Hook Up a Wort-Chiller to an Apartment Kitchen Sink




Introduction: Hook Up a Wort-Chiller to an Apartment Kitchen Sink

When I first got into homebrewing, I read a tutorial that suggested chilling my word in an ice bath or "snow bank". As much fun as that was, it took over an hour to chill a 1 gallon batch down to where I could safely pour it in a carboy, and I needed to wait overnight for it to chill to pitching temperatures. After doing some research on ways to reduce the chill time I decided to invest in a standard coiled copper immersion wort chiller. Unfortunately, I live in an apartment with a pull-out kitchen faucet, so adding a faucet-mounted adapter wasn't an option, so I had to look into other alternatives. Additionally, because I'm renting, I needed a solution that was easily reversible when the day comes I need to move out.

The solution I came up with was adding a valve to my kitchen faucet supply line making it easy to attach and remove the wort chiller whenever I need it.

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Step 1: Acquire Materials

Before you begin, acquire the materials that you will need to tap into your faucet supply line. Most faucets in the US are 3/8" compression, so that is what I'm working with below.

Bill of Materials

3/8" x 3/8" x 3/8" Compression Add-a-tee Adapter - $6.58 at Home Depot
1 ft. long braided tube with 3/8" Compression Fitting (Faucet supply line) - $4.98 at Lowes
3/8" Compression Straight Quarter-Turn Valve - $8.99 at Lowes
1/2" NPT to Male GHT Adapter - $4.39 at Lowes

Total: $24.94

Of these, the hardest for me to find was the Add-a-tee adapter (which, incidentally, the staff at both hardware stores I visited insisted didn't exist).

For tools, you will need a small adjustable crescent wrench.

Step 2: Pre-assemble the Adapter

It's probably pretty cramped under your sink, so it helps to pre-assemble the parts you can to reduce how long you will need to spend bent over.

Pre-assemble the adapter. The proper hookup is:

Water supply --> Tee --> Faucet

Tee --> Valve --> Faucet supply line --> Garden Hose Adapter

(Tip! Look at the diagram above, as well as the picture of the pre-assembled mechanism. In the diagram, the section shaded in purple is what you are assembling, and what corresponds to the picture.)

Step 3: Determine the Hot & Cold Lines & Shut Off the Water

It doesn't make sense to run hot water through our wort chiller, so we need to figure out which supply line is which. Thankfully, there are only two choices, so this is easy. Shut off the valve supplying one of the lines, and turn on your faucet. If only hot water comes out, then congratulations! That valve is hooked to the cold water line (and is the one you want to tap into). If only cold water comes out, reopen the valve and try the other one.

Once you've identified the correct valve, turn off the water to both lines and test your faucet to make sure nothing comes out. NOTE - This is important! If you don't do this, at best you'll end up with a mess, at worst you could get hurt or destroy something. Be careful, be safe, and make sure to check that the water is shut off before proceeding

Step 4: Attach the Adapter

To attach the adapter you just built, simply unscrew the existing cold water supply line running from the water valve where it connects to the line running to the faucet, and reattach both lines to the sides of the add-a-tee. Use a small crescent wrench to tighten both lines to the sides of the add-a-tee.

Once you have attached & tightened your adapter, turn the supply valves back on and check for leaks.

Step 5: Test, and Enjoy!

Congratulations! Your adapter is installed, and ready for use. Hook up your wort chiller, turn on the water, and check for leaks. These are compression fittings, so if you see a leak, try tightening the nut nearest the leak.

Now, go brew some beer and test it out! You're one step closer to better homebrew!

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    7 Discussions


    1 year ago

    Thank you so much for this tutorial! This was so awesome! Glad to know I'm not the only one who ran into this problem!

    I did want to say that the links to several of the items that you said to buy no longer work, so I did have to go into the hardware store, but besides that the set up works perfectly! Thank you for this!


    Question 1 year ago

    The add-a-tee I bought looks like the one you linked, with a 3/8” female on one of the straight sides, and a male on the other straight side and on the 90 degree outlet. But based on the photo of your assembled tee, it looks like the 3/8” female is on your tee’s 90 degree output. Or are all 3 sides of the tee 3/8” male and your quarter turn valve has a 3/8” female on its inlet?


    1 year ago on Step 1

    To be clear, with this set up i can leave everything l attached and still use the sink normally when not brewing and just close the valve that would send water to the wort chiller?


    Reply 1 year ago

    Yes, I leave mine connected with the valve off.


    1 year ago on Step 5

    This was very helpful! I could not find a valve that would connect to the tee so I added 3/8 x 3/8 braided from the tee to the valve. Then a 3/8 x 1/2 braided from the valve to the garden hose adapter. Works great! All purchased at Home Depot. You can build the connections in the store to be sure.

    DIY Hacks and How Tos

    Cool design. This would be used for chilling any number of things.


    Reply 3 years ago

    Thanks! My girlfriend actually started to use this as a garden hose hook-up to water the plants on our balcony as well. Sure - when she hooks it up we have a garden hose draped across our apartment - but given that we don't have a hose bib outside, it's perfect!

    As far as homebrewing is concerned, after I built this, I actually created a second one for hot water to use for washing kegs. I then created a Y using a barbed tee adapter. hooked up the left and right arms of the tees to gas and beer ball lock disconnects respectively. When it's time to wash a keg, I open the lid, hook up my disconnects, hook up the hot water, turn it upside down over the sink, and turn the water on. In fact - I think I have an idea for a second instructable!