So you have a leaky keg?
Before bringing the keg to your local homebrew shop in a panic, lets go over some quick and easy ways to fix a keg leak.
First things first, we need to identify where the keg is leaking. Make sure your lid is properly placed on the top of your keg. Purge your keg with enough CO2 to hold the lid on securely. Spray the top of the keg and post with soapy water. If you see bubbling, you have identified the problem. Fixing a leaky keg is easy and inexpensive. With a few adjustments and sometimes new gaskets your keg will work as good as new. The faster we find the leak the faster you drink homebrew!
The Most Common Places to Find a Keg Leak and How to Fix it
#1 Lid Seal - This o-ring or gasket is the black ring around the lid of your keg. Relieve all the pressure in your keg from your relief valve(this is located in the center of your lid). Open and remove the lid from the inside of your keg. Remove the old o–ring and replace it with a new one. Although not necessary, you can put keg lube around your o-rings to help them seal better. Place lid back on the keg. Make sure to always check your keg for leaks after every fix. You can do this by spraying down the keg with soapy water as stated in the paragraph above. If you have no more bubbles your keg is ready to use.
#2 Pressure Relief Valve - This valve is located in the middle of the lid. Make sure to relieve all of the pressure in your keg first. Then you can unscrew the relief valve and remove it. Although not necessary, you can put keg lube on the new relief valve. Place the new valve in the lid. Screw the valve on tight and test to see if holding pressure.
#3 Post Poppets - Sometimes poppets can be an easy fix by just adjusting them inside the post. You can do so by pressing the poppet down in the middle. Make sure you have relieved all the pressure in your keg or you might end up with a face full of beer. It would be okay if it shot right in your mouth but I will promise you(from experience) that NEVER happens. If that doesn’t fix your problem then you probably need a new poppet. To change a poppet you will need a deep socket wrench. There are two sizes of posts. Depending on what size you have you will either need a 7/8” or 11/16” deep well socket. Take the post off with the socket wrench and the poppet should come right out. You may have to use a screwdriver to press the poppet out if the poppet is stuck in the post. Remove the old poppet and replace with a new one. Put the post back on the keg and tighten down with the wrench. Test the keg to make sure the poppet is fixed before use.
#4 Dip Tube - If your keg is leaking around the bottom of your post then you probably need a new dip tube o-ring. To change the o-ring you will need to take off the post. You need a deep socket wrench to get this off(relieve all CO2 in the keg first). After you take the post off there will be a little hole where the post once was. That piece actually comes out of the keg. If you are having trouble pulling the dip tube out you can stick your hand inside the keg and push the tube out. Beware if you have beer already in the keg. You want to make sure everything is sanitized that comes in contact with your beer. When the dip tube is all the way out of the keg you will see a little o-ring at the top.
To change, take the o-ring off and replace it with a new one. Although not necessary, you can add keg lube to the new o-ring. Insert the dip tube back into the keg and attach the post tightly with your socket wrench. Now you can test your keg to make sure it is holding pressure.
#5 Post O-Ring - If your keg starts leaking when you attach your disconnects, it’s time to change the post o-rings. You can find the o-rings at the top of the post. Simply take off the old o-rings and put on the new ones. I found that putting keg lube on the o-ring helps to eliminate stubborn disconnects from sticking on to the post. It also helps get the disconnects on.
With these 5 easy fixes your keg should be up and ready to pour beer.