From movie theaters to convenience stores to fancy restaurants, beverage-grade carbon dioxide makes fizzy drinks possible. If you’ve ever accidentally received flat Coca-Cola, then you know just how important C02 is for pressurized beer and soda systems. You never want a customer to pay for a cool, refreshing beverage, only to receive undrinkable syrup.
Sure, it’s always a good idea to keep track of how much sugar is in those fountain drinks, but that’s not all you have to worry about with carbonated beverages. In addition to refilling C02 periodically, you also need to comply with safety regulations to protect employees and consumers alike.
What Makes C02 Dangerous?
Carbon dioxide is everywhere! So, it might sound ridiculous to say that C02 is dangerous, but it’s true. C02 is colorless, odorless and tasteless, and it doesn’t take long for poorly ventilated areas to reach dangerous levels if the proper safety precautions aren’t in place. Even slow leaks can cause hazardous concentrations in enclosed spaces.
You should be aware of the potential causes of hazardous concentrations, including:
- Storage containers that aren’t vented to an area outside of the building.
- Leaking fittings, connections and hoses.
- Leaking carbonators, syrup pumps or beer keg connections and equipment.
Employees should also be aware of these warning signs, so that they can respond appropriately in an emergency. Or, recognize and help address threats before they develop into emergencies.
How to Keep Your Customers Safe
Ventilation systems are absolutely necessary for cycling out C02 and allowing fresh air into the storage area. These systems should always be installed by professionals to ensure they will work properly. You should also have carbon dioxide detectors that will sound if a leak is causing hazardous concentrations of C02 in your restaurant, bar or store. While carbon dioxide detectors aren’t required by law everywhere, it’s another way to make sure your employees and customers safe.
It’s also important to have certified professionals routinely inspect your beverage systems and pressurized tanks. Inspections will help protect your employees and customers and also ensure the quality of the beverages you’re selling. Much like your beverage systems, ventilation systems and carbon dioxide detectors should be inspected according to manufacturer recommendations and legal regulations. Proper installation and maintenance make a huge difference.
Who Can Help?
It takes more than a quick glance to inspect your beverage systems, ventilation systems and C02 tanks. You should hire experienced professionals who know what to look for and what to check. It’s not like you have to shut down your restaurant for an afternoon to have comprehensive inspections, either. In fact, when it’s time to refill your C02, it’s a great time to have everything inspected, too.
If you’re interested in C02 refills or system inspections in the Cedar Rapids or Iowa City areas, contact Hawkeye Fire & Safety. Hawkeye Fire & Safety offers service and delivery for beverage-grade gases, including C02 and nitrogen/C02 blend. Hawkeye Fire & Safety also provides hydrostatic testing on all beverage gas cylinders and, in case of emergency, have a 24-hour answering service as well.