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CO2 tanks

PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2008 1:58 pm
by redtail28
Trying to get into kegging. Co2 tanks online
start at 50 and on up. I called a local
supply house (welding supply) and
it's only 11 dollars to rent on.

PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2008 3:57 pm
by aleguy
I'm kind of in the same situation. Not quite ready for co2, but I bought some kegs for $22.50 each on ebay (includes shipping) I'mstill trying to decide on regulators I've found them from $13 each up to $75. I think I need more information before I buy. One question though, is the co2 from a welding gas supplier food safe, or does it have traces of machine oil in it? I've heard you can't use gas cartridges from bb guns and paintball canisters because they are not food safe.

PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2008 9:58 pm
by yeastmeister
Ok, this is a long one, sorry, but I want to be thorough.

I bought all of mine used. I wanted the aluminum kind because they are lighter, and I felt that I didn't need to worry about potential rust getting into the tank, and therefore my beer. 11 bucks? Does that include filling, and how long can you keep it? It will most certainly by steel. Be sure to ask when the last certification date was on any used tank, if its expired, its gonna cost you roughly 30 bucks to get it recertified (if you own it), and thats assuming it passes, I had one that failed inspection, and I believe at least one of our members had a used tank violently release its gas in his house one night. I sort of like to know the pedegree on mine, all mine were on their original recert, and only 1 year old. If you rent one, you never have any idea what the guy before you did with it, or if he took it to a reputable recert place. Best to be safe with something thats holding back 1600 psi. There is a place in Lafayette that I trust to do recerts, PM me and I will pass the name along.

No difference between co2 for medical grade, or welding grade, it all comes out of the same large bulk tank, the difference is that medical grade is only allowed to be put into medical grade containters. Presumably, the hoses are changed from the tank as well when filling.

While everyone on the internet will tell you they haven't had this experience, I did have at least one occasion where I got a flavor coming from my co2, smelled like oil, both tanks that I had filled at the same time. I made some activated charcoal filters to put inline, and the flavor went away. I use them all the time now, so I don't know if it happened again.

Kegs are great. Watch the ones you buy online if your not experienced with them. The posts can leak from several different places, around the base, and from the poppet. The lid can leak from around the gasket, and from the pressure release valve. There can also be a almost microscopic hole in the keg, sometimes under the rubber coating. The most common problem is that you will pressure up the keg, only to find that 3 days later, your co2 tank is empty. The worst that can happen is that you hook up your tank, and go to bed, only to find that there is now 5 gallons of beer all over your floor.

I'm not saying to not buy them used, only to double check everything. I pull the posts off, the poppets out, and inspect them for damage before I ever put beer in them. I change all the gaskets on the posts. Then I fill the tank with something foamy, put it outside, and pressure it up to 30 psi overnight. I don't leave the tank hooked up. That gives me a good test as to if its gonna leak liquid from anywhere under pressure, or if its not holding pressure. Once its passed the test the first time, I'm comfortable with it, but I still check the post gaskets every time. Buy a couple of extra poppets from morebeer or northern brewer, the gaskets go bad on those from time to time (ok, 2 years worth of kegging, 8 kegs, and I've had 2 poppets go bad in the last 6 months, thats a lot of batches through them, so your mileage may vary), and I have yet to find a decent gasket to replace them with.

I've heard the same thing about paintball canisters, but several online distributors are now selling regulators that fit those tanks. May want to give one of them a call and ask them. Personally, I own one of those little hand co2 dispensers that is basically used to charge the keg for serving, but not for pressurizing. I buy the food grade 16 oz co2 cartriges for that, so I can't say otherwise....

Tanks are tanks, but Regulators, well, as the addage goes, you get what you pay for. My first ones I went cheap, they work, but they are a pain in the ... to adjust, never a screw driver around when you need one. The second ones I bought cost more, but they were stainless, and included a huge 1.5 inch knurled knob to adjust the pressure by hand. Sweet, no more fumbling in the recesses of the kegerator to try and get the screwdriver aligned.

PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2008 10:26 pm
by triple-oh_six
yeastmeister wrote:I believe at least one of our members had a used tank violently release its gas in his house one night.

Yes! Total suckage! Was not a good thing.

I got my regulator at harbor freight for about $27, it's for Argon/co2 it works fine for me. It's got the knob, no screwdriver nonsense.

Oh...... and, You said "violently release its gas" lolz

PostPosted: Wed Mar 19, 2008 3:59 pm
by aleguy
All my kegs were supposedly sanitized and pressure tested. they arrived full of pressure. So far I only depressurized one. I'llhave to check to see if the others are still holding pressure. The less expensive regulators I was quoting were for Sanke kegs. they have a steel bar to turn (like on a vise handle) so a screwdriver isn't necessary. My concern is about whether the fittings for the tank, and the hose barb will need to be changed out. Also, the $13 regulator only has one guage to read line pressure, so there would be no way to tell how much gas is left in the tank.
How often do you need to change the carbon in your filter? Did you modify a water filter, or build one from scratch? Would I be better off just buying a ready-made gas-line filter?

PostPosted: Fri Mar 21, 2008 9:44 am
by yeastmeister
I change my water filters yearly, and the RO membrane is on a 5 year change cycle. I only use it for brewing water, so I'm only putting around 300 gallons per year max through it. Thats probably overkill on the change ratio, but at least I'm confident that I'm not getting any chlorine through.

I built my co2 carbon filters from scratch using 1" reinforced tubing, with screened gas connects on either end to make sure nothing gets out of the tube besides co2. Filled it with high grade activated carbon designed for aquariums (The fish people are much pickier than we are when it comes to water and air quality, I've got a lot of my ideas from them), I am planning on changing the media every other tank. I did it that way because it came out much cheaper than buying pre-made ones.

Again, its probably overkill, but I don't ever need to worry about any taste or smell coming from a contaminated co2 fill.

PostPosted: Tue May 27, 2008 1:54 pm
by aleguy
so I got a 20 lb. tank from a friend (it's aluminum) it does need a recert. My question now is: Should I recert the old tank or just bite the bullet and buy a new aluminum tank online, since the 20 lb. tank won't fit in a chest freezer?
You (Yeastmeister) said you bought your tanks used. Is that something I should try, or did you just happen to find them serendipitously?
I'd also like the specs on your filter setup. sounds great but I'm having trouble visualizing how you put it together.

PostPosted: Tue May 27, 2008 2:37 pm
by yeastmeister
I'd have it recertified. It shouldn't cost you anything if it fails (mine didn't). You can usually find someone to trade sizes with (I could use a 20 for instance), or use it externally to the kegerator.

Stuck in an airport now, but I will post pics of the filter when I get back next week.

PostPosted: Tue May 27, 2008 7:56 pm
by redtail28
I just purchased a 10# lb from A-1 fire and saftey
in breaux bridge. I got the tank,new valve, recert,and filled
for $107.00.
I think thats a good buy. All ready keg a batch

Re: CO2 tanks

PostPosted: Wed Sep 17, 2008 2:47 pm
by GuitarLord5000
redtail28 wrote:I called a local
supply house (welding supply) and
it's only 11 dollars to rent on.

If you don't mind, what is the name of this welding supply house, and where is it located?


PostPosted: Wed Sep 17, 2008 2:56 pm
by aleguy
rent at your own risk! you don't really know where a rental has been nor what it contained. some people put some very strange chemicals in tanks they weren't designed for. Same thing goes for used corny kegs. The main difference is a keg can be thoroughly cleaned with TSP and the rubber replaced.
A friend of mine actually gave me an old 20# 7up tank that he had gotten from the distributor years ago and had only used it for beer since. Put the word out that you're looking for a tank. you might be amazed at what turns up, especially if you're not in a hurry.