In past articles we’ve mentioned in passing how important it is to maintain your equipment. It is one of the easiest places to trip up with homebrewing as a very small and easy to fix mistake can ruin your whole brew.
Before starting your homebrew check over all of your equipment, don’t feel embarrassed about being pedantic and check everything. The most obvious point is to make sure all your equipment is sterilized, this is easy enough to do with some sterilization tablets like what comes with our kits. But this only kind of issue your equipment may have.
A lot of modern homebrew equipment may require a power supply, whether that is being plugged in or from a battery. Obviously with so much liquid around this does pose possible issue and requires the utmost care. Luckily some of this equipment is designed to be at least partially waterproof, for example the thermometers we supply can handle be dropped in the wort and cleaned under a tap. But long exposure will generally cause some problem so don’t let them get soaked. If any battery powered equipment does go wrong changing the battery is the first thing you should try.
Equipment used in the fermentation stage is likely to be less waterproof but will still be able to handle a splash. For example many people use some form of heater while homebrewing, be it a heated pad or band you place around your fermenter. While generally no problem to clean off, a big spill (especially if left for a while) may pose a serious issue. More so if anything gets into an electrical outlet, in these cases we advise extreme caution.
Batteries are also related to another serious problem, deterioration. Nothing lasts forever, even expensive homebrew equipment so this is one of the most important things to look out for when maintaining your equipment. Cracks are especially a problem because not only do they weaken the equipment but are a good place for germs to hide. A little scratch doesn’t mean you have to throw a fermenter out but it does need extra attention. Batteries or anything with a substance inside is especially important to check on, you do not want in any way leaking into your homebrew or just around your house.
To help avoid these issues, proper storage is always a smart idea. You don’t need to do anything particularly technical but cleaning and drying equipment after use, storing in a dry location and keeping everything sealed or bagged up will at least mitigate some factors. But eventually your equipment will go bad in some way.