A Ramble on Finding/Preventing CO2 Leaks.

Assumes carbonation of flat beer is done using a forced or gradual injection of CO2.
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A Ramble on Finding/Preventing CO2 Leaks.

Post by PistolPatch » 5 years ago

[Excuse the ramble below. Mods feel free to move it to nonsense and rambles though I did just solve one keg problem that has been baffling me for years!]

For those who have experienced a CO2 leak, one of the most amazing things is how easily a full gas bottle can disappear overnight with even a small leak. I'm now trying to find a tiny leak that has drained my gas bottle in a bit over a week.

So, I've just put on my second gas bottle, have a brew day on Saturday, and want to make sure I don't lose what I have left in the meantime. I have 41 connections in my gas lines and these just go to the disconnects :dunno:. I have 9 disconnects which can leak from say three places. And then there's the keg seals and poppets. So, there's probably around 85 possible sources of this tiny leak.

Soapy water hasn't found it nor has swearing.

All the kegs have new poppets and these have caused some problems but I thought I'd fixed them. Just found one though that when I disconnect it, I lose all gas from the keg :angry:. (This shouldn't mean I lose gas though when I have the disconnect attached.)

Anyway, I'm trying to work out a strategy for narrowing down the leak/s as quickly as possible. I'm also thinking this strategy could possibly work out as a preventative strategy as well. I'm thinking...

Day 1

1. Pressurise everything.
2. Remove all gas disconnects.
3. Re-pressurize.
4. Turn off main cylinder valve.

Next Day

1. Stick a spoon up one of the gas disconnects. If there is a release, you know the problem is almost certainly with the kegs.
2. Pull release valve on each keg. If no hiss, then that's your keg.

Sounds simple but, there's always one problem...

Many kegs don't leak when you have the gas line attached to it but as soon as you remove the gas line, they do leak...

Hold on!!!! Think I just answered a question I've had for years!!!! "Why do some kegs leak when no gas line is attached but lose pressure in a few days as soon as you remove it?"

Answer: Dodgy poppet!!!

Wow. I never would have thought of that unless I had been forced to investigate dodgy poppets in the last few weeks. Solution is to use a thicker O-ring on your dip tube as stretching the spring is pretty difficult. (Thought I'd done that though on all the kegs :evil: .)

Anyway, this does not solve my tiny leak problem so I'll go and remove all my disconnects and see what tomorrow holds.

:smoke:
PP
Last edited by PistolPatch on 06 Jun 2012, 22:09, edited 3 times in total.
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Post by Yeasty » 5 years ago

Hi PP

Typing in your sleep again I see. :sleep: :sleep: :lol:

Funny you mentioned this as I kegged yesterday and used a new (to me) keg. I got a bit paranoid about it leaking so gassed it up then disconnected it.

If I suspect a leak I will do as you do and charge the system, turn off the gas and disconnect all the kegs. You can then tell if its your pipework from losing gauge pressure. As for the kegs I lay mine on there side so that the lid and posts are submerged with beer. You'll fine it easier to spot a drip of Ale than a whisp of CO2. Placing a clean sheet of kitchen towel under each keg can aid detection and stop beer puddles soaking into your carpet.

:luck:

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Post by BobBrews » 5 years ago

In the past I have pressurized everything and then shut off all valves leading to my four normal kegs. The next day one of them would be without any pressure. The problem would at least be narrowed down to one poppet, lid or distribution valve? Sorry I can't be more specific than that. I have a leaking nitrogen connection that I can't fix so I am not the one to pass out advice!
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Post by PistolPatch » 5 years ago

"Typing in my sleep?" Typing while drinking light beers more like it. I actually had a headache this morning :dunno:.

Anyway, had a 12 hour day today so wasn't looking forward to plumbing when I got home. Foubd the bastard though :party: :party: :party:. One flat keg which on further investigation proved to have a leaking poppet (Bob ;)) which took a few tries of different O-rings to fix.

I like Yeasty's idea of lying the keg on its side - nice and simple. (I usually force carb but with this bunch of kegs I was slow carbing 7 of them and didn't even realise the bottle was dropping in pressure until too late.)

Still have to re-plumb the fridges to suit this different style of keg I've changed to. After I re-plumb, I'm definitely going to do the one day test.

Happy again now :).
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Post by deebo » 5 years ago

For the disconnect ends I find it easiest to fill a jug or something with water, hold the end of the disconnect under the water and look for bubbles. (also holding a pressurised keg underwater in a pool or bath). You would still need to try soapy water when the keg is actually connected to the disconnect however as it might be the seal between post and disconnect.

For some reason I always had problems looking for soapy bubbles.

Until the leak is found I would turn the gas off at the bottle when not in use.

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Post by Squared » 5 years ago

Ya I would leave the gas off, find the culprit keg myself. As for lines I would inspect the hose clamps or maybe reclanp them if possible. I only have a three keg set up so it is easy to do all this in one afternoon. Sounds like your set up is pretty extensive. I've filled a rain barrel and submerged a near full keg to see if any bubbles come out too.

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Post by Aces high » 5 years ago

just make sure we've got gas for today, i dont fancy a drunken trip down to hb shop :idiot:


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Post by PistolPatch » 5 years ago

Leak is really fixed - volume in bottle has gone up!

Most people would say that is due to the warmer room temp but I'm putting it down to excellent plumbing skills :lol:.
Last edited by PistolPatch on 09 Jun 2012, 08:48, edited 3 times in total.
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Post by Yeasty » 5 years ago

Will starsan bubble if sprayed onto a leak ? If it does it will be better that soapy water considering the risk of spoiling your beer.

Don't have any so I can't try it..
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Post by housecat » 5 years ago

Yeasty wrote:Will starsan bubble if sprayed onto a leak ? If it does it will be better that soapy water considering the risk of spoiling your beer.

Don't have any so I can't try it..
It does work. I use it all the time.

However, there's no need to worry abut the soapy water and your beer. As long as there is pressure on your system, the soapy water won't ingress to spoil your beer. (You'd need a vacuum in the system to suck it in there)

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Last edited by housecat on 09 Jun 2012, 19:09, edited 3 times in total.
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Post by PistolPatch » 5 years ago

Just a quick note on Starsan as a leak finder...

If you have John Guest type fittings, don't use StarSan to test for leaks as it corrodes them unfortunately :dunno:.
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