Making sure there are no leaks from gas lines

Discussion in 'Beginners Brewing Forum' started by Tal Orbach, Mar 1, 2019.

  1. Tal Orbach

    Tal Orbach Member

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    I set up my kegerator with a 4-way manifold for the CO2.
    When I attached the gas lines, I sprayed everything with starsan, and couldn't find any bubbling anywhere.
    I tried another test after: I left one of the valves on the manifold open. I disconnected that line from the keg. I shut off the valve at the regulator's out-point, and left it that way for a night. The next day I opened that valve. The needle on the regulator dropped for a split second, from 13PSI to 11, and returned back to its place right after.
    Does this indicate that I have a leak that might cost me in the long run?
    Are there any other ways to check for tiny leaks?
     
  2. Hawkbox

    Hawkbox Well-Known Member

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    This is of interest to me, my last fill lasted almost 2 months but it should have lasted longer than that in my opinion.
     
  3. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    Temperature will affect pressure. If it was a couple of pounds lower for just a split second, it's probably just compensating for the pressure differential in the lines.
     
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  4. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    Yep I recon try unhooking gas from kegs and leave the pressure in your manifold then turn the bottle off leave 24hrs then recheck. If needle is 0 then that's a sure sign of leakidge but 2psi drop over 24hrs I'd write that up as ok on my uncritical brew house...
     
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  5. Tal Orbach

    Tal Orbach Member

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    So you're saying: turn off the gas before the regulator, and don't turn it back on again, before checking the needle?
     
  6. ChicoBrewer

    ChicoBrewer Well-Known Member

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    Take a spray bottle of starsan and spray it on all the connections. Look for bubbles
     
  7. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    If you don't use Starsan, a soap solution will do just as well.
     
  8. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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    to do a proper leak test increase the pressure to 25 lbs then test, some leaks are very slow
     
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  9. BOB357

    BOB357 Well-Known Member

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    As a first step, disconnecting the gas lines at the kegs and shutting off the tank valve will let you know if you have any leaks other than the kegs or the tank to regulator connection. Leave all of the valves downstream from the regulator open. Due to the small volume of gas contained in the regulator, manifold and lines, the low pressure gauge will drop to near zero in a matter of minutes if a leak of any size is present. Smaller leaks may take a few hours to manifest. I like to test for leaks at normal pressure levels.

    If you have a manifold with the red handled valves, as above,[​IMG]
    they are know to leak around the shafts, generally when the valve is at least partially opened. They may or may not leak when closed. I have also seen the shaft on a CO2 cylinder leak when opened.

    If a drop in pressure indicates a leak in the test outlined above, and you can't isolate the leak with Starsan or soapy water, try submerging the manifold and hoses in a sink or bucket. If you need to lay the CO2 tank on its side for this, be sure to shut off the tank valve first.

    Once you think you've eliminated everything but the kegs, be aware that leaks between the keg posts and disconnects are generally not found with a bubble test. The best thing to do is just replace the O rings on the outside of the posts. Pretty much any other keg leak should be easily found.

    As a side note, after multiple shaft leaks on the red handled valves, I $hit canned all of them and replaced with barbed fittings. The only valve I have downstream from the regulator now is the main shutoff. Haven't had a leak since.
     
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  10. ChicoBrewer

    ChicoBrewer Well-Known Member

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    Quality info Bob
     
  11. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    Yep
     
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  12. Tal Orbach

    Tal Orbach Member

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    Some weird shit is going on.
    I set the regulator to 13. Disconnected the kegs, and shut of the cylinder's valve.
    For a few hours (I'm guessing around 6 or so), nothing changed. The reading stayed on 13.
    Then it started going up. In about 3 or 4 hours, it got to nearly 20 PSI, then started going down. Within a few hours it was below 10. A few hours later - zero.
    Your thoughts?

    I should mention, this happened twice, so far.
     
  13. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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    you have beer gunk in your regulator, its time for a check valve and a good cleaning
     
  14. Tal Orbach

    Tal Orbach Member

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    In the regulator??? Or the manifold?
     
  15. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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    regulator, it happened to me too
     
  16. Tal Orbach

    Tal Orbach Member

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    How do I clean the regulator? I heard I'm not supposed to get it wet.
     
  17. BOB357

    BOB357 Well-Known Member

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    Observations:
    1 If indeed you had the cylinder valve fully closed, and all of the kegs disconnected, normally I'd say you have established that you have no leaks upstream from the kegs.If you had a measurable leak, the pressure would not have held for anywhere near 6 hours.
    2 Without a temperature increase, there's no way that the pressure actually increased.
    Questions:
    1 Do you have an external temperature controller on your kegerator?
    2 Did you have the kegerator closed and operating when you tested?
    3 Did you have all of the manifold valves fully opened?
    4 Did you make note of temperatures when you observed the different pressures?
    5 What were the high pressure gauge readings at these various times?

    I'm leaning towards a possible regulator problem as Ozarks figures, but that doesn't explain all of your observations unless you had more than nominal temperature swings after the initial period where the pressure remained stable, or somehow disturbed something, causing it to leak.
    It's not uncommon to have a leak that only occurs with in a certain temperature range or in a certain position. It is also a given that temperature has a direct affect on pressure, especially with many gasses, CO2 included.

    For this all to make sense, I'd have to guess that temperature played a large part in your results. Without answers to the above questions, I'd guess that you do have a leak that only occurs within a certain temperature range. If this is the case, your best bet would be to determine this range and test while maintaining it.
     
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  18. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    Yep that is weird that the pressure went up. Yep I've sent beer through my regulator last year I decided to purge burst carbed keg through regulator relief valve. Beer was above gas dip tube so it went up line through regulator and out burst a frothing mess from regulator.

    I took it apart cleaned it out put back together but I had a similar thing happening like you where I'd set pressure but over time it would creep up.

    Since I've bought a new one.
     
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  19. Tal Orbach

    Tal Orbach Member

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    1. No
    2. Yes (maybe opened it once or twice for a couple of seconds, because it's also a fridge, but definitely not longer than a minute, in total. Probably far, far less)
    3. Yes
    4. No
    5 The highest I saw was 20 PSI. It started dropping soon after, so even if it did go above that - it couldn't have gove far above it

    And beer in your regulator actually caused the pressure to go up, with the main valve off?
    .
     
  20. BOB357

    BOB357 Well-Known Member

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    #20 BOB357, Mar 7, 2019
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2019
    The part that has me stumped is the increase to 20psi and then a drop to zero. This happening after holding pressure for several hours just doesn't make sense. I can see a gunked up regulator causing a pressure increase, but not with the cylinder valve closed. I also doubt that temperature changes in the fridge, even without an external controller, would account for a 7 degree change in pressure unless it was unplugged or left open for longer than a few minutes.

    I think at this point we're just wasting time. If you have an empty keg, I'd put it in the kegerator and hit it with about 12 psi. Spray some Starsan or soapy water around the lid to be sure it's sealed, shut the cylinder valve and leave It for a couple of days . If it holds pressure within a pound or 2, call it good. Hopefully, the weird things you observed were just a fluke.
     
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