CO2 Leak?

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Joseph Taylor

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Hey all,

New to the forums here. I'm two 5 gallon batches into moving to a kegging set up.
Not even through the second batch I realized I'm already out of CO2.

From the CO2 swap place I go to - apparently one of the canisters should last 5 or more 5 gallon batches. So, I'm trying to find the leak and believe I have it isolated from the quarter turn valve directly after the regulator.

With that closed, I set the regulator to 20-22 psi, charge the line and then close the supply.
After approximately 1 min 30 seconds of solid, unchanging pressure, the dial starts dropping and is back to zero after about 2 mins.

I replaced the gasket between the CO2 canister and regulator fitting - no change.
I sprayed soap-water on all fitting at CO2 canister, regulator, and quarter turn valve fitting. No bubbles whatsoever.

Any ideas? Can the regulator leak from any where else?

Thanks,
Joe Taylor
 

VirginiaHops1

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believe I have it isolated from the quarter turn valve directly after the regulator.

With that closed, I set the regulator to 20-22 psi, charge the line and then close the supply.
After approximately 1 min 30 seconds of solid, unchanging pressure, the dial starts dropping and is back to zero after about 2 mins.
I'm trying to understand what you're doing here. So you're turning off the quarter turn shut off valve with pressure at 20 psi, and then you're turning off the tank entirely and watching it. And the pressure on the regulator eventually drops to zero? I think that's normal, especially since you tested the shut-off valve with soapy water and saw no leak. When I turn my tank off the pressure of the regulator eventually goes to zero too, and I haven't lost any tanks quickly. I would guess your leak is somewhere else so post more details.
 

LittleRiver

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The connection between the bottle and the regulator is a common point of failure. I lost two bottles of gas before I found my leak there, and I had checked it with a spray of soapy water (and immersion tested everything else).

But when I oriented the bottle sideways, with the output pointing down (regulator nut pointing up) I found that it was leaking. The spray pooled in the end of the nut and allowed me to see a tiny leak that didn't show itself previously. A new gasket with a little bit of keg lube fixed it.

Later on I had a keg that was leaky. New O-rings on the beer and gas tubes fixed it.
 

seatazzz

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Have you checked your keg for leaks? Did you switch out the o-rings (ALL of them) when you got the keg? Unless it was a brand new keg (not a re-purposed soda keg, as most cornelius kegs are) the o-rings may be the culprit. O-ring kits can be had for cheap at the LHBS or Amazon. And use plenty of keg lube. Another likely spot is the posts; they can loosen over time (ask me how I know!) so you'll want to make sure they're tight, and the poppits them inside working properly.
 
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Joseph Taylor

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Check the PRV on the regulator.
I'll give this a shot, I think I've located it on the back of the regulator.
Yesterday, I increased the pressure to 30 psi and the connection between the CO2 tank and regulator started hissing.
Not sure if if was a slow leak before that wasn't making bubbles when I checked, but it is definitely leaking now. Got new o-rings on the way - the ones at a local homebrew shop aren't the right size.
 
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Joseph Taylor

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I'm trying to understand what you're doing here. So you're turning off the quarter turn shut off valve with pressure at 20 psi, and then you're turning off the tank entirely and watching it. And the pressure on the regulator eventually drops to zero? I think that's normal, especially since you tested the shut-off valve with soapy water and saw no leak. When I turn my tank off the pressure of the regulator eventually goes to zero too, and I haven't lost any tanks quickly. I would guess your leak is somewhere else so post more details.
I was curious if this was normal or not - I figured if there was a solid leak, that it would immediately start leaking...

Can anyone else vouch for this? Is it normal for the pressure to slowly dissipate on its own?
 
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Joseph Taylor

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The connection between the bottle and the regulator is a common point of failure. I lost two bottles of gas before I found my leak there, and I had checked it with a spray of soapy water (and immersion tested everything else).

But when I oriented the bottle sideways, with the output pointing down (regulator nut pointing up) I found that it was leaking. The spray pooled in the end of the nut and allowed me to see a tiny leak that didn't show itself previously. A new gasket with a little bit of keg lube fixed it.

Later on I had a keg that was leaky. New O-rings on the beer and gas tubes fixed it.
Interesting! Once I get the right o-rings in, I'll try replacing it again. The ones that the local homebrew shop that I exchange tanks with provide a replacement, but I think they are too big. I've got new ones on the way.

Thanks!
 
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Joseph Taylor

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Have you checked your keg for leaks? Did you switch out the o-rings (ALL of them) when you got the keg? Unless it was a brand new keg (not a re-purposed soda keg, as most cornelius kegs are) the o-rings may be the culprit. O-ring kits can be had for cheap at the LHBS or Amazon. And use plenty of keg lube. Another likely spot is the posts; they can loosen over time (ask me how I know!) so you'll want to make sure they're tight, and the poppits them inside working properly.

Yeah, I replaced them immediately after I got the keg - but I reused them this last batch (so only 1.5 batches old). How often do you guys replace them? Every batch? I'll try leak testing them after I get new o-rings in. Thanks for the idea!
 

VirginiaHops1

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I was curious if this was normal or not - I figured if there was a solid leak, that it would immediately start leaking...

Can anyone else vouch for this? Is it normal for the pressure to slowly dissipate on its own?
I was walking through my "brewery" yesterday and thought about this post and looked at the regulator on my spare keg which is turned off and it was still showing 10 psi. But I swear when I've shut tanks off before I've seen my regulator gauge drop to zero. Anyways, it should be easy to determine if you have a leak at the quarter turn. Crank the psi up pretty high like 30, and spray it with soapy water. If there's a leak I would think there's no way you wouldn't have bubbles. I haven't lost tanks in awhile and when I did I traced it to the QD/post, so I really think your leak is elsewhere.

To answer your question above, heck no you don't have to replace O-rings every batch. They should last quite awhile if you're not rough on them and use lube so they don't dry out.
 

IslandLizard

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Yesterday, I increased the pressure to 30 psi and the connection between the CO2 tank and regulator started hissing.
Doing that should have no effect on the connection or seal between the tank and regulator. Very odd.

A few small but important details:
  • Always operate the tank with the valve all the way open, not just one turn. The packing on the top of the valve stem needs to compress to make a seal.
  • Those little shutoffs on the bottom of each regulator should always be in 90° positions. They may leak anywhere in between. Those brass ones, like you have, seem to be a tad better than the chromed, red handle ones.
 

VirginiaHops1

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Also, I didn't see you mention what type of kegs you were using. But just so you know pin lock and ball lock kegs use slightly different sized o-rings. The pin lock o-rings are slightly bigger. A lot of places just sell the ball lock size since that's the most popular type of keg and don't even mention there's a difference. I started out with used pin locks which pretty much had all ball lock o-rings on them. Most of them sealed decently well but once in awhile they were finicky and I had issues. Once I realized there were different sized o-rings and put the right ones on, the QD has a noticeably more snug fit on the post.
 
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Joseph Taylor

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Also, I didn't see you mention what type of kegs you were using. But just so you know pin lock and ball lock kegs use slightly different sized o-rings. The pin lock o-rings are slightly bigger. A lot of places just sell the ball lock size since that's the most popular type of keg and don't even mention there's a difference. I started out with used pin locks which pretty much had all ball lock o-rings on them. Most of them sealed decently well but once in awhile they were finicky and I had issues. Once I realized there were different sized o-rings and put the right ones on, the QD has a noticeably more snug fit on the post.
I'm using a 5 gallon ball lock keg. The replacement o-rings came with the keg. I'll check the quick-disconnects also! Thanks for the ideas.
Appreciate it.
 

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