I'm still doing five gallon extract batches. I'm about to get a wort chiller. How much would a pre chiller help at this level? Seems like a lot of money for possibly little result. Do I really need a pre chiller?
I'm in Georgia. My tap water is fairly cool. I'll start with a chiller then see if I need a pre chiller. I've been sticking the pot in an ice bath. Hopefully a chiller will be better than that. If I do an ice bath and a chiller that should help.
I've not needed a pre-chiller but I live in Michigan....but all you really need for a "pre-chiller" is to get a 20 dollar immersion pond pump and a bucket of ice water (and some salt). Put your immersion chiller in your brew kettle as usual, but instead of hooking up your IC to the hose you hook up your immersion pump and plunge it into the bucket of ice water with or without the salt, and run that through your chiller, after that you hook up your hose as usual....or you can use your hose, take it down to ground water temp, then swap it for your ice bath...using your hose as the pre-chiller....in fact the guy that taught me that sometimes doesn't bother with his hose, just keeps refilling the bucket and letting the pump do the work.
Another pumping option is one of those handrill driven pumps, you just stick a short length of garden hose into the bucket, and connect the other end to your IC.