Naturally, kid proofing a kegerator is easier the younger your kids are. Babies, Toddlers, and young children require little modification of the kegerator to keep the inner workings of your beer or home brew from the young ‘uns. Once they can reach the tap handle, you have a few more modifications to make.
And when they are teenagers, a faucet lock (with a combo lock on the side) is often advisable. Of course, it is best if you can trust your teenagers not to drink all your beer – but can you trust their friends not to drink all your beer? No method of protection will ever be 100% effective, but you can at least deter your kids from the temptation.
Here I will look at a number of products that can help kid proof your kegerator.
The first step for the youngest tikes is to apply all of those various baby-proofing latches to the door of the kegerator. There are many versions of the refrigerator lock kit that can easily be installed on the kegerator, such as the LockItDown refrigerator lock kit. Retailing for around $30, this is a no drill kit that comes with two stainless steel looped cables, a padlock, and special 3M adhesive. This is the upper end of such kits, and really, the same results can be affected with a lock hasp and padlock – probably for less expenditure. Also, there are plastic versions of the kid-resistant safety latch available for $4-$10. Most of these items are fine for keeping younger children out.
Lockitdown™ Refrigerator Door lock kit
If you are looking for an inexpensive, immediate solution for younger children, there is an oven door safety kit that adds a simple kid-resistant latch on corners. Versions of this item are manufactured by Totsafe and by Safety1st, among others. These locks are simple for an adult to open for ovens, even with one hand, but puzzling for tots under 4. These items usually cost less than $5.
The oven locks are usually installed with adhesive, but if the surface isn’t clean enough, or not left 48 hours to cure, the adhesive can fail. I recommend screwing this style of corner kegerator lock into the kegerator to ensure integrity. Most kegerator doors do not have anything in them except insulation, but always be careful when drilling or screwing into the kegerator not to drill into or knick the coolant lines or temperature transfer unit – this can cause serious harm to your kegerator.
Keeping the inner workings of your kegerator safe from childish curiosity can also be accomplished with any number of products that keep the faucet and door locked tight. Faucet Locks and clasps with padlocks for the door are an excellent choice for keeping the older children at bay. Faucet or tap locks come in a variety of designs.
Some work by locking the tap handle, and others work by plugging the spigot. Still others work by sliding onto the tap handle. Such keyed lock versions of these devices prove invaluable during events such as birthday parties, slumber parties, pool parties, and the like. Nothing says DO NOT TOUCH like a big honkin’ padlock mounted directly onto the tap handle or spigot.
You can add a second layer of protection with a beer line shutoff valve. This install directly in-line, so if your tap faucet lock somehow gets breached the beer will still not flow.
It is important to buy the right lock for the right tap handle, however. Some tap handles and spigots vary in size according to the manufacturer and the type of beer they were intended to dispense. It is not wise to spend $30-$60 on a beer faucet lock, only to find that it does not fit your tap or faucet. In some ways, even with a faucet lock, it might be best to install an in-line valve on the inside of your kegerator. There are also beer line quick disconnects that can achieve the same ends, but will also provide you with some additional options, should you wish to change out kegs or add additional taps to your kegerator. This kind of double jeopardy backup lock can prevent most everyone from getting at your beer while you are away, child or no.
Some home security systems, like the 2Gig Technologies Go Control system, allow the use of wireless sensors. Plunger sensors can be installed on the door of the kegerator and tilt sensors can be installed discreetly in a hollowed out tap handle. All activity is monitored and recorded.
Some kegerator wireless alarms can even send you a text or email when ever the kegerator is being accessed for beer dispensing. These modifications are built using a device called an Arduino controller. Arduino controllers are open source devices used to interface mechanical operations via computer, and can be controlled remotely via wireless Internet and computers.
One final word about the safety measures addressed above – if you think your beer is going missing, before assuming it was the teenager, it is wise to consider the following culprits:
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