If you own a bar, you likely have a glycol system. It's the system that allows your beer to travel from your keg room to your taps without getting warm. The only bars that don't have glycol systems are typically the ones where the beer is stored in a cooler directly below the taps.
If you have a glycol system, you need to monitor it for issues so that you never have to choose between shutting down your taps and offering your punters warm beer. Here are the signs of trouble you need to keep an eye on:
1. Warm Beer
Warm beer is the biggest sign that something is amiss with your glycol system. If you pull the taps one day and the beer comes out warm, go to your cooler immediately. If it's cold, there is an issue with your glycol system, and you need to contact a professional immediately. However, if the cooler is warm, the issue may be with the refrigeration of that space rather than your glycol system.
Hopefully, warm beer should be one of the last signs of trouble you notice because once the issue has reached that level, it's pretty serious. Make sure that you keep an eye on the other components making up your glycol system. In particular, your system relies on a compressor, a motor and a pump. Together, these items work together to move the glycol through the system.
Every morning when opening the pub, check on these items. If you hear them whirring away, they are likely fine, but the sound of silence heralds an issue.
3. Warm or Watery Glycol
In addition to the components that move the glycol through your system, you also have to monitor the glycol itself. When you have a technician out to install or maintain the system, have them show you how to find and check the glycol reservoir.
Ideally, you should check the substance daily to ensure that the temperature is at the desired level. Additionally, you want to make sure that the system is not harbouring water. In most cases, glycol is stored at temps that would freeze water. As a result, if there is water in your system, you will see ice crystals in the glycol. Contact a professional as soon as you see ice. If water penetrates the entire system, it may freeze in the reservoir or in the pipes, and the expansion can cause everything to break.