Tubing and clamps

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SixFoFalcon

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I just wanted to share some equipment annoyances I've gone through on my kegerator setup. Specifically crappy hoses and useless hose clamps.

I have a single regulator and a 3-way manifold on the gas side of my kegerator. This adds up to 8 connections where gas hoses are attached to barbs. I initially set most of the system up with tubing from MoreBeer and standard "worm-gear" hose clamps. It leaked like crazy, and the tubing was ridiculously stiff (which in addition to making it a pain in the ass to move things around, didn't help the seal at the hose barb, either). I incrementally tightened everything up until it was leak-free, but I always had to be careful whenever I moved anything because the hoses were so stiff they'd move on the barbs and start a leak again.

After a couple weeks, I was inspecting things one day when changing a keg, and I noticed two of the hose clamps had snapped! I guess this was due to high tension they were under--temperature cycles were just too much for them. I replaced them, being careful to only tighten the new clamps just tight enough to prevent leaks, but a couple more clamps snapped over the next few days. It didn't seem to be isolated to any one brand of clamp--I had three different brands succumb.

I was already frustrated with the inflexible tubing, and I remembered how the Perlick and Micromatic tubing I used in the past was SO much better, so I decided to toss all the MoreBeer tubing and replace it all. I ordered up like 50' of good tubing (replaced all the gas lines, beer lines, and kept some spares.) I have to say it was worth every penny. The Perlick/Micromatic tubing is easier to work with since it actually stays flexible at fridge temps. It also seals better on the hose barbs--so well that I found the clamps are actually unnecessary. I started to clamp everything down as a matter of course, but I ran out of clamps halfway through. And when I checked for leaks initially and then again over the next few days, I found that the only connections that leaked at all were ones that were clamped! (The clamps distort the tubing because the clamps don't stay perfectly round as you tighten them.)

Now I'm sure Oetiker clamps would work much better than the worm-gear style--in fact I was planning on ordering a big bag of them--but I have to say after assembling and disassembling everything a few times, and moving things around a lot, I have yet to have any issues with leakage or connections coming loose when you accidentally yank on the tubing or anything like that. It's been several months and several kegs since I stopped bothering with clamps, and the only leak I've had was unrelated to the tubing connections (didn't tighten a quick-disconnect enough when I reassembled it, so the gasket was leaking a bit--easy fix).

Anyone else not bothering with clamps? Anyone else get frustrated with the tubing from MoreBeer that turns rock hard in the fridge?
 

bru-er

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Same problem here. Second C02 tank this month. I initially could not find the leaks with soap and water. Any better suggestions? I will be buying new tubing for both beer and C02, and as memory serves the micromatic worked great for years.
 

beerthirty

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Don't get you clamps from HF or some other cheap supply. If you pay a little more for them than the entire clamp is stainless steel and has the strength to allow hard clamping force. Being a Cat mechanic I get mine from work, the bands are a thicker gauge of SS and don't slip or loosen the way they cheap ones do. As with anything in this world you get what you pay for.

Edit: When I made my keezer all the lines got clamped to the lid so hardness is not an issue. My shanks are 1/4 and the line is 3/16. all though the clamps don't seem necessary I enjoy the piece of mind knowing that it cant blow off and drain my beer into the keezer.
 
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SixFoFalcon

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Don't get you clamps from HF or some other cheap supply. If you pay a little more for them than the entire clamp is stainless steel and has the strength to allow hard clamping force. Being a Cat mechanic I get mine from work, the bands are a thicker gauge of SS and don't slip or loosen the way they cheap ones do. As with anything in this world you get what you pay for.

Edit: When I made my keezer all the lines got clamped to the lid so hardness is not an issue. My shanks are 1/4 and the line is 3/16. all though the clamps don't seem necessary I enjoy the piece of mind knowing that it cant blow off and drain my beer into the keezer.
It was actually even harder to get a good seal with the heavier fully-stainless clamps since they are so inflexible, especially on these small diameter applications. They just don't create an even 360° seal so you have to tighten the hell out of them. In this case I got a better seal without a clamp than with one.
 

Rickyp

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The Oetiker clamps work great. They're not as easy to get off as the screw clamps, but they hold wonderfully. I've got a 3 tap setup and used Oetiker clamps on everything and I've never had a leak (except for the one time that my roommate put a new keg in and lost the washer for the gas connector to the distributor rail and it leaked out in two days).
 

Hanr3

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... so you have to tighten the hell out of them.
and you wonder why they dont work.

Cranking the hell out of them is part of the problem. It's a hose clamp, not a bolt. Also make sure you have the right size clamp, barb and hose.

I use hose clamps, barbs, and rubber hose for my air tools. They hold to 120 psi with no leaks. It is a proven system that works well. Check your components.

I too wont trust a bard to hold a hose in place.

Being your only pushing 15psi or less, you could get by with zip ties too. Use two per barb.
 
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SixFoFalcon

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and you wonder why they dont work.

Cranking the hell out of them is part of the problem. It's a hose clamp, not a bolt. Also make sure you have the right size clamp, barb and hose.

I use hose clamps, barbs, and rubber hose for my air tools. They hold to 120 psi with no leaks. It is a proven system that works well. Check your components.

I too wont trust a bard to hold a hose in place.

Being your only pushing 15psi or less, you could get by with zip ties too. Use two per barb.
Way to read the whole post. :rolleyes:
 

Dpostman

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I use 50lb Tie-Wraps from Digikey. I also use a tie wrap gun to properly tighten them and cut the excess. Working fine, but I've only been set up for a few weeks, but the guys here that work in the lab (Hospital) assured me that at these working pressures, there would not be a problem as long as the Hose I.D. is properly matched to the barb size of the fittings. i.e. 1/4" or 3/16" onto 1/4" fitting = OK, 5/16" ID Hose onto 1/4" Barb Fitting = Not OK

dp
 

floridarunner68

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I use 50lb Tie-Wraps from Digikey. I also use a tie wrap gun to properly tighten them and cut the excess. Working fine, but I've only been set up for a few weeks, but the guys here that work in the lab (Hospital) assured me that at these working pressures, there would not be a problem as long as the Hose I.D. is properly matched to the barb size of the fittings. i.e. 1/4" or 3/16" onto 1/4" fitting = OK, 5/16" ID Hose onto 1/4" Barb Fitting = Not OK

dp
What would you use on a 5/16 barb?
 

Dpostman

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I use 1/4" I.D. Braided tubing on all gas lines. The Corny disconnects are 1/4" barbs but the Shutoff and check Valves are 5/16" and with a little dip in very hot water for about 15 seconds, the 1/4" tubing will slip right on the 5/16" barbs. In fact, it takes a lot of work to pull them off afterward if you have to, but it is do-able.

dp
 

floridarunner68

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I use 1/4" I.D. Braided tubing on all gas lines. The Corny disconnects are 1/4" barbs but the Shutoff and check Valves are 5/16" and with a little dip in very hot water for about 15 seconds, the 1/4" tubing will slip right on the 5/16" barbs. In fact, it takes a lot of work to pull them off afterward if you have to, but it is do-able.

dp
Thanks for the information because I have that setup. I bought a 6 valve shutoff with check valves with 5/16" barbs from MoreBeer.com. I have a refrigerator that holds 5 corny kegs. I am going to buy the 1/4" for the air and 3/16" for the beer lines and use the zip ties. From what I have read on here, the beer line should be between 5-9ft?
 

Dpostman

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Your setup looks good to me. I only have a 2 keg Kegorator. I have 1 side with 8ft of 3/16" beer line for my Ales and heavier beers (Next Day Bio-Hazard Smoked Ale) is on that side right now with 8 PSI, and a 14ft 3/16" beer line for my Blond, lighter beers with more carbonation (Golden Sheaf Wheat beer) with 17PSI.

If I were you, I'd probably set up with different length of beer lines right off the bat, unless you drink all the same types. And I would not go any shorter than 8 ft.

dp
 

floridarunner68

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Your setup looks good to me. I only have a 2 keg Kegorator. I have 1 side with 8ft of 3/16" beer line for my Ales and heavier beers (Next Day Bio-Hazard Smoked Ale) is on that side right now with 8 PSI, and a 14ft 3/16" beer line for my Blond, lighter beers with more carbonation (Golden Sheaf Wheat beer) with 17PSI.

If I were you, I'd probably set up with different length of beer lines right off the bat, unless you drink all the same types. And I would not go any shorter than 8 ft.

dp

I currently have two kegs of green (Irish Red / Belgium wit) beer (13 days old) and one chardonnay wine for my wife out of a potential five setup. Last night, I put 9ft hoses on both beer kegs and used the 50lb zip ties (doubling) for each side for the gas and beer lines. This morning I carbonated both kegs at 30 psi and no leaks on any of the lines. I heard a leak and it was actually coming from the metal hose clamp on the CO2 tank regulator. Having a 6 valve setup is great because I can use 5 valves for kegs and the 6th for force carbonation. Tonight, I will clean the taps and try the beer. I haven't made any beer in 1.5 years. Thinking about making a Westmalle Triple next weekend.

Thanks for the info.
 

B-Dub

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Just to clear up what you guys are saying about the gas line and bev line from B3 vs. micro matic.

What is being discussed is the vinyl line for beer and CO2 from MM stays flexible and the line from B3 gets stiff and sucks in the fridge?

I have not had any problem with the line I got from B3. 3/16" for beer and 5/8" for gas. But it sucks because of the non-flex factor at serving temp. Tell me it stays flexible from MM and I am buying new line!

From the website:
VINYL
Micro Matic sells only Brewery Approved vinyl hose produced by Thermoplastic. This vinyl hose meets or exceeds all the rigid demands for beer dispensing systems. Beer line that meets the brewery’s criteria has passed through a series of quality tests, which include taste and odor evaluations. This vinyl tubing remains flexible and durable at recommended temperatures and pressures. It will not rot, swell, or dry out and is unaffected by normal cleaning compounds.

For Beer
Available in either clear or black. Most breweries prefer clear to be able to see the beer in the line for quality assurance purposes.

3/16" I.D. - Use for most direct draw applications where the distance between the keg and the faucet is less than 6’. Also used as "choker" behind faucet spliced to larger I.D. trunk lines.

1/4" I.D. - Used as trunk line spliced to choker in air shaft systems.

3/8" I.D. - Used in keg cooler between keg coupler and wall bracket for flexibility. Also used for Jumper Hose between keg and cooler box.

1/2" I.D. - Ideal for drain tube. Beer flow use is rare due to volume carried per foot.
For Gas
Gas fittings in a beer system fit the standard 5/16" I.D. hose. There is a choice of two colors (Red or Blue) and clear. Color easily identify the gas line from the beer line. Clear is preferred by some breweries as it allows for visual detection of beer back-up or moisture from pressure flow.
 

Gordie

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Not sure what I'm doing right or wrong, but my tubing is micromatic and my worm-clamps are McMaster. I've never had a leak or a snapped clamp.
 
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