So, as promised, here is all you need to start making your own sparkling water.
The materials needed are:
- CO2 tank (I used a 15 lb tank, choose the size of tank that best fits your installation)
- 1/4 inch tubing
- small hose clamps
- Carbonator Cap
- Ball Lock fitting
- Ball cock
All of the above are available from a well stocked brewing supply shop, however you will probably find the CO2 tank and regulator at a lower price from a welding supply shop. I purchased the ball cock valve at Home Depot.This picture shows all the materials:
(left to right in foreground: Carbonator cap, ball cock valve, ball lock fitting)
Choose a place for the tank. I placed mine in a closet located just a few feet from the sink and ran the hose (be sure to run the hose before attaching the ball lock and ball cock fitting). Bring the free end of the hose to a convenient spot near a kitchen or bar sink, make splice near the end of the tube with the ball lock fitting and insert the ball cock valve. The rest is pretty straight forward, attach the other end of the hose to regulator and connect the regulator to the tank. And, you're set to go.
Here is the tank in the closet: I have yet to attach straps to prevent the tank from tipping over IT IS CRITICAL TO KEEP THE TANK UPRIGHT AND SECURED TO PREVENT IT FROM FALLING OVER.
Turn the screw on the center of the regulator to bring the pressure on the low pressure outlet to 40 PSI.
Here is the Carbonator connected to a one liter bottle:
It is essential to have your water as cold as possible to achieve the best carbonation. CO2 stays in solution much better at cold temperature. Anyone who has ever opened a warm bottle of soda knows this well. The easiest way to do this is to have a few bottles with about a cup of water set on their side in the freezer ready to go when you are ready to make carbonated water. Add cold tap water just to the level of the shoulder of the bottle. Squeeze out as much air as possible while tightening the carbonator cap onto the bottle. Pressurize the bottle by slowly opening the ball cock valve. Close the ball cock valve and vigorously shake the bottle, open and close the ball cock valve again and shake again. Repeat this step a couple more times, remove the ball lock fitting from the carbonator then the carbonator from the bottle. That's all there is to it.
We like to add freshly squeezed lemon and lime to our seltzer. I am told there are flavored syrups available on line.
While the initial cost seems high (about $175), the system will start paying for itself in less than 6 months. After that, instead of paying fifty to seventy five cents a liter, the cost to carbonate that same amount will only be a couple pennies.
Enjoy and stay tuned