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Plate Chiller Efficiency

After years of fast chilling I seem to be having issues the last few brew days. I haven’t checked the temperature of my well water but I can’t imagine it’s suddenly gotten warmer 200 feet below the surface.

Last couple of brew sessions I seem to be challenged to get the wort chilled much below 70F. In the past mid 50s was no issue because my well water has always been 56F.

I’m wondering if maybe the chiller needs a better cleaning? Maybe there’s some gunk in there that’s not allowing the cold and hot sides to interact as well?

I’ll run some boiling PBW through it and see if I get anything interesting out. Any other plate chiller users had this issue?

edit: Just checked and the water coming out of my faucet, indoors, is 59 so this makes no sense to me…

Have you checked your water side flow to make sure that it’s not plugged? If the chiller has been in service quite some time you may have some mineral deposits on the water side. Maybe a chunk came loose and has plugged it up. In my old steam plant days we used to “crack scale” by getting the chillers really hot and then hitting them with cold water. I wonder if soaking in vinegar might loosen any mineral deposits if present.

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I have not. My first thoughts went to the wort side. Flow seems to be the same but I think you’re on the right track. There could be an obstruction limiting contact but not disrupting flow enough to notice. I haven’t maintained the water side in any way since I’ve had it. Not even a backwash.

After brewing today I ran boiling PBW in both directions on the wort side and got a good bit of matter out. Nothing really nasty.

I just ran hot water through both sides in my sink and flow seemed about even. It’s now resting on a wire rack in the sink with white vinegar in both sides. Couldn’t see anything from either end. If the insides look like what I can see it’s spotless. We’ll see what the vinegar soak renders.

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That should serve you well. Sounds like a ‘scale’ of some sorts which will require an alkaline wash followed by an acid, which you did.

I do not have one, but is there film or something that might be insulating the chiller from inside?

200’ feet deep and only at 59… I thought that most well waters where to be in 48-54 degrees… Is hell creeping up out there? I still have a desire to go to a plate chiller… I’ll bet a good cleaning also helps out too… Sneezles61

Yea that’s what I thought too. Mine has always been 54-56 degrees in the past.

I let the plate chiller sit overnight with both sides filled with white vinegar. The vinegar turned blue but nothing came out of either side.

Yes vinager will clean up nice all the gunk. Do use it for my diving regulators when i service them. After that soak in hot water. Rinse with fresh water

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