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How Kegerators Work

Maintenance and Safety

Kegerator systems aren't dangerous in general, but because they use pressurized gas, they do have to be handled with care. As a general rule of thumb, all carbon dioxide canisters must be kept in the upright position once filled. Carbon dioxide is not shipped, so canisters must be filled locally. This can be done at many places, including paintball shops or welding stores.

Replacing the keg also consists of several important safety measures. First and foremost, the intake valve of the carbon dioxide canister must be closed before it can be disconnected. Once all pressure has been released, the keg can be taken out and replaced. Although major injury is unlikely, a room filled with a few pounds of carbon dioxide can make you sick and lightheaded. It's also important to remember that kegs can weigh up to 160 pounds (72 kilograms) when full, so you might want to have a friend around when you're replacing an empty one [source: Micromatic].

In order to have a truly great glass of beer every time, the kegerator requires regular maintenance. This means you need to clean the line leading from the keg to the faucet in addition to the faucet itself whenever you change out the keg. This is typically done with a special line cleaner to ensure the tubing is completely cleaned of all elements. Be sure not to use water that is very hot, because it could alter the shape of the beer lines and lead to faulty pouring. Once you're through cleaning and have fully rinsed the system with cold, clean water, it's also important to run a few glasses of beer through the system before drinking, just to ensure all lines have been flushed of the cleaning solution.

Proper maintenance leads not only to a better tasting beer, but to a longer lasting one, too. Cleaning the system helps keep out harmful bacteria, which would spoil the beer. Maintaining pressure and keeping the carbon dioxide system closed prohibits oxygen from entering, which could also ruin the beer.

Having your own kegerator doesn't require just work and upkeep, though -- it also comes with a price. Read on to find out how much a kegerator will cost and whether it might be worth it.