Tracking down a very small CO2 leak ... - Home Brew Forums

Register Now!
Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > DIY Projects > Kegerators & Keezers > Tracking down a very small CO2 leak ...

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 03-11-2013, 01:33 AM   #1
2puttbird
HBT_SUPPORTER.png
 
2puttbird's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Mar 2011
Jefferson City, MO
Posts: 112
Liked 1 Times on 1 Posts



Hi All,

I'm having trouble locating tips on finding an ellusive CO2 leak, so I thought I would start a thread.

I built my keezer in the summer of 2011, and my first 5 lb bottle of CO2 lasted over a year. My second lasted about 6 weeks, which was quite a surprise. I immediately suspected the bottle (I don't really have anywhere to get bottles refilled, so I have to swap bottles when I need a refill) and/or the plastic washer. I talked to the bottled gas guy, and said that it's pretty rare for a bottle to leak, and he also said that the washers usually last longer than one bottle, but they're cheap so I replaced it when I traded.

After installing the third bottle, I ran a few simple troubleshooting tests ... each time, I pressurized the system and then shut the main valve on the bottle and waited to see if it would hold pressure ... it didn't.

Since then, I've just been closing the bottle valve in between uses until I had a chance to take the keezer offline for closer analysis and repairs ... and that time came this week, when both kegs finally became empty at the same time.

I unhooked and removed the kegs, closed the valves on the distribution header, unplugged the controller, and let everything come to room temperature. I pressurized it and then shut the valve on the bottle. I just checked it, now 5.5 hrs later, and the secondary pressure has dropped from 11psi to 9psi ... not as bad as I had expected, I guess, but still a leak.

I bought the system pre-assembled. The CO2 hose is clamped onto the regulator with a crimp clamp. The other end of that 4' hose is secured with a worm gear clamp to the fitting that is threaded into the header. Unless the valves are not completely sealing (possible, but probably not the problem, since the leak existed when the kegs were connected also), my leak must be in those few joints, right?

What I'm having trouble imagining is how a change in bottles would have affected any of those joints. I'm not tough on the hardware. And I replaced the plastic washer between the bottle and the regulator, which was the most obvious (or so I thought) culprit.

Thanks for any tips you might have.

Cheers!
__________________
_________________________________________________

If you're not having fun, lower your standards ...

My keezer build thread --> Mid-Missouri freezer conversion

 
Reply With Quote
Old 03-11-2013, 01:43 AM   #2
newnick
HBT_SUPPORTER.png
 
newnick's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Mar 2011
port neches, tx
Posts: 223
Liked 25 Times on 17 Posts


Use soapy water to find the leak.

 
Reply With Quote
Old 03-11-2013, 02:07 AM   #3
2puttbird
HBT_SUPPORTER.png
 
2puttbird's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Mar 2011
Jefferson City, MO
Posts: 112
Liked 1 Times on 1 Posts


Thanks for replying ... I am familiar with that process, but unfortunately it requires enough of a leak to actually blow a bubble ... my leak requires 5.5 hrs to relieve 2 psi of pressure in a 4' hose, and it took 6 weeks to empty a 5 lb CO2 bottle, so it's a very small leak!
__________________
_________________________________________________

If you're not having fun, lower your standards ...

My keezer build thread --> Mid-Missouri freezer conversion

 
Reply With Quote
Old 03-11-2013, 02:13 AM   #4
Epimetheus
Recipes 
 
Oct 2012
Amherst, MA
Posts: 793
Liked 98 Times on 82 Posts


Perhaps the hose material is permeable?
__________________
Whether beer is made in waders or in a toilet tank, as long as it is fun and the brewer likes how it tastes, who cares how it is brewed?
- VladOfTrub

Add your water analysis to the water report map! Instructions on this thread

 
Reply With Quote
Old 03-11-2013, 02:32 AM   #5
2puttbird
HBT_SUPPORTER.png
 
2puttbird's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Mar 2011
Jefferson City, MO
Posts: 112
Liked 1 Times on 1 Posts


I have no idea ... my understanding is that it's standard hose used for this purpose. My next step is to get a new clamp, cut new ends on the main line, and reinstall them to see if that helps, even though I can't imagine how changing the bottle would have affected those connections.

Thanks for the reply.
__________________
_________________________________________________

If you're not having fun, lower your standards ...

My keezer build thread --> Mid-Missouri freezer conversion

 
Reply With Quote
Old 03-11-2013, 02:39 AM   #6
NivekD
 
NivekD's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Dec 2012
West Jordan, Utah
Posts: 664
Liked 101 Times on 83 Posts


Sounds like you only changed the bottle and the washer...if you still have the old washer, put it back in and check...could have a hairline leak on the new washer.
__________________
Bottled: Mexican Cerveza, Irish Stout, some Blue Moon clone, Pepper Ale, Full Hard Lemonade, Russian Imperial Stout, My first attempt at Mead (JAOM), Black Pearl Porter
Kegged: Blue Moon clone, Irish Red Ale
On Deck: Citra Hop Bomb (small batch) and Cream of Three Crops

_______________________________________________

Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups.

 
Reply With Quote
Old 03-11-2013, 02:40 AM   #7
WharfRat
Recipes 
 
Jul 2011
Charlotte, NC
Posts: 104
Liked 8 Times on 5 Posts


I had to crank to around 40 PSI to blow bubbles last I had a leak - that worked.

Indytruks138 Likes This 
Reply With Quote
Old 03-11-2013, 02:40 AM   #8
Nunner
 
Nunner's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Feb 2013
San Diego, CA
Posts: 244
Liked 131 Times on 70 Posts


Is it possible to get your suspected leaks in a bucket of water? Even with a small leak if you can, you should be able to see air bubbles forming

 
Reply With Quote
Old 03-11-2013, 02:50 AM   #9
2puttbird
HBT_SUPPORTER.png
 
2puttbird's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Mar 2011
Jefferson City, MO
Posts: 112
Liked 1 Times on 1 Posts


Duh! Increase the pressure! Sometimes I'm too close to the problem to see other potential solutions.

NivekD ... the second bottle leaked out with the original washer, and then I changed it when I got the third bottle ... sorry that I didn't explain that very well ... but that's definitely something I need to verify anyway, thanks.

Nunner ... it would be a pain, although with all the rain we're getting I may get a chance yet!

Thanks for the replies, guys ... they're really a big help!
__________________
_________________________________________________

If you're not having fun, lower your standards ...

My keezer build thread --> Mid-Missouri freezer conversion

 
Reply With Quote
Old 03-11-2013, 03:32 PM   #10
Indytruks138
Recipes 
 
Jan 2012
Plano, TX
Posts: 1,162
Liked 242 Times on 173 Posts


Def put it up to 40 psi and submerge everything.

I have had 2 bad check valves, so make sure you are putting those underwater too!

And don't rule out the kegs, if you don't get a good seal a keg will bleed a tank dry pretty quickly.
__________________
2 Punks Brewery

 
Reply With Quote


Reply
Thread Tools


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Small Leak Breck09 Bottling/Kegging 5 10-30-2011 01:39 AM
Primed keg had small leak. Additional CO2? chriscam Bottling/Kegging 6 03-29-2011 08:49 PM
Small Leak in Primary Ferm. Spigot minger Beginners Beer Brewing Forum 5 02-03-2009 12:53 PM
Colman MLT, VERY small leak Evan Equipment/Sanitation 4 06-03-2008 04:17 PM
Starter... May have small leak somewhere problem? britishbloke Equipment/Sanitation 7 04-02-2007 06:13 PM


Forum Jump