For quite a time I’ve been a loyal customer to SodaStream and had like four different models of their devices to produce fizzy water at home. Over the time some broke and the last one (a SodaStream Crystal Silver) not only has a broken machanism to lift its parts but also doesn’t look hygenic anymore after not being used for more than half a year.
Therefore I tried to get the device clean again and while I’m not able to fit my hand in it properly to give it a good clean it’s also impossible to disassemble the device. Some screws are tightened with huge force (or just covered in what ever to keep the screw in place) and some are placed under plastic parts I’d break while disassembling.
So cleaning wasn’t the option to get fizzy water again and I needed an alternative: Option A would have been to go to the local store (or Amazon) and just buy a new device. Last time I’ve bought my Crystal Silver I’ve spent like a hundred EUR for it as it came with glass bottles and I don’t like the plastic ones as they are not suitable for the dish-washer. Given I’d buy another one of those Amazon would charge me with 120 EUR…
After watching some videos on YouTube of US guys building their own solutions for fizzy water I began looking up prices and possibilities to build similar solutions myself. Luckily I stumbled upon a website with information for home-brewers (beer stuff) and they explained how to get the best results for getting bubbles into the beer. Well, my type of drink is no beer but it’s based on water (it is water) so that should work for me.
I still have the CO2 tank for the SodaStream (though I’m probably not supposed to use them in my own solution) so that’s a start. Working with CO2 tanks we’re talking about around 65-72 bar (~1000 PSI) which isn’t anything you would want to apply to any bottle for drinks out there (you would just burst it and injure yourself). Therefore our first component is a pressure regulator which is a quite common component as there are quite some home-brewers out there.
Then we need something to pour liquids in it which is able to withstand some pressure (the regulator I got myself goes up to 90 PSI which is ~6 bar). In the YouTube videos I saw the guy using some old soda bottles with a “carbonator cap”. These caps are US-made and only available in the US but luckily we don’t get that plastic stuff but caps made of stainless steel for PET bottles (in my case an empty Cola bottle). The offer I found even has a coupler for the cap included and therefore spared me to search for that one.
At last I went to the local DIY market and searched for some pipe to connect the regulator and the coupler. Turns out DIY markets don’t have any pipes specially made for CO2 being able to withstand ~8 bar (120 PSI) and having an 1/4" inner diameter. But they do have transparent water pipes being able to withstand 10+ bar water pressure in exactly that diameter so I got myself half a meter of that one and two hose clamps to fixate the pipe.
In the end I spent 31 EUR for the regulator, 15 EUR for the cap and coupler and 4 EUR for the pipe and clamps. 50 EUR and around 2 minutes for assembling in total for a DIY device to get fizzy water instead of 100 EUR for the new SodaStream.
Pros vs. Cons
Clear advantage: It will cost me another 2 minutes and some cash to exchange single parts of my solution: The regulator breaks? Get a new one! The Cap is unhygenic? Put it into the dish-washer (or get a new one if it can’t be helped anymore). The pipe breaks? Luckily 6 bar won’t hurt me much and I can get a new one from the DIY store in less than 10 minutes and 4 EUR.
Disadvantages? For sure: I don’t have any well designed housing (yet!) and I’m using PET bottles instead of glass bottles to get my water fizzy. But in case the bottle needs to be exchanged I’ll just buy another Coke and I’ve got a new one. I even could do that on a weekly base.
How to even use?
Now what special method am I using to get the water fizzy? A quite easy one: Fill up the bottle with your liquid you want to have fizzy until the bottle has around 2 Inch (5cm) air left at the top. Then squeeze the bottle until the liquid nearly reaches the top and screw the cap tight. Attach the coupler and put 40 PSI of pressure to the bottle. Now without reducing the pressure shake the liquid for it to have a bigger surface and be able to absorb the CO2. The whole process works better with cooled liquids as they are better at dissolving CO2.
And if the liquid isn’t as fizzy as you wanted? Experiment with temperature, pressure, shaking, time the pressure is applied and so on until you’ve got the perfect result for yourself.
If you want to save even more money you can visit your local CO2 dealer and get for example a 2kg bottle of CO2 and use that one instead of the SodaStream ones: Just ask them for food-quality CO2 and they will provide you with it. Most of the time you will be paying a one-time fee to buy the bottle and then exchange the bottle on each visit. If you do have a big family and everyone loves fizzy water: Get a 5 or even 10kg bottle. Much less trips, much more water.
In case you don’t want to have a big bottle of CO2 in your appartment (which isn’t a good idea) you can get a CO2 bottle to fill smaller bottles and then get for example a paintball CO2 tank for daily use. (You need to tell the CO2 dealer you want to fill other bottles as those are special bottles dispensing liquid CO2 instead of CO2 gas. NEVER ever use one of those dispensing liquid CO2 on a pressure regulator! In best case it will just freeze and stop working, in worst case you’ll end in the ICU.)
Before experimenting with this please inform yourself about the dangers of CO2 and how to handle it. As I mentioned before: You will be handling a gas with around 70 bar (1000PSI) pressure which in high concentrations is harmful to your health!
Amazon links to components: