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Fixing leaky Co2 lines

PostPosted: Sat Feb 14, 2009 9:19 pm
by yeastmeister
Well, on my last Co2 system, which was just a bunch of hoses and T connectors, I always had a slow co2 leak. Never could pin it down, but I knew it was there, it wasn't bad enough to cause me worry, 5 lb tanks always lasted a couple of months, It wasn't costing a heck of a lot to fill them, but I eventually got to worry about it because I realized that tanks have a limited life span, eventually, they will fail. Every time they fill up and go empty, it causes the metal to grow and shrink, thats why they need to be re-certified every so often.

When I switched to this new system I decided to save my tanks, I was careful with all the hoses, and connections everywhere. Nothing seemed to leak that I could find, but if I closed off the tank, and just let the system sit for a while, after about 15 minutes, the pressure in the lines slowly went to zero. That shouldn't happen if there isn't a leak.

I rechecked all the hoses, and connectors again, still couldn't find it. Finally, I mixed up some dish washing detergent and water in a spray bottle, and went about spraying the entire system, every connector I could think of looking for bubbles, starting at the tank, and going through all 8 regulators, every connection I had done got sprayed. Nothing.

Had to be somewhere. Then I started spraying everything. Found it! Finally, back side of one regulator, in a little bushing that the pressure gauge screwed into. The bushing was cracked. Luckily, I had a spare.

From the front, no visible problems.

From the back, you can see the crack if you are really looking for it.

Close up, you can really see the crack.

Removed, you can see that it did in fact, go completely through the bushing.

So, now the system is leak free. The moral of this story is, test your system by shutting off the bottle. The system should hold co2 pressure indefinitely (presuming your beer isn't still absorbing it). If it doesn't, take soapy water to everything, even the places you don't suspect. This was not a piece I had put in or removed, it was there from the factory, so I didn't suspect it as a problem.

PostPosted: Sun Feb 15, 2009 11:52 am
by aleguy
That can be a problem, even with new equipment. I thought I had a leak in my tank valve. Turned out the regulator not had worked loose or something, maybe the rubber o-ring is crimped. anyway, I fixed the major leak by tightening the nut. I still have a slow leak in the regulator somewhere. I haven't been able to locate it by the method you describe. It may be that the regulator-tank connection is still leaking slowly.

PostPosted: Sun Feb 15, 2009 12:18 pm
by yeastmeister
Soapy water should tell, no matter where it is, after all, its made to bubble up. Every regulator I have seen has a small weep hole on the body near where the adjustment screw it. . Put some soapy water across that and see if it bubbles, its a larger hole, so a simple spritz may not cover it, use your finger and put some soap on it. If it leaks, the gasket inside the regulator has gone south. If you take the front off the regulator, you should be able to see the gasket, no gas should flow with the front off the regulator because the gasket isn't being depressed. If it leaks like that, there is your problem.

Haven't found a leak yet that soapy water can't locate.

PostPosted: Sun Feb 15, 2009 12:42 pm
by aleguy
I'll try again. I bought the regulator new last year and am still on my first tank of gas but I have made multiple adjustments to the pressure.

"A foolish constancy is the hobgoblin of little minds"