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Build a corny kegwasher for $80

Do you have a lot of kegs?

Keg being cleaned on a 20min PBW wash cycle.

Do you hate spending hours washing them by hand? 

Then build a kegwasher and automate the dirty side of brewing.  I personally was sick of letting dirty kegs stack up and then spending a day washing them by hand.  My back hurt and I hated brewing (at that moment).  By chance I managed to hit the QUAFF monthly meeting about “Brewing Gadgets”.  Joe Klink brought in his kegwasher and as soon as I saw it I knew I had to build one.  For $80 I was able to purchase what I needed at Home Depot (I already had spare gas/liquid QD’s laying around) and within an hour the washer was functional.

Tools you’ll need:
Hacksaw (or chopsaw)
Hand Drill (or drill press)
PVC cement
Utility Knife

To buy:
Sump pump
CPVC, per your needs + connects/angles/cross
Utility Bucket w/ lid

How To:

Home Depot small sump pump.

 

The first thing you have to do is determine which sump pump you want.  You don’t need a huge one capable of emptying a swimming pool.  I believe I bought the smallest one HD sold.  When looking at it you’ll want to make sure it has a float switch (I’ll explain later) and see where the exit port is.  On this model it’s a side exit port.  Thus the piping needs to be brought up to center if it’s going to fit into a utility bucket and you want your corny centered on the lid while washing..

 

 

 

Installing the piping for the washer.

 

 

This image shows 2 45* joints to bring the riser to the center of the pump, as well as a cross fitting.  In order to attach these, you need sections of CPVC cut down to fit the joints flush.  The size of the actual fittings is what tends to make this larger than probably necessary but there’s not much you can really do about it. The top fitting is actually threaded.  I chose to do this so I could attach different sized cleaning risers to fit both 3 and 5 gallon cornies as well as carboys.  If you only intend to use this for one sized corny, you can probably cement in one cleaning riser.        

 

 

Sump in a bucket

 

The problem here is the riser is too tall due to the size of the 45* fittings and the cross piece. On top is a threaded fitting so I can swap out different heights of riser depending if I want to clean a 3 ro 5 gallon keg or a carboy. To fix this, I used a 2nd utility bucket and cut it in half about 1/2 the way up, then ‘stacked’ the buckets together to give extra height so the lid will sit flat and be a sturdy surface for the keg.  You can also see the fittings added for the tubing.  You have to cement in another threaded piece into the cross in order for the fittings to thread into the cross.

 

 

 

Completed Washer.

 

Here is the completed washer.  Tubing was added, lid was cut and the riser had a threaded fitting cemented to the bottom.  Using my drill press I drilled 5 1/4″ holes in the top, 1 going straight up, and the other 4 at angles upward.  I also drilled out the riser in a spiral to help clean the sides. In this picture, the lid isn’t cut open enough.  This causes too much of the falling water to splash out of the bucket.  The plastic is pretty tough so be careful cutting it with your utility knife.  I’ve since expanded the hole in order to recapture more PBW solution. Another note: there are 2 wires leading from the sump, 1 to the wall, the other to the float switch.  To make sure the lid would seal, I notched out a 1″x2″ area in the top side of the bucket so the wires wouldn’t interfere with the lid.    

 

 

Procedure:
1. Purge keg, open lid
2.
Use hose to blast out crud
3.
Attach QD’s and place keg on washer
4.
Lift float switch (as seen in 1st photo) so pump engages
5.
Let cycle go for 20 or so minutes
6.
Remove and rinse with cold water
7.
Turn upside down to drip dry
8.
Sanitize and use 

 

 

 

 

Note: Star San cannot be used with this washer as it’ll foam too much.  I also toss the lid in the washer bucket to be in hot PBW during cleaning.  PBW will hit 90F+ after awhile as the waste heat heats the water.  

Note 2: I would not use this in a commercial setting as these pumps were not designed to operate in a high temp environment

Categories : DIY

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2 Responses to “Build a corny kegwasher for $80”

  1. Pardon the layout, learning as I go. -EW

  2. You want to rinse with warm water. The company that produces PBW says you need to rinse with water that is at least as warm as the PBW solution.

    Also, you need to rinse out the posts/dip tubes, otherwise you will leave behind residual PBW. I do this with a second washer with hot water in it. Although you could fill up a clean keg with hot water and use a jumper hose to pump the water through the posts of each keg after cleaning.

    Rather than using a string to hold up the float I have a hole in my top lid where it hangs out of. Then I just push it in the opening so it activates the pump.


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