Kegerator Leaking Water or Condensing? 5 Fixes To Try
Keeping mold out of your basement bar is enough work on its own. You don’t want your beer cooler working against you by dripping and filling with puddles. What can you do when your kegerator is leaking water or forming condensation? Fortunately, lots of beer lovers have grappled with this problem before. We’ve rounded up 5 simple ways you can fix it.
The first thing to do is reduce the amount of warm air getting in from the outside. That means fixing any leaks in your gaskets, both the one around the door and the one at the base of your draft tower. You can also add some insulation to the tower to stop it from sweating. For good measure, place a fan and a dehumidifier inside the fridge chamber to dry it out.
Once you’ve got your tools together, you should be able to curb your kegerator’s leakage with a few hours of work at most. Let’s talk about how!
5 Ways to Avoid Puddles in Your Kegerator
#1: Tighten the Door Seal
Condensation happens when warm air meets a cold surface. In theory, there shouldn’t be warm air inside your kegerator except for right after you’ve opened it. That’s assuming that the rubber gasket inside the door is still forming a tight seal, though. If it’s falling down on the job, air from the outside can leak in and form droplets on the cold metal.
Take a close look at the gasket (the rubber strip around the inside of the door) to look for holes and tears. One handy trick is to switch on a flashlight and close it inside the kegerator, then turn off all the lights in the room. If you see light peeking out, you’ve spotted a gap.
You can often plug small holes near the corners with some weather stripping. Grip the end of the gasket and peel it back until you reach the spot where there’s a hole. Lay some small bits of weather stripping next to the track where the rubber sits, then push the gasket back in place.
You might also want to smear the whole length of the gasket with some petroleum jelly. This should sink into any tiny pinholes and plug them up.
If the seal is falling apart, peeling away, or too torn up to patch, it’s time for a replacement. Pull the gasket out. If necessary, you can loosen up the screws holding the assembly in place. Warm the new gasket up a bit to loosen up the rubber, then push its lip into the new channel all the way around the door. Add a little bit of petroleum jelly to reinforce the seal.
#2: Fix the Draft Tower Gasket
Does your kegerator have a metal tube at the top that pulls up the beer before dispensing? This is called the beer tower or draft tower, and it’s a common site for air leaks. This won’t just allow water droplets to form inside and trickle down. It can also cause your beer to get warm and foamy while you’re waiting to dispense it.
As with your device’s door, the solution here is a rubber gasket. This will be in the shape of a flat rubber ring that sits around the base of the tower. Check the one you have in place for obvious leaks or gaps.
The gasket typically sits below a metal ring at the bottom of the tower. There may also be a metal or plastic guide ring inside the ceiling of the fridge. Unscrew and remove both of these pieces.
Now you should be able to slide the gasket up and over the top, and put the new one in place. (You might also have to take the taps off to get the rubber rings past them.) Add a little petroleum jelly to enhance the seal, then screw everything back in.
#3: Insulate the Draft Tower
So far we’ve been talking about fixes for condensation inside your kegerator. But some brewers and beer enthusiasts find that the beer tower can also “sweat” on the outside. This can lead to water puddling on top of the machine, or sometimes running down the front, back, or sides.
Most kegerator designs try to keep the tower as close as possible to the temperature inside the fridge so that the beer comes out cold. This can cause vapor from the air to cool and condense on the outside. If this bothers you, try adding some insulation to the tower.
There are two ways to do this. The simplest is to place some insulating material around the outside. Closed-cell pipe insulation works well, or you could get a purpose-built neoprene wrap.
You can also add some insulation to the inside of the tower, which takes a little more finesse. You’ll usually want to leave some room inside for cold air to circulate up from the fridge. The alternative is to enclose the tap lines in a length of copper tubing that extends down into the fridge. You can surround this with some spray or solid foam insulation.
#4: Add a Dehumidifier
Even if your kegerator is sealed tight, you’ll still let warm air in every time you open it. The only way to completely avoid condensation is to put something inside to soak up the water vapor.
The preferred choice for many homebrew fans is the Eva-Dry E-500. This is a small portable device filled with beads of silica gel that absorb humidity from the air. Once they’re saturated, you can take the device out and plug it into an outlet. It will heat up and remove the stored moisture over the course of a few hours, and then you can pop it back in your cooler.
You can also buy absorbent crystals without the dehumidifier device. This is cheaper up front, but you’ll have to replace the stuff as it gets saturated. You’ll get more long-term value out of the Eva-Dry.
#5: Create Some Air Circulation
Getting the air moving inside your beer cooler can help to dry off the inner surfaces before the water can pool. As a bonus, this will also push cool air up into the draft tower and help stop your beer from getting warm in the lines.
This doesn’t take a particularly beefy fan. Many homebrew supply stores sell inexpensive fan kits that include some tubing to blow the air right into your beer tower. If you know enough about electronics to solder a couple of wires, you can also make your own. You’ll need a 12-volt muffin fan and an old cell phone charger.
Place this inside the base of your kegerator and run the power cord for the fan out through the drain hole. Attach a length of flexible hose to the top of the fan and snake it up into the draft tower. Now your lines will stay colder and your kegerator will stay drier.
Condensation and dripping water form inside your kegerator when the outside world gets in. Tighten up the seals on your device to reduce the intrusion of warm air. This should cut down on the problem quite a bit. Adding airflow and drying agents inside will also go a long way to keeping your kegerator dry.
Thanks for checking out our article! We hope this helps you stop your homebrew setup from turning into a splash zone. Take a look at the related articles to learn more about maintaining beer equipment, freezers, and other handy home appliances.