Author Topic: Keg and carboy washer build  (Read 893 times)

cornershot

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Keg and carboy washer build
« on: November 15, 2013, 03:41:50 AM »
I'd like to build a keg and carboy washer using a sump pump. I have the basic design but after borrowing a friend's, I noticed it doesn't clean the shoulder of the carboy all that well and I still had to clean it with a brush. Is there a way to make it spray the shoulder of the carboy as well as the bottom and sides while still fitting through the carboy opening? Any other considerations I should take into account when building this? Does it need a ball valve to regulate pressure?
BTW I'm not an engineer but I am pretty handy and I have probably every tool I could possibly need for this.
Thanks in advance!

Offline hubie

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Re: Keg and carboy washer build
« Reply #1 on: November 15, 2013, 10:50:41 AM »
What are you using for the end of the sprayer, i.e., what is the hole pattern?  Also, what are you using for a cleaner?  Is it wetting the entire surface on the inside including the shoulder?  If so, it might only be a case of running it longer.  The stuff that dries up near the neck eventually comes off in a PBW-like soak.  There are various garden hose sprayer ends you can use, but I don't know of any that would get you more than a upper hemispherical pattern.  If you wanted to brute-force it, you could make the wand out of 1/2" copper, put a cap on the end, and take a small drill and drill a bazillion holes at different angles along its length, sort of the Zapap approach.

You could also go with water fountain nozzles:  http://www.atlanticfountains.com/spray_patterns.htm

Whether you need a ball valve will depend upon the flow restriction coming out of the end of the sprayer and how much flow the pump provides.  You'll also want to make sure your pump would be happy if you restrict its output like you can with the magnetic drive March pumps.  I've never played with a sump pump, so I am not very familiar with how they operate.

Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Keg and carboy washer build
« Reply #2 on: November 15, 2013, 01:02:20 PM »
I run mine without a ball valve.

Yeah, it doesn't get good pressure on the shoulder, but after it runs a while you can brush that stuff off easily.  I then put it back on to run for a while to get off any remaining bits.  It works for me, but you could try adding extra spray holes to the stem at the height of the shoulder so it sprays it directly.
Tom Schmidlin

cornershot

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Re: Keg and carboy washer build
« Reply #3 on: November 16, 2013, 07:16:14 AM »
The washer I borrowed just had a 1/2" pipe shooting water straight up. I'm going to try a 12" long copper air chamber like this one http://m.lowes.com/pd_186123-137-CL619_0__?productId=3523656. It looks like I could drill in it where they would spray in any direction. If my math is correct 32x 3/32" holes should be roughly equal to a 1/2" diameter outlet so the flow won't be restricted too much. 3/32" seems like a good size hole to get a good jet of water while hopefully big enough to not get  clogged easily. I'll be using a 1/4 hp submersible utility pump. The cleaner I've been using is 1/2 TSP and 1/2 oxyclean at a rate of 1-2 ounces per gallon.

Offline thatgeekguy

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Re: Keg and carboy washer build
« Reply #4 on: November 18, 2013, 11:33:18 AM »
If you're willing to spend a little money (~$50), get a rotating plastic spray ball from McMaster-Carr:
http://www.mcmaster.com/#catalog/119/2075/=pfofq4

I clean kegs and carboys with one, works great.







I'm only here for the beer....

Offline hubie

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Re: Keg and carboy washer build
« Reply #5 on: November 18, 2013, 12:32:40 PM »
How do you connect that spray ball to the PVC pipe?  I see from the catalog that the sprayer uses BSPP threads.  Is that a 1-1/4" PVC pipe?

cornershot

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Re: Keg and carboy washer build
« Reply #6 on: November 18, 2013, 08:01:14 PM »
thatgeekguy,
That rotating sprayer is pretty cool. When cleaning carboys, does it spray downward? And if so, does it clean the shoulder? Looks like 3/4" pvc. Does the carboy drain well enough with that size pipe?

Offline milligan101

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Re: Keg and carboy washer build
« Reply #7 on: November 18, 2013, 10:37:45 PM »
I've got a simple 660 gph pond pump with a 1/2" PVC vertical pipe I stick in a bucket.  I use it to clean kegs, which I tend to wash as soon as they're empty.  About 30 minutes with PBW solution and a quick brush down the dip tube, no problems.

cornershot

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Re: Keg and carboy washer build
« Reply #8 on: November 20, 2013, 02:30:16 PM »
To update this, I built my washer with the air chamber for my spray head. I drilled 32x 3/32" holes in it located at the top and bottom rounded portions so it sprays both the bottom and shoulder of the inverted carboys and kegs. It works quite well in cleaning the carboy shoulder- far better than just the straight pipe shooting water straight up. After a month in primary with thoroughly dried gunk in the carboy the extra turbulence from my downward spraying head got it spotless without scrubbing. My friend's washer couldn't seem to do this.
When cleaning kegs with the qd's hooked up there was still plenty of pressure to keep water flowing up the dip tubes.
I think I will add another outlet with a hose barb and ball valve to clean my siphon hose and other hoses while washing a carboy.
Has anyone built a manifold-type attachment for washing bottles- perhaps a dozen at a time? It's quite a useful gadget as is but why stop at kegs and carboys?

Offline Gribble

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Re: Keg and carboy washer build
« Reply #9 on: November 21, 2013, 01:58:05 PM »




This is my setup for a keg washer, it does two kegs at once including the liquid line.  It is all 1/2" pipe using 1/2npt - 1/4" hose barb as nozzles.  The sink is setup to recirc so I can add pbw or sanitizer and run through the kegs and a hose fitting so I can rinse the kegs.
Low Mo Brewing Company
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