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rdrivas

Making a wort chiller...

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Decided to build a wort chiller for 1/2 the cost of buying one...still working out the coils so that they are much rounder than when i started but so far so good!


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I just made one. I had a choice of 3/8 20' or 3/8 50'. I went with the 20, to keep costs down. $20 for the copper tubing, $1.50 for 2 hose clamps, and I think $1.87 for 10' of vynal tubing. I had a dishwasher hose adapter to hook up to garden hose. Copper tube was coiled aready, I just slightly expanded it. I used it today, took 30 minutes to cool to 70*. Should have increased water pressure....

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"rogergoochman" post=354102 said:

Ive seen people roll the coils around a paint can to get nice tight coils. Just a tip!

I started to do that with mine and was having trouble shaping the 1/2" ID tubing I was using. I ended up coiling it by pushing it around the inside of a 5-gallon plastic bucket. That worked really well.

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"m3n00b" post=354175 said:

I like it! Parts list?

Mine?

I got everything from a plumbing contractor supply place that will cut tubing and pipe to the length you want.

22' 1/2" ID copper tubing
3' 1/2" ID copper hard pipe
4- 90* slip joints
1- 45* slip joint
Slip joint garden hose connectors, one male, one female
Lead-free solder and flux

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Looks good Floyd. I wish I had the funds to go 1/2". I had plenty of old 90's and straight pipe from a boiler replacement, so I supplimented my 3/8 od with a pre chiller. Still didn't work as well as other reports on here. I'll try increasing water flow next time to see if it helps.

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rd, nice job. I especially like the way you have the inlet and outlet pipes FAR APART, unlike the commercial ones or other home-mades I've seen. Those with the inlet and outlet pipes bound together make for a neat package, but they HEAT THE COOLING WATER on its way in.

I made one last week, wrapping the coils around a paint can, out of 20' of 1/4" tubing. It cooled 2 gallons of boiling water to 75 degrees in 13 minutes. The narrower tubing allows for more efficient (water-saving) heat transfer than 1/2 or 3/8", because of the higher surface-area-to-volume ratio (sounds counter-intuitive, I know).

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For 6 gallons, it can't be beat unless you step up to a counter-flow or plate chiller. ($$ - cha-ching!). When I'm doing a small (LBK) batch inside, I just do the ice bath. It's less of a hassle than hooking up and running the big dog chiller.

When planning this build, I spoke with my oldest son who is a mechanical engineer. He explained that, in an "open" thermal exchange cooling system (which this is), the important factors for fastest cooling are:

1) "temperature differential" - which is why you go from boiling to 120*F really fast and then it creeps the rest of the way. In Texas, my hose water never gets below 60*F, so the last 15-20* on the way to 66-67*F for ales is slow unless I chill my hose water with ice and pump it - necessary here except in mid-winter.

2) surface area of exchange and thermal conductivity of the material - this is why plate chillers are so stinkin' fast

3) flow rate of coolant - the chiller models that use vinyl lines have a problem with this over time. The hot water coming out causes the outlet line to kink at the connection and restricts flow. The lines have to be replaced with silicone tubing to fix that. I really like the garden hose connections on mine. Very easy to work with. The water moves through with very little obstruction and is replaced with fresh, unheated water quickly. I wasn't looking for a way to save water. I rarely go over my base monthly amount anyway unless it's a really dry, hot summer. Fast cooling 6-gallons of wort is my goal and the 1/2" does a nice job.

4) prevention of "cool/hot zones" - when you use one of these, the wort chills much faster if you stir it (with a plastic spoon dunked in Star-San) pretty often. Otherwise, the wort right next to the tubing gets cooler while the rest of it retains heat.

One other design mod I did on this was to set the pipes for the hose connections at a down angle. that way, if I get a little dribble out of one of the connections, it won't go anywhere near my wort.

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"BigFloyd"

One other design mod I did on this was to set the pipes for the hose connections at a down angle. that way, if I get a little dribble out of one of the connections, it won't go anywhere near my wort.[/quote said:


Makes sense i was wondering why you had them pointing downward

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