Pump-less Ice Chiller Idea

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Cpt_Kirks

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I like my copper tube wort chiller. I can get 5.5 gallons of boiling wort down to 75*F in about 20 minutes, right now. However, as the weather warms up, the tap water will, too.

I was thinking of adding a pump and a bucket of ice water to the process, but then had the idea of eliminating the pump.

Take a regular 5 gallon bucket. Add a "gamma seal lid".



Add a garden hose fitting to the top of one side of the bucket, and another to the bottom of the opposite side of the bucket.

Attach the hose, connected to the faucet, to the top fitting. Attach a hose going to the wort chiller to the fitting on the bottom, opposite side. Fill the bucket with ice, and seal the gamma seal lid.

When you turn on the water, it will flow through the bucket of ice, into the wort chiller. No pump needed.

Sound OK?
 
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You'll be pressurizing the bucket with water, which may result in catastrophic failure. Instead, use a pre-chiller - a copper coil immersed in icewater. You still don't need a pump.
 

MacBruver

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You'd only be pressurizing the bucket with as much backpressure as the wort chiller is going to cause. You can adjust your water input so that it's not going to blow up the bucket. Personally, I think this will work fine if you manage your input pressures to the bucket. It doesn't take a lot of pressure to force water through that coil, certainly not 60 psi! On top of that, if you place the bucket up higher than the level of your kettle, it won't have to work very hard at all. You'll get gravity feed helping out along the way. Just watch out for water dripping into your brew kettle, make sure there is a drip loop.
 
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You'd be surprised at how high water pressure can get...even from the sink tap. In order to keep the bucket intact, it's possible that the flow rate would have to be very low. Perhaps it warrants some experimentation, but I'd rather use plumbing fixtures or a pressure vessel than take the risk.
 

Bobby_M

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You'd only be pressurizing the bucket with as much backpressure as the wort chiller is going to cause. You can adjust your water input so that it's not going to blow up the bucket. Personally, I think this will work fine if you manage your input pressures to the bucket. It doesn't take a lot of pressure to force water through that coil, certainly not 60 psi! On top of that, if you place the bucket up higher than the level of your kettle, it won't have to work very hard at all. You'll get gravity feed helping out along the way. Just watch out for water dripping into your brew kettle, make sure there is a drip loop.
I agree with you in theory but I actually tested it for real and it doesn't work very well. I was only able to flow the tap at 1 gallons per minute. Anything over that and the barrel was ready to explode. That was running through the cooling loop of a CFC.

Actually, this is the thread I meant to link to, where I actually tried it...

https://www.homebrewtalk.com/f51/inline-coolant-chiller-no-pond-pump-required-79825/
 

Duckfoot

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At US Plastics they are $7.64...

You can get this pump for $6 more and not use up 20 minutes (or longer with rising tap water temps) worth of water every time you want to chill wort...

And I have seen the pump priced at $8.99 (IIRC) on one of the many sales that HF has...

Just a thought...
 

Beerrific

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Similar to what Hopaholic mentioned....

Here is an option that has worked for me and costs nothing (if you use a cooler MLT):

1. Once your down to where you want to switch to ice, put your cooler MLT up on a table above the kettle.
2. Put a big bag of ice in the cooler.
3. Attach the end of your IC to the spigot from your MLT.
4. Use the hose to fill up the cooler.
5. Open the spigot.

The pressure from having the cooler full and up on a table (or whatever) produces a pretty good flow. You might have to start the siphon manually.

In the summers I take the wort to 100F with the tap water and then use this method to take it the rest of the way. I know it take more water than recirculating with a pump, but I save the water to water plants. I have been able to get down to ale pitching temps with one cooler worth of water and there is still in in there (so it is at 32F).
 
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