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How Kegerators Work

Different Types of Kegerators
If you don't want to go out and purchase a kegerator, you could buy a used refrigerator and convert it.
If you don't want to go out and purchase a kegerator, you could buy a used refrigerator and convert it.
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There are a few ways to get a kegerator for home use, depending how you plan to use it and how much you want to spend. If you need beer for a one-time event, you'll likely be able to rent one. If you're more interested in the year-round consumption of a fresh brew, you have two options: to buy one or build it yourself. Much like refrigerators, kegerators come in a variety of shapes and sizes. They can hold varying keg sizes, be modified for home brew or retail beer, and come with side- or top-mounted faucets.

If you are handy with tools, then building your own kegerator may be a good solution for you. Many retailers supplying premade kits for modifying an existing refrigerator, so building your own is more cost efficient if you already have an old refrigerator that isn't getting any use. If not, you may be able to purchase a used one that you can modify. The most important part of building your own is ensuring that the refrigerator has enough space to hold the size of keg you want in addition to the carbon dioxide canister and tubing.

When deciding whether to build your own, you'll also want to factor in the type of beer you'll be serving. Home brews are often stored in 5-gallon (19-liter) soda kegs (also called Cornelius kegs), whereas those from liquor stores tend to be larger [source: BYO, Kegworks]. The coupler that attaches to these kegs is different as well, with six variants in all. Your local liquor store should be able to supply you with the proper coupler once you tell them what type of beer you'll be dispensing. Most North American lagers use a "D" system, which is by far the most common of the six types. If home brewed beer is more your thing, then you'll probably be using the soda kegs, which generally require a special ball and pin type coupler [source: Micromatic].

With all these components involved in the beer storing and serving process, you may be wondering whether it comes along with any risks. In the next section, we'll look at how to properly maintain a kegerator as well as highlight some safety concerns that come along with using the system in a home.