Adding any sort of automation to your home brewery can be an incredibly rewarding investment, especially come brew day. But sometimes when we use more advanced pieces of equipment, like a brewery pump, there are added complications that can be difficult to troubleshoot.
Using a pump to transfer hot liquids is something a lot of homebrewers aspire to incorporate into their breweries. But the finer points of pump mechanics aren't so obvious. Most home brew pumps today, for example, aren't self-priming. What this means is, you can't simply open valves that lead to the pump itself and expect it to start moving liquids for you. As a matter of fact, not only will it not move liquids, but operating your pump in this way will damage you pump and eventually wear it out.
Because of this, March or Chugger pump users are required to prime their pumps. What priming means is that we are allowing fluids to flow into the propeller housing, purging all air from the housing, prior to turning the pump on. Not only will this immediately begin to move your liquid for you without issue, but it will prevent you from inadvertently burning up your pump.
A lot of pump users try to get by with just opening the dedicated outlet to their pump. If this works for you, then good for you. But even this setup can be difficult to get going for some folks and there's a very cost-effective way to add a bleeder valve to your pump that makes priming an absolute cinch! Here's what you need:
- 1 (one) 1/2" Stainless Steel Tee (Link) - $4.50
- 1 (one) 1/2" x 1" Threaded Stainless Steel Nipple (Link) - $2.95
- 1 (one) 1/2" Boiler Drain (Link) - $5.82
- Teflon Tape
When I put my purge port together, I wanted the bleeder valve above the ball valve outlet so that I knew that all air would be purged. Check out how I plumbed mine:
To operate, simply open the ball valve from your liquid source (boil kettle), then open the bleeder valve and continue to bleed until air is purged from the hose. Check out the video below for specifics on how to operate.
And if you want to get really fancy, install a whirlpool port like above. Cheers!