Condensation on outside of fermenter
Been noticing an unusual amount of condensation on the outside of one of our fermenters and the outside is cold even though the tank is insulated & clad. Does anyone have any suggestions about what this might be from besides the horrific possibility of our glycol jacket leaking under the cladding?
I have noticed condensation on FV's a few times in my years in breweries. It has typically been after the tank has been crashed for quite a while. If your really worried about a leak, first is the obvious checking your glycol level. Second thing i would do if you are really concerned about a leak is drain the jacket and pressurize @ maybe 10-15PSI, check the specs on your tank, and leave overnight to see if the pressure holds. If you loose pressure, you need some further investigation.
If your jacket is leaking, glycol should be coming out of the weep holes at the bottom of your cladding, like around the legs and such. My guess is that the tank is very cold and you are having humid weather with extra moisture in the air to condense. As with any insulation, it does not prevent heat transfer, it just slows it down depending on it's R factor. I would not worry a bit. Perhaps your tank manufacturer didn't think anyone would know how little insulation they put in. Just assume your fermenter is wearing a light sweater instead of a down jacket.
Not to freak you out, David.............
............but one of your tanks has already been repaired for a damaged jacket when it was at Flying Pig in Everett, WA. The leak was very noticable and ran glycol out to the floor, so if you haven't seen any glycol about, then you should be OK.
The problem at that time was that the Glacier Peak folks (who previously owned the business that became the Flying Pig) installed their glycol chiller up on the roof of the building. The Brewery was in the basement. Since the building had huge ceilings, there was a significant head pressure built up in the jackets that came close to exceeding the rated jacket pressure.
I knew the person who repaired the jacket pretty well..............a damn good welder. As I recall, that repair should be identifiable on the tank. I wonder if that's where the insualtion was removed and replaced?
We burst a jacket in one of our POS Hecker tanks and a buddy of mine and I repaired it. The hardest part is finding the darned leak. It's kind of like hide and seek in the dark. We were lucky to stumble across it in the quadrant we were removing the cladding on. The cause was a very poorly welded dimple jacket. All the welds in our tanks looked like crap...........we bought the system used for our B2 facility and they came with it. They hold beer, but look reeeeeaaaaal hokey next to our sweet GW Kent 40's.
The welds in your tanks are much better. I've forgotten who made yours............a Canadian company...........Newlands? I've forgotten. Killed those bufallo a long time ago.
Good luck over there..........
It may be something as simple as summer is closing in, ambient temps are higher and the humidity is higher. Those of us in the "Little Latitudes" understand.
Sometimes a cigar... is just a cigar.
Saint Somewhere Brewing
Hey guys - Thanks for the responses. I think I overreacted cause we had some trouble crashing that fermenter but now it seems to be doing fine. I'm perfectly willing to chalk it up to humidity or some brewery gremlins that have been running around and tripping our circuits, burning out our heating elements and otherwise running amuck in our brewery. Also, no drop in our glycol reservoir so I guess we''re OK.
Brian - great to hear from you again. You're right about the system being Newlands and overall still very happy with it. So when are making your way out here for a visit? Taste some of the beers we brew in that welded fermenter