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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Bottling/Kegging > Using medical compressor for "utility gas" - brilliant or criminal?




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Old 03-13-2013, 12:17 AM   #1
snapz007
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Default Using medical compressor for "utility gas" - brilliant or criminal?

Okay, so my thinking was that I absolutely HATE to waste any CO2, particularly at twenty-two bucks a bottle. But, I still have to use gas to push cleaning/sanitizing solutions through the lines. I also hate using CO2 to pressure-test my kegs (I'm hyper-anal and do that every cleaning. You only have to lose your second bottle of gas before you start getting anal about seal integrity.) because THAT'S also a waste of precious gas.

Then I remembered one of my junk-store purchases. Years ago, I picked up a tiny little medical air compressor. Just a little fella, about the size of the little compressors that car companies are selling with cars instead of a proper spare tire. Rated for medical use, it's an oilless compressor with regulator that will easily pump up 60-70 PSI - no reserve tank, of course, so it won't HOLD pressure unless it's running, but it'll pump plenty of pressure out the front end, so long as it's switched on.

So, I hooked it to a gas disconnect via a couple of feet of gas line and tried it out - pumped up a 5-gallon corny to 20 PSI in just a few seconds, and pushed water through the bev port without any problem. So, for technical purposes, it works great.

So with a medical-grade compressor, designed to pump breathing air, I've got a limitless supply of "utility air." I'd never use it to carb or serve a beverage (actually, I imagine it'd be fine for service, but the little bastard is LOUD, so the noise would get irritating), but it seems like it's fine for pumping cleaners and pressure testing.

Am I on track here, or is there something I'm missing?



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Old 03-13-2013, 01:00 AM   #2
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You'd never use your air compressor for carbing or serving because air won't carb but will oxidize the living crap out of beer.

Other than that, I think your thinking is sound.

fwiw, many of us use small hand-pumped sprayers with a corny post attached to do the whole line and faucet cleaning thing. No CO2 required...

Cheers!



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Old 03-13-2013, 01:40 AM   #3
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Like day said, nothing wrong with that for checking your tank for leaks and running cleaning solutions through your lines.

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Old 03-13-2013, 01:41 AM   #4
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::facepalm::

I bet a tiny bit of research would've turned up these hand-pumped sprayers, huh? Sigh. I've got to remember to start asking these questions BEFORE I do things.

This is the problem with having a family tree full of engineers - I tend to overlook the simple, inexpensive solution.

Anyway, now that the compressor's rigged, if there's no safety issue (read: poisoning my friends and/or self), then I'll stick with that until it burns a bearing, as all oilless compressors eventually must. I think I paid $10 at Goodwill, so I don't think I'm out too much. And when it does burn out, I'll look into a handpump, like I shoulda done a few months back.

Thanks! :-)

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Old 03-13-2013, 01:47 AM   #5
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Your $10 is competitive with the cost to build this hand-pumped spray bottle rig and will do the job. As you say, when it goes to Compressor Heaven you can put one of these together. They work very well...

Cheers!

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Old 03-18-2013, 06:21 PM   #6
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u could use a compressor but if you get oil in your beer lines bad news , you need a couple of oil sepperators , i think i would use the hand pumped spray bottle

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Old 03-18-2013, 07:09 PM   #7
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I use a garage style air compressor for this application. I've been running it for about 10 years now and have never found a single drop of oil or moisture in the separator filter. Coming out of the tank I go to a tee, then up a few feet then back down over several feet with a fairly gentle slope to where the filters are connected with a second T. The tees have valves. Oil and moisture do collect in those.



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