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Centennial Tap Beer Service, Inc.
1930 W 41st Avenue
Denver, CO 80211
For beer systems that are over fifteen feet in length, forced cold air will not properly cool a beer system, so liquid cooling is required. Liquid cooling is done with a glycol chiller. The glycol chiller keeps a bank of propylene glycol and water cold with a compressor and circulates the chilled glycol mixture through coolant lines within the beer line bundle.
The glycol chiller is normally installed near the walk in beer cooler and is then connected to the beer line bundle, also known as a trunk housing. There are also glycol chillers that have remote compressors. The compressor can be installed in a different location than the glycol bank and circulating pump and motor. This can be valuable to an installation where space by the walk in beer cooler is limited.
The Glycol chiller is comprised of three basic parts.
This is the part of the glycol chiller that holds the mixture of propylene glycol and water. The mixture is mixed two parts water to one part glycol with the freeze point of the glycol mixture being aroound fifteen to twenty degrees Fahrenheit. The size of the bank varies by chiller and can be anywhere from one to fifteen gallons.
Circulating Pump And Motor
The circulating pump and motor moves the glycol out of the bank and through the glycol lines to the beer tower and back. The motor is electric in 110 or 208 voltage and either one third or one quarter horsepower.
The electric motor is coupled to the pump, more commonly known as a Procon pump, with a clamp known as a V clamp. The Procon pump comes in various sizes from fifteen to two hundred forty gallons per hour. The Procon pump is usually brass, but is also availible in stainless steel for carbonated water applications. Stainless steel Procon pumps can be used for glycol systems, but Procon pumps with a strainer should never be used as the strainer will get clogged , slow the flow of glycol, and burn out the pump.
Depending on the number of beer line runs for a particular system, multiple circulating pumps and motors can be utilized.
The compressor is the heart of the glycol chiller. It cools the bank of glycol and water before it is sent out through the coolant lines to the beer tower. The compressor for a glycol chiller can vary in size from one fifth to one and one half horsepower depending on the total length of the beer lines.
One fifth horsepower compressor is good for system lengths up to fifty feet of total line run.
One third horsepower compressor is good for line lengths up to one hundred twenty five feet in total line run.
One half horsepower compressor is good for line lengths of up to two hundred fifty feet of total line run.
Three quarter horsepower compressor is good for line runs of up to four hundred fifty feet of total line length.
One and one half horsepower compressor is good for line lengths up to eight hundred and twenty five feet of total line run.
Maintaining your glycol chiller:
Your glycol chiller needs to be checked at least once every quarter. The condensing unit should be cleaned out and the glycol level and strength should also be checked. The condenser needs to be free of dirt and debris and the fins should be straight so the compressor can get enough air to breathe and stay cool.
The glycol level should be approximately one quarter inch below the overflow tube, if one is present on the chiller, or to the top of the cooling coils. If the glycol level is low, cooling will be compromised and you will have warm beer.
Trouble-shooting your glycol chiller:
If your beer is pouring warm, it could be a problem with the glycol chiller. After determining that the beer walk in cooler is cold, check the glycol chiller. If the circulating pump and motor are running normally and you have glycol circulation, then the compressor needs to be checked. Any qualified refrigeration tech can check to see if the refrigerant is low or if it is as simple as a thermostat adjustment.
If the circulating pump and motor are not functioning properly, they might need to be changed. It is always wise to change both the pump and motor at the same time, even if it appears that one or the other is still functioning properly, due to unusual wear one will cause the other when it fails. Any qualified local service tech can replace the circulating pump and motor.
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