Don’t wait until your keg cooler breaks down to realize that you are not properly maintaining this expensive equipment. Like everything in your commercial kitchen, well-maintained equipment will outlast those that have been neglected, saving you money in the long and short run. The kegerator is an important part of any commercial bar or restaurant where draft beer is served, so regular maintenance and cleaning are essential to avoid major issues. Below are some essential maintenance and cleaning tips to keep your keg cooler always running like new.
Purging Kegerator Beer Lines
To prevent beer from backing up into the hose and regulator, purge the CO2 line before tapping a new barrel. To do this, quickly open and close the regulator outlet valve to allow a surge of gas to travel through the line and tap.
It is recommended that you perform this action on your draft system every 2 weeks. You can also choose to purge your lines every time you change out your keg. It is up to you, but choosing one of these is highly recommended to avoid buildup.
It is also recommended to not only purge, but clean the beer line by running a beer line cleaner through your lines every 3 months.
Keg Cooler Cleaning Kits
In order to clean your draft beer lines, you will need a kegerator cleaning kit. There are several different types of beer line cleaning kits available:
- Hand-Pump Cleaning Kit: user pumps cleaning solution through the line by hand after disconnecting the keg. Hand pumped cleaning is cost-effective but best used for shorter lines under 20′ long and takes more time and manpower.
- Pressurized Cleaning Kit: a CO2 canister pumps cleaning solution through the line after disconnecting the keg. This option is more expensive but much easier than hand-pump kits, but is still best for lines under 20′ long.
- Re-circulating Cleaning Pump: pumps cleaning solution through the line automatically using a motor. This is the best option for beer lines over 20′ long.
Cleaning the Bar System
Clean your beer dispenser every 2 weeks using cleaners provided by your beer provider and follow their cleaning instructions. A poorly cleaned bar system can lead to a less satisfying draft taste and look.
Cleaning the Condenser Coil
Since condensers accumulate dirt, they need to be cleaned every 30 days or your warranty will become void. Use a soft brush or vacuum the condenser with a Shop-Vac or pressurized air to remove dirt, grease, and lint. To avoid injury eye protection is recommended.
Preventing Rust on Stainless Steel Units
Never use abrasive pads, hydrochloric acid, or chlorinated cleaners to clean stainless steel components. Many manufacturers recommend that you use soap, ammonia, or any good commercial detergent to remove grease, oil, and routine cleaning. Clean along polish lines using a plastic scouring pad or soft cloth. Always rinse and allow to air dry so that oxygen maintains the passivity film.
Cleaning the Door Gaskets
Ensure proper sealing when you close the Keg Coolers door to prevent spoiling. Wipe door gaskets daily and remove any debris or spills.
Cleaning the Beer Faucet
This should be done weekly. Remove the faucet from the shank and clean it with hot water, detergent, and a faucet brush. Rinse and reinstall. This action requires a faucet wrench (also called a spanner wrench).
Keeping the CO2 pressure at the right level is essential for your draft beer system. Having both too much and too little pressure will cause your beer to be poured with excessive foam. A little foam is part of the experience, but nobody wants half their glass taken up by it. Storing your CO2 tank upright is the most important factor in maintaining proper pressure. For most ales and lagers, CO2 tanks should be dispensed at around 10-12 PSI.
When is it time to replace your kegerator?
If your kegerator has passed its warranty period and is having consistent problems, it may be time to think about replacing it. The length of time a draft tower can last depends on many factors, including the model itself and how it has been maintained. They can last 10+ years with the proper maintenance and care, just like any other commercial cooler.
Signs that your keg cooler has reached the end of its life:
- Your beer isn’t as cold as it should be
- The compressor is much louder than normal
- Your kegs aren’t staying fresh as long
If it’s time to replace your kegerator, Burkett has you covered! Our selection of kegerators is sure to have exactly what you need to serve fresh draft beer.