What Type of Airlock Should Be Used for Home Brewing?

When it comes to home-brewing, there are typically 2 types of airlocks that you can consider – the 3-Piece Airlock and the Bubbler Airlock? Which airlock is the best for home brewing? And which should you use? Well… They both are. It usually boils down to home brewer’s preference, but we will give a couple reasons why they both are the best for different stages in the fermenting process.

What is an Airlock?
An airlock is nothing more than a little plastic device that is used in making fermented beverages, like beer, wine, cider, etc. The airlock works by allowing carbon dioxide to escape from the fermenter, through the airlock chamber without letting any new air back into the fermenter. Since the airlock does not allow any air into the fermenter, this helps cut down on any possible bacteria contamination getting into your beer or wine.

Sea grass Glass Bubbler

The Bubbler
We recommended using the bubbler airlock for secondary cheap fermentation. As mentioned above, this airlock is quite a bit more difficult to clean out compared to the 3-piece airlock, so using it for secondary fermenting only, you won’t have to worry about the beer foaming up through the airlock and making a mess inside of it. Also, we like using the bubbler airlock for secondary fermenting because you are able to see a more accurate movement of the carbon dioxide release through the bubbler airlock. The secondary typically bubbles very slowly, so you will be able to see the slightest movements in pressure changes with the bubbler airlock compared with the 3-piece.

The 3-Piece
We recommend using the 3-Piece airlock for the primary fermenting. The three piece is much easier to clean because you can disassemble it and get in every groove and corner with a cleaning brush. This is important in primary fermenting because every once in a while you will have an overactive batch that may foam up all the way to the top of the fermenter, and get inside of your airlock making a mess. The 3 Piece airlock is much easier to clean out if this happens while bubbler airlock is very difficult to clean out thoroughly because of its shape.

A diffused aerator (or air bubbler or air pump, as they’re commonly called) consists of an air pump that is attached to a piece of air tubing with an air diffuser or air stone attached at the end. The air pump sits on the shore and pushes air into the pond via the tubing. The air stone or air diffuser breaks down the pressure from the air pump into tiny air bubbles that get dispersed throughout the pond. The smaller the air bubbles are the better, as the water molecules absorb some of the air molecules into it.

It’s important to aerate the entire body of water, from the very bottom of the pond to the surface, as living creatures such as fish, turtles, etc. need this air to survive. Using a diffused pond aeration system also helps to provide air to the deep, stagnant areas within the pond or lake where unhealthy water conditions occur (and where your fish want to go for more consistent water temperatures).

A high volume surface aerator or paddlewheel aerator is a water pump (not an air pump) that floats on top of the water and rapidly churns the water thereby providing a lot of water agitation. Through this agitation, the water near the surface of the pond is aerated. This may be ideal for very shallow ponds around 3 – 4′ deep. It is also ideal to use a surface aerator if you have problems with floating pond weeds such as duckweed or watermeal and want to divert these weeds closer to the shore where they can be scooped up or treated.

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