It always gives me pleasure to be making some positive impact on our global situation, even if it’s small. It is not always about money, however this DIY does both! As I was unhappily lugging bottles of carbonated water at the grocery store I was thinking how much energy it takes to ship and move such a simple product and what was I really paying for?! I knew there had to be a better system! A little research, some assembly and voilà; a home carbonation system. I have happily had this running for almost 4 years now and it’s a staple in our home. It has saved me at the least $10/week, so that could be a couple flights to Europe! (I better go pack!)
Anyways… Here’s the setup:
Being in Canada I bought all my supplies from here
Home Carbonation Setup:
- CO2 Tank (here) *
- A Regulator (here) or here *
- 4′ of hose (mine) and Ball Lock Disconnect (here) or here *
- Carbonation Cap (here) *
*or buy as a package with/without a tank here
This is the regulator, which controls the amount of (pressure of) CO2 gas exiting the outlet hose (red hose) and shows the pressure in the tank. The tank has a main shut off valve on top and this regulator has a shutoff valve to the exiting hose (red lever). The silver valve with the ring is the exhaust valve. It is an easy way to empty any pressure in the regulator by pulling the ring. I am not sure if it is really necessary, as I’ve never used it. The gauge on the left is the tank pressure, (which is either up or empty, apparently CO2 does not diminish) The top gauge is the gauge that allows adjusting for the amount of CO2 forced into your bottle via the hose. This one goes as high as 60PSI, of which I have dialed the knob in the front to 25PSI. I find that gives me quite adequate bubbliness.
This is the Ball Lock Disconnect. It is at the end of the red hose with a screw clamp and allows connection to the carbonation cap which is similar to the quick-connectors you have on your garden hose. Yes, I am a woman, but I can understand how these things work, without perhaps all the technical terms. If it needs assembly make sure to tightly attach with some ring clamps found at most hardware stores.
To be able to use a standard soda bottle, you will need a carbonation cap. It snaps into the Ball Lock Disconnect to allow the gas into the bottle. This is a well made and sturdy piece of hardware. I have a couple of these so that I can have more than one bottle full at a time. Mine is now almost 4 years old. At first I was quite nervous about the pressure, but once I had filled a couple of bottles, I became more comfortable. You may want to start with a lower pressure. Do still be cautious and careful to use undamaged bottles and keep the system away from children. I have seen people drop bottles from the shelves in the grocery store with no bursting so I knew these bottles can handle a fair amount of pressure.
Fill your bottle 3/4 full and squeeze out the excess air and seal the carbonation cap. Chill well in the fridge as water (or other juice) accepts carbonation better when very cold. I have read that you can partially freeze as well. I have found fridge cold is enough for me.
Attach the Carbonation Cap to the Ball Lock Disconnect, by pushing on. (I pull back the end ring to make it a bit easier and do this upside down. This allows the gas to bubble up through the liquid (water) once valves are opened.
Open Main Valve on top of tank
Open small red shut-off valve on regulator. (gas will immediately inflate bottle if pressure gauge is set)
Adjust pressure gauge on regulator (I use 25 PSI) if first time, or leave as prior set.
Shake bottle, shake, shake ,shake, shake, shake, shake, and shake some more. Side to side or up and down. You will see more bubbles coming into bottle which means the liquid is absorbing more gas. I think I shake for about 15-30 seconds.
Shut off valve, and close main tank valve. Disconnect the carbonation cap by pulling the end ring back similar to garden hose connector.
Enjoy, or chill some more to allow it to absorb more of the gas.
You can flavour prior to carbonation or after. I usually add flavourings after. My tank is a 10lb and lasts me about 1 year. For filling I go to a fire extinguisher refill depot. You can check your local area for gas suppliers. It costs me about $15 for a fill.
There are no added salts or chemicals but still has the refreshing bubbles. It’s a great way to break the diet pop habit! Plain and simple. ‘No truck is expending gas to haul huge tonnage of bottles of bubbly around, using less plastic bottles, and some excess $$ for other projects.