first 5 gallons, the rest is collected for water the garden, trees, and berry bushes during the spring, summer, and fall. I also fill my Kratky hydroponic 5 gallon buckets for growing peppers, tomatoes, alpine strawberries, basil, etc as necessary.

I have an RO system which I have not yet hooked up, but I'm more concerned about utilizing the effluent from that, depending on how much I end up with. The main gutter downspout from the back of our house is just outside my brew room, so I'm concocting a plan to add a rainwater collection barrel, which my RO effluent will also be directed to, which will hopefully balance out the higher concentration of residual minerals.
 
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I run off my cooling water into three connected 55G rain barrels which are then used to water the yard. Used cleaning solutions degrease the driveway (classic British cars, they leak a bit). I am getting an RO system soon, and I will be piping the effluent from that into the same rain runoff system. As I brew more, though, I am going to max out those barrels before I use the water in the yard, especially in the winter when I brew more (and we get the occasional storm in Los Angeles). I never thought of putting some of the water into the clothes washer, especially the hot water that comes out of the plate chiller first. Brilliant!
 

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