Newbie on CO2 bottles refills: how does it work?

fablau

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Hello here.

Despite I work with aquariums since 1986, I am new with CO2 systems and I am trying to understand how they work before to decide what to buy... so, I have a VERY basic question (don't laugh please): where and how will I refill the CO2 bottle once it is depleted? I guess I will not trow it away to buy a new one!

Any information is very welcome... I am a very newbie in co2! :)

Thank you.

Best,
Fabrizio
 

VaughnH

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CO2 is used for several things, fire extinguishers, welding and beer dispensing, for example. So, most cities have businesses set up to refill CO2 tanks/extinguishers for those users. In my city, there is a fire extinguisher service company that refills the tanks while you wait (about 5 minutes). CO2 is stored by those companies as a liquid in a big tank. They take your tank, dump out the remaining gas, check the date on the tank to see if it needs to be proof tested, and connect it to their refill system, which adds liquid CO2, by weight, to the tank. You then have a very cold tank, filled with the weight of CO2 it is designed for - 5 pounds, in my case. The charge was about $17 the last time I filled it.

Other places will refill the tank, but want you to leave it for a couple of days. I am pretty sure they just truck those empties to the same place I now use, get all of them refilled, tack on their "service charge" and you pay extra for that "service". Smaller cities might not have any other type of CO2 service available.
 

fablau

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Thank you very much VaughnH for your reply and information, I really didn't know that. I will check out in my city (Laguna Niguel, Orange County) if there is some place that refill CO2 tanks. I was wondering: places such as Home Depot or Lowes don't do such a service? Just wondering...

Thank you again.

Best,
Fab.
 

jeremy v

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Apr 17, 2008
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Fablau,

Before you buy a CO2 tank, try to decide where you will be getting your CO2 from. Many places don't actually refill the tank that you bring in and then give it back to you, but instead just take your empty tank and give you a different tank that has already been refilled and then they just charge you for the CO2. It is more convenient that way, because then you get the new filled tank right away and don't have to wait or come back and pick it up later, but the drawback is that with that type of setup you don't get to have a nice shiny tank of your very own. If you are willing to exchange your tank for a refilled one, there will most likely be a lot more places that you can go to get your CO2. Not a lot of places actually refill tanks. Most of them only exchange tanks, and the refilled ones are delivered to them from somewhere else.

I just thought I would mention it so that you don't buy a nice new tank and then find out that the only convenient CO2 supplier near you only does tank exchanges for used tanks, haha.

Have a good one, Jeremy

P.S.- Just a warning, some places will only exchange their own empty tanks for new ones. That is their way of trying to keep some level of quality control on the incoming empty tanks so they aren't just brought junky tanks from anywhere to be exchanged. It is at least something to ask about, because you might need to initially buy your tank from your supplier in order for you to be able to do the tank exchange with them. This stuff most likely isn't going to be an issue with a beverage industry or fire extinguisher company, but it is quite common with welding gas suppliers.
 

fablau

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Thank you Jeremy, I will consider your advice, actually for me it's not a problem to exchange tanks, I need just to find where I could exchange them first nearby...

Thank you again.

Best,
Fabrizio
 

ccLansman

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I called a local paintball shop, they charged me $15 flat for a 5lbs refil, they seem to be the cheapest in my area. Airgas wanted $25 + tax. I live in vista ca,
 

fablau

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Hei guys, I called my nearest paintball shop and actually they would refill my tank, the only problem is that 5lb tanks need an adapter for them to refill (that's what they said) and I don't know where to find it... any idea? ccLansman, do you have such an adapter?

Any help is very, very welcome!

Best,
Fab.