Sparkling everything - setting up a home carbonation system

I’ve developed a love for carbonated water lately, where I go through 3-4 cans of seltzer a day. This was ridiculous – something needed to change.

I spent a while contemplating buying a Sodastream, but frequent (and expensive) refills of CO2 cartridges didn’t seem like a satisfying answer. Also, only being able to carbonate water took most of the fun out of having a sparkling water machine.

After a little bit of plotting and internetting, attaching a regulator to a CO2 tank seemed like a pretty straightforward solution. A trip to the homebrew store and a little bit of Amazon later, I now have a fairly cheap system that should last me forever.

Even better – I can carbonate nearly anything. Instant sparkling water, maple syrup soda, mint soda from my garden, Club Maté imitations, sparkling liquor – I’m excited to mess with this.

Here’s the rundown and tips, if you’re curious!

Parts List

Setup

  1. Ensure that the regulator has a crush gasket in the housing. Attach the regulator to the tank, using a wrench to tighten.

  2. Loosen the hose clamp on the vinyl tubing all the way, then wriggle the hose onto the ridged metal piece of the regulator. You don’t have to push this all the way up, but you should ensure that the hose clamp has some margin on metal on either side. Tighten the clamp.

All done!

Carbonation!

  1. Fill a plastic bottle 34 of the way. Cold liquids work best.

  2. Attach the ball lock adapter to your bottle. To remove all air from the bottle, push down on the release valve at the top of the adapter, and squeeze the bottle. (Note: if the bottle reinflates after you let go of the tab, try another one. I found that it’s hard to get a seal on San Pellegrino bottles.)

  3. Attach the ball-lock coupler to the cap on the bottle by pulling up the housing and snapping it on. Push until you hear the cap click.

  4. Pressurize the system by opening the tank’s valve, and flipping the regulator’s cutoff switch. Check your gauges, then turn the regulator up until the output gauge hits 30-40 psi. For strong carbonation (and alcoholic drinks), 45 psi is more than enough.

  5. Flip the regulator switch on. Your bottle will inflate with a thump. If you hear hissing from the coupler, twist the housing a bit. With the gas still on, shake the bottle vigorously for 30 seconds. You’ll see the dials fluctuate a little bit as the gas dissolves into the bottle.

  6. Remove the ball-lock coupler. You’re ready to drink your new sparkly beverage!

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