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CO2 leak troubleshooting

Hi All,

I was wondering if you could help me troubleshoot a CO2 leak in my draft system.

Refilled a 5 lb CO2 canister about 3 weeks ago. Dual body CO2 regulator, hooked up to two kegs. Set at about 12 PSI and carbonated two 5 gallon beers nicely. Everything was holding strong until last night (approximately 2.5 weeks) when I went to pull a beer, and discovered the C02 canister is completely empty. There wasn’t even enough residual pressure in either keg to push any beer out. I can’t refill my canister until Monday, so I can’t run any gas through the system to see where it is coming from until then. I was curious if there are any ‘most likely’ culprits or spots I should check first? Surely, a 5 lb canister would last longer than this?

I’ll admit I bought an entry level kegging system with refurbished kegs and an economy regulator. When I first hooked up the CO2 several weeks back, I sprayed all the connections/joints with soapy water and everything appeared to be air-tight at that time.

On a separate, but related note, if anybody in the Kansas City area knows of a shop that refills Co2 on the weekends, please let me know!

Many thanks,
Andy

The holes.

Check for leaks with a higher pressure than serving pressure. 30psi and above. You should get better bubble action that way.

Keg lids are a good starting place. When you do get refilled try mixing some dish soap & water in a spray bottle and spray all the connections with your tank set higher than serving pressure.

I’m not from your area and Sunday would be tough anywhere but try looking for fire equipment dealers near you. There is one by me that fills and tests tanks for much less than CO2 dealers.

Having a spare tank is a must for me because somehow they know it is the weekend and run out or leak out then :x

I found that using a magnifying glass and flashlight helped me locate a very small leak in one of the co2 hose connections. A not so tight worm clamp was the culprit.
+1 on raising the pressure and having a back up tank.

RE: back up tanks. A low cost alternative to a regular tank is a paint ball tank and adapter.

http://www.midwestsupplies.com/the-adapter-co-2-go.html

If you don’t have a local PB shop that has some older steel tanks for sale, you should be able to pick them up on ebay cheap. About 3 years ago I picked up 3, 9oz tanks for $20. Good for emergencies or to take on the road.

Thanks for the tips. I’ll let you know what I discover.

Check the pressure relief valve, your lid, your posts, everything and anything.

I learned the hard way when I lost a full tank of gas. I assumed that a brand new piece of hardware was good to go. I was wrong, I was the @ss.

Now I check everything, new or old. It only takes a few minutes.

I have noticed faulty relief valves on used soda kegs, FWIW.

Cheers and Beers.

Two things come to mind one you did put a new washer between the tank and your regulator and buy the leak detector stuff that NB sells it will find the smallest leaks.

I always turn the pressure up to 40 psi when I first keg a beer then I put my ear down by the keg to make sure nothing is leaking. If I hear a leak I’ll spray Star San on the top of the keg to look for leaks. Last week I had one under one of my gas quick disconnects pulled the ball lock off put some keg lube on the post oring hooked it back up and no leak.

+1 for a new crushable washer. Also, did your refurbished kit come with all-new O-rings? Also, if you have empty tanks, pressurize them with CO2 and let them sit until you use them. If they maintain their pressure when you take them off the shelf for use, you know they’re (still) good. It’s simple, but it’s a nice comfort.

I may have discovered the source of the leak. I recently replaced a gas quick disconnect, and saw bubbly action when I spritzed with soapy water tonight. I guess I didn’t see it initially - or the disconnect loosened to a point where it is now obvious. I have since tightened the connection and so far, so good.
I am unsure about the O-rings, so I am going to replace them anyway even though the kegs seem air tight, and haven’t noticed any bubbles, even at high (40 psi) pressure. Having a back up tank is a great idea too.

I still don’t trust my regulator completely; are the regulators NB or midwest brewing sell (list price around 150 for a dual body regulator) decent? I’m willing to drop a few bucks for piece of mind.

I appreciate all your input - I’ll report back in a few weeks if this has solved my issue

[quote=“apf87c”]I still don’t trust my regulator completely; are the regulators NB or midwest brewing sell (list price around 150 for a dual body regulator) decent? I’m willing to drop a few bucks for piece of mind.

I appreciate all your input - I’ll report back in a few weeks if this has solved my issue[/quote]

If your keg didn’t have any pressure in it at all once you found the tank was empty, I would think the leak is at the keg, and not in the line in front of that. So I wouldn’t throw money down the drain on a new regulator.

Just a quick update - I think it was the new gas quick disconnect that was the source of the leak. Once it was tightened up, everything has been solid. I did have a small issue with my regulator ‘creeping’…I found some troubleshooting tips on homebrewtalk.com, and solved that issue as well.

Thanks for the outpouring of suggestions. Good to know help is just a click away.

Andy

Glad to hear that Andy

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