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General Category => Kegging and Bottling => Topic started by: enso on August 12, 2010, 03:24:46 PM

Title: Found a CO2 leak, but not sure what it is... Need help identifying
Post by: enso on August 12, 2010, 03:24:46 PM
So I moved recently and had to tear down the kegerator for transporting.  I set it back up and checked the CO2 system.  Had a leak.  I finally think I found the leak (or at least I found the one!) but I am not sure what is actually leaking.

Here is my set-up.  My primary regulator goes goes to a T with 2 shutoffs.  One shut off goes to a 1/4" barbed swivel nut and a QD for purging kegs, etc.  The second shut-off then leads to a bank of 3 secondary regulators.  I was actually only running two of them previously as I had an unidentified leak in the 3rd ;)

The secondaries lead to 2 seperate 2 part manifolds inside the kegerator.

I ended up dunking the connections on the bottom of the secondaries in some starsan.  They are connected with barbed swivel nuts.  I cranked the pressure up and turned on the gas.  What I saw is many very fine bubbles coming from around the hose clamp itself?  I have the hose clamped on the swivel nut with the worm gear type hose clamps.  I do not think they are clamped down too tight.  Maybe it is coming from somewhere else?  The only thing I can think is that the clamps somehow punctured the hose itself?

Any ideas?    ??? ??? ???
Title: Re: Found a CO2 leak, but not sure what it is... Need help identifying
Post by: tubercle on August 12, 2010, 03:36:06 PM
Go here: www.northernbrewer.com

Find this: part # K126

 Better than worm clamps.
Title: Re: Found a CO2 leak, but not sure what it is... Need help identifying
Post by: babalu87 on August 12, 2010, 03:37:54 PM
What kind of hose are you using?

Since I went to 3/16" beer line for EVERYTHING in my keg system leaks have disappeared.

Some of that hose gets rigid when its cold and can start leaking.
Title: Re: Found a CO2 leak, but not sure what it is... Need help identifying
Post by: enso on August 12, 2010, 03:44:12 PM
I use the 3/16th on the beverage lines.  On the gas I have a mishmash.  The lines in question are the blue 1/4" air hose I got from the hardware store.  Inside the kegerator I have some 3/16" some 1/4" beverage tubing on the lines going to the kegs themselves and also some 1/4" reinforced braided line.

So, do you folks think the tubing itself is leaking then?
Title: Re: Found a CO2 leak, but not sure what it is... Need help identifying
Post by: babalu87 on August 12, 2010, 03:50:22 PM
Two choices IMNSHO

Dump the mish mash and get beer line for the air-lines

Buy an Oeticker tool and clamps, even then it may crush any splitters that are plastic
Title: Re: Found a CO2 leak, but not sure what it is... Need help identifying
Post by: enso on August 12, 2010, 04:24:08 PM
Well I am just about sick enough of tracking down leaks to go this route.  2 questions. 

What does
Buy an Oeticker tool and clamps, even then it may crush any splitters that are plastic
mean?

and even more mystifying to me...  what does 
Two choices IMNSHO
mean?

I am really unfamiliar with the oeticker clamps.  All I know is that they are not removeable.  Or are they?  Also the application seems a bit tricky.  Not to mention the $40 tool.  I know, I suppose it is an investment in sanity.   ;)  I do already have one of those nipper tools they sell.  Do those work alright or is it better to go with the $40 tool?
Title: Re: Found a CO2 leak, but not sure what it is... Need help identifying
Post by: babalu87 on August 12, 2010, 04:58:49 PM
Oetiker clamps can clamp tighter than the little SS worm gear clamps. I agree, pretty expensive and thats why I went to beer line for my CO2 lines.

Its more flexible at typical keezer temps.

Trust me, I had the mish mash and re-did the entire keezer when Santa brought me the new 4-way.
Title: Re: Found a CO2 leak, but not sure what it is... Need help identifying
Post by: enso on August 12, 2010, 05:43:45 PM
Okay, so what you are saying then is this.  Buy the 3/16" low foam tubing for all gas lines and don't bother with the oetiker clamps.  Is that right?

Any place that sells the tubing by the spool?  I'm gonna need a bunch.   ;D
Title: Re: Found a CO2 leak, but not sure what it is... Need help identifying
Post by: gordonstrong on August 12, 2010, 07:29:17 PM
IMNSHO = in my not so humble opinion, a play on IMHO = in my humble opinion.  common internet-speak.
Title: Re: Found a CO2 leak, but not sure what it is... Need help identifying
Post by: tschmidlin on August 12, 2010, 10:15:46 PM
Okay, so what you are saying then is this.  Buy the 3/16" low foam tubing for all gas lines and don't bother with the oetiker clamps.  Is that right?

Any place that sells the tubing by the spool?  I'm gonna need a bunch.   ;D
I use 5/16" for my gas lines, you can buy it by 100' spools from morebeer.  Go with whatever size you have (or can get) the right fittings for, it makes no real difference for the gas.

http://morebeer.com/view_product/16372//Beer_Tubing_5_16%22_ID_Roll_of_100

I use worm clamps on either 1/4" or 5/16" barbs with that hose and have no leaks.
Title: Re: Found a CO2 leak, but not sure what it is... Need help identifying
Post by: enso on August 12, 2010, 10:32:41 PM
Well, I cut the hoses below the barbs and redid them.  One was then leaking at the threads.  I figured the nylon flange was too worn/crushed.  I replaced the whole barbed swivel and flange with another I had on hand.  Slightly larger diameter barb, maybe 3/8"?

So, last I checked both are still leaking.  Still lots of small bubbles coming from the clamps themselves.  Made me wonder if what I was witnessing was actually a chemical reaction of the starsan eating the metal of the clamps.
Damn!  To make matters worse my glass of Cantillon just tipped over!!!

 >:(
Title: Re: Found a CO2 leak, but not sure what it is... Need help identifying
Post by: tschmidlin on August 12, 2010, 10:36:56 PM
What pressure are you using?

If you crank the worm clamp down tight enough, it will actually cut into the hose but I've never seen one so tight that it want all of the way through.  And since you just redid it, that seems like it is not the problem. I'm guessing it's either that the hose is cracked, or just that the hose size and fitting size are not compatible.
Title: Re: Found a CO2 leak, but not sure what it is... Need help identifying
Post by: enso on August 12, 2010, 10:45:55 PM
Generally I use 6-14 psi depending on the beer and the fridge temperature.  I cranked the pressure up to 30 psi just to have "quicker" visuals on leaks.  I tried to not tighten the clamps too much this time.  I charged the secondary regulators and the shut off the gas up the line and down the line.  Ideally they would stay pressurized.  However about an hour later each secondary regulator had dropped about 3-4 psi.

I am using 1/4" hose fitted to either 1/4" hose barbs or 3/8" hose barbs.  Clamped with the worm gear clamps.
Title: Re: Found a CO2 leak, but not sure what it is... Need help identifying
Post by: tschmidlin on August 12, 2010, 10:49:20 PM
Based on all of that, I don't know why it would be leaking except that stretching a 1/4" hose over a 3/8" barb could crack it.  I assume you dunked it in boiling water or something to soften it before you put it on the barb?  Is it all of the lines, or just some of them?  You said you spray with starsan and look for bubbles right?  How many leaks do you have?
Title: Re: Found a CO2 leak, but not sure what it is... Need help identifying
Post by: enso on August 12, 2010, 10:54:16 PM
Yeah, I softened it with boiling water first.  There is really only the one hose that is on a 3/8" barb.  Actually I think it may be only a 5/16", DOH!

Yes, normally I spray with starsan.  However this time in desperation I dunked the connections (not the whole regulators, just the connections!) in a tub of star san.

How many leaks do I have???  Yet to be determined!  At least 2 it would appear right now.
Title: Re: Found a CO2 leak, but not sure what it is... Need help identifying
Post by: tschmidlin on August 12, 2010, 10:57:51 PM
Ugh.  Yeah, replacing the whole thing is tempting.  Other than that I think you need to go one connection at a time and make sure it's not leaking.  Maybe the barbs themselves are cracked, are they nylon or something else?
Title: Re: Found a CO2 leak, but not sure what it is... Need help identifying
Post by: enso on August 12, 2010, 11:09:19 PM
I'll keep at it.    :o :o :o

No the barbs are all metal.  Either stainless, brass, or chrome plated brass.
Title: Re: Found a CO2 leak, but not sure what it is... Need help identifying
Post by: tschmidlin on August 12, 2010, 11:11:05 PM
Good luck, let us know if you ever identify the problem.
Title: Re: Found a CO2 leak, but not sure what it is... Need help identifying
Post by: enso on August 13, 2010, 02:45:58 PM
Seems like I have spent more time searching for leaks on this mess in the last few years than I have enjoyed pouring beers!  I guess it is just too complicated to be sustainable.  Really tempted to just push it into the lake!

Time to tear it down (again!) and rebuild, or retire it altogether!

Guess it might be better to have one keg and faucet and actually be able to serve beer without having to worry about leaks all the time.  Is it too much to ask to be able to have multiple beers on tap at multiple pressures with out all the hassle!!!

grrrrrrr.
 >:(
Title: Re: Found a CO2 leak, but not sure what it is... Need help identifying
Post by: tschmidlin on August 13, 2010, 04:08:12 PM
Is it too much to ask to be able to have multiple beers on tap at multiple pressures with out all the hassle!!!
No, it's not too much to ask.  I just bought a 5-way secondary from kegkits.com and had a great experience, and he sent some missing barbs a couple of days later, no problem.  I've read a lot of people have had a bad experience with him though, so YMMV.  It's cleaned up the mess in my keezer quite a bit, and now I can dispense at whatever psi is appropriate for the style, or force carbonate if I want.