Monday, June 14, 2010

Tap Handle #2

Today I added the second tap handle in preparation for the Bottled Blonde and realized the first tap handle was unusually cold. I quickly realized this was caused by the shank acting as a heat sink and bringing the cold outside of the refrigerator and wasting energy. This is a problem since one of the major benefits of using a chest freezer for a kegerator is that it is more energy efficient. I had a couple of theories on how to fix this:
  1. Fully insulate the shank so that the cold does not pass through to the outside. The only problem I see with this is that the 6-8 inches of beer in the tap handle will not be as cold causing the beer to foam more and may taste poorly.
  2. Insulate the first part of the shank against the wall leaving the last couple of inches exposed to the cold. Thus increasing the thermal resistance between the outside but not fully insulating it. This would effectively cool the shank but not let as much escape to the outside.
  3. Screw it and believe that the amount of energy is small enough for me to count as negligible.
Since it didn't really cost that much to insulate the shanks I decided to try that. I went to Lowe's and bought a 1" water pipe insulation sleeve and ran it around the threaded shanks (Right). Within an hour I could feel the difference in the temperature of the tap handles. The insulation was definitely working. I wrapped the them in electrical tape so that moisture would not enter the porous insulation and have a mold problem. Though I believe it would be minimal since it is constantly cold, I decided to do it since it electrical tape is cheap and I had some lying around. When I hook up the kegs tomorrow I will find out if I need to cut some off and expose part of the shank or just take them off completely . Ultimately the beer is going to decide the thermal efficiency of this kegerator.

2 comments:

  1. one of the major benefits of using a chest freezer for a kegerator is that it is more energy efficient.

    More energy efficient than what?

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  2. Chest freezers are more energy efficient than a standard refrigerator because it is better insulated and opens from the top instead of the front letting all the cold air drop out when opened.

    ReplyDelete