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Old 12-04-2012, 03:15 PM   #1
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Default Are Kegs, CO2 tanks, safe around small children?

Hey Everybody,

So I just received my first keg kit, a 3 Gallon corny, 5 lb C02 tank, regulator, hoses, etc. My wife walks in and starts reading the "Warning" label that comes with the CO2 tank and starts freaking out and tells me I can't keep the keg equipment in the house because it's not safe around the kids or in the house.

I live in a 800 sq ft apartment with 2 kids (8 months & 3.5 years) and she's worried that the tank will explode or leak and asphyxiate us all.

Is it safe to have in an apartment this small with 2 young kids? If I were to keep it stored in a locked closet would that be safe?

If it is safe, help me persuade SWMBO that it is perfectly safe and can stay in the house. Please, help me keep my keg.

Cheers (from a bottle for now)

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Old 12-04-2012, 03:25 PM   #2
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CO2 tanks and homebrew kegging setups are perfectly safe. The biggest risk is kids discovering delicious beer flowing from the taps. CO2 canisters are not going to explode. Think of the thousands upon thousands of fast food restaurants that store multiple CO2 tanks to dispense soda. Ever heard of a McDonalds blowing up because of a CO2 tank?

Her fears are unfounded.

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Old 12-04-2012, 03:30 PM   #3
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Thanks BierMuncher!

You should've seen my face as I was opening the box and then when SWMBO put the foot down. Oh, the pain, the pain...

Keep the encouraging words coming ya'll.

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Old 12-04-2012, 03:41 PM   #4
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The danger of the CO2 tank comes from the high pressure of the contents, not the actual contents. If your kids decide to pick up the tank (you should have it secured anyways) and smash it repeatedly with a large hammer, it may rupture and cause problems. If a large space rock smashes into your house, the tank may rupture and cause problems. If your kids drink all your homebrew, they may rupture and have problems.

But under normal conditions, or even the fairly abnormal conditions that most homebrewers seem to use products in, the setup is perfectly safe.

Or, you could invest in a kevlar lined kegerator...

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Old 12-04-2012, 03:44 PM   #5
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Keep in mind that the CO2 tank and the kegs have safety release valve on them, too, which is meant to *safely* release pressure if it gets too high or something goes wrong.

Still, be reasonable with it. Don't leave the stuff out and accessible to the young ones!

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Old 12-04-2012, 03:48 PM   #6
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Yeah there's no way a child is going to somehow break your co2 tank unless they took a hammer to the valve on top or something. Even knocking it over would just mean your regulator would be shot and it could vent all your gas quickly. If that happened in a small air-tight room like a closet sized room, you could have breathing problems. If that's not your room size, and you secure your tank, you're fine.

The worst a child could do would be to change the pressure, but safety is built into the tank and the regulator, you can't just keep cranking and have an explosion, it'll just start venting gas slowly.

Or yes the worst thing a child could REALLY do would be to pull on a tap and walk away, you'd lose all your beer AND your gas! Easy fix though: tap locks. They are keyed locks that hold the tap shut, and also keep fruit flies out of the tap. Nice...invest in those and secure your tank somehow, no issue whatsoever.

Just don't heat your house to over 400F degrees, cause then your tank might rupture...that's a serious risk.

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Old 12-04-2012, 03:53 PM   #7
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A full tank MIGHT be at risk of rupturing IF the environment where it's sitting gets above 120F for a significant amount of time. Chances are, you won't let the apartment get that hot, or you won't be there (none of you) if/when it does.

If she's so concerned about the thing falling onto one of the kids, secure it to a wall. That's pretty easy to do, OR put things between the tank and where the kids could get to it. The 3.5 year old should be able to understand to not touch the tank. The 8 month old, not so much.

BTW, I had my CO2 tanks in my 1 bedroom apartment where it got to over 100F a few times during the summer(s). Not a single issue. I also put them so that they were NOT where people would walk, so couldn't bump into any of them and knock them over.

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Old 12-04-2012, 03:58 PM   #8
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As far as temperatures - I recently moved cross country, put all my junk in a Penske, and drove. I stopped off in Phoenix for 2 days. A thermometer I had in there that records high/low recorded a high of 122*. My CO2 tank was fine. No leaks, no explosions, nada.

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Keg 2: Oktoberfest
Keg 3: Southern Pecan
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Old 12-04-2012, 03:58 PM   #9
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I imagine 5 lbs of CO2 released into the air of an 800 sq foot apartment would not be noticable to anyone except your house plants.

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Old 12-04-2012, 04:03 PM   #10
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Any pressurized tank should be properly secured so that it cannot fall over if it is stored upright and so it can't roll around if it's on its side. Tanks falling over CAN lead to explosive results (not combustion in the case of CO2, but sudden, catastrophic gas release launching heavy things at high speed). Similarly, make sure that your tanks are properly maintained and regularly inspected so they don't fail on their own.

The other thing to watch out for is a leak in an enclosed or semi-enclosed space. This could lead to suffocation. Obviously this would be a worry if a kid climbed into a keezer, but I'd also worry that a closet could hold gas well enough to be dangerous.

Those are really the only risks I can think of. It's not dangerous to have them in the house, it's really just the fairly obvious direct risks. I don't have a setup of my own, but I think it's basic common sense to keep kids from playing around or with them. This doesn't have to be at a paranoid level, but I would take some precautions, just as I would with other appliances, tools, and equipment.

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