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Sources And Supply Of Co2 Cylinders:-

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MHB

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I have been following the threads on CO2 with interest; I own a home brew shop and am exposed to most of the questions and problems that people encounter. After looking at the various options I would like to offer some thoughts, this isnt an add, I just hope it helps some when you are deciding which option to take when your looking for gas.

Sources and supply of CO2 cylinders:-
There appear to be three reasonable ways to get CO2 bottles:-
1. Hire from BOC, Air Liquide, Lindy etc
2. Purchase a bottle, Air-Up, Mykegonlegs some others
3. Cheep Air Liquid, as is in the Victorian model.

There are also what I call micro bottles, Soda Stream and Bulbs. At over $10.00 for a Soda stream refill on the new Aluminium bottles you are paying around $30.00/Kg for your CO2. Bulbs are even more expensive. They both have the saving grace of being highly portable but remember you are paying a premium for the gas, I would only consider these as valid options when portability was the only criteria.
Please note that Soda Stream, when I approached them regarding using Soda Stream bottles for beer systems were vehement that there bottles were only to be used in Soda Stream appliances.

First however I would like to point out that Australia has among the most stringent Pressure Vessel laws in the world. These laws came about because there were several large boiler explosions on the gold fields in the 1880s, the resulting deaths and injuries inspired what were at the time some of the first Occupation, Health and Safety laws.

Australian pressure vessel laws grew out of the early boiler rules; you could reasonably argue that some of these laws are too strict. However they are in place to protect you, me and the public from stupid, ignorant or unprincipled supply of what is a dangerous good.

Pressure vessels have to be tested and certified at regular intervals, this is done by Hydro Static testing, the container is filled with water, the volume measured precisely with a manometer, a test pressure is applied, the volume is again measured. Any discrepancy between the two readings determines the elasticity of the vessel, if the vessel grows, i.e. doesnt spring back to its original volume, it fails the test.

One of the reasons fire extinguishers are of lighter construction than service bottles is that they arent expected to under go the repeated strain being pressurised and discharged very often, the stretching and contraction of the container over time work hardens the vessel, reducing its elasticity, and it will eventually fail, catastrophically.

The cheep Air Liquide bottles are widely available if you can get your hands on one, they are the cheapest, safe legal way to get gas. The old steel bottles are not up to the standards for workplace OH&S, as they generally lack safety shields and some for being too heavy. These bottles have been written off and as they go through the testing cycle, fewer and fewer of them are available. From my personal experience there are hundreds of these in circulation. Given the chance, grab one, you wont have it forever but its a great option while it lasts.

You are probably all familiar with the hire options, a lot of people dont have an issue with spending $120-140 a year to have a safe reliable supply of CO2 as this comes down to what 35-40c/day. I hire O2, Argon and CO2. I to wish my bills were lower, but not enough to engage in dangerous work practices.

Buying a bottle; Air-Up and Mykegonlegs are the two mostly talked about options, the retail price of all the bottles on offer is close to $300.00 with both you only pay for the gas you use on a $/Kg basis. I have elected to stock both ranges and all are selling well. For me the deciding factor would be how portable you want your system to be, if it is totally static, the biggest bottle is probably more useful, if you want mobility, go for the smaller bottle. Apart from the gas included in the initial fill and built into the price, the ongoing costs are identical.

You will have gathered from the above that I am not impressed with people trying to circumvent the laws pertaining to pressure vessels. At around $300 for a bottle and 10 years before it even needs testing, $30.00 a year isnt too much to spend on a gas bottle.

Try thinking of it as life insurance.

Good Brewing
MHB
 

Ross

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MHB said:
Buying a bottle; Air-Up and Mykegonlegs are the two mostly talked about options, the retail price of all the bottles on offer is close to $300.00 with both you only pay for the gas you use on a $/Kg basis. I have elected to stock both ranges and all are selling well. For me the deciding factor would be how portable you want your system to be, if it is totally static, the biggest bottle is probably more useful, if you want mobility, go for the smaller bottle. Apart from the gas included in the initial fill and built into the price, the ongoing costs are identical.

MHB
[post="86972"][/post]​
Mark,

What are the costs of filling up these 2 different size bottles? In the past, figures given have been very similar for both bottles, making the small air-up bottle very expensive to refill. I would have thought the larger bottle would make far more sense, with a soda stream bottle for true portability..

cheers Ross
 

MAH

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MHB said:
I own a home brew shop and am exposed to most of the questions and problems that people encounter. After looking at the various options I would like to offer some thoughts, this isnt an add, I just hope it helps some when you are deciding which option to take when your looking for gas.
Well it does come across as an add, simply because you discredit so many options, and at the end mention that you stock personal CO2 bottles. To some this might sound like you're deliberately discrediting some options to make your stock sound better.

MHB said:
One of the reasons fire extinguishers are of lighter construction than service bottles is that they arent expected to under go the repeated strain being pressurised and discharged very often, the stretching and contraction of the container over time work hardens the vessel, reducing its elasticity, and it will eventually fail, catastrophically.
This is stretching things a bit far. I have owned a converted fire extinguisher and it will get empty maybe once every 12-18 months. This is hardly "very often". I remember when I was working for the Queen Elisabeth Hospital, every couple of months they would run fire safety training for new staff. This included learning how to use the various types of fire extinguishers. They would discharge half a dozen CO2 fire extinguishers each time and then have to get them refilled, a lot more regular than my home brew set-up. Now the course was run by an ex-fire fighter, so I feel confident he knew what he was doing.

Also when I got my converted fire extinguisher, I bought it from a fire extinguisher supplier. I told them exactly what I intended to use it for and what modifications I needed to make. They had no problems with what I intended to do and said when ever it was empty they were happy to refill it. If the guys who sell and refill the cylinder know what I'm doing and are OK with it, then that's good enough for me!

MHB said:
You will have gathered from the above that I am not impressed with people trying to circumvent the laws pertaining to pressure vessels.
What law? The hire from BOC is legal, the buy your own is legal, soda stream bottles are legal, fire extinguishers are legal! What law are people circumventing by owning a fire extinguisher? None. So you're saying that discharging a fire extinguisher in one quick burst is some how legal but doing it slowly over time is illegal. Up and till this point I thought you had presented a well balanced posting.

MHB said:
At around $300 for a bottle and 10 years before it even needs testing, $30.00 a year isnt too much to spend on a gas bottle.
And this is the reason why I chose to get one recently, but I still don't have any problem with fire extinguisher conversions.

Cheers
MAH
 

MHB

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MAH, To take your points 1 at a time
1/
All my locals know what I stock, people are hardly going to travel any distance to buy a CO2 cylinder from me, it is something you would want to source locally I would think. I was only making the point that I have some experience with the type of questions people are asking.

2/
I agree, the laws in some cases make no sense, there are however different rules for service bottles and fire extinguishers, and different categories with in each group, you may find that the ex-fire fighter was using modern aluminium service grade bottles designed for repeated discharge, rather than the thin walled rusty old steel bottles that had their test date expire some time in the 70s. I have people drag these in and suggest that with a coat of paint they will be fine and that I should have no problem filling them up, wrong.
If however you have a local filler who is willing to fill your bottle, its your choice. I dont need the grief that I would get from Workcover and cant afford the fines.

3/
Legal?
If you make any modifications to an approved pressure vessel, it must be recertified. Workcover or the equivalent in your state should be able to provide you with the required forms.
Yes its legal to connect a hired or purchased service bottle to an approved safety device (reg) and use the contents; it is also legal to use a fire extinguisher to fight fires.
Soda stream bottles, no you dont own them, read the User Licence Certificate attached to the bottle, you agreed to lease the bottle for a period of not more than 5 years and to only use it in a soda stream device, you have a contract with them.
I am in business and am governed more strictly by regulations than you are, if I suggest committing an unlawful act, I am open to prosecution.

4/
Glad you chose to purchase a safe certified CO2 bottle.

MHB
 

MAH

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MHB said:
rather than the thin walled rusty old steel bottles that had their test date expire some time in the 70s
I personally don't know anyone using one of these. My fire extinguisher was tested and stamped. The only modification was removing the diptube, which would make no difference to it's ability to hold pressure.

Cheers
MAH
 

Ross

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Any chance of answering my question MHB? :)
 

MAH

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Hi Ross

Rang the listed Kegonlengs filler for Adelaide just the other day. They quoted $50 for the 6.8kg bottle. Not 100% sure, but that sounds a little high for me, so I'll see if there is anyone cheaper.

No idea about other states and the Airliquide prices.

Cheers
MAH
 

Hillbilly

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I too are an owner of a converted C02 fire extinguisher. It has been inspected and pressure tested by a certified pressure testing company, they also replaced the trigger/dip tube assembly with a normal C02 cylinder shut off valve. I understand that pressure vessels can be a ticking time bombs when not used or checked in accordance with 'our' Australian standards. But if done correctly I just can't see the problem with converting on of these cylinders. I wonder how many times we walk past out of date extinguishers a day with out thinking about it, or at a friends BBQ without knowing how old his gas cylinder is even when it's sitting next to an open flame. I have to agree with MAH on this one but can understand MHB's concern regarding anyone trying to convert a vessel them selfs, trust me leave it to the professionals and if we can't trust them who can we trust?
Hillbilly :beer:
 

jayse

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This vessel here I bet MHB wouldn't venture into the same state as!

Personally I can quite easily see both sides of the arguement for what they are. In reality I think MAH hit the nail on the head with the fact were not all as dodgey as all that. I don't think anyone is using a old fireputthehellout thingomajig from the seventies but if they are i can quite easily see why MHB wouldn't want to go near it. hands up anyone using something like that :eek:
If someone who fills pressure vessels with gasses for a living is willing to fill it with co2 it must be ok. I do believe anyone in such a trade wouldn't go near something they thought was slightly faulty so in that respect bottles from the seventies are really a non issue simply because no ones stupid enough to fill them up in the first place.



fool in the rain
Jayse

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