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Thread: Questions about Water Pressure & floor drains

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Hyannis MA

    Questions about Water Pressure & floor drains

    Greetings to all from Cape Cod,
    We are in the process of expanding and believe we have found about 2400 sq ft of good space to do so. However, it is located high atop a hill (yes, there are hills on Cape Cod) and has some water pressure issues. I have spoken to the water dept and we have already discussed bringing in new service and the associated costs. This of course will only increase volume not pressure which runs from 30-40psi. At this point our new system will be a 20bbl steam fired brewhouse with an assortment of fermenters and brites. Most of our business now is draft with some growler sales and bottling in our near future as well. Our keg washer is reservoired, and except for the loss of floor space I can probably setup a cold liquor tank for the heat exchanger and another vessel (poly tank or similar) with a float valve to hold water to be pumped for tank rinsing. Have I missed anything? Can those who have coped with water pressure (and volume) issues in the brewery please let me know where you were affected, what solutions you've come up with and how much it cost. Also, any who have brought in or upgraded service - what size did you use. Current service is only 5/8" and we're discussing upping it to 1" or even 2". A 2" meter does have some pretty expensive annual costs though and if using holding tanks means we don't need the gpm's then smaller would certainly be better on the wallet. Also, because sewer bills are based on incoming water we are probably going to install additional metering to subtract the water going into production so we don't get killed on sewer charges which are about 4x the water rate - any comments?

    Additionally, we are looking for insight, experiences, suppliers, and costs with adding floor drains into an existing space.

    Thanks in advance for your responses which can be mailed directly if lengthy to

    Todd Marcus
    Cape Cod Beer

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Besides rinsing tanks and packaging, your pressure and volume issues are with your heat exchanger. Most plate-and-frames in this size tend to have about a 10 psi drop, so 40 psi is sufficient. Get a data sheet from the heat exchanger manufacturer to be sure. The flow rate should be about 1.2 times the knockout volume over the time you wish to knock out. Figure 750 gallons in 30 minutes = 25 gpm. Again, get the data sheet from the heat exchanger manufacturer. A 5/8" pipe would be a rarity (most services are 3/4"), but time filling a bucket and see if you have what it takes. Better if you can introduce a 10 psi back pressure. Do you make ales or lagers? Of course if the highest seasonal temperature of the incoming water is more than 3 degrees C than the temperature of your desired knockout, then a cold liquor tank and a dedicated pump is the only way to go. Good luck with adding floor drains to surface that is not already sloped. If you can find a good contractor, then perhaps a pour over with trenches would work. Best of luck! Sounds like fun!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Hi CapeCod,
    I am currently operating in a space that has staggeringly low flow water service (5 gpm... yes, I said FIVE), with pressure of about 40psi. Service is an old restricted 5/8 line, and though I've run a number of scenarios for addressing this, I've managed to avoid making any capital improvements for now.

    I can't say I'd recommend taking this path though - my situation is rather unique: just 6 months of operation, a 10 bbl brewhouse in a true micro with no pub/restaurant, staff of one, and in a leased space that I'd rather not spend my cash to improve. When I'm in my own building down the road, the story will likely be different.

    So, here's the choices I ran through:
    1. elevated surge tank(s) - not enough head pressure unless I built my own water tower (who do I think I am here?)
    2. surge tank(s) w/pump and float/refill mechanism - saw that I might probably need to add a UV system to keep it clean
    3. bump up the service - cost of $3-5k based on how the service came into the building, the rpz and overspill requirements...
    4. see how it goes and pick one of the above, or another avenue tbd, as needed.

    I ended up going w/ #4, and am finding that at this time of year, knockout can be tricky, but that's more a matter of inbound water temp than volume. Again, my pressure is fine at 40psi. The volume limitation means that you just can't use a hose - or for that matter HANG a hose (and flush) during that final transfer, or the outbound temp spikes to 100+ ! Aside from that, the biggest pain is waiting to fill a tank w/ water.

    Congrats on your expansion!

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