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Old Tank - Is it CO2?

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uncleben113

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I bought this old tank and regulator at an estate sale and while I think it's a CO2 tank, I want to verify. Is there anyway to know from the pictures? The basement of this place had some other brewing stuff so I'm not too worried but I don't want to pumped my beer full of some other gas.

http://imgur.com/a/ZXSXq

Thanks!:mug:

P.s. It's full and I'm planning using it if it's CO2
 

RedlegEd

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I bought this old tank and regulator at an estate sale and while I think it's a CO2 tank, I want to verify. Is there anyway to know from the pictures? The basement of this place had some other brewing stuff so I'm not too worried but I don't want to pumped my beer full of some other gas.

http://imgur.com/a/ZXSXq

Thanks!:mug:

P.s. It's full and I'm planning using it if it's CO2
Hi. Red is not typically the color of a CO2 tank. Have a look here. Before using it, you might consider running it by a Praxair or AirGas store to see if they might be able to identify it and/or the gas it contains. It could very well be the previous owner took a non-standard tank and had it filled with CO2, but it would suck to brew a batch and try to carb it using Hydrogen. Just sayin. Ed
:mug:
 

Gonefishing

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Got any limewater handy? I just googled "how to determine if a gas is co2" and it turn out that the standard test appears to be to bubble it through limewater, which will turn milky white if it is CO2. (I have no idea what limewater is though)
 
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uncleben113

uncleben113

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Hi. Red is not typically the color of a CO2 tank. Have a look here. Before using it, you might consider running it by a Praxair or AirGas store to see if they might be able to identify it and/or the gas it contains. It could very well be the previous owner took a non-standard tank and had it filled with CO2, but it would suck to brew a batch and try to carb it using Hydrogen. Just sayin. Ed
:mug:
I didn't know that. I've been doing a little reading and I'm seeing that color of the tank isn't necessarily reliable. My only other tank was actually a red one too but I'm thinking that was a coincidence. I will likely just run it by a Praxair for testing. Thanks
 
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uncleben113

uncleben113

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Got any limewater handy? I just googled "how to determine if a gas is co2" and it turn out that the standard test appears to be to bubble it through limewater, which will turn milky white if it is CO2. (I have no idea what limewater is though)
I did a little research on that and it looks like it's something I've got to pick up from a chemical supply company. Seems simple enough of a test if I could find the stuff. Thanks!
 

IslandLizard

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Isn't it the regulator connection off the valve that determines the gas inside. Each gas type has its own specific regulator and coupling. Definitely take it in, they may swap it for you with something useful inside. Chances are it's out of hydro date anyway.
 

audioa84

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The tanks my homebrew shop keeps on hand are red. I also own a co2 tank that is that same shape, similar to a 2L soda bottle on the bottom. I have no idea how to test it. Hope it turns out for your sake!
 
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uncleben113

uncleben113

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Thanks for all the feedback everyone.

Isn't it the regulator connection off the valve that determines the gas inside. Each gas type has its own specific regulator and coupling. Definitely take it in, they may swap it for you with something useful inside. Chances are it's out of hydro date anyway.
I suspected this so I did a little more digging after your comment. I realized that the model number of the regulator is on the bottom of the face of the dial (8410102) and found my answer from that. Apparently, this regulator is for helium, argon, and nitrogen gases. I couldn't find anywhere that listed CO2 as a usable gas. So I'm really glad that I researched this before pumping it into my beer. Thanks everyone!

In other news, I now have a tank of helium, argon, or possibly nitrogen and the regulator for sale.
 

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When you get it hydro-tested, you can have the valve switched-out to make it a CO2 tank. (or oxygen tank) An inert gas tank should be rated (from memory) 3AA, which is more than strong enough for CO2. You'll still have to buy a regulator.

(actually, you could change the fitting on the regulator from CGA580 to CGA320 and reuse it too)
 
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uncleben113

uncleben113

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When you get it hydro-tested, you can have the valve switched-out to make it a CO2 tank. (or oxygen tank) An inert gas tank should be rated (from memory) 3AA, which is more than strong enough for CO2. You'll still have to buy a regulator.

(actually, you could change the fitting on the regulator from CGA580 to CGA320 and reuse it too)
I'm thinking I might just sell the regulator and then the tank on craigslist. Getting it hydrotested, then getting the valve replaced, and then getting the tank filled sounds expensive. I think I could get a few bucks from selling it all to make buying a used tank substantially cheaper. Also, I have a regulator already.
 

Gonefishing

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I'd think about taking it to a welding shop and asking if they'd exchange it for a CO2 tank.
 
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uncleben113

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I'd think about taking it to a welding shop and asking if they'd exchange it for a CO2 tank.
I'm going to keep going with my updates for anyone that runs into a similar problem in the future. I called a welding shop and the guy told me there's really no way to finds out what's inside except to get the gas analyzed. I'm not sure I fully believe that since I imagine there are qualities that set each of those gases apart that should be at least somewhat telling.

He also said that no one will likely want an old, out of date tank, which again, I don't believe. I think I should be able to get a little for it because tanks go out of date and are retested all the time.

At this point, my plan is to see if the gas is helium, then I will probably have some fun with it. Otherwise, I'll dump it for safety sake, and sell the tank. I should be able to get a little dough for the regulator too so that'll be nice.
 

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At this point, my plan is to see if the gas is helium, then I will probably have some fun with it. Otherwise, I'll dump it for safety sake, and sell the tank. I should be able to get a little dough for the regulator too so that'll be nice.
Checking if it is helium is easy, fill a balloon. If it isn't helium, you can use nitrogen/argon to purge your kegs or to dispense non-carbonated stuff (wine, mead, cider).
 

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It looks like a CO2 fire extinguisher to me, the tank that is.

Have one sitting in my kitchen, sans the pictured valve.


Edit: Taller than my extinguisher, but the same diameter.
Looks like CO2 for a soda fountain setup.

You don't see any #'s on the valve body, for example, prefixed by the letters "CGA" ?

As previously mentioned, cga 320 is what you are looking for.
And the logo " S " on the valve is for the "Sherwood" company.

'Nother question, standard or L/H threads on the valve?
 
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uncleben113

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Checking if it is helium is easy, fill a balloon. If it isn't helium, you can use nitrogen/argon to purge your kegs or to dispense non-carbonated stuff (wine, mead, cider).
That was my plan to find out whether or not it's helium. I didn't know I could use argon for that role. I think my worry is, at this point, assuming it's a safe gas and poisoning myself if it's not.
 
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uncleben113

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It looks like a CO2 fire extinguisher to me, the tank that is.

Have one sitting in my kitchen, sans the pictured valve.


Edit: Taller than my extinguisher, but the same diameter.
Looks like CO2 for a soda fountain setup.

You don't see any #'s on the valve body, for example, prefixed by the letters "CGA" ?

As previously mentioned, cga 320 is what you are looking for.
And the logo " S " on the valve is for the "Sherwood" company.

'Nother question, standard or L/H threads on the valve?
I'll check when I get home. I don't think there are any other markings but I haven't checked the threads.
 

z-bob

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It would make a fine CO2 tank if hydro-tested and fitted with a new valve. I don't think anyone would want it for a argon or nitrogen tank because it's only rated 1800 psi instead of 2400 (or "1800+", which means 1980 but they might round up to 2000)

New valve should run you about $15 or $20. No idea what testing and recertifying a tank costs.
 
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uncleben113

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It would make a fine CO2 tank if hydro-tested and fitted with a new valve. I don't think anyone would want it for a argon or nitrogen tank because it's only rated 1800 psi instead of 2400 (or "1800+", which means 1980 but they might round up to 2000)

New valve should run you about $15 or $20. No idea what testing and recertifying a tank costs.
Hmm good point. The guy I spoke with said trying to use it as a CO2 tank wouldn't work since CO2 tanks need to be able to hold pressures higher than mine will hold. Does that sound right?

edit: Also, paying $25 to hydro test, $20-25 to fill, and $15-20 to re-valve, may not be worth it
 

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edit: Also, paying $25 to hydro test, $20-25 to fill, and $15-20 to re-valve, may not be worth it
This!

Do some more verifying,and I would use it up if CO2, then do a tank swap out @ the gas dealer.

I know "AirGas" where I used to shop, was not concerned about certs when swapping out a tank.
They have a level of "liability" for their bottled products, and if the tank is due inspection, it happens there.
 

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The valve as exterior threads and the tank is only good for 1800psi. That should rule out nitrogen, helium & argon.

Release some of the gas. Does it have any odor?

4th of July is coming up. Fill up a balloon and poke it with a punk and see if the gas is flammable.

I think it's CO2. If it were me, I'd try the stuff I mentioned and if it is odorless & not flammable, I'd try carbonating some water. Then when the CO2 is out, I'd swap it for a different tank.
 
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uncleben113

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This!

Do some more verifying,and I would use it up if CO2, then do a tank swap out @ the gas dealer.

I know "AirGas" where I used to shop, was not concerned about certs when swapping out a tank.
They have a level of "liability" for their bottled products, and if the tank is due inspection, it happens there.
I would love to be able to trade in this tank without paying for it to be retested but I haven't heard that this is possible all that often. I'll call around to see. That would make it much more reasonable to keep and use this thing.
 

z-bob

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Hmm good point. The guy I spoke with said trying to use it as a CO2 tank wouldn't work since CO2 tanks need to be able to hold pressures higher than mine will hold. Does that sound right?

edit: Also, paying $25 to hydro test, $20-25 to fill, and $15-20 to re-valve, may not be worth it
CO2 tanks do not need higher pressure than that. I can't remember if they are normally 1500 or 1800 psi. I used to know all this stuff, but that was 30 years ago...

You are right about it might not be worth it. First thing you need to do is find out what valve that is. That's the most important piece of info to identify the gas. It might be CO2 already and someone adapted an argon regulator to it (in which case you got a good deal)
 
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uncleben113

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The valve as exterior threads and the tank is only good for 1800psi. That should rule out nitrogen, helium & argon.

Release some of the gas. Does it have any odor?

4th of July is coming up. Fill up a balloon and poke it with a punk and see if the gas is flammable.

I think it's CO2. If it were me, I'd try the stuff I mentioned and if it is odorless & not flammable, I'd try carbonating some water. Then when the CO2 is out, I'd swap it for a different tank.
So you're saying that nitrogen, helium, and argon typically have higher working pressures? I couldn't find much info on that.

I'll try to see if it's flammable later on today. It seems that helium, argon, and nitrogen are all tasteless, odorless, and clear. They're also non-flammable and non-toxic. Seems that helium is the only one that can be used as a lifting agent since the others are heavier than air except for nitrogen, which can't lift a balloon.

CO2 tanks do not need higher pressure than that. I can't remember if they are normally 1500 or 1800 psi. I used to know all this stuff, but that was 30 years ago...

You are right about it might not be worth it. First thing you need to do is find out what valve that is. That's the most important piece of info to identify the gas. It might be CO2 already and someone adapted an argon regulator to it (in which case you got a good deal)
I'll check valve when I get home in a few hours
 

z-bob

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The valve as exterior threads and the tank is only good for 1800psi. That should rule out nitrogen, helium & argon.

Release some of the gas. Does it have any odor?

4th of July is coming up. Fill up a balloon and poke it with a punk and see if the gas is flammable.

I think it's CO2. If it were me, I'd try the stuff I mentioned and if it is odorless & not flammable, I'd try carbonating some water. Then when the CO2 is out, I'd swap it for a different tank.
Very good point about external threads. Could be oxygen, CO2, or something weird. But not helium, argon, air, etc.
https://www.concoa.com/cgachart.html

Does the regulator have a tapered fitting, or a flat-faced fitting with a gasket?
 
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uncleben113

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Very good point about external threads. Could be oxygen, CO2, or something weird. But not helium, argon, air, etc.
https://www.concoa.com/cgachart.html

Does the regulator have a tapered fitting, or a flat-faced fitting with a gasket?
That chart is amazingly helpful. Thank you. I'll check for the fitting too shortly.

A couple other things I found interesting and helpful:
If I remember correctly, the tank is filled with liquefied gas which means it's limited to a small number of possibilities including anhydrous ammonia, chlorine, butane, propane, nitrous oxide, and CO2. All of these are identifiable through smell, initially and some are flammable, except for nitrous oxide and CO2. If the gas doesn't have a pungent smell, it will have to be nitrous oxide or CO2. Also, I'm finding that the color of the tank is incredibly unreliable. There seems to be multiple standards for colors and red falls under hydrogen, extinguishing CO2, or propane.

If the tank winds up being filled with liquefied gas, then it is definitely not argon, nitrogen, or helium since those don't liquefy. I know that liquid nitrogen exists but that isn't put into tanks like this one.
 

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Stop in at a couple of area welding supply/gas places. Some shops and some staff at shops are much more willing to trade than others. One guy may not be able or willing to do anything out of the norm, but the next will recognize a deal that's beneficial to both you and him.

I traded an empty 15lb out of cert co2 tank for a full, certified 5lb co2 tank at my local airgas several years ago. Worked for me at the time since the 15lb is an odd size that I couldn't swap and the re-certification was going to cost me on top of it.
 
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uncleben113

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Stop in at a couple of area welding supply/gas places. Some shops and some staff at shops are much more willing to trade than others. One guy may not be able or willing to do anything out of the norm, but the next will recognize a deal that's beneficial to both you and him.

I traded an empty 15lb out of cert co2 tank for a full, certified 5lb co2 tank at my local airgas several years ago. Worked for me at the time since the 15lb is an odd size that I couldn't swap and the re-certification was going to cost me on top of it.
I'm likely going to give this a whirl, regardless of what's in my tank

Speaking of the tank, I lined up some tests/checks to do and I'm through some of them. As of now, I am almost positive there's liquid inside. I can feel some shifting when I tilt it so I think I'm good there. Also, the gas has no smell so I'm almost positive that it's CO2 or nitrous oxide. Upon realizing there is orange tape on it, I worried for a second that it was anhydrous ammonia but it is odorless. Also, I removed the regulator and took a closer look...

http://imgur.com/a/dcghq

I haven't checked it yet but I'm almost positive it's the correct fitting for a CO2 regulator. I'm going to dig out my newer regulator shortly and test to see if it fits. I'm feeling much more confident that it is actually CO2 and I'm not going to die. Any thoughts at this point? I'm thinking I'll carb up some water and see how it acts.

Also, given the markings, this seems to be a 29 1/4# tank?

edit: the threads are normal too
 
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uncleben113

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stan1007

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Isn't it the regulator connection off the valve that determines the gas inside. Each gas type has its own specific regulator and coupling. Definitely take it in, they may swap it for you with something useful inside. Chances are it's out of hydro date anyway.
Connection types are general. The greatest difference is in fuel vs. inert gases where the threads are reversed. All fuel gas tanks have left hand threads (left=tighten). O2 and CO2 usually have different inlet threading but adapters are readily available.
 

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Stop in at a couple of area welding supply/gas places. Some shops and some staff at shops are much more willing to trade than others. One guy may not be able or willing to do anything out of the norm, but the next will recognize a deal that's beneficial to both you and him.

I traded an empty 15lb out of cert co2 tank for a full, certified 5lb co2 tank at my local airgas several years ago. Worked for me at the time since the 15lb is an odd size that I couldn't swap and the re-certification was going to cost me on top of it.
AirGas has become a PITA in the last couple of years. They really cranked down on the franchises in my area and stepped on most of those "under the radar" type deals.
 
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uncleben113

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Connection types are general. The greatest difference is in fuel vs. inert gases where the threads are reversed. All fuel gas tanks have left hand threads (left=tighten). O2 and CO2 usually have different inlet threading but adapters are readily available.
At this point, I feel pretty confident that it's CO2. After researching the types of gases and which ones liquefy, I feel good about trying it out. I'll report back when I get my applewine carbed up
 
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uncleben113

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AirGas has become a PITA in the last couple of years. They really cranked down on the franchises in my area and stepped on most of those "under the radar" type deals.
Thanks for the input. I'll keep that in mind. Like others have suggested, I think I'll just drive around to the ones in my area until I get someone that will trade it. Starting with those smaller ones sounds more appealing at this point
 
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