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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > Co2 usage or finding the leak!
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Old 08-22-2012, 01:10 AM   #1
squintyjay
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Default Co2 usage or finding the leak!

Hi all, I've searched for this and haven't seemed to find a similar topic... apologies if I've missed it (found threads about cleaning co2 lines etc). I'm fairly new to kegging, started in March of this year, but have been blowing through CO2 tanks much faster than I'd anticipated.

My first tank (5lb) lasted about 4 kegs, (two of which were commercial while I was waiting on my cornies to arrive). My next one lasted 2-3 and was gone in less than a month. Current one is basically empty, lasted almost 2 months but only 3 kegs carbed, 2 kegs served.

This seems to me to be way more use than I'd expected getting into this but I'm not totally sure. My LHBS says up to 12 kegs per 5lb (wow!). I've tried leak tests with star san solution and soapy water but not identified anything. I'm going from tank-->regulator-->manifold --> disconnects for 2 kegs.

Typically when I've drained a keg, I rinse it out, then clean with oxyclean, hook up and blow a bit through the line, rinse out well, star san and blow through the lines again (at low pressure for both oxyclean solution and starsan) then fill and go.

I'm wondering if that's the culprit. For example, if I fill the keg halfway with oxyclean solution or starsan, does the co2 need to fill half the tank in order to push the solution through the lines by design? If so that seems like everytime I use co2 to clean the lines I'm cutting my tanks usage by a keg or so... does this seem logical to anyone or I'm I best to keep looking for leaks???

Thanks in advance for any advice.

Jason

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Old 08-22-2012, 01:41 AM   #2
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Hmm,
Been kegging for two years now and never used co2 to blow out the lines & I used to go 20 plus kegs on 5 lbs of co2 with no problem. Then I started blowing co2 into the kegs prior to filling them to prevent oxidation (worth doing) and I noticed a real change in my consumption - for the worse. I think you have your finger on the problem with the pressurizing to move cleaners & starsan. Here's something to consider. I found that there are plenty of 20 lb co2 tanks available cheap and bought a couple, here's why - it only cost a few bucks more for 20lbs than for 5lbs. Most of the fee is for handling & filling, not for the co2. Seems to me it's only 12 or so bucks more for the 20 lb. Now I keep one 20 hooked up all the time feeding 3 kegs in the fridge (been over a year with no refill), and a second for carbonating my beer & blowing out kegs before filling them (that one's lasted over a year as well). Something to consider.
Just my thoughts.

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Old 08-22-2012, 02:09 AM   #3
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By the time.you hook.up the gas and unhook it as soon as you can you have more than enough pressure to push stuff through the lines. Filling until.the gas stops is wasting a lot of gas

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Old 08-22-2012, 12:48 PM   #4
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Thanks guys, sounds like that may be my issue. For cleaning I don't fully pressurize, just hook up for a few seconds to get it going.... Co2 is crazy expensive where I live. I'm trying to find a new local supplier but the place I've been going charges $32 for a 5lb tank exchange (they do exchanges only, no fill on site). Nuts!

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Old 08-22-2012, 07:01 PM   #5
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How about using a cheap air compressor instead of CO2 for your pumping?

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Old 08-22-2012, 07:09 PM   #6
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Check your posts and poppits to make sure they arent leaking. I lost a couple of tanks to this and have since learned my lesson to test before beer is in kegs

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Old 08-22-2012, 07:16 PM   #7
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I think I am going to start using compressed air as well. I can't fit a 20lb tank in my chest freezer without taking up a lot of space, and I haven't built a solar yet so that is not really an option. I do have a 15lb tank I can use someday though. I think it's from an old converted steel fire extinguisher.

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Old 08-22-2012, 07:21 PM   #8
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I had an extremely small leak where the gas hose barb connected to the manifold (pipe wrap tape had a tiny kink). StarSan and soappy water didn't pick it up, even at 30psi.

I found it by submerging the manifold in my bathtub full of water and hitting it with 30psi.

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Old 08-24-2012, 03:40 AM   #9
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Thanks for all the tips, you guys are great. I'll give the poppets and posts another inspection. Never thought of compressed air - great idea thanks.

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Old 08-24-2012, 03:42 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AZ_IPA View Post
I had an extremely small leak where the gas hose barb connected to the manifold (pipe wrap tape had a tiny kink). StarSan and soappy water didn't pick it up, even at 30psi.

I found it by submerging the manifold in my bathtub full of water and hitting it with 30psi.
That's a great idea, thanks. If I can't find a leak elsewhere that's the next step. I'd sleep a lot better at night if I was more confident there wasn't a leak somewhere! I'd thought the soapy and starsan tests would've caught it but guess it's possible for one to slip by!
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