This is by far the most common question, and it is by far the hardest to answer. There is no blanket statement that applies.
Water Chillers: Our lowest recommended operating temperature is 45F. Can the unit go lower? – Sure, on 5 gallons we tested to 36F, however our recommended lowest set point is 45F. That does not mean the chiller is guaranteed to reach 45F. The temperature the chiller is capable of reaching is completely dependent on your setup (Water Volume / Heat Load / Goal Temp / Ambient Conditions /etc.)
Glycol Chillers: Just like the standard chillers the lowest temperature the glycol chiller is capable of is dependent on the heat load. Our lowest recommended setting is 5F. In testing it maxed out at -15F with no load.
Water Chiilers: There is no built in tank or reservoir, the internal piping and exchanger holds less than 1/2 gallon
Glycol Chillers: Our standard line of glycol chillers range from 1.25 – 3 gallon reservoirs. . Our XL line ranges from 8 – 30 gallons. Our commercial line has a 30 gallon reservoir. See individual product details for more information.
No, our chillers only have cooling capabilities.
The chillers are fairly quiet, the general feedback is – they are quieter than expected. The DBA rating are provided on the individual product page if available.
That depends. The function of a chiller or any refrigeration device is to move heat from one area to another. In a water chiller it is moving heat from the water to the air. The amount of heat going into the air is directly related to how much heat needs to be removed from the water.
Some ventilation is required, a chiller cannot properly function if locked in a small cabinet or closet. Remember the chiller is taking the heat out of the water and putting it into the air, it can only put so much heat into the air. When it can no longer put excesses heat into the air because the air is already too hot, the chiller won’t be able provide any additional cooling. It is recommend to provide as much ventilation as possible. The cooler the air is around the chiller the less the chiller will run, making it more efficient.
Our standard chillers need to be protected from rain/water that could damage the controller or internal electronics. If properly protected from rain/water an outside installation would be ok. Our commercial line is outdoor ready.
No, you will need to supply your own pump
Water chillers: We typically recommend using a 500gph- 1,800gph pump to achieve a minimum measurable flow of at least 250gph. A pump needs to be sized to compensate for loss of flow due to pipe length, fittings, and head height. A common misconception is that the size of a pump determines how efficient the chiller will be. The pump size plays little or no role in how effective a chiller is, the main purpose of providing a recommend pump size is to ensure the consumer has enough flow to not freeze water in the chiller, and not too much flow to over pressurize the chiller. Typically submersible pumps are used due to simplicity, however most any pump providing the required flow would be suitable. One exception is a diaphragm pump, do not use a diaphragm pump.
Glycol Chillers: We carry two lines of glycol pumps that are recommended for our glycol chillers, space is limited in the glycol bath so sourcing a different pump may be problematic due to size restrictions.
Commercial Water Chillers: We recommend maintaining a measurable flow of 1,200- 2,500gph though the chiller. Due to the variety of applications the pump size may vary considerably to achieve this flow rate.
Usually when this happens the first thought is that the chiller isn’t working correctly, and most of the time that’s not the case. So you first need to determine if it’s the chiller or something else. If the chiller is maintaining it’s set point and turning on/off, it’s not the chiller. If the chiller runs constantly and can never get to the set point, there is an issue with the chiller and you’ll need to contact our technical support.
If it’s not the chiller- the issue is that heat is not transferring fast enough or in great enough quantity from the beer to the glycol.
Most likely cause is too cold of glycol. If you end up freezing beer to your coils it prevents proper heat transfer to the glycol. While we think of ice as being cold, and simple logic would say that if you are trying to cool beer, ice can’t really be the problem…. can it? The problem is that ice (partly tiny air bubbles) acts as a bit of an insulator and slows heat transfer from the beer to the glycol. In fact stainless steel is over 7x more thermally conductive than ice.
To solve the problem – raise the temperature of the glycol several degrees above freezing for a few hours to ensure any ice present is melted, then take the glycol back to 28F-30F.
28F is the most common operating temp for a glycol chiller, going colder will likely result in icing. However sometimes 28F glycol is still too cold and you’ll need 30-32F. Other factors can come into play like alcohol content and dictate a slight higher glycol temp setting. If testing out your new fermenter with water only – you need glycol temps of 33F-34F to avoid icing.
Other possible – less likely causes: Lack of / low glycol flow or incorrect glycol temp reading (is your glycol colder than you think?).