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Has anyone tried using a classic water cooler (images provided below) as wort chiller? Besides being extra careful with sanitary issues, what could be other problems faced? Thanks!

https://encrypted-tbn1.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRg4Xz3ODlvlwuaHvCEr4t0_GXprxmRcA_mAAvVIWOEnYjXr2Yz8sLtgLmv

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I think using it as-is would probably be a waste of time, as already mentioned. One big question that comes to mind is how you'd get it in the water cooler without lots of splashing (and therefore oxidation).

If you were willing to modify it to recirculate the wort into the top of the water cooler you might be able to get something usable but without some serious research/modifications to ensure the cooling element is constantly active and able to sufficiently cool the circulating wort, I highly doubt you'd be able to chill the wort at a reasonable pace.

I imagine at best you'll probably spend about as much time as an in-sink ice bath just with additional risk for oxidation and/or infection.

All of that said, if your goal is to minimize excess water usage at all costs (and the water cooler is fully at your disposal), modifying the water cooler or at least repurposing the cooling element could at least be worth some further research and, if that goes well, a solid attempt (and answer here for the greater good).

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    Oxidation's only a problem after fermentation. If he's using this as a wort chiller, aerating the wort would actually be beneficial. That said, I agree it's probably not an effective way to chill your wort. – TMN Jan 13 '16 at 16:24
  • @TMN That's possible. I was mostly thinking of hot-side aeration though after a bit more research it seems that many are considering this less dangerous than it was once thought. Regardless, I think it's a potential considering depending on where you lie on that argument. – thesquaregroot Jan 13 '16 at 16:36
  • Hmmm, I heard hot-side aeration was only a concern when transferring from the mash tun to the boil kettle. After some follow-up reading, it does appear to be a legit concern after the boil. I retract my earlier statement. – TMN Jan 13 '16 at 17:22
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I'm pretty sure most water coolers only chill a few servings of water at a time. And they are only dropping about 30° below ambient temp.

Sanitation aside I think the chilling abilities of a water cooler would quickly be defeated by hot wort.

I don't think it's worth an experiment.

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Simply circulate the Freon on one side of a plate chiller or counter flow chiller and increase the condensing coil size and add a fan to it.

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    Please make sure to answer the original question: "Has anyone tried..." and "what could be other problems faced?" – Philippe Apr 8 '19 at 18:15

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