A couple months ago the AHA (American Homebrewers Association - you should join if you're a homebrewer!) sent out an old article about a DIY keg and carboy washer. I recently came across an old sump pump in the shed at Casa del Nesto...
|Flotec 1/6 HP Submersible Pump|
...and decided it could serve a much better use than as a retired door stop.
My pump, a Flotec 1/6 HP Submersible Pump, was quite a bit taller (and more powerful - grunt, grunt!) than the one used in the AHA article, so I had to make some modifications. If you are making your own, I might suggest a smaller pump - 600GPH should be adequate, maybe a pond pump.
For my uses, I suppose I could have just bought larger buckets (75 liter/20 gallon would have worked) to accommodate the larger pump, but I wanted to keep it cheaper than just buying a fully assembled system from MoreBeer. Which works great if you don't have the DIY chops - use my affiliate link if you want to buy your own!
Here is what I put together, if you can do it with fewer adapters, I don't want to hear about it! I put it together with what I could find at MoreBeer and Home Depot (sorry all my international friends, all sizes in US Units). Since I had the pump, buckets, trash can, and several of the fittings already, I was able to put this together for about $40.
Materials (from the pump end moving up)
1/6 HP/1200GPH submersible pump
3/4" Female Garden Hose Thread to 3/4" FPT brass adapter
3/4" MPT to 3/4" slip PVC adapter
3/4″ PVC pipe (2" - buy a single 2 ft section and cut to size)
3/4″ cross fitting
3/4″ PVC pipe (3.5" X 2 - buy a single 2 ft section and cut to size)
Two 3/4″ caps
3/4″ to 1/2″ reducer
1/2″ pipe (buy a single 2 ft section and cut to size)
1/2" slip to 1/2" MPT adapter
Full pattern 1/2" FPT spray nozzle
Removable keg fitting cleaner:
3/4″ PVC T fitting
3/4″ PVC pipe (2" - buy a single 2 ft section and cut to size)
3/4″ PVC pipe (2.5" - buy a single 2 ft section and cut to size)
3/4″ slip to 3/4" FPT PVC threaded elbow
3/4" MPT to 3/4" Male Garden Hose Thread brass adapter
I cheated a bit since this was cheaper than buying the parts to hook up to a keg individually. Here is what it consists of:
3/4" Female Garden Hose Thread to 3/8" barb brass adapter
4 feet tubing - 3/8" ID and 5/8" OD
2 feet tubing - 1/4" ID and 1/2" OD
Beer and CO2 ball lock quick disconnects with barb fitting
plastic T adapter
6 worm clamps
To this MoreBeer Keg Rinser, I added a little extra feature with the following items...
Hose Cleaning Adapter
4 worm clamps
Two 5 gallon buckets - 1 orange and 1 white
50 gallon Rubbermaid Roughneck trash can (I think the square profile of this one is helpful)
Here is the basic setup:
|Nesto's Neato Keg and Carboy Cleaner|
There are some sections of this cleaner that you want to be able to add and remove, so don't go crazy and use PVC primer and cement on every fitting! You might be able to get away with no cement, but my pump is strong enough that it will blow off the caps if I did not ;) Don't ask me how I know that.
You should only use primer/cement in three assemblies after first making sure it all fits in your setup.
- Cement the 2" section of 3/4" PVC pipe that goes into the 3/4" MPT to 3/4" slip PVC adapter (the one that screws into the brass adapter that goes on the pump outlet). DO NOT cement the side of the 3/4" pipe that goes into the removable keg fitting - you want to take this in and out.
- Cement the pieces on the side of the 3/4″ PVC T fitting - the 2.5" section of 3/4" PVC pipe and the 3/4" elbow. Cement the 2" section of 3/4" PVC pipe going from the top of the T fitting. DO NOT cement the other side of this 2" section of 3/4" PVC pipe going into the cross fitting.
- Cement all joints on the two sides of the 3/4″ cross fitting and cement the 3/4″ to 1/2″ reducer to the cross fitting and the 1/2" PVC pipe that goes into the reducer. I chose not to cement the top side of the 1/2" PVC pipe that goes into the 1/2" slip to 1/2" MPT adapter because I want to be able to take that section on and off depending on what I'm cleaning.
The keg fitting is inserted above the pump and diverts cleaning solution to a pair of keg fittings. This is a very nice idea from the original design that ensures your dip tube and gas tube get nice and clean! To this fitting, I added this little section...
|Hose cleaning adapter|
It has a plastic ball valve, so that I can connect hoses and clean them at the same time as I'm doing my kegs. I still have to work various adapters to fit all my different size hoses, but it's a great little addition. When I use this, I simply feed the hose back down into the bucket.
You might be wondering what this T-section if for...
It is there as a support for the inverted keg to sit on while being cleaned. Here is where my pump size bit me a bit. As you can see in Matt's original design, his kegs can sit down in the bucket and rest nicely.
|Matt's Keg and Carboy Cleaner|
My kegs and carboys don't fit nicely inside the bucket...
|Carboy on the cleaning assembly - note that the keg fitting is not installed|
so I came up with this...
Using the Keg and Carboy Washer
Fill the orange bucket with about 5 liters (1.5 gallons) hot PBW solution, and the white bucket with 5 liters of water. It should be enough to immerse the pump inlet fully with a bit to spare. I always use colors on my buckets so I can easily keep track on what is in each - orange for PBW, green for Sanitizer, and white for water.
A 15-minute PBW wash. If washing a carboy, place the bucket, pump and assembly without the keg fitting into the trash can. Carefully place the carboy on the cleaning wand and get it balanced so it will drain into the bucket. Then plug your pump in and watch the magic... or go do something else! If washing a keg, insert the keg cleaning fitting, place the cleaning assembly into the trash can, attach the quick disconnects to the keg...
|Cleaning assembly quick disconnects|
... and place the keg over the cleaning wand and get it balanced so it will drain into the bucket. I find it most efficient to do all the PBW cleaning I need to do first, then move on to rinsing with water.
For a 1 minute water rinse. Remove the entire assembly from the orange bucket. Give a quick spray with water. Move the entire assembly into the water bucket and let 'er rip. You can also do a Sanitizer rinse for your kegs if you feel like it.