Homebrewers Association | AHA Forum

General Category => Kegging and Bottling => Topic started by: gsandel on December 24, 2010, 03:55:39 AM

Title: Shoot first, now asking questions
Post by: gsandel on December 24, 2010, 03:55:39 AM
I found an old kegerator on Craigslist for $100 and I leapt before I looked.  Now, I need to ask a million questions about it.

The set up included an old school (1940's or earlier) Fridge (it works), an empty but beat to hell keg (1/2bbl B,M, or C) (dented bottom and side), a 20# co2 tank with 500# pressure in it still, a two gauge regulator, a chrome plated faucet (assume it is the cheapest), a sankey tap, old hoses, and a stainless steel drip tray.

To me it looks just like the deluxe fridge conversion kit from Northern Brewer for $263, but the tank is 20# instead of 5# with a little co2, the hoses will be replaced, and I got a beat up but working fridge.  First off, do you think I got a deal?

Second, how do I rehab this?  I figure toss and replace the hoses, and I intend to soak the tap and faucet in PBW and scrub....but what else do I need to do?

Also, it occurs to me that I will need to refill the co2 tank, but how long will a 20# tank last with 500# psi left in it last?  When I go to refill, how will I know if I need to get it tested?  What does testing cost?  Does anyone know where I can get testing and fill in Denver area?  Should I wait until it is empty until I do this or just get the refill now (since I have no beer for it right now)?  what besides homebrew corny kegs (with washers, etc), ball locks for kegs, and new hoses do I need to convert to homebrew use?

And in light of all of this, was this still a deal?  I figure that compared to the $263 for new, plus I have a working fridge and a little co2 to boot, it would seem like a deal....but if testing costs more than a new tank.....perhaps not.

Oh, and the beat to hell keg.....can I trade it in when I purchase a new keg of beer?

thanks.
Title: Re: Shoot first, now asking questions
Post by: jeffy on December 24, 2010, 03:21:25 PM
Yes, it sounds like you got a good deal.  I had a similar purchase a few years ago and used the fridge as a lagering fridge and the CO2 tank, regulator and tap elsewhere.
Don't start to stress so much about the CO2 bottle.  Most people simply trade them in (exchange) when they are empty.  Unless you have some interest in keeping that particular bottle, just exchange it.
Title: Re: Shoot first, now asking questions
Post by: euge on December 24, 2010, 07:03:18 PM
You got a very good deal. The co2 tank alone is worth at least $100. You made out like a bandit. Shoot first...
Title: Re: Shoot first, now asking questions
Post by: Slowbrew on December 24, 2010, 07:10:46 PM
You got a very good deal. The co2 tank alone is worth at least $100. You made out like a bandit. Shoot first...

+1

It's a very good deal.  I just bought a new 20# CO2 bottle for $120 with shipping.  You can look at everything else as free.  You may want to upgrade the tap to a forward seal at some point.  I had 4 chrome taps for about a year and replaced them with perlicks.  No more frozen taps if you don't open them for 3 days.  If anyone wants four very nice chrome faucets let me know.   :)

Paul
Title: Re: Shoot first, now asking questions
Post by: gsandel on December 24, 2010, 08:11:18 PM
I feel pretty good this morning about my $100 kegerator.....the fridge, however is too heavy and big to fit in my basement.  I did go to the beer store and replaced my hoses gaskets and select fittings....but then I went crazy!!!!  I went and bought a corny keg and all the fittings and tap handle to run both the sanke and a corny.....and expand to 4 taps with a splitter......now I am in for a more normal amount of $$$ but all I need to do is buy or make beer (preferably both) and put it all back together.  If it wasn't christmas eve....all of this would be done by tomorrow.

I answered my own questions about co2 with my LHBS.  They send out kegs for testing for $20 (which sounds reasonable), and refill co2 ($45 for a 20#, which sounds too high)....I will check welding supply next week.  Now I just need to know how soon I will run out of my co2.....since the gauge reading 500# doesn't mean much....I wish I knew what an empty steel tank weighed....anyone?  There is no tare wt listed on my tank.

Thanks for everyone's responses.
Title: Re: Shoot first, now asking questions
Post by: oscarvan on December 25, 2010, 01:54:08 AM
Just go to the welding supply and exchange the tank.... testing is their problem. Yup, the tank is worth more than you paid for the rig.
Title: Re: Shoot first, now asking questions
Post by: gsandel on December 27, 2010, 01:41:09 AM
...and it gets better.  The fridge was a beat up beast....although it was 4.5 feet tall it was as wide as....well a wide fridge and weighed well over 200#....no way it was going in my basement like originally planned....so it went back on craigslist.  Sold for $50 in 1 hours time. (and had gotten a few other calls so, perhaps I should have charged more?)

So, I need to build a collar on my chest freezer that I use for fermentation (already has a nice controller installed), and maybe eventually replace the tap faucet for a few perlicks....and I have a working homebrew/sankey system for less than I can shake a stick at.

I should do this more often.  Thanks for all the info, peoples.
Title: Re: Shoot first, now asking questions
Post by: oscarvan on December 27, 2010, 11:14:25 PM
I LOVE Craigslist......
Title: Re: Shoot first, now asking questions
Post by: realbeerguy on December 28, 2010, 02:07:08 PM
I exchange my 20# tank for around $19.00. Get one back that is within hydro test date.  $45.00 is TOO high.
Title: Re: Shoot first, now asking questions
Post by: kgs on December 28, 2010, 06:57:03 PM
...and it gets better.  The fridge was a beat up beast....although it was 4.5 feet tall it was as wide as....well a wide fridge and weighed well over 200#....no way it was going in my basement like originally planned....so it went back on craigslist.  Sold for $50 in 1 hours time. (and had gotten a few other calls so, perhaps I should have charged more?)


No, $50 for a fridge that would suck so much electricity is a good deal. The old fridge was the only part of this deal that caught my eye. See this calculator:

http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?fuseaction=refrig.calculator

Refrigerators are one of the biggest consumers of household electricity. Assuming you put your $50 toward a bare-bones new fridge with much better energy efficiency, you just saved yourself a lot of money.
Title: Re: Shoot first, now asking questions
Post by: denny on December 28, 2010, 07:00:03 PM
Great link!  Thanks!
Title: Re: Shoot first, now asking questions
Post by: cheba420 on December 28, 2010, 08:33:17 PM
We have a beer store here in PHX that sells bulk CO2. I get my 20# tank filled for $20. they dont fill it as much as you'd get at a gas place but it works for me. I brew 12 times a year and I may fill that tank twice. If you're going to be dispensing commercial beer, you wont be carbonating, just pushing and you'd probably use less.
Title: Re: Shoot first, now asking questions
Post by: oscarvan on December 28, 2010, 09:16:08 PM
Apples and pears in a way. This analysis assumes the door is opened a number of times a day. Well, my keggerator door opens a lot less...... so there is less recovery to perform. Wonders how much of an impact that makes on the savings. And then there is something about drilling 8 holes in a brand new reefer..... :o
Title: Re: Shoot first, now asking questions
Post by: gsandel on December 28, 2010, 11:05:15 PM
Thanks KDS I thought about the energy savings, too, but you even quantified it for me..keeps getting even better....my chest freezer isn't energystar rated, but isn't very old, so running my chest freezer with my controller at 38 degrees (or whatever I decide) is going to cost me so much less than that beast I dumped.....I ran that old fridge for an hour to make sure it still worked after I moved it and it could keep a beer cold if the beer was sitting on top of it.....it was so uninsulated.  I probably saved myself an additional 50 bucks easy....we can call my purchase "virtually" free.

Life is good.

Although, I have been soaking and scrubbing everything, and I am nervous about using the old sankey coupler and beer faucet.  I have opted to replace the hoses and the chrome plated brass fittings (the chrome is all worn off).  As I put real beer on this system, how often should I break it all down and clean, and how often do you all replace your lines?  Do you also replace the gas lines?  Can anyone give me any comfort about the old faucet and shank and coupler?  What am I forgetting?

I am getting sort of excited to put it all together.