Chemsan neutralised by tap water?

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Bill_g

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I have been in touch with Chemisphere UK who manufacture Chemsan and had a very prompt and helpful response. Today I received a replacement bottle of Chemsan & my original bottle was returned for testing. When I made up a batch of Chemsam with the new bottle and gave the mix what I thought was a good shake, I was a bit shocked to still only get a pH of 6. I then poured the Chemsan into a jug and mixed up some Starsan, sure enough I got a good reading of well below 3, more like 1 actually from the paper pH test strip. i then decided to re-test the original Chemsan in the jug and to my further surprise got a reading of about 1 very similar to the Starsan mix.
The moral of the story appears to be that Chemsan may require a really good mix to distribute the reagent through the whole 5 litre volume.
It would be really interesting if anyone else who is seeing this high pH problem could do a test but give the Chemsan a really good mix up before the pH test.

it may simply be that Chemsan is less readily dissolved than Starsan, if so that would be useful info for both us and the manufacturer.
 

dalecek

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Did a fresh batch. Diluted as per recommendation (10ml/5L). Ph dropped to 2.6 without much mixing. Used just filtered tap water Ph 6.9. Got 500ml of Chemsan about 9 month old.
 

Bill_g

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I have just had an email back from Chemisphere UK confirming no problem with my returned bottle of Chemsan. So it would seem that the pH problem which I observed must simply have come down to poor mixing. Since I poured the 10mL of Chemsan into a fairly full 5 litre container of water I guess there was little movement of the liquid despite my best efforts shaking the container. Probably if I'd dropped a marble into it then it would have been a lot better mixed after the shake. From now on I shall mix in a jug and give it a good stir.
I must commend Chemisphere UK on their very fast and helpful response, I simply cannot fault them on this. They are clearly setting out to provide an outstanding service to the home brew community ... despite the errors of fools like me! But maybe we have got to the bottom of the problem which is a worthwhile result. My contact at Chemisphere uk was Hance McGhie and he says that he'd be happy to help if any other queries arise with Chemsan. ([email protected])
 
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peskytat

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Hi All

Just did a ph paper test on diluted Chemsan using my tap water, not too cloudy but worryingly - shows a 6

I understand Chemsan is only effective at a ph of 3 or below.

What should I do in future? Change to bottled mineral water? Is my equipment UNsanitary?

My beer is near ready to bottle, my equipment was sanitised without realising this issue with the ph. Is there likely to be a problem?

I had a look in fermenter when adding hops, smells okay looks okay.

Am I being a paranoid noob?
Tesco do Ashbeck 5ltr bottles £1.30p which are perfect for chemsan.
 

Bill_g

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I can't believe people are suggesting buying water to add chemsan to, there is absolutely no need, never mind the environmental impact.
It's up to others what they do, their money, their choice. If their tap water is extremely hard then Chemsan (or Starsan) will go instantly cloudy. The product data sheets states that cloudiness means degraded sanitisation efficiency.
 

Galena

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It's up to others what they do, their money, their choice. If their tap water is extremely hard then Chemsan (or Starsan) will go instantly cloudy. The product data sheets states that cloudiness means degraded sanitisation efficiency.
Of course it is up to them, that doesn't make it obligatory for me to believe it is a good idea though, as posted above the water was blamed but turned out to be not adequately mixed.
 

roboto

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It's up to others what they do, their money, their choice. If their tap water is extremely hard then Chemsan (or Starsan) will go instantly cloudy. The product data sheets states that cloudiness means degraded sanitisation efficiency.

As I understand it the cloudiness comes from Calcium and Magnesium salts in hard water reacting with the surfactant, and that as long as the pH is below 3 the solution should still be effective.

FWIW I have hard water and use cloudy chemsan and haven't had any issues yet. YMMV.
 

Bill_g

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As I understand it the cloudiness comes from Calcium and Magnesium salts in hard water reacting with the surfactant, and that as long as the pH is below 3 the solution should still be effective.

FWIW I have hard water and use cloudy chemsan and haven't had any issues yet. YMMV.
Based on information from the Chemsan data sheet and from comments made by Charlie Talley who invented this type of acid/surfactant mix steriliser then what you are saying is incorrect. If the steriliser mix is not crystal clear then it's an indication that its effectiveness will be degraded.
It's fair enough to make one's own decisions but I think a forum like this should always promote best practice.
 

peskytat

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I can't believe people are suggesting buying water to add chemsan to, there is absolutely no need, never mind the environmental impact.
There is no environmental impact if you do your recycling properly.
 
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It's up to others what they do, their money, their choice. If their tap water is extremely hard then Chemsan (or Starsan) will go instantly cloudy. The product data sheets states that cloudiness means degraded sanitisation efficiency.
I was sure I had seen something from Starsan saying it is fine to use if it is cloudy so I went to there to look but couldn't find anything. What I did find was "Star San is an EPAs registered sanitizer and must be used immediately. We do not recommend using it if has been in solution longer than an hour. " This is news to me, I mix a 5 litre solution and use it up over a few months, checking the ph every now and again.
 

peskytat

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Yes, but there is an environmental impact in the manufacture, filling and transport of the bottle that is much greater than the environmental impact of using tap water.
There is for everything we use, are you going to stop home brewing, or shopping at the supermarket because of this so called impact from the transportation and the packaging etc ? Top scientists are saying whatever we do to try and reduce green house gases is a waste of time, it's all negated by volcanic activity around the world.
 
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