Intro: 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.
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
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!