Silicone Gaskets and Sanitation

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hotbeer

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Should I worry about the silicone gaskets for my sanitary fittings harboring potential infection? I've reused them for many brews and they are discolored. However so far I've not had any infection that I'm aware of.

I do the usual cleaning and Iodophor for sanitizing them. Occasionally I've let them soak in a bleach solution too.

Silicone rings and other stuff made with it just seem to absorb some things more so than vinyl or other material. So I have wondered if at some point they need to be changed for new.
 
I share your concern because stains mean some porosity, so I've been slowly trying to replace all my silicone with EDPM.
I hope some more folk will post their thoughts and alternatives.
:mug:
 
I'm assuming hot side equipment with this concern, but so far I've not experienced any issues in spite of well over a decade of benign neglect.

My 3v2p brew rig is festooned with silicone gaskets and O-rings. In its 14 years I've only done hot PBW recirculation, have not changed a single silicone seal, but I've never had an evidently infected batch (in 20 years, actually). I'm assuming everything simply sees pasteurizing temperatures over sufficient time to kill any buggies. Still, one of these days I should probably pull all the O-rings out of my camlocks at least to see what's behind them :oops:

Cheers!
 
I'm assuming hot side equipment with this concern, but so far I've not experienced any issues in spite of well over a decade of benign neglect.

My 3v2p brew rig is festooned with silicone gaskets and O-rings. In its 14 years I've only done hot PBW recirculation, have not changed a single silicone seal, but I've never had an evidently infected batch (in 20 years, actually). I'm assuming everything simply sees pasteurizing temperatures over sufficient time to kill any buggies. Still, one of these days I should probably pull all the O-rings out of my camlocks at least to see what's behind them :oops:

Cheers!
Thanks for the reassurance! But seriously; You are joking about not removing your camlock gaskets? My main reason for choosing camlocks over QDs is the ease of cleaning compared the the gunk that collects behind the bearings in QDs.
 
I was not joking. Also, I'm scared to look o_O

Cheers!

ps: fwiw, I regularly pull my pump heads to clean them and replace thrust washers, so it's not 100% neglect ;)
 
I'm assuming hot side equipment with this concern, but so far I've not experienced any issues in spite of well over a decade of benign neglect.
For me it's on the cold side. The silicone gaskets and rings between the sight glass, butterfly valve, reducers and such that the beer is in contact with while in the fermenter.

I wouldn't be as concerned with anything on the hot side as 170°F (77°C) or better for any length of time I think will sanitize itself. But I'm open to being wrong on that.
 
Ah, ok. That's different and understandable.
I'd be paranoid about gasketed fittings on the cold side, too, but as I ferment in glass there aren't any fittings involved :)

Cheers!
 
one of these days I should probably pull all the O-rings out of my camlocks at least to see what's behind them
When I finally removed those rings from my camlocks because of the aforementioned concerns, I found very little to nothing lurking behind them. Replaced them anyway, but it was actually kind of a reassuring experience. Like @day_trippr, I used them for years with no attention -- only a slight twinge of worry.

Silicone is wonderful except that it's also terrible. Not terrible enough for me to go to opaque tubing or custom camlock O-rings/gaskets.
 
My own experience is 'mostly fine', but for one camlock; To bring my CFC into the loop. I'd switch out the hose from pump input to CFC, and then CFC to pump... without a bleeder vlave on the pump, I'd bang the CFC a bit until all the air was in the hose and hold it loosely against the pump with a bit off on/off and some wort running out until I got the the air pocket out....THAT camlock inevitably got wort around the backside of the gasket. (I've bought some 3-way valves since then :p )
It hadn't occurred to me to check my gaskets for the first few brews I did on that system, so once I finally did think to look, it left me horrified and has coloured my opinion since.
For cold side, I'd swap em out the moment they start to show discoloration, better still: swap for EDPM, Buna or Viton.
I posted a gross picture a while back, of what happened to the silicone gasket from the lid of my GF's travel-mug she used for a bedside water-glass (we have cats, so bedside glasses need lids!) https://www.homebrewtalk.com/thread...o-wants-to-see-it-with-their-own-eyes.727779/
It started slow and cleanable, but practiacally overnight grew a load of nasty.
:mug:
 
When I bought the fittings and valve, I had the option to get EDPM gaskets. However I didn't put any thought into it and just got the silicone along with a dozen spares. I'm kicking myself for doing that as the EDPM gaskets weren't any wallet busting amount more.

I suppose since I haven't had any infections, I'll just replace them whenever a whim hits me and use up the silicone spares I have. Then I'll go to EDPM or the others.

It is my understanding that EDPM is highly impermeable. So not any of the worry of silicone whether it's permeability makes it a infection hazard or not. At least they'll look cleaner!
:bigmug:
 
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