Immersion Chiller - Pump Recommendations

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All,

I'm building an immersion chiller this Friday from 50' of 1/2 copper tubing. My goal is to purchase a pump that goes into a cooler filled with ice water to pump the chilled water through the coil and back into the cooler (keeps the waste to a minimum). Can anyone recommend a pump or any specs to look at?
 

Pimp Juice

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ice will melt real quick. Dunno the math on it but 212 down to 70 with 32... you may need twice as much ice as wort.
 

ChillyP

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I recently went this route(I live in Texas). I bought the 1 HP Submersible off Ebay for $22(shipping included). It was missing parts but I didn't care. I went to Lowes and found what I need. A mock up and then glued together and it was a go.



I use my Mashtun to hold the ice water. I use my garden hose to take the initial temperature down, then I switch to the chiller. Works like a champ.
 

ebeer

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I use a 1/6HP utility pump I found used on Craigslist for $10.

You definitely don't want to cycle the icewater until you've hit a your temperature has stalled with tap water. For me (Northern California) I chill with tap water through my IC until I reach 80F. This takes about 10-15 minutes. Then I switch over to the utility pump in a cooler with ice. One bag of ice will take me from 85f to 68F in another 10-15 minutes. So for total cooling time, half of which I'm not wasting any water I can get right to pitch pitch temp for ales. For lagers, I add another bag of ice at 68F and can get down to 50F or lower in another 15 minutes. It's a great set up.

One thing that really helps the cooling is to rig a whirlpool around the IC. It's amazing how much the increased surface area will cut chill time.
 

Bru

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I use a 3W fountain pump and it works fine. Just make sure it can pump at least 350L / hr and has a fountain height of 1.5m. My first pump was a 1W / 200L / hr / 0.6m height and it wasn't strong enough.
 

Mosa

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I started doing this about 2 batches ago. Here's the pump I use:

- Harbor Freight Tools - Quality Tools at the Lowest Prices

As per other people's suggestions, I cool with tap water until 100F, then recirc through the pump. Takes about 20-30 minutes to get to 68 for me.

I also used this to clean kegs, got that idea from someone else on the forum. Its not the most powerful pump in the world, but it works.
 

BreWirfel

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I am working on a similar setup. My plan is to use the hose for the first 10-15 mins and keep the water for cleaning and watering the plants (now that it is nice and warm) then using the ice bath for the remaining 20-30 degrees
 

Sizz

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Just curious, why are you all not going with a counterflow? You can get a 30 plate chiller from dudadiesel.com for $80. Small footprint and very efficient.
 

the_Roqk

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Just curious, why are you all not going with a counterflow? You can get a 30 plate chiller from dudadiesel.com for $80. Small footprint and very efficient.

Counterflows are nice and work great (I've seen a few in action) but to me you waste too much water. That's MHO.

Wouldn't the plate chiller still need a pump(s) to push both the cool water and hot wort through. It looks nice but cost effective is what some here are after. I'm not knocking that approach to cooling. It's just that for some brewers it needs to be affordable.
 

EvilGnome6

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.....

That's the same one that I've been using for the past year and a half. Does a decent job. I really need to upgrade to the one in my first post. Getting to pitching temps quickly helps alot.
I picked one of those up but the problem I have with it is that it has a thermal protection. I don't have a garden hose so I have to recirculate tap water for the whole process and dump/refill the water several times before I start using ice. Tap water out in AZ is 90F during the summer and once the recirculating water hits about 110F, the pump shuts off.

I'll just be using a March pump going forward (I know, way overkill but at least it'll work and last forever).
 

ChillyP

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Counterflows are nice and work great (I've seen a few in action) but to me you waste too much water. That's MHO.

Wouldn't the plate chiller still need a pump(s) to push both the cool water and hot wort through. It looks nice but cost effective is what some here are after. I'm not knocking that approach to cooling. It's just that for some brewers it needs to be affordable.
My biggest complaint with a CounterFlow chiller is that it can be a pain to clean. I know someone will harp on me saying it's not much harder than an immersion chiller, but by the time I'm boiling my wort, I already have my Mashtun cleaned. Also I don't have a hot liquor tank to use to sanitize it. All I have to do it rinse off my immersion chiller and empty the mash tun. Then I just have to leave the pump out in the sun to dry. :mug:
 

Bobby_M

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Honestly it doesn't matter what kind of chiller you use. If your tap water is over 65F, you'll need an icewater pump anyway. I agree with the idea of knocking most of the heat out with tap water first, then switch to the icewater. When we talk about waste, we cannot ignore the electricity required to make the ice. It's much more green to use 10 gallons of tap followed by 10 pounds of ice rather than 30 pounds of ice for example.
 

Bacon_grease

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Counterflows are nice and work great (I've seen a few in action) but to me you waste too much water. That's MHO.
The exit of my CFC goes out to lawn sprinkler, so it's not wasted. I am planning on a venturi pump (Wort Wizard) to make even more use of the chill water.

Granted, the sprinkler doesn't throw far due to the reduced head pressure, but it's good enough to water the fig tree.
 

Schnitzengiggle

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I picked one of those up but the problem I have with it is that it has a thermal protection. I don't have a garden hose so I have to recirculate tap water for the whole process and dump/refill the water several times before I start using ice. Tap water out in AZ is 90F during the summer and once the recirculating water hits about 110F, the pump shuts off.

I'll just be using a March pump going forward (I know, way overkill but at least it'll work and last forever).
I think you have to live in a climate like ours to truly understand the water temperature problem.:(
 

pnh2atl

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We cut down on waste by collecting the hot water in a cooler and then use it to wash with. There is a never ending amount of stuff to wash.

We use a hose and put the hose into a large flower pot and put ice on it to precool our GA tap water.

Nick
 

EonBlue66

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Block ice lasts longer than cubed and you can recycle the water if you freeze your own ice blocks.
 

Bobby_M

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In this scenario, making the ice last longer isn't a goal. Melting the ice is what makes the water colder. In an ideal situation, you'd add 20 pounds of pea sized ice cubes.
 

scotsmn30

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Just started doing this with my last brew. I have a 1/6 HP submersible pump that works great. I just fill a cooler with water from the hose, run the water through till the cooler is empty, refill with 5 gallons of water, 20 lbs ice and recurculated. Total time from boil to 68 degress was less than 30 on a 95 degree day. Total water cunsumptions was 10 gal. and I used the run off of the inital cooler full for cleaning since it was nice and hot.:ban:
 

ChillyP

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I guess I could update my system and put a heater core in between my Wort Chiller out and the cooler. Then attach a couple of computer fans to blow through the heater core to lower the waters return temp a little before it returns....I might have to think about that one...
 

the_Roqk

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I say to the original poster to find whatever will work for you at this moment in time. Actually you'll probably find a way to continually upgrade your system. Keep doing that. We all are here to find what works the best with the least amount of effort. Atleast that's what I try to do.



BTW I get my ice for the immersion chiller for free at work.
 
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There's nothing worse than asking advice without telling you what I actually bought. After all the research, I went with this:

Flotec 1/6 HP, 1470 GPH Submersible Utility Pump

It seems like ~1500 GPH might be overkill, but here is the setup:

  1. Giant keg bucket with ice water and the pump in it
  2. ~1500 GPH pumps to a 4 ft hose that ends in a Y splitter
  3. Each side of the Y outputs to a 50' 1/2 copper homemade immersion chiller
  4. The chillers return to a giant keg bucket and get recirculated

My buddy and I always brew a batch at the same time, so this way we can cool two 5 gallon batches down simultaneously. Might be slightly ice intensive, but the way the chillers will be built, we should be able to switch from hose to ice bath by just disconnecting and reconnecting the garden hose.

Once I get the chillers built (this Friday), I'll take some pictures of what the final setup look likes and post them. Let me know if you have any questions!
 

jldc

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I don't know if it's any better or not, but I use this pump from Harbor Freight.

I brew in the backyard near my swimming pool, so in the winter I don't need any ice at all. In the summer (my pool is now 95+) I use about 15 lbs of ice to cool 6 gallons to 65 in 20-25 min. Works like a charm.
 

springer

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9.99 at Sears used it all this summer and last winter to get the Lager down to pitching temps I'm a cheap bastid ..

 

SpanishCastleAle

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Can't tell what's holding the pump head springer...so it doesn't spin. I have one of those but it's full of 10yo marine lower unit oil residue.

Lots of good pumps mentioned...most are cheaper and more powerful than what I use (a small pond pump).

I also use frozen water bottles (same ones I use to regulate ale ferm temps) to prechill the water before adding the ice...makes it last a tiny bit longer (I leave the water bottles in the whole time). My tap water isn't as warm as the AZ guys but it's still quite warm.
 

springer

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Can't tell what's holding the pump head springer...so it doesn't spin. I have one of those but it's full of 10yo marine lower unit oil residue.

Lots of good pumps mentioned...most are cheaper and more powerful than what I use (a small pond pump).

I also use frozen water bottles (same ones I use to regulate ale ferm temps) to prechill the water before adding the ice...makes it last a tiny bit longer (I leave the water bottles in the whole time). My tap water isn't as warm as the AZ guys but it's still quite warm.
nothing but the hose, it really cant twist when its hooked up.
 

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lustreking

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I started doing this about 2 batches ago. Here's the pump I use:

- Harbor Freight Tools - Quality Tools at the Lowest Prices

As per other people's suggestions, I cool with tap water until 100F, then recirc through the pump. Takes about 20-30 minutes to get to 68 for me.

I also used this to clean kegs, got that idea from someone else on the forum. Its not the most powerful pump in the world, but it works.
.....

That's the same one that I've been using for the past year and a half. Does a decent job. I really need to upgrade to the one in my first post. Getting to pitching temps quickly helps alot.
I, too, use that pump. It works surprisingly well considering the specs and price. I think I got it on sale for ~$12 or something.
 

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