Kegging leaks

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StoneIce

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Let me start off by saying I am really starting to hate kegging. I have been brewing for several years now and this past winter I finally finished my bar, purchased a fridge, converted to a kegerator, and acquired all the materials needed to keg. To say I was excited was putting it mildly. Then this happened...

I have two kegs with beer in them and hooked up (Huckleberry Porter and a personal Oatmeal Stout recipe I love). I have dispensed maybe 1/4 keg of one beer and in the process have gone through 2 5 lbs co2 tanks and am working on my third. Here is my setup:
fridge open.jpg


I can not for the life of me stop the kegs from leaking. Both of them have very slow leaks. All of my equipment is new except the kegs, which are used. One is a Cornelius keg and other is a Spartanburg keg. I have hooked them up with up to 30 psi and tried listening for a leak, I can't hear one anywhere on either keg. I then bring it down to about 10 psi for storage and dispensing.

So in trouble shooting I have looked online and gone through several steps. I ordered almost all new parts for my kegs, new O-rings, new pressure relief valves (the Spartanburg I have yet to find a replacement that fits), and new poppets (universal type). I also have keg lube and have cleaned and lubbed every single o-ring the keg has (poppets, lid, pressure relief valve, gas and beer tubes, even the O-rings inside the keg connectors).

So with this third filling of the co2 tank I have been careful to not leave it open until I find the leak. I am wondering if maybe I am not understanding what I am seeing when looking at the regulator. I have been testing for leaks by opening the co2 tank so that the high pressure gauge (the one on the far left) is showing co2 pressure. After it fills the space in the kegs I close the valve on the co2, seen at the far right of the pic on top of the co2 tank. Then it will take between an hour or a full day and the co2 all leaks out of the lines. I know this because the high pressure gauge looks like it does in the picture, it shows no pressure.
regulator2.jpg

I know that I have no leaks up to the point that my keg connectors are because if I don't connect them to the keg and allow co2 in the line it will all stay pressurized (I left it for a week at one point). I am also confused by the fact that when my high pressure gauge on the left shows no pressure, I still have plenty of pressure left in the kegs. I can pull the pressure relief valves and there is plenty of pressure in them. So how is it I am leaking slowly like this, yet there is still pressure in the keg after the co2 tank is shut off and the high pressure gauge shows no pressure? I am so frustrated with this whole process right now I can't even think to explain all the of the steps I have gone through to try and find where I am losing co2. I have more pictures of my setup but for some reason I can't seem to attach them.
 

day_trippr

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Shutting off the cylinder valve with everything connected and pretty much wide open will not provide conclusive evidence of a leak as long as there is beer in the kegs. There's not a lot of gas trapped in the coupler and regulator assembly, and it could easily be absorbed by the beer, dropping the high pressure side to essentially keg pressure.

You need to bite the proverbial bullet and do some serious deterministic leak testing of your kegs.
If the kegs are empty, gas them up, disconnect the gas line then dunk them upside down in a sink or tub filled with six inches of water. If a keg is leaking you're not going to miss it.
Otoh, if they have beer in them and you need to get this fixed, wrap duct tape around the upper keg rubber to construct a "pond", put pressure on the keg then disconnect both beer and gas lines, and fill the "pond" with sanitized water (standard Star San mix works perfectly) to above the top of the posts. If there's a leak, you'll see it...

Cheers!
 

FloppyKnockers

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From the experience of others, also make sure your tank valve is either full open or full closed. Leaks happen in between. Also check your valve to tank connection. A chitty seal can ruin your day.
 
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StoneIce

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Thanks for the replies. I have found it works better if the co2 valve is wide open or completely shut.

As of right now it appears on keg is holding the pressure. Crossing my fingers it stays that way. Dont even want to breathe funny on it.

I like the pool idea with duct tape. Will keep that idea my back pocket in case i need it
 

day_trippr

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fwiw, the pond technique is can also be used to find a suspected leak between keg post and disconnect on a keg with beer in it...

Cheers!
 
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