Author Topic: Tubing storage and sanitization  (Read 2862 times)

Offline cousindave

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Tubing storage and sanitization
« on: March 24, 2012, 09:03:07 AM »
Howdy friends,

A cursory search didn't yield any results so I thought I'd post my question here:

I currently transfer wort from the outflow of my plate chiller across my yard, down a flight of steps and into my basement where the fermenters live. I currently use about 40' of 1/2"ID BevLine tubing. The solution worked well for the first batch but I am now concerned with the storage/cleaning/sanitation of such a lengthy piece of tubing.

My main concerns are liquid getting stuck in the line between batches and growing all sorts of yucky stuff. MyLHBS also advised that extended exposure to acid based sanitizers (StarSan) could etch the inside of the line and render it a bacteria playground. I currently recirculate hot PBW through it at the end of brew day and then rinse thoroughly... I attempted to get all the liquid out of it with both my air compressor and shop vac but don't think it will ever be totally dry.

Any of you fellow homebrewers have suggestions for successful repeated use of this tubing? It's too bloody expensive to replace it each time! Or perhaps a different solution in place of this one (hard plumbed pvc lines, perhaps?)

Thanks in advance for your input.

Offline hokerer

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Re: Tubing storage and sanitization
« Reply #1 on: March 24, 2012, 09:11:56 AM »
Got a forty foot tall tree?  Hang the hose from the top and straight down to drain/dry like they do with fire hoses.  :)
Joe

Offline bo

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Re: Tubing storage and sanitization
« Reply #2 on: March 24, 2012, 10:17:28 AM »
Got a forty foot tall tree?  Hang the hose from the top and straight down to drain/dry like they do with fire hoses.  :)

And a forty foot ladder to get to the top of said tree?

Offline euge

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Re: Tubing storage and sanitization
« Reply #3 on: March 24, 2012, 10:36:28 AM »
Why don't you move the brewery closer to the house so you won't need 40 feet of line? It's working for you now but causing concern obviously. IMO you'll never dry out 40' of tubing so eventually something will start growing in there.

The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman

Offline bo

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Re: Tubing storage and sanitization
« Reply #4 on: March 24, 2012, 10:44:59 AM »
Stand in the middle of your yard and grab the tubing in the middle. Swing it overhead in a circle to get the majority of the rinse water out. Place it in your oven at 150F or so overnight. It'll dry out.

You neighbors may laugh at you, but you'll have dry tubing. :D

Offline mabrungard

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Re: Tubing storage and sanitization
« Reply #5 on: March 24, 2012, 11:38:13 AM »
I use a similar approach as the OP.  I use 25' of 3/8" vinyl tube to run from the plate chiller into the fermenter.  I have an in-line oxygenation stone in there too.  I could shorten the tubing length by about half, but I want the extra length so that the wort has extra time to absorb the O2. 

I've been using this equipment for over 5 years and have not experienced infection.  I do run hot PBW through that tubing as a regular cleaning regimin.  I also alternate between Starsan and Iodophor for sanitizing before each brew. 

Of course, making sure that there isn't any liquid with any nutrients in it in the tubing is an important measure to avoid inviting critters to set up house in my tubing.  Its rinsed well (if it had not been PBWed) and then hung up as high as possible to get any remaining water to drain. 

Beer Line Cleaner is another tool that I sometimes use.  It does a good job of removing any stuff in the tubing.  If I can't get the tubing to look good, it gets replaced.  Tubing is cheap, beer is not.
Martin B
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Offline cousindave

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Re: Tubing storage and sanitization
« Reply #6 on: March 24, 2012, 01:36:57 PM »
@mabrungard
Thanks Martin - I appreciate your comments. As a follow up question - you mention a liquid with nutrients present is needed to grow nasties. I'm based in Indy also (we've met briefly at a couple of FBI functions)  - in your expert water opinion do you think our city water has enough nutrients for this to occur? Seems like moisture, warmth, and O2 would be enough to create an unfortunate result. Just wondering if rinse water is more, or-less, likely to cause problems.

@Bo - I like the swing it over my head solution... anyone giving odds on how long till that turns up on YouTube   :D

Great info from all of you. Thanks a bunch - and any other suggestions are welcome.

Offline Alewyfe

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Re: Tubing storage and sanitization
« Reply #7 on: March 24, 2012, 05:49:29 PM »
Got an air compressor? You could blow a lot of the moisture out of the lines.
Cut it in half and put in a double barb. It's a lot easier to hang two pieces of 20' hose to
dry than a 40.
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Offline richardt

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Re: Tubing storage and sanitization
« Reply #8 on: March 24, 2012, 10:07:57 PM »


I wonder if forming a closed loop by attaching both ends of the hose to a suction canister filled with DampRid would help?

Or any air pump that could move dehumidified air through the hose should also work.

Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Tubing storage and sanitization
« Reply #9 on: March 25, 2012, 12:12:33 AM »
I wonder if forming a closed loop by attaching both ends of the hose to a suction canister filled with DampRid would help?
That's a really clever idea, I like it.  i swing mine around my head and then hang them to dry, but they are less than 10' so it's not a big deal.
Tom Schmidlin

Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Tubing storage and sanitization
« Reply #10 on: March 25, 2012, 12:19:06 AM »
You know, that suction canister looks expensive - I would take an old peanut butter jar and drill a couple of holes in the lid with a spade bit.  Get a couple of rubber grommets from home depot and the tubing should form a tight enough seal.
Tom Schmidlin

Offline gmwren

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Re: Tubing storage and sanitization
« Reply #11 on: March 25, 2012, 05:21:47 AM »
Quick disconnects to make the lengths more manageable?

Offline mabrungard

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Re: Tubing storage and sanitization
« Reply #12 on: March 25, 2012, 10:27:09 AM »
you mention a liquid with nutrients present is needed to grow nasties. I'm based in Indy also (we've met briefly at a couple of FBI functions)  - in your expert water opinion do you think our city water has enough nutrients for this to occur?

Well, aquatic life requires 3 building blocks to grow: carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus.  There is a concept termed the Redfield Ratio that says that this life needs 106 parts carbon, 16 parts nitrogen, and 1 part phosphorus to grow.  As seen from that ratio, only a minute amount of phosphorus is needed and most waters do have phosphorus at very low levels.  Many waters also contain 'active' nitrogen compounds like nitrate.  Nitrate can be present at low to modest levels in water supplies, especially anywhere that agriculture is practiced.  As indicated above, the biggest component for life is carbon.  For most water supplies, carbon compounds are not present at significant levels.  Carbon content would have to be significant in the water.  Therefore as long as you have rinsed the tubing to adequately remove any carbon sources (sugary wort is a huge carbon source), its unlikely that the remaining rinse water would have the carbon needed to promote biologic growth.  Carbon is the limiting component.
Martin B
Carmel, IN

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Offline cousindave

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Re: Tubing storage and sanitization
« Reply #13 on: March 28, 2012, 04:28:42 PM »
Thanks Martin - And thanks to the rest of you friendly contributors as well. I really appreciate the insight.

Slainte'

Offline richardt

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Re: Tubing storage and sanitization
« Reply #14 on: March 29, 2012, 12:12:35 PM »
You know, that suction canister looks expensive - I would take an old peanut butter jar and drill a couple of holes in the lid with a spade bit.  Get a couple of rubber grommets from home depot and the tubing should form a tight enough seal.

I do the "trick rope" cowboy thing with my 10 ft tubing as well (word to the wise, don't do it inside).

DIY suction canisters could save costs, but I'm sure there are "non-medical" suction canisters out there--I just don't know if they go by a different name or not.  Generally speaking, anything "scientific/laboratory" or "medical/dental" means it costs at least 10 times what it should. 

You must have a good seal throughout the system if you want to "dehumidify" the hoses in an efficient manner.  I'm not a HVAC specialist, but, from what I've been told, water vapor can pass through just about any opening or material unless it is truly airtight and impermeable to water vapor.  A close fit or casual seal isn't going to do as well as a truly air-tight system that's blowing warm dehumidified air through the tube towards a dessicant like damp rid.  This minor point would be more of an issue in hot, humid environments like Florida (where I live) than, say, Southern California.