Everything You Need To Know About CO2
One of the most crucial parts of your kegerator dispense system is CO2, carbon dioxide. To ensure a perfect pour every time, your CO2 tank needs to be regulated, optimized, and properly installed. Whether it’s your first kegerator or you need to make adjustments to your current kegerator set up, we have you covered with what you need to know to achieve the perfect pour.
Before you get started, READ THIS!
CO2 can be dangerous! Please use caution and always follow these steps:
- Always connect the CO2 gas cylinder to the reducing valve or regulator. Failure to do so could result in an explosion with possible death or injury when the cylinder valve is opened.
- Never connect the gas cylinder directly to the keg.
- Always secure the gas cylinder in the "upright" position.
- Always keep gas cylinders away from heat.
- Never drop or throw a CO2 gas cylinder.
- Always ventilate after CO2 leakage.
- Always check the D.O.T. (Department of Transport) test date located on the neck of the cylinder before installation. If over five (5) years, do not use and return the gas cylinder to the gas supplier.
- Never connect a product container unless there are two (2) safety mechanisms in the pressure system.
- One at or on the CO2 regulator (the regulator supplied should be inclusive of such a safety mechanism).
- One at or on the product container coupler or in the pressure gas line (the keg coupler should be inclusive of such a safety mechanism).
- If it becomes difficult to breathe and your head starts to ache, abnormal concentrations of carbon dioxide may be present in the area. Close the main valve on the CO2 cylinder and leave the room immediately.
- Gas cylinders should be stored in the coolest part of the establishment, preferably at 70 degrees, and securely fastened in the upright position before the primary regulator is attached to the cylinder.
How does a CO2 regulator work?
- Low pressure gauge: reads the amount of internal keg pressure
- High pressure gauge: indicates existing pressure in the CO2 cylinder
- Pressure adjustment: before tapping the keg, screw clockwise until low pressure gauge indicates the desired pressure
- CO2 inlet nipple
- CO2 inlet nut
- Pressure relief valve
- Optional shut-off valve
- Outlet fittings
How do I know what pressure my CO2 is set to?
A regulator is an essential part of a kegerator dispense system, helping monitor your CO2 pressure. You can find single gauge regulators or dual gauge regulators, which connect to the air line and read the pressure of your tank.
With a single gauge regulator, the display will display only your CO2 pressure. With a dual gauge regulator, you want to look at the gauge that shows a range of 0-60 PSI (pounds per square inch). To read your pressure on the regulator, you will see an arrow point to your current CO2 pressure in PSI.
What pressure should my CO2 tank be set to?
Depending on the beer you are serving your CO2 tank pressure will vary. Most American breweries recommend a pressure between 10-14 PSI. If you aren't advised on the pressure by the beer maker or perhaps it's your own homebrew, it is best to start dispensing at 10 PSI and adjust accordingly until you achieve the perfect pour.
How do I set my CO2 tank pressure?
1.Securely attach the regulator to the gas cylinder.
- Close the regulator's shut-off valve "C".
- Completely open the gas cylinder valve "A".
- Slowly turn the regulator adjustment "B" until the low pressure gauge "D" displays the desired pressure. Turn clockwise to increase the pressure, and counter-clockwise to decrease the pressure.
- Briefly pull the ring on the keg coupler's pressure relief valve "F" to allow the pressure already in the keg to vent.
- Open the regulator shut-off valve "C" to allow gas to flow to the keg coupler.
- As the keg pressurizes, the needle on the low pressure gauge "D" will drop temporarily until the pressure has equalized, and then will return to the point you previously set it at.
- Briefly pull the ring on the keg coupler's pressure relief valve "F" again to allow gas to flow through the regulator to obtain a more accurate reading on the low pressure gauge "D".
- Re-check low pressure gauge "D" and use regulator adjustment "B" to readjust if necessary until the desired pressure is displayed.
If you will be dispensing multiple kegs that use the same CO2 pressure, you can split the gas flow to each keg using a two product regulator or an air line distributor. However, if you will be dispensing multiple kegs with different pressure requirements, secondary gas regulators will be needed to adjust the pressure for each keg.
How many kegs can I dispense with one CO2 tank?
A standard 5lb. CO2 tank can dispense between 2 to 4 full-sized kegs, depending on the ambient temperature. The colder the ambient temperature the closer you will get to 4 kegs.
It takes approximately 1/2 lb. of CO2 to dispense a 1/4 barrel of beer. Depending on what size keg you will be dispensing and what size CO2 tank you purchase, you can expect to dispense the following number of kegs:
Should my CO2 tank be stored inside or outside the kegerator cabinet?
We offer kegerators that store the CO2 tank both inside and outside the cabinet and storing it inside or outside is mostly a matter of preference. Where it is stored on the kegerator doesn’t make a huge difference; however, as we stated previously, ambient temperature can affect the number of kegs that can be dispensed from one CO2 tank. The Kegco K Series 309 kegerators store the tank on the outside and the K 209 Series store them inside.
Where can I get my CO2 tank filled?
You can get your tank refilled at any homebrew supply shop, welding supply stores, sporting good stores that sell paintball guns, or places that fill fire extinguishers.
How do I know if I have a CO2 leak?
- Pressurize the regulator to isolate the leak by turning on the tank, by turning the valve counterclockwise.
- Open the valve until you receive a reading. If the needle moves, this is a good indication that you are receiving a reading. You should be receiving a reading between 500 and 1,000 PSI, depending on the temperature of your tank, the ambient temperature, and altitude. If the needle moves, this is a good indication that you are receiving a reading.
- Put pressure on the low-pressure side (this is the line that is pushing CO2 to your kegs) by turning the pressure adjustment handle on the regulator clockwise until you receive a reading of 10 PSI.
- Once the regulator is set to 10 PSI, shut off the valves that send gas out of the regulator by turning them 90 degrees.
- Turn your tank off by turning the valve clockwise.
- Check your pressure gauge to see if the pin has moved at all.
If it drops, you have a leak somewhere between the shut-off valves and the tank.
- First, check the connection between the CO2 tank and regulator. The most common place to find a leak is at this location. It can be easily fixed by tightening the connection with a specialty tank wrench or a large crescent wrench.
- If you have a leak in the regulator, it can be fixed with Teflon tape or tightening the connection with a wrench. Be sure to only use Teflon tape on a tapered or pipe thread (NPT) connection. It will fill in the gaps between the connection and prevent leakage.
- If the pin doesn't drop and your regulator is maintaining pressure, leave your gas system for 15 to 20 minutes and then come back to see if the pin has moved. This method will spot any small leak you may have in your system.
- If your pin drops, you may have a small leak in your regulator. Tighten the connection with a specialty tank wrench or a large crescent wrench.
- If your pin still doesn't drop, open up your regulator valves one at a time. If the pin drops after opening up the valve, you'll know that particular line or tube has a leak. Also, you will know that the leak is occurring between the shut-off valve and the keg.
- Now that you know the general location of the leak, to find the precise location of the leak, you need to pressurize the line again by turning the CO2 tank back on.
- Spray all the connections of the suspected leak zone, including threaded connections, hose connections, ball-lock connections, and all o-rings on the keg with a foaming agent.
- When you spray the connections, if there is a leak, it will begin to foam rapidly to indicate a leak at that location.
- If the leak is at a connection, tighten the connection with a wrench.
- If the leak is on a hose, cut the damaged section out and use a splicing kit or replace it with a new CO2 hose.
- If the leak is at the coupler connection, tighten until snug. If the check valve in the coupler is damaged replace the coupler. In a pinch, you can use a neoprene washer in place of the check valve but you will run the risk of cycling beer back into your gas line.
- If you don't see an indication of a leak but are still experiencing issues with your system, contact technical support at 1-(800) 710-9939 and our team will assist you.
How do I replace my CO2 tank?
- Close valve by turning "A" clockwise
- Unscrew adjustment screw "B" (counter-clockwise) as far as it will go.
- Remove regulator from empty cylinder at "E".
- Remove dust cap from new cylinder at "E". Open and close valve "A" quickly to blow dust from the outlet.
- With cylinder valve "A" in closed position, reattach regulator to cylinder at "E". Be sure to include the CO2 washer.
- Open valve "A" all the way (this is important because the cylinder valve seals in two places).
- Re-adjust regulator pressure "B" and open optional valve "C".
How to fix a CO2 leak
If the leak is in the regulator -
Tighten the connection very well with a wrench or use Teflon tape to thoroughly seal the connection. Be sure to only use Teflon tape on a tapered or pipe thread (NPT) connection. It will fill in the gaps between the connection and prevent leakage.
If the leak is at the coupler connection -
Tighten the connection with a wrench until snug. If the check valve in the couple is damaged replace the coupler. In a pinch, you can use a neoprene washer in place of the check valve but you will run the risk of cycling beer back into your gas line.
If the leak is at another connection -
Tighten the connection with a wrench until snug.
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