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Old 11-03-2011, 08:40 PM   #1
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Default I have gone through several #5 bottles of co2 but only 1 keg... can't find leak!

Opened up my kegerator last night to find a frozen co2 bottle...

I am immensely frustrated and am hoping for some suggestions.

The common advice I've encountered here is to spray every part of your system with soap water and the leak will present itself. I have tried this many times. I sat there with my brewing buddy and we meticulously sprayed every angle of every part, from the regulator to the faucet shank.

First lesson was that regulators need to be screwed on TIGHT w/ a new o ring each time
Then found a crack in the back of my co2 regulator
Now I don't know what to guess and I've gone through 2 more tanks.

Can quick disconnects or keg posts leak? Suspecting they can, I have doused them in soap water and have not seen anything. Neither has my buddy.

One of my kegs has some loose rubber on the top - when I pull up on one of the handles it moves every so slightly... could this be it? I've sprayed around there and no bubbles.

At this point I want to just dunk everything in a big bucket of water and see if I can identify it that way, but I'm worried about damaging equipment.


Spraying soapy water seems very straightforward and is a widely used technique to identify the leak. We take our time looking at each piece as we slowly move down the system looking for the leak. So why can't we find it?

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Old 11-03-2011, 08:44 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by onthedot View Post
Opened up my kegerator last night to find a frozen co2 bottle...

I am immensely frustrated and am hoping for some suggestions.

The common advice I've encountered here is to spray every part of your system with soap water and the leak will present itself. I have tried this many times. I sat there with my brewing buddy and we meticulously sprayed every angle of every part, from the regulator to the faucet shank.

First lesson was that regulators need to be screwed on TIGHT w/ a new o ring each time
Then found a crack in the back of my co2 regulator
Now I don't know what to guess and I've gone through 2 more tanks.

Can quick disconnects or keg posts leak? Suspecting they can, I have doused them in soap water and have not seen anything. Neither has my buddy.

One of my kegs has some loose rubber on the top - when I pull up on one of the handles it moves every so slightly... could this be it? I've sprayed around there and no bubbles.

At this point I want to just dunk everything in a big bucket of water and see if I can identify it that way, but I'm worried about damaging equipment.


Spraying soapy water seems very straightforward and is a widely used technique to identify the leak. We take our time looking at each piece as we slowly move down the system looking for the leak. So why can't we find it?
If you're finding a frozen CO2 tank, you are looking for more than a slow leak. That tank is probably emptying at a pretty good rate in order to freeze up like that. You might want to have it hydro tested or take it to a place that swaps tanks and get a different one.
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I'll make my buddy do it with me next time. That'll make me go harder at it.
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Old 11-03-2011, 08:49 PM   #3
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If you're finding a frozen CO2 tank, you are looking for more than a slow leak. That tank is probably emptying at a pretty good rate in order to freeze up like that. You might want to have it hydro tested or take it to a place that swaps tanks and get a different one.
I swap my co2 tank, I don't refill the same one. This is also the first one I have found frozen. I have had leaks with all of them, but there were other factors going on before (detailed in first post). I talked to the gas shop and they suspected it was frozen because of the cold co2 being released and setting in the closed kegerator. I also had the tank chilling in the kegerator for a week before I hooked it up, so the gas shop concluded if there was a leak it would have occurred then, not once it was hooked up to the kegging system. Seemed reasonable to me. Is a hydro test something I would pay a gas shop to perform?
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Old 11-03-2011, 08:55 PM   #4
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I swap my co2 tank, I don't refill the same one. This is also the first one I have found frozen. I have had leaks with all of them, but there were other factors going on before (detailed in first post). I talked to the gas shop and they suspected it was frozen because of the cold co2 being released and setting in the closed kegerator. I also had the tank chilling in the kegerator for a week before I hooked it up, so the gas shop concluded if there was a leak it would have occurred then, not once it was hooked up to the kegging system. Seemed reasonable to me. Is a hydro test something I would pay a gas shop to perform?
If you normally swap out, forget what I said about the hydro test.
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I'll make my buddy do it with me next time. That'll make me go harder at it.
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Old 11-03-2011, 09:19 PM   #5
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Okay, I'm back to square one then!

One other thing we noticed when we were looking over the system - we disconnected each of the quickdisconnects. One keg's gas poppet started leaking out gas as soon as we took it off. When we put the disconnect back on and sprayed we didn't hear or see anything. Also, the keg was naturally carbonated for 3 weeks @ room temperature and always had plenty of pressure built up everytime I bled the valve. Another keg had a similiar situation but with the beer poppet - we noticed some bubbles oozing out very slowly from the top but once we put the disconnect back on and sprayed we didnt see or hear anything.

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Old 11-04-2011, 06:36 PM   #6
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Also, the keg was naturally carbonated for 3 weeks @ room temperature and always had plenty of pressure built up everytime I bled the valve
if you are trying to naturally carbonate, why are you bleeding the pressure?

a leaky poppet could be the cause, but if you keep a disconnect on it (unless the o-ring was bad) then it shouldnt matter.

Quote:
One of my kegs has some loose rubber on the top - when I pull up on one of the handles it moves every so slightly... could this be it?
no. the rubber is essentially just glued onto the stainless steel cylinder. the rubber itself doesnt seal anything. you could even remove all the rubber and just be left with a steel tank that would hold pressure just the same.

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Can quick disconnects or keg posts leak?
everything that isnt a solid material can leak. any fittings, o-rings, connections, screws, seals... everything should be suspect. the only thing that definately can not leak is a solid unbroken piece of material (i.e. the walls of the keg, solidly welded seams).

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At this point I want to just dunk everything in a big bucket of water and see if I can identify it that way, but I'm worried about damaging equipment.
the only thing i would be careful about submerging in water would be the regulator. and even that could probably get wet with no harm done as long as you dry the insides off quickly. everything in there is metal (brass or copper) and as long as you dont stick it, say, in a dark closed damp space so it cant dry, it should be fine. put it in the sun or somewhere dry and warm for a few days and the water should naturally evaporate out from the gauges. just dont get water inside the regulator.

also i would disassemble the regulator and check that the rubber diaphragm or o-rings arent cracked. hard to find a leak over the internet unfortunately...
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Old 11-04-2011, 08:09 PM   #7
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Audger, thank you for the detailed reply!

I bleed the pressure of the naturally carbonated kegs after they are carbonated and before I hook them up to gas. That way I eliminate the potential of liquid pushing itself up through the gas valve if the pressure in the keg is greater than the co2 reg setting. Maybe not necessary but just a precaution I take...

I going to submerge the tops of my kegs w the quick disconnects attached and see if I can find any bubbles. I doubt the regular is the issue because as I bought a new one after discovering the irreparable crack in the old one.. Nonetheless it is probably a good idea to check out the diaphragm and orings.

I know that it's up to me to find the leak and nobody else but I've tried in all ways I knew how and was just hoping there might be something I'm not doing or forgetting.

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Old 11-04-2011, 08:34 PM   #8
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A standard trouble shooting tip is to eliminate as many variables as possible.

If you're regulator has a shut off valve, start with that. then with everything hooked up and pressurized. shut the valve and the co2 tank off. that should seperate the regulator from the kegs. then check back later, and if the kegs still have pressure, the issue is probably upstream of the valve (i.e. the regulator)

you can also try this with all the disconnects unhooked. they shouldn't leak when not on the keg.

If that's the case, the next step would be to turn the co2 tank on, with the regulator valve off, and see if it leaks down at all. You can't use pressure to test this, but you can weigh the tank before and after to see if it's lost any co2. also, try and listen closely. a lot of leaks that I've seen drain a tank in under 3 days I've been able to find by listening carefully.

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Old 11-05-2011, 01:49 AM   #9
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Good suggestions already, but this is what worked for me:

Buy a new garbage can and fill it with water, and dunk everything except for the regulator gauges -- or you could use your bathtub filled with water. The gauges are really the only thing I can think of that may get water in them, and damage via rust (obviously dry your co2 tank and other connections after, particularly if the tank is steel).

Check the keg pressure relief valve closely as well. That's where I found my frustrating leak after dunking the kegs. I could touch it and bubbles would start flowing, and then move it a bit and make them stop. Spraying soapy water on it was hard to see bubbles because the holes are so big, and elevated a bit.

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Old 11-05-2011, 03:45 AM   #10
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StarSan foams really well around the leaks I have had. I don't have to worry cleaning it off or contaminating my hands and beer with future brewing misadventures.

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