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Frozen tap lines


Travis Berg • De Pere, Wisconsin asks,

My kegerator is in my insulated, but unheated garage, which is convenient since I love to be outside. I live in Wisconsin. Are there any ways to keep my taps and attached beverage lines from freezing during the winter?



The problem here is pretty obvious. You have your kegerator located
in your insulated, but chilly garage and during the nasty winters you
have in sunny Wisconsin the temperature dips below freezing. And from
what I have noticed about winter weather patterns in Wisconsin, you may
have sustained freezing temperatures that bring the average temperature
of your garage below freezing, meaning that the inside of your
kegerator will also dip below freezing. This is clearly a problem, not
just for the beer lines, but for the keg itself.

This situation is not unique to kegerators and people who have
refrigerators in their garages run into similar challenges. The short
answer to the question is that you need to put a heater in your
kegerator to prevent freezing in the winter. Perhaps not the greenest
suggestion to make in the environmentally sensitive world we live in,
but a viable option. In fact, this probably uses less energy than
simply moving your kegerator indoors since the difference in
temperature between the ambient Wisconsin winter and the desired
temperature of the kegerator is probably less in the garage than it
would be if the kegerator were inside your home. The heater can be as
simple as a light bulb or heat lamp controlled by a thermostat in the
kegerator set to a temperature greater than the freezing point
of your beer. Most beer freezes somewhere around 28 °F (-2 °C).

This may keep the beer in the keg from freezing, but your beer lines
going to the tap still may freeze. The easiest way to solve this
problem is to drain the beer from the draft line after use. If you
drink beer from your keg on a regular basis this could become a pain in
the neck and also lead to considerable beer waste. If your heater puts
out enough heat you may be able to insulate the beer tower, but I
wouldn’t hold out too much hope since the beer tap itself is a big
heat-sink and will probably freeze if it is exposed to the cold.
Another option is to use a cobra head tap like those used at keg
parties so that the keg, draft line and tap are all contained in the
kegerator. Although you lose the convenience and style of a tap tower,
you do have a system that is entirely contained in your heated

Response by Ashton Lewis.