I'm starting to homebrew and noticed that during the cooling process A LOT of water is used going through the counterflow chiller.
I'm on a well, and I'd like to minimize water usage, especially during the summer. I also don't have a drain near where I chill, so I end up having to fill buckets and dump them (sure some can be used for cleaning, but it's A LOT of water).
My idea is to use a pond pump to create a recirculate cold water. The thing I'm not sure about is how to keep the water cold. A few options:
Use a cooler full of ice. This requires enough ice for the job, and I have sort of limited freezing capacity. Would using frozen ice packs be better at keeping water cold, due to their lower freezing temp?
Actively cooling the water. I have an old heatpump/ac unit that was recently replaced sitting in my garage. It's a panasonic unit, with an indoor unit and outdoor unit. (like this https://www.saturnsales.co.uk/Panasonic-Wall-Mounted-Inverter-CS-FZ25WKE.html but from 2004). I've read in a few places that the outdoor unit can be repurposed for rapidly cooling water as it's pushed through the chiller. This way you don't really need to prepare/have ice on hand. Is this an option or is it crazy?
Not sure what other options there could be, but I'm willing to try anything to reduce water usage/bucket hauling.