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My leaky keg system is gettin expensive

here’s how it all started; I went thru a 5 lb cannister of C02 reather quickly, but I wasn’t really
sure how much i started with since I had bottled my last batch and it had been a while before that.

I got a refill and at the same time I hooked up a second keg via one of those distribution things.
That tank lasted 1 week. I found that the 2nd hook-up was leaking so I disconnected that keg.

Back to Airgas for yet another refill. 1 week later and I’m out again (this time only 1 keg was attached). I used soapy water when I hooked it up last time and saw no leaks.

Is it possible that my regulator is the culprit here and can I test it ? Is there a procudure to
follow to make certain I locate the leak ? I plan on bypassing the distribution box this tiime
to eliminate that as a potential problem.

I’m open to suggestions as I plan on getting another C02 refill tomorrow.

thx,
john

Sounds frustrating. You definitely have a leak somewhere.

I would start by disconnecting everything. Look for any problems on your threads. Then I’d get teflon tape and use it on all the connections. Use plenty. Reconnect everything and spray some fresh Star-San on all of the connections. Spray a lot. Monitor for bubbles.

Then replace all of your keg o-rings and poppets. Make sure to use a little keg lube. Hook your keg up to your system and then spray the heck out of the keg and look for bubbles. Repeat for each keg.

The regulator itself is an unlikely culprit. If it is leaking you’d definitely know it (as in things like explosions would happen). The connections between the regulator and your barbs should definitely be checked for leaks, however. Spray with Star San and use teflon.

Basically, I’d recommend a total reset. It is cheaper than releasing 50 pounds of CO2 into your house!

Good luck, man. These can be tough to find.

I don’t like the handles on the distributor they can and do leak I just replace them with the check valve fitting and make sure you use a plastic washer on your connections that are metal to metal.

http://www.northernbrewer.com/shop/ball ... valve.html http://www.northernbrewer.com/shop/check-valve-cap.html

I have and am currently going through the same issue as you. I think I got mine fixed so maybe I can help. I’m pretty sure my issue was the gasket between the regulator and CO2 tank. I was just told this should be replaced with each new tank. Also, all that is said above are good places to look and cheap fixes. New o-rings, tighten your quick disconnnects (just tighten the top piece with a flat head screw driver), use teflon tape on all your connections. Spray every connection, disconnect, keg lid, everything with starsan and look for a leak.

If all else fails, try this procedure. It’s what I did that helped me solve this issue 2x.

  1. disconnect everything

  2. connect the regulator to the CO2 tank and turn the tank on (don’t attach anything else) so all you have it the CO2 flowing into the regulator but no further

  3. keep an eye on your CO2 gauge over a few hours to see if it drops. If it does, you know the issue is either with the regulator (unlikely) or between the connection of the regulator and tank)

  4. if your CO2 level doesn’t change at step 3, the start hooking things up. Hook up your first CO2 line, but do NOT attach it to a keg. Just hook it up and get the gas flowing. Nothing should be coming out of the disconnect. Again, watch the gas level over a few hours to see if it drops. If not, do the same with your next CO2 line and so on.

  5. if at this point everything checks out fine, start attaching kegs. One at a time. Again, keep an eye on the CO2 level for a few hours. Keep doing this for each CO2 line you have.

Eventually you’ll have the entire system hooked up and should have been able to tell where the leak was coming from. It is a long process, but I’m sure at this point you just want it fixed. This is how I spent the last 3 days with my system. Luckly, my issue was at the very beginning with what I only assume was a bad gasket.

Good luck!

You don’t need Teflon tape on any of the connections.

The dual pressure gauge regulator I just got came with tape on each connection. I would assume if the companies that build them use it, there’s no harm in us using it for our connections. No? I guess what I’m saying is it can’t hurt.

Use your nose to find the leak - CO2 smells “sharp” and burns a little.

Mine doesn’t leak and I teflon tape every thread.

I tried that with my leak, but found nothing. My leak was very slow… like it took 2-3 days to empty a tank.

Thanks for the excellent replies so far. I completely removed the distribution hub for now. I only
have 1 keg full anyway.

I also reconnected all the plastic tubing. On my system, I need to go from a larger size tubing
to a smaller one that fits over the barbs. I also made certain all the clamps on tubes and barbs
are secure.

I have eliminated the regulator as the culprit. (thanks for that suggestion). I have sprayed a
50/50 mix of water and dish detergent and see nothing yet. I also gassed up the one keg and
will check it periodically until I get to LHBS to get replacement o-rings.

I like the advise of replacing as many inexpensive rings and seals as possible. We’re talking about
a very small leak when it can take almost a week to empty.

I’ll post something here when I find the culprit.

Thx,
john

Thanks for the excellent replies so far. I completely removed the distribution hub for now. I only
have 1 keg full anyway.

I also reconnected all the plastic tubing. On my system, I need to go from a larger size tubing
to a smaller one that fits over the barbs. I also made certain all the clamps on tubes and barbs
are secure.

I have eliminated the regulator as the culprit. (thanks for that suggestion). I have sprayed a
50/50 mix of water and dish detergent and see nothing yet. I also gassed up the one keg and
will check it periodically until I get to LHBS to get replacement o-rings.

I like the advise of replacing as many inexpensive rings and seals as possible. We’re talking about
a very small leak when it can take almost a week to empty.

I’ll post something here when I find the culprit.

Thx,
john

Friend I brew with a had a slow leak he had trouble tracking down, he finally submerged his setup (w/o the kegs) and found the leak very quickly. Not sure how quick water would get in to the gauges but he said he could see right away where the leak was at. He just had to remove a gauge and put new teflon tape on it and it was good to go.

These slow leaks are pain in the a$$. Like I said above, I’ve had two in the 8 months I’ve been kegging. Frustrating to the point I thought of going back to bottling… then I remembered back to when I was bottling all the time… nah! Chasing down a CO2 leak is still better then bottling.

Let me clarify my statement you shouldn’t have to use tape on gas hose to the regulator use the plastic washer or on the regulator to the tank again use a new flat washer everything else tape.

Then get a bottle of this leak detector you will find it with this stuff I never had much luck with soap and water.

http://www.northernbrewer.com/shop/gas- ... ector.html

Well it looks like I found it ( at least I hope so). I pressurized the keg and then removed the CO2 line to it. I left the tank on so I could see if the leak was on the corney or from the tank to the connector.

Lo and behold, with a little spray of soap and water, I could see little bubbles around the “IN” poppet !
These would have been tough to see with the whole thing connected.

So, I changed corneys and will wait til tomorrow to make sure the new corney is OK (it’s been pressurized).

I’ll report back once I replace the poppet and and O-rings.

You should make sure that you have spares of the poppets and O rings at all times, especially if you have multiple kegs. I find these things go bad all the time.

Guess I’ve been lucky that my original used kegs have lasted as long as they have without replacing anything.

On to my LHBS to stock up ! How often should I expect to replace these things ?

I have 14 or 15 kegs and I bet I have to replace a defective poppet or gasket on one of them about once every two months

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