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 Post subject: Wort pump advice needed
PostPosted: Wed May 20, 2015 10:06 am 
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Joined: Tue Oct 28, 2014 12:11 am
Posts: 31
So... I'd like to get a pump, but being constitutionally opposed to spending more than necessary, I've held off buying a steelhead. I was in Harbor Freight yesterday, and ran across a 12V marine utlility pump with a SS pump head on sale for $35. The manual says it's not designed for liquids over 140F; but that makes me wonder why it would be that limited. I bought one and disassembled the pump housing and saw the impeller and impeller blades are made of a hard plastic that resembles Teflon, but I can't be sure. So I decided to test the entire pump assembly by placing it in boiling water on the stove for 5 minutes.

(It actually boiled for about 15 mins because I was watching the Hawks fight a never-ending battle against the Ducks and forgot about it.)

Anyway, after cooling everything under cold water, I could see no apparent change in size, hardness or durability of any of the impeller parts, gaskets, o-rings, etc.

Now the pump is rated at 300 gph, so I'm guessing it should transfer a 5 or 10 gallon batch in about 5 or 10 minutes, so my little boil test should be a realistic scenario.

Question: What do you guys think? Is there something I'm not thinking about, or is this worth a try?


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PostPosted: Wed May 20, 2015 2:29 pm 
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Joined: Tue Oct 28, 2014 5:20 am
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I'd be concerned about the chemicals that may leach into your wort. Does the spec sheet mention whether the pump is food-grade?


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PostPosted: Wed May 20, 2015 9:26 pm 
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Not food grade. It's a marine utility pump. For pumping water on a boat.


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PostPosted: Thu May 21, 2015 8:15 am 
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Joined: Wed Oct 08, 2014 7:38 am
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Mechanical properties of plastics can change drastically at elevated temperature, so your pump will probably wear out very quickly if you try to pump at elevated temperatures.

Also, the big worry is that it isn't food-grade. Some plastics can get pretty nasty, especially at higher temperatures, and could leach dangerous or foul tasting chemical compounds.

If you have more info on what the vanes or made of, I could give a more specific answer, but without knowing, I would air on the side of caution.


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PostPosted: Thu May 21, 2015 10:08 pm 
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Joined: Tue Oct 28, 2014 12:11 am
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Well it feels kinda like PTFE to me, but I guess I'd have to burn it and smell the smoke to be sure. And there's not enough to do that. But suppose I make a new impeller for it out of solid oak with copper impeller blades? Or I could make the whole thing out of copper. ... ?!?


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