Updated: Jan 24
You've now got your kegerator installed in your garage bar or home bar and are living the dream. Did you ever think you'd have the luxury of having draft beer at your home? It's truly an inspirational, rock star type feeling. So congrats on being a baller.
I recall that when I first got my kegerator I was simply satisfied with having it and didn't know or even think of a world where the kegerator experience could be enhanced. Let me walk you through the things that I have done above and beyond to take my draft beer experience to the next level.
How to Optimize Your Home Kegerator
Install a Blower fan. Given I mounted my beer tower offset from my kegerator, I created an insulated sleeve which the beer line runs through to minimize exposure to warm temperatures. I saw some dude online is ripping people off with some outrageously priced cooling fan, so I created my own which I affixed to the side wall of my kegerator with a flexible line that runs up to the draft tower. Cold air is pumped up and filters back down into the unit to ensure the line is kept cold. Why do I do this? Warm beer is foamy beer. By keeping the line cool it keeps the beer from having too much head and being a nuisance - and - losing a lot of beer down the drain. You can purchase my same setup in my store, link here.
Temperature Control. Thermostats that come on kegerators are almost without fault, low quality. If you viewed my units original "unmodified" profile it hovered around 42 degrees F, cycling on roughly every 30 minutes. Some folks might be fine with 42...but you can get a lot more than that out of your kegerator. I recommend looking into something like a Johnson Controls A419 (available here) which will allow you to bring down the temperature and keep it nice and chilly. The beer will be cold and although that's important here in Texas, cold beer feels like it's important no matter where you are.
Calculating Volume Remaining. For the longest time, understanding how much was left in the keg was a guessing game. Either I would have to open the door, letting warm, humid air in to pick up the keg and guestimate the volume based on weight OR I would be faced with the sudden explosion that seems to come on the last pour when I have a nearly full beer in hand leaving me and potentially anyone in splatter range, wet with beer. I researched a lot of different ways to combat this - including installing a Bluetooth scale that the keg would sit on requiring me to do some ongoing math in my head relating to volume which, to be honest, is never ideal...math is hard. I ended up finding a device called Kegtron which revolutionized my ability to track and visualize volume. You can pick one up here. You'll need to finesse it a bit, ensuring you account for the size of glassware you're using, size of keg, and a "fudge factor" you can assign to help offset extra head you pour off and the nuances of your own system.
Take a Hard Right 90 Degree Turn. In order to maximize the space on the inside of your kegerator, or if you have one that doesn't fit a lot of things or find it a bit snug, consider getting an adapter (here) which will allow you to bring your beer line off the top of your keg coupler at a 90 degree angle which will free up a lot of room and minimize frustration.
Upgrade the Drip Tray. Most kegerators come with a cheap plastic tray that allows for a very small amount of liquid to be collected before overflowing all over the place. I recommend stepping up your game for those who plan to install your kegerator under a counter of a bar. I bought this Kegco drip tray (here) which I've piped into the drain for the sink in my wet bar.
Let the World Know Your Beer is Ice Cold! Some larger bars like to showboat how cold their beer is with everyone claiming to have the "coldest beer in town." Recently I bought a Govee Bluetooth Thermometer (here) which has a sensor I've placed inside my kegerator and a digital display that I proudly hang on the wall. There's never any doubt that I have some of the coldest beer in town, and, I have the data to prove just how cold it is for all to see!
Upgrade Your Gas Regulator. Everything these days seems to come in the cheapest version possible. Less cost = higher profit. It's not surprising, though, admittedly, I was surprised, that the regulators on most of my kegerators were not that accurate. I upgraded to a Tapright Double Gauge Regulator (here) which really made a difference to my chagrin in regards to some issues I had been having with head on my beer.
Other things that you're going to want to buy...or should consider...for your home kegerator
An Upgraded Beer Tower...it matters...available here
A Nitro Faucet...step up your game and expand your horizons, nitro beers are awesome...here
Another Gas Cylinder...if you're running nitro you're going to need a second tank for beer gas...here
Cleaning Tool for Beer Lines...here
Cleaning Solution for Beer Lines, I prefer this one with the tracer dye...here
Faucet Plugs...here...don't get the rubber ones, they are impossible to clean and grow mold inside them
U System Keg Coupler...used by Guinness and Harp breweries...here
A System Slider Style Coupler...used for German draft beers...here
Keg Dolly...save your back and throw it on wheels to easily move your keg...here
Teflon tape...for keg coupler connections, it will last you FOREVER...here
Although I may come back and add to this list, it's a pretty robust start that will have you playing at an "expert" level in no time. You'll be the envy of the neighborhood with your brilliantly optimized home kegerator.