Author Topic: Ideas for Hot Water Supply in Garage Brewery  (Read 1201 times)

Offline blair.streit

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Ideas for Hot Water Supply in Garage Brewery
« on: June 27, 2016, 02:10:03 AM »
In an effort to simplify cleaning in my garage brewery, I had someone come out and give me a quote on having a utility sink installed. Unfortunately, due to the difficulty of installing a drain that won't be anything I could execute anytime soon.

In the meantime, I'm able to reuse and/or recapture a lot of my chilling water output for cleaning. However, I still usually end up needing to take my 10 gallon cooler mash tun back into the house, run hot water from the bathtub (closest to the hot water heater in the loop), and then schlep it through the house and back outside (trying not to wake anyone since I brew in the middle of the night).

My hot water heater happens to be in a closet out in the garage. I was curious if anyone has used the drain valve on your water heater to pull pre-heated water for cleaning, etc?  I know I should periodically flush my hot water heater through this thing (though I never have). Given my experience with cheap toilet/sink valves, I'd want to make sure the valve itself is of decent quality (or replace it with a better one) before deciding to use it with any frequency. That said, I'm curious if anyone has done this or has other ideas about cheaply getting a hot water source given my proximity to the hot water heater.


Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.

Offline Phil_M

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Re: Ideas for Hot Water Supply in Garage Brewery
« Reply #1 on: June 27, 2016, 02:25:16 AM »
Something to think about: Even without a drain you could possible make a utility sink work. I know some folks who have hot and cold running water in their garages, but no drains. They just use a 5-gallon bucket, which they drain into a tub when done. Work great for car work, though a bucket size limitation may be an issue with brewing.
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Offline blair.streit

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Re: Ideas for Hot Water Supply in Garage Brewery
« Reply #2 on: June 27, 2016, 12:11:04 PM »
Something to think about: Even without a drain you could possible make a utility sink work. I know some folks who have hot and cold running water in their garages, but no drains. They just use a 5-gallon bucket, which they drain into a tub when done. Work great for car work, though a bucket size limitation may be an issue with brewing.
Yeah, I tried to get the plumber to go for that, but he said if the sink leaked and flooded the house he would be responsible due to the lack of a drain.

So if I'm doing that it sounds like I'd have to do the work myself (or find a shadier plumber).

Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Ideas for Hot Water Supply in Garage Brewery
« Reply #3 on: June 27, 2016, 12:15:50 PM »
Would an instant under sink water heater do the job?
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Offline blair.streit

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Re: Ideas for Hot Water Supply in Garage Brewery
« Reply #4 on: June 27, 2016, 12:58:17 PM »
Would an instant under sink water heater do the job?
That's an interesting idea. I'll research those a bit to see how easily I could rig all of this up.

Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: Ideas for Hot Water Supply in Garage Brewery
« Reply #5 on: June 27, 2016, 03:31:04 PM »
One reason you may not want to pull water from the valve on the water heater is that the valve is where all the sediment sits so you'll pull whatever precipitates in the water heater. I get a little sand but a lot of calcium buildup in mine. It may not be a big deal if you're only using the water for cleaning but you would probably still want to be able to rinse out the hot water.

If there is a drain that leads outside from the pan the water heater sits in then maybe a utility sink could be routed through that drain to the outside.
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Offline denny

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Re: Ideas for Hot Water Supply in Garage Brewery
« Reply #6 on: June 27, 2016, 03:51:26 PM »
I have a 3 gal. water heater under the sink.  It's not instant, but due to the small size it recovers quickly.  That's great for small cleaning jobs, but not big enough for larger stuff.  My solution to that was to start using Craftmeister Alkaline Brewery Wash.  It's more effective in cold water than PBW is in hot water, so I can now clean my large stuff with cold water and not have to worry about the water heater capacity.
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Offline blair.streit

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Re: Ideas for Hot Water Supply in Garage Brewery
« Reply #7 on: June 27, 2016, 03:53:19 PM »
One reason you may not want to pull water from the valve on the water heater is that the valve is where all the sediment sits so you'll pull whatever precipitates in the water heater. I get a little sand but a lot of calcium buildup in mine. It may not be a big deal if you're only using the water for cleaning but you would probably still want to be able to rinse out the hot water.

Yeah I wondered about that. The water here is pretty soft but I will get my TDS meter into a sample and see what it looks like.

If there is a drain that leads outside from the pan the water heater sits in then maybe a utility sink could be routed through that drain to the outside.
Yes there is. If I can get someone creative on the plumbing side I can probably even recapture that into a rain barrel and reuse it for irrigation (as long as I manage pH, since there would likely be some residual PBW and StarSan).

Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Ideas for Hot Water Supply in Garage Brewery
« Reply #8 on: June 27, 2016, 04:18:59 PM »
One reason you may not want to pull water from the valve on the water heater is that the valve is where all the sediment sits so you'll pull whatever precipitates in the water heater. I get a little sand but a lot of calcium buildup in mine. It may not be a big deal if you're only using the water for cleaning but you would probably still want to be able to rinse out the hot water.

Yeah I wondered about that. The water here is pretty soft but I will get my TDS meter into a sample and see what it looks like.

If there is a drain that leads outside from the pan the water heater sits in then maybe a utility sink could be routed through that drain to the outside.
Yes there is. If I can get someone creative on the plumbing side I can probably even recapture that into a rain barrel and reuse it for irrigation (as long as I manage pH, since there would likely be some residual PBW and StarSan).

I drain my water heater more than most. The stuff that settles out in the bucket I drain into is a slimy mess of minerals.
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Offline blair.streit

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Re: Ideas for Hot Water Supply in Garage Brewery
« Reply #9 on: June 27, 2016, 04:33:47 PM »
I have a 3 gal. water heater under the sink.  It's not instant, but due to the small size it recovers quickly.  That's great for small cleaning jobs, but not big enough for larger stuff.  My solution to that was to start using Craftmeister Alkaline Brewery Wash.  It's more effective in cold water than PBW is in hot water, so I can now clean my large stuff with cold water and not have to worry about the water heater capacity.
Good point and something I'll also consider. Currently, I do a "boil and flush" step prior to heating my strike water where I:

1) Boil around 4 gallons of water
2) Recirculate it through my pump for about 10 minutes
3) Run it off into a bucket to use later

I do this to make sure I've loosened (and removed) anything that might be hiding in my hoses and camlocks before starting up. Starting out with water at 120-140 just makes it quicker to get started. I tend to be a little time-constrained in the early stages of my process because I have to dough in and then put kids to bed while the enzymes are working for me :)

I'd be less concerned if I only used the pump/hoses on the hot side. However, I use the same loop to transfer my chilled wort to the fermentor. For that reason, I tend to go to these extra lengths beforehand to make sure everything is clean and sanitary (in addition to my normal cleaning routine after brewing).

Offline drumminguy81

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Re: Ideas for Hot Water Supply in Garage Brewery
« Reply #10 on: June 27, 2016, 09:11:19 PM »
I added a utility sink to my garage myself. My laundry room sits next to the garage so I just added two garden hose splitters to the hot and cold water on my washing machine then ran garden hoses to the sink. I have the drain piped to the garage door so I just crack it open when im using the sink and it drains down the driveway to the street. Not the most ideal but it gets the job done and was a really cheap way to get a sink with hot and cold water in my garage. Eventually I would like to have a drain that doesn't require opening the garage in the winter...

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Offline pfabsits

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Re: Ideas for Hot Water Supply in Garage Brewery
« Reply #11 on: June 30, 2016, 05:04:43 PM »
If the water heater is in the garage then it should be relatively easy to tap into the hot water feed line.  That could then be used to connect to a hose or a sink in the garage.

Depending on yuo local ordinances, it might be possible to run the drain from the sink into a dry well. There should be no issue since there is no sewage that would have to go the municipality or septic system.
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