Bubbly Water

While I was in Germany, I began to enjoy water with bubbles in it (“Soda Water”). In my previous trips to Europe, I hated the stuff, but this time it really grew on me. Before my course started, I was invited out with a really nice German family from Munich. In their house, they had a machine to turn tap water into bubbly water.

I had to get myself one of these machines! In Germany, they are relatively cheap and the cartridges of CO2 are refillable. This is not the case in Canada. The cartridges are expensive, and each company has their own style of doing cartridges. Clearly this wouldn’t do.

Then Chris found a solution online. Mr. Kinch’s instructions are very detailed, and overall the project looked quite simple to do. My experiences were pretty much the same, but with a few tweaks on the system.

Chris and I quickly headed for Princess Auto to get some parts

  • 0-100 PSI Gauge: $2 (to monitor the bottle pressure)
  • Valve, T, and various pipe bits: $10
  • Quick-release ends: $10 (for the bottle and disconnect)
  • Food-grade hose: $10
  • Regulator: $50 (+ $35 shipping/duty…thanks UPS)
  • CO2 Tank: $40/year on lease
  • CO2: $35 / 20lbs (should last a few years, if things don’t leak)

Canada uses the CGA-320 for CO2 containers, which is handy. Regulators are difficult to find, and we had to order ours from the US. We decided on MicroMatic, because they had some of the best prices. Unfortunately they ship with UPS, and once again we had a bad UPS experience with their expensive brokerage fees.

First we started with the caps. We knew these were going to be the most difficult part of the build, since it required modification of a pop lid ill-fit for the purpose of having a hole in it.

Cap Modification

After drilling out the cap, inserting the nipple and a bolt to hold it tightly, we have a first version of the cap. It still leaks, so a new project will be re-designing the cap. We decided to use re-enforced tubing between the regulator and shutoff valve, and regular tubing between the shutoff valve and the bottle. This way, should something happen with the regulator, the tube after the valve should break first, rather than the bottle. The completed lid assembly can be seen here:

Completed Bottle Assembly

The valve assembly was essentially assembled by us in the store. Once home, we needed to undo each connection, add some Teflon tape, and tighten securely. Teflon tape comes in two types, one for gas and another for anything else. For the purposes of this project, either type will do. Since we have the garden-variety Teflon tape available, it is what we used. Regular Teflon tape shreds as you screw the pipes together, leaving bits of Teflon in the line. In a gas system, this can be problematic if a small chunk of tape gets lodged in an appliance. The final valve assembly can be seen below:

Valve assembly

Note the reinforced tubing leading up to the valve. Since this side will always contain pressure, we decided to use reinforced tubing here. Below is the final project, hooked up to the CO2 tank and regulator assembly:

Whole assemblyTank and RegulatorValve & Caps

Overall this was a fun project. The instructions from http://www.truetex.com/carbonation.htm were great. When carbonating the water, I use 35PSI and I shake it for 40 seconds with the tap on and 40 seconds with the tap off. This provides for a bit more carbonation in the water when complete.

Still to do:

  • Re-design the cap. The current cap leaks a little, and when shaking sometimes water flows back up the fill hose (may become problematic when carbonating apple juice or other sticky substances).
  • Build a nice cabinet to hide the CO2 tank and extend the countertop
  • Add a Reverse Osmosis system to purify the tap water and remove the odour.