DIY Carboy/Keg Cleaner

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helterscelter

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So I just added the flange and noticed it does not make a flush seal with the bucket lid. How are you keeping this from leaking?

The lid isn't 100% water tight. I get so much foaming from pbw and my pump it wasn't much of a concern. However I don't have issues with leaking around the flange or between the rubber reducer and my kegs. I only have issues with foam building up in the bucket and running out from the power cord hole and the fill/post cleaner holes. When I'm running plain water to rinse I don't have any issue with leakage at all.

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Markolomew

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First off, I see I attached my toilet flange a little different than the photos above, so my leaking issue is a little different. I sat the flange on "top" of the bucket lid instead, so it makes sense why I was having issues. Well, good news is I found a fix in case anyone wants to install the flange on the top:

I went to Lowes today at lunch with the goal of fixing the issue of liquid escaping between the toilet flange and the bucket lid. After walking up and down the aisles, I think I got the fix. For $2.50 you can get a 3-in Dia PVC Adapter Fitting. Easy peasy. Just flip your lid over to the bottom size, and fit the smaller end of this PVC adapter into the Toilet flange. If you want, add a little PVC Glue to hold it in place. This makes it so the liquid draining out of the keg/carboy down into the buckets never comes in contact with the lid area....it goes through this adapter a few inches below the lid. Done and done. I don't know how long this link will stay good, but here it is: 3-in Dia PVC Adapter Fitting

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helterscelter

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Good
First off, I see I attached my toilet flange a little different than the photos above, so my leaking issue is a little different. I sat the flange on "top" of the bucket lid instead, so it makes sense why I was having issues. Well, good news is I found a fix in case anyone wants to install the flange on the top:

I went to Lowes today at lunch with the goal of fixing the issue of liquid escaping between the toilet flange and the bucket lid. After walking up and down the aisles, I think I got the fix. For $2.50 you can get a 3-in Dia PVC Adapter Fitting. Easy peasy. Just flip your lid over to the bottom size, and fit the smaller end of this PVC adapter into the Toilet flange. If you want, add a little PVC Glue to hold it in place. This makes it so the liquid draining out of the keg/carboy down into the buckets never comes in contact with the lid area....it goes through this adapter a few inches below the lid. Done and done. I don't know how long this link will stay good, but here it is: 3-in Dia PVC Adapter Fitting
Pics? Why not put the flange through the bucket lid instead. Then you don't need the adapter. : drunk
 

mheitt

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Markolomew, what kind of pump are you using? The big submersible pumps pictured earlier in the thread seem a bit overkill, but your pump looks smaller. Is it producing enough pressure?

michael
 

Markolomew

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Markolomew, what kind of pump are you using? The big submersible pumps pictured earlier in the thread seem a bit overkill, but your pump looks smaller. Is it producing enough pressure?

michael
I'm using an EcoPlus 1083 pump, but i've heard decent results from as low as an EcoPlus 396 as well. The only reason I went with the 1083 was for the extra pressure so it would scrub the base of the kegs harder for cleaning. They are small pumps regardless and a great fit for a 5gal bucket . Check amazon.
 

QcSylvanio

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Sup guys!

Here is my carboy cleaner I made. Cost me 45$ for everythings!
It was pretty simple and it took only few minutes to assemble.

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yewtah-brewha

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So what is the overall consensus on this DIY keg/varboy cleaner, I built mine and Im not happy with the results, I can clean it by hand better than this, I am going to try again tomarrow, Ill try some different cleaners, been using oxy clean with warm water, and it doesnt get the hard stuff off,

it might be good for rinsing after its been cleaned, but thats about all I see it for.
 

Markolomew

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So what is the overall consensus on this DIY keg/varboy cleaner, I built mine and Im not happy with the results, I can clean it by hand better than this, I am going to try again tomarrow, Ill try some different cleaners, been using oxy clean with warm water, and it doesnt get the hard stuff off,

it might be good for rinsing after its been cleaned, but thats about all I see it for.
Try PBW instead. Use got water and run it for about 20 mins. Then use clean, warm water for about 10 min to rinse. Works great.

Yea you could hand clean better and faster, but this saves your back. Especially when you have to clean 4 kegs and a few glass carboys.
 

Summers

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peterlonz

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If a quality & effective keg cleaning compound is mixed at the correct ratio it should be possible to both clean & sanitise simultaneously. Of course a final rinse with hot water at above 70 Deg C is then essential.
Personally I have not found any further need to address sanitation of O rings.
The problem that does arise quite often, is the gunk which settles on the keg bottom can be quite resistant to removal & so the method employed has to address this issue first & foremost. Simply spraying hot sanitising solution around (by any method) may not be fully effective. I have found I might as well go through the routine of overnight soaking after several vigorous shakes. Almost always the morning finds the keg bottoms free of adherent gunk.
Finally my experience is that the recommended solution strengths (which affects economy) are generally too low & I usually double the solution strength. I do not use bleach can be effective because I fear the chlorine action on stainless.
All things considered this whole routine can be a bit tedious. Now if I can just shrink my wifes arms & extend their length - there's a solution called scrubbing!
 

jddevinn

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Zombie thread!!!!

If a quality & effective keg cleaning compound is mixed at the correct ratio it should be possible to both clean & sanitise simultaneously. Of course a final rinse with hot water at above 70 Deg C is then essential.
Personally I have not found any further need to address sanitation of O rings.
The problem that does arise quite often, is the gunk which settles on the keg bottom can be quite resistant to removal & so the method employed has to address this issue first & foremost. Simply spraying hot sanitising solution around (by any method) may not be fully effective. I have found I might as well go through the routine of overnight soaking after several vigorous shakes. Almost always the morning finds the keg bottoms free of adherent gunk.
Finally my experience is that the recommended solution strengths (which affects economy) are generally too low & I usually double the solution strength. I do not use bleach can be effective because I fear the chlorine action on stainless.
All things considered this whole routine can be a bit tedious. Now if I can just shrink my wifes arms & extend their length - there's a solution called scrubbing!
Why would you need to rinse with hot water? Even at 70°C (158°F) water may not be sanitary. Most of the commonly used acid rinse sanitizers are no rinse.

I use a system similar to this with a spray nozzle to clean kegs, after a 10 minute wash there is no gunk left in the keg when inspected with regular light or a black light.

I definitely would not recommend doubling manufacturer specified solution strengths! :confused::tank:
 

EagleScout

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Just picked up the last parts I need to build a carboy washer with this pump and this spray ball. I think the DIY nature of homebrew is one of my favorite parts.
 
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jddevinn

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I hate to tell you but that spray ball doesn't rotate, and although it doesn't list a pressure drop I severely doubt that that pump is strong enough to make it spray.
 

EagleScout

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Doesn't matter if there's not enough pressure for the spray ball, when I put everything together I found that the ball doesn't fit in the bottles I use. The original plans I got the idea from didn't have the spray ball, I got the idea from a review of the pump I bought, and it still does the job without it. I'll be using this for homebrew and for cleaning bottles we get drinking water in.
 

fun4stuff

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What's the minimum GPH that is acceptable for a pump? I've read mixed things in different threads. Morebeer sells a pre-made one with a 520 GPH pump. It seems like that might be weak?

I'm looking to get a 1350 GPH on Friday to start the project.

http://morebeer.com/view_product/11869//Keg_Carboy_Washer
The mark keg cleaner is ~500 gph. A lot of the reason so many people are having issues with foaming in this thread is because they are using pumps that are way too powerful.

With that said, although this is pretty cool DIY project that saves water, its faster and easier to just clean the keg out with garden hose. This doesn't eliminate the need to have to take your posts apart to get the trub and hops particles out, which is the most time consuming part of cleaning a keg

It's marginally useful for carboy cleaning in that you don't have to lift the carboy and you can set it all up and walk away- 80% of the time it will get all the trub off. I find it easier and less time consuming to just soak the carboy with water /oxyclean for a day then rinse it out. Cleans 100% of trub, 100% of the time. Takes 5 mins of my time rather than 15-20 mins of prep time using the DIY setup, where I'll still end up soaking it anyhow 20% of the time.

The best use I found for the submersible pump was actually cleaning my beer lines and recirculating cold water in an immersion chiller. But again- you don't need a $50-100 pump... $20-30 ones (300-500 gph) work just fine.
 

jddevinn

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The mark keg cleaner is ~500 gph. A lot of the reason so many people are having issues with foaming in this thread is because they are using pumps that are way too powerful.

With that said, although this is pretty cool DIY project that saves water, its faster and easier to just clean the keg out with garden hose. This doesn't eliminate the need to have to take your posts apart to get the trub and hops particles out, which is the most time consuming part of cleaning a keg

It's marginally useful for carboy cleaning in that you don't have to lift the carboy and you can set it all up and walk away- 80% of the time it will get all the trub off. I find it easier and less time consuming to just soak the carboy with water /oxyclean for a day then rinse it out. Cleans 100% of trub, 100% of the time. Takes 5 mins of my time rather than 15-20 mins of prep time using the DIY setup, where I'll still end up soaking it anyhow 20% of the time.

The best use I found for the submersible pump was actually cleaning my beer lines and recirculating cold water in an immersion chiller. But again- you don't need a $50-100 pump... $20-30 ones (300-500 gph) work just fine.
30 seconds of hooking up a keg is 100% easier than taking it outside and hand cleaning it, especially when you are doing 4+ kegs at a time. A wrench takes like 10 seconds to pull off the QDCs!
 

fun4stuff

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30 seconds of hooking up a keg is 100% easier than taking it outside and hand cleaning it, especially when you are doing 4+ kegs at a time. A wrench takes like 10 seconds to pull off the QDCs!
Guess it would be faster if I left it all put together. Could buy a second pump for cleaning lines and recirculating water for chiller. Good point about being able to use it inside- for those that don't have a hose attachment on laundry sink.
 

jddevinn

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Well I just reviewed this thread and a lot of these cleaners are more complicated than what I do.

I simply have a 1/3 HP pump that I use for CIP of conicals, kegs, tap lines ect. The pump plugs into a GFCI outlet I installed with a switch, output of the pump is a 1/2" quick disconnect. I can swap line cleaner connections or spray nozzle http://www.mcmaster.com/#71445t84/=14kxima very quickly. For keg cleaning I just have a 5 gallon lid with a bunch of 2-1/2" holes drilled in it. So to clean a keg:

  • Pull of QDCs and dip tubes
  • put QDC and dip tubes in a tea ball
  • Open 5 gallon bucket of stored PBW
  • grab pump, hook cleaning assembly to the pump QDC.
  • Drop pump in bucket, drop tea ball in bucket
  • drop out tube in center of bucket
  • spray keg with water hose sink attachment and drain
  • put lid on bucket
  • put keg on lid
  • flip pump on switch
  • wait 15 minutes
  • off switch
  • rinse
  • QDCs back on keg
  • QDC off pump
  • rinse and store pump
  • Lid back on PBW
  • fill with degassed StarSan from another keg and purge

Takes seconds to set up. If I don't have any PBW mixed then like double or triple seconds :D
 

beertastic

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How are you guys connecting the gas tubing to the PVC? I looked around Lowes and Home Depot for a 1/2" thread to 1/4" barb and I couldn't find any.
 
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