Author Topic: Re-Circulating Water Pump for Immersion Chiller  (Read 7613 times)

Offline stankonia

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Re-Circulating Water Pump for Immersion Chiller
« on: April 30, 2011, 12:06:57 PM »
Hey guys,

For my wort chilling setup I'm planning on using an immersion chiller and using a pump to recirculate ice-water from a cooler instead of getting water from a faucet/hose (which isn't that cool to begin with in Florida).

So right now I'm looking for a pump that will get the job done.  I'm not currently doing all-grain so I won't need a pump to circulate hot-wort or hot-liquor.

Will a cheaper, lower-end pump work for this?  They don't get great reviews online, but that's usually from people who are running them for hours on end, not 15-20 minutes a couple times a month.  Could a $20 aquarium pump even work well enough for 30-40 ft of copper coiling?

Also, does the temperature of the water coming out of the IC be an issue I would need to keep in mind?


Thanks!


Offline jeffy

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Re: Re-Circulating Water Pump for Immersion Chiller
« Reply #1 on: April 30, 2011, 12:23:35 PM »
You should still knock the wort temp down to 80F or so with tap or well water before using the ice water.  If you have 5 gallons of 212F wort and 5 gallons of 32F ice water, the wort will only cool down to about 122F (212 + 32) / 2, so if you chill it with hose water first you will get better results.
I guess a submersible pump pond would work unless you try to pump too much uphill.  I have a march magnetic drive pump that works better, but it cost over $120 several years ago.
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Offline tygo

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Re: Re-Circulating Water Pump for Immersion Chiller
« Reply #2 on: April 30, 2011, 12:24:55 PM »
What you're describing is exactly the way I have my chilling system set up.  I tried a cheap aquarium pump first and it didn't have anywhere near the power I needed.  I'm using 1/2 OD inch hoses with hose fittings clamped on.  I ended up getting a Flotec 1/6 hp submersible sump pump and it's more than up to the job.  But it was around $80 so that's more than you're looking to spend.  There are probably cheaper options..

The water coming out will be warm to hot obviously and that will heat up your cooler water pretty quickly, especially when you first start chilling.  The pump I have is self cooling and will supposedly shut off itself off if it overheats.  That hasn't happened to me yet.  But you will need to add some ice, or frozen soda bottles, to the cooler to keep the temperature down.
« Last Edit: April 30, 2011, 06:46:13 PM by tygo »
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Offline stankonia

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Re: Re-Circulating Water Pump for Immersion Chiller
« Reply #3 on: April 30, 2011, 01:04:01 PM »
Jeffy,

I'm in Orlando, at least until I am finished with school.  In a couple weeks my girlfriend, my mom, and myself are going to Tampa for "snorkel with the Manatees" thing.  I'm dragging them to Cigar City the night before  ;D

Tygo,

The $80 range sounds doable, I was just wondering if it would be worth doing something 1/2 or 1/3 of the price, but it sounds like it wouldn't be.  I found a few Flotec pumps online in the $60-$80 range that are looking good.

Thanks for the help

Offline euge

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Re: Re-Circulating Water Pump for Immersion Chiller
« Reply #4 on: April 30, 2011, 07:16:49 PM »
I got this on sale a while back: http://www.harborfreight.com/1-4-quarter-hp-115-volt-submersible-water-pump-98342.html

Use a garden hose to knock the temp down to around 90 and then use the pump to recirc the ice water. In winter my tap is 66, but in the warmer months it's as high as 88. I have to do this and it works very well.
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Offline stankonia

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Re: Re-Circulating Water Pump for Immersion Chiller
« Reply #5 on: April 30, 2011, 07:32:48 PM »
I got this on sale a while back: http://www.harborfreight.com/1-4-quarter-hp-115-volt-submersible-water-pump-98342.html

Use a garden hose to knock the temp down to around 90 and then use the pump to recirc the ice water. In winter my tap is 66, but in the warmer months it's as high as 88. I have to do this and it works very well.

Thanks for pointing that out.  I'm actually going to Harbor Freight tomorrow for something else, so I'll check out their pumps.

Also, I'm getting some stuff tomorrow to duplicate your Fermentation Temp Control chamber/box you talked about in the other thread  8)

Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Re-Circulating Water Pump for Immersion Chiller
« Reply #6 on: May 01, 2011, 07:18:31 AM »
If you get one, go big.  The Harbor Freight one will be real good.  I have a 560 gph pond pump, which is adequate.  More flow would increase the heat transfer and thus decrease the cooling time.

Edit: as pointed out - that should say 560 gallons per hour.  Changed to be correct.
« Last Edit: May 02, 2011, 05:16:53 AM by hopfenundmalz »
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Offline weithman5

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Re: Re-Circulating Water Pump for Immersion Chiller
« Reply #7 on: May 01, 2011, 07:52:19 AM »
if you go straight to ice water you will have a bigger initial temp differential and will drive temp down faster.  the only problem is you need more ice. IMO this is easier than switching cooling sources partway.  just load the sump up with ice and be prepared to add some if you need too.
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Offline euge

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Re: Re-Circulating Water Pump for Immersion Chiller
« Reply #8 on: May 01, 2011, 08:33:31 AM »
if you go straight to ice water you will have a bigger initial temp differential and will drive temp down faster.  the only problem is you need more ice. IMO this is easier than switching cooling sources partway.  just load the sump up with ice and be prepared to add some if you need too.

One needs lots more ice. I found that 30+ pounds of ice were needed to do that. Fortunately had access to a freezer where ice could be made and didn't have to resort to store-bought at $2 per 10 pound bag. Simply filled a 5 gallon bucket a couple quarts at a time until it was nearly full and frozen. If you try to freeze the entire bucket at one time the ice's expansion will tear it apart. It took days to fill the bucket.

Switching over is a PITA, but my homebrewer's inherent cheapness cringes at spending so much on ice. I figure 10 minutes from boiling to 110 with straight tap water and another 20 with ice to get it down to the mid 60's isn't too shabby.

Also experimented with frozen PET bottles as the sole source of cooling for the IC. It takes a lot of them and also much more time than just cooling with tap water. Might be an option in water scarce areas, but IMO this approach is a homebrew dead-end.

I had to use 3 times the amount of bottles (nearly a 5cu freezer full) in the photo below to cool 12 gallons of wort from boiling to pitching temps. Took almost 2 hours with constant supervision. I could have achieved the same results in 30 minutes with tap water and a switch over to around 15 pounds of ice. I figure it takes about a pound per gallon if one switches over to a recirc after reaching 100F. YMMV

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Offline tygo

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Re: Re-Circulating Water Pump for Immersion Chiller
« Reply #9 on: May 01, 2011, 11:24:01 AM »
Snapped a couple pictures of my setup today while chilling:



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Offline tonyp

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Re: Re-Circulating Water Pump for Immersion Chiller
« Reply #10 on: May 01, 2011, 07:31:18 PM »
After reading this thread it got me thinking, scary i know, but i wonder how much more efficient using 2 immersion chillers in-line  ould be? One inside the wort and another in a cooler full of ice water with the pump. A garden hose doesn't seem too efficient at heat transfer. anyone ever try it?

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Offline tygo

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Re: Re-Circulating Water Pump for Immersion Chiller
« Reply #11 on: May 01, 2011, 07:57:02 PM »
I think it'd be similar, in terms of chilling effectiveness, of just having a cooler full of ice water.  What would be the advantage of having the IC inside the cooler?
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Offline tonyp

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Re: Re-Circulating Water Pump for Immersion Chiller
« Reply #12 on: May 01, 2011, 08:33:37 PM »
I think it'd be similar, in terms of chilling effectiveness, of just having a cooler full of ice water.  What would be the advantage of having the IC inside the cooler?

you'd have much more surface area contacting the colder water made from a material thats a lot better at conducting heat. Compared to just a straight length of rubber hose, that is. Like I said, not sure how much more effective it would be but it would be worth experimenting to find out.
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Offline tygo

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Re: Re-Circulating Water Pump for Immersion Chiller
« Reply #13 on: May 01, 2011, 09:13:04 PM »
When the cooler is full of ice I'm pumping water approaching 32F through the IC in the kettle.  Not sure how it would get colder than that.  Either way the water coming out of the cooler is going to be the temp of the water in the cooler.
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Offline tonyp

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Re: Re-Circulating Water Pump for Immersion Chiller
« Reply #14 on: May 01, 2011, 11:24:10 PM »
When the cooler is full of ice I'm pumping water approaching 32F through the IC in the kettle.  Not sure how it would get colder than that.  Either way the water coming out of the cooler is going to be the temp of the water in the cooler.

I think more importantly, that the water returning to the cooler from the kettle is much hotter than 32F and the more time it spends in the cold water the better, before returning thru the pump and back to the kettle.

its probably a wash, but would be interesting to see if theres a difference
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