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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Bottling/Kegging > Leak test for new system- Will this work?
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Old 06-11-2010, 01:51 PM   #1
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Default Leak test for new system- Will this work?

I finally had a chance to pick up a CO2 tank from Airgas. I bought a 20 pounder and ended up getting a nice shiney aluminum tank .

Anyways, after reading through the numerous threads about leaky systems, I am a little paranoid of dumping 20 lbs of CO2 into my refrigerator. I am trying to check for leaks without emptying my tank. Here is what I have done:

I hooked up the tank, opened the valve, and set the regulator to 12 psi. I opened each valve on my distributor (3 keg system) and heard the brief hiss as each line was pressurized. No kegs hooked up at this point. I shut off the gas and closed all three of the distibutor valves. Left it like this overnight and it still had 12 lbs of pressure this morning. I opened all three valves and I will check again this afternoon. My thought is that if the system maintains the 12 psi of pressure without the tank being open, there is no leak in the gas system. Is this correct, or is my theory flawed? I know that I can still have a leak at the kegs, but I'm trying to isolate one system at a time.

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Old 06-11-2010, 01:58 PM   #2
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Sounds logical to me.
Most leaks seem to be caused by the same things: Connections not tightened, MFL fittings without washers, and leaky QD's. The solutions are to tighten the connections, use washers on your MFL fittings, and keg lube

If it's holding 12PSI overnight with the tank off, you're good after the regulator.

Keep a bottle of starsan handy to spray your hoses and connections and you'll be fine.

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What does the primary pressure gauge on the tank tell us? That's right, the temperature. Put it on a scale if you want to know how much is in it...
Put some duct tape over the gauge - Or better yet - Replace the high pressure gauge with a plug - High pressure gauges are useless!

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Old 06-11-2010, 03:59 PM   #3
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Sound like you are on the right track. I would however do a pressure test with a bit more psi than I thought I would be using on a regular basis. Your system should have no trouble holding 20-30 psi minimum, IMO.

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Old 06-11-2010, 04:14 PM   #4
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You could also just spray everything down with soapy water or starsan and see if any bubbles form.

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Old 06-11-2010, 04:25 PM   #5
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I have lost tanks due to all the above and more. I no longer leave the tank on unless i am there. If your system is holding pressure then you can shut the pressure off when its not in use.
In the case of adding a new keg i put in like 40 pse and let it sit for a day or two and repeat that until it carbs up to where i want it then put the pressure back down.

If you leave your tank on ..... sooner or later you will lose one

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Old 06-11-2010, 05:24 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Walker View Post
You could also just spray everything down with soapy water or starsan and see if any bubbles form.
I agree with Walker, but think if you are able (and it sounds like you are), to test with empty kegs so there is no concern of co2 absorption, then pressure gauges are more accurate.

Once you have beer in the kegs, absorption will make it almost impossible to use a gauge to check for leaks.

When I connect a keg, I always spray it down with starsan. Helps to find any leaks and helps to cleanup away any drips.
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Old 06-11-2010, 06:17 PM   #7
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I've rebuilt the three kegs with new o-rings and keg lube and am kegging my first beer tomorrow. I figured that I would use last night and today to check for leaks without the kegs in the equation. I'll try the starsan after hooking the keg up to see if it leaks.

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Old 06-11-2010, 06:34 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boar Beer View Post
I have lost tanks due to all the above and more. I no longer leave the tank on unless i am there. If your system is holding pressure then you can shut the pressure off when its not in use.
In the case of adding a new keg i put in like 40 pse and let it sit for a day or two and repeat that until it carbs up to where i want it then put the pressure back down.

If you leave your tank on ..... sooner or later you will lose one
I can understand be cautious and doing this, But thousands or bars and restaurants and hundreds of homebrewers have proven that if you secure all your connections, you will be fine leaving it hooked up. If it's leaking, don't band-aid the problem, fix it.
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Old 06-11-2010, 07:27 PM   #9
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IrregularPulse

You are correct. The careful,diligent, and experienced will not have a problem. This is new for a Home Brewer who probably has one tank of co2. I say be careful. If you don't have any leaks then turning off the regulator does not harm anything. will you always remember to check for leaks? Forget once and Friday night you got beer in a keg you cant get out.
Well one time i just poured the keg into a pitcher and drank it before it went flat. And that's a poor way to do things so you can see my character flaws.

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