Introduction: Home Carbonation System for Water, Beer, and More

Picture of Home Carbonation System for Water, Beer, and More

Thanks to all who voted. This instructable won Runner Up in the 2017 First Time Author Challenge.

This project was born partly out of necessity and mostly out of wanting to build something useful (and awesome).

My wife is an avid carbonated water drinker, often going through 2 bottles a day. While carbonated water is not the most expensive thing, it can add up. I have also been craving a forced carbonation system for my home brewed beer, and who really wants to wait 2 weeks for bottle conditioning. Why not kill two birds with one stone?

This system is perfect for home carbonation of water, beer, wine, or pretty much any liquid you can think of.

Step 1: DIY Vs Commercial

Picture of DIY Vs Commercial

One of the first question I am asked when I talked about this project is "why should I build one when there are so many commercial options out there?" (think SodaStream). Besides the enjoyment and sense of pride that comes with building things by hand, there are a few main reasons why I would choose a DIY Carbonation System over a commercial one.

Cost: It is true that DIY systems cost more up front (my build was $150 in total vs $70 for the low end SodaStream), depending on how often you use it it can save in the long run. Most of the commercial options have proprietary CO2 bottles designs, requiring replacements over refilling. SodaStream tanks are also only 14.5 oz and vary widely in cost depending on where you pick them up ($15-$40). My current setup uses a 5 lb tank, holding 80 oz, and cost $18 to refill at my local home brew supply store. And another plus; it's reusable. Winner: DIY.

Safety: Having CO2 under pressure is always a safety concern. I have no children and my dogs can't access the tank, so I have no worries about accidental tip overs. I do live in a high earthquake zone, but I have secured my tank so it is unlikely to fall. In general, as long as you are smart about turning off the tank, checking for leaks, and making sure your safety release vales work, a DIY option is no more dangerous than a commercial options. Winner: Tie.

Looks & Capacity: Commercial brands come in a nice, sleek package that fit snugly on your counter top. However, I live in a 350 sq ft apartment and am lacking in counter space. My DIY system fits nicely under my sink, and since it can't be seen, I don't worry to much about it looking pretty. Winner: DIY.

Versatility: This is where a DIY system really shines. Most commercial systems warranties are voided if you you use it for anything but water. However, I built my DIY system to force carbonate beer, make cheap sparkling wine, and all kinds of carbonated soda, water, and teas. On top of that, I can adjust the carbonation for each drink, meaning my wife can have her highly carbonated water while I use a lower setting to gently carbonate my beer. I can also use this system for other things -- such as tapping a keg the right way and carbon sealing products that spoil in oxygen (hops, malts, etc.). Winner: DIY.

For me, a DIY system was a no-brainer over a commercial setup. Evaluate your needs and abilities to decide what is best for you.




Step 2: Parts and Tools

Picture of Parts and Tools

Most of my parts came from Amazon, though I did pick up a few things at local hardware stores (Home Depot, Orchards, Ace). The total cost for the required parts was $130, however total prices will vary for some of the pricier items. I have also listed some optional parts and tools to add a one-way check valve and to secure your CO2 tank.

Required:

Materials

  • Ball Lock (Gas) - $7.99 (Check that this comes with hose clamps, if not, you will need to purchase some)
  • Stainless Carbonation Cap* - $10.99
  • Dual Gauge CO2 Regulator - $39.99 (regularly $43.99)
  • 5 lb CO2 Tank - $64.99
  • Gas Tubing - $0.49/ft (make sure this fits your regulator and ball lock barbs, mine where 5/16" ID)
  • Thread Tape (Gas) - $3.49**
  • A Plastic Bottle that has contained a carbonated beverage (soda, fizzy water, etc.)

*A quick update on the Carbonation Cap. I have noticed after a few weeks of using that my Ball Lock does not fit snugly onto the Stainless Carbonation Cap and I can hear hissing when I shake the bottle. Consider buying a plastic one, and let me know if the seal holds better!

**As noted in the comments I refer to this tape as Teflon tape throughout the writeup. This is not Teflon tape, but in fact Thread Sealing tape used for Gas purposes. In general, this tape is yellow, however, read the packaging to make sure you are buying the proper item!

Tools

  • Wrench(s) (prefer adjustable to fit all sizes)
  • Screw Driver
  • Spray Bottle (or some other method of adding soapy water to connections)

Optional - Check Valve:

Materials

Tools

  • Wrench(s)
  • Thread Tape (Gas)
  • Scissors
  • Screw Driver

Optional - Securing Tank:

Materials

  • Ratchet Strap - $2.50
  • Ratchet Brace - $1.00

Tools

  • Power Drill or Screw Driver




Step 3: Choosing and Filling a CO2 Tank

Picture of Choosing and Filling a CO2 Tank

I consider this step to be the most important as choosing which CO2 tank to buy will depending primarily on where you can get it filled and the space (inside your home) that you have available. Before purchasing a tank, it is best to call around to find a place that can fill tanks and what their requirements are. In particularly, look for home brew supply shops (shout out to Culver City Home Brewing), air supply companies (such as AirGas), welding shops, sports equipment stores, or even paintball supply stores.

Typically, these places will have one of two ways in which they refill CO2 tanks; either they refill your tank and give it back, or swap your tank out for a pre-filled one of the same size. If they refill the tank you bring in, you are likely best off buying a new tank to get the most mileage out of a it (as I did). CO2 tanks have to be re-certified every 5-years, so buying a new one with recent certification gives you many years of use. However, if the store has a swapping policy, you are best finding a used tank that is still within its certification limit. This way you don't lose your shiny new tank and can save an the initial cost to buy a tank (used tanks often run about half the price of new). For used tanks, checks Craigslist or Ebay. Some stores may even let you buy-in to their swapping system, usually at a discounted rate.

Since my local home brew store has a refill policy, I opted to buy a new tank for $65 off Amazon and have it refilled for $18.

Once you have decided on where you will get it refilled, you should evaluate the size of tank you need. Most stores will fill tanks up to 20 lbs, but check with your supplier first. If you plan on carbonating a lot of beer, using the tank to also feed a tap system, or in general have more space -- a large tank might be for you. Just remember, you will have to transport the tank to get it filled. Since my system is being built under my kitchen sink, a 5 lb tank fit perfectly and should last me, at my current use rate, well over a year.

Note on Shipping CO2 Tanks: By U.S. law, CO2 tanks are shipped empty. If you do not purchase your tank in store, you will need to find a place to get it refilled. My $18 fill cost is a bit high from what I gather online (I live in California), most people can get a 5 lb tank filled fro $10-12.

Note on "Food Grade" CO2: There is some worry about "non-food grade CO2" that might come from refilling your tank at a welding shop or paintball store. From what I gather, this is not a real issue you should contend with, but if you are concerned, get your tank filled from a brew store or restaurant supplier.

Step 4: Choosing and Connecting a Regulator

Picture of Choosing and Connecting a Regulator

There are two primary types of CO2 regulators on the market – single and dual gauge. While a single gauge will run a few dollars cheaper, they do not allow you to see the pressure in your tank. I like having a dual gauge to monitor how much CO2 is left in my tank and plan my trips to get it refilled.

You can also buy multi-outlet regulators. These allow you to hook a single CO2 tank up to multiple output sources. If you plan on having multiple kegs attached to this system it might be worthwhile, but since I am just using this for a force carbonation system I do not need a multi-outlet regulator.

Another thing to think about is the adjustment knob. The regulator I am using has an easy adjust knob, I can fine tune my CO2 outlet PSI with just my hands, whereas some regulator require a screw driver or an inaccurate valve. While this is up to personal preference, the one I linked has great reviews and seems to work great.

Steps for Connecting the Regulator to CO2 Tank:

  1. Make sure all of your valves are in the off position. This should be apparent for your CO2 tank (else it would be leaking), however, it might be a tad more complicated for your regulator. In general -- righty tighty, lefty loosey.
  2. Clean the threads on your CO2 tank with a wet cloth. Let dry.
  3. Starting at the edge of your threads, wrap the tape around the end a few times, going in the direction of the thread. Wrapping opposite of the threads may result in the tape coming loose while tightening on the regulator.
  4. Insert the Compression ring into the Regulator Screw.
  5. Screw on the regulator by hand, then tighten using a wrench.

Step 5: Adding Ball Lock and Hose

Picture of Adding Ball Lock and Hose

Steps for Adding Ball Lock and Hose:

  1. Add tape to your Ball Lock threads, again following the direction of the threads.
  2. Screw on the 5/16" barb by hand, then use a wrench to tighten the rest of the way.
  3. Cut a length of hose to go from the Regulator to the Ball Lock, I choose about 6' so that it would reach from under my sink to wherever I was standing in my kitchen. Regular scissors will work, however, it can be difficult to cut.
  4. Add a hose clamp to each end of the hose, slide them back a few inches for now.
  5. Connect one end of the hose to the barb on your Regulator making sure to press the hose all the way onto the barb. Tip: If you are having trouble doing this, run the hose under hot water for 10 seconds to make it more pliable.
  6. Push the hose clamp to the end of your hose, tightening it as much as possible using a screw driver. If you feel the clamp begin to "slip" from the holes as you tighten, it is likely at tight as it will go. If it is still loose, you need a smaller hose clamp size.
  7. Repeat 5 & 6 on the Ball Lock barb.

Step 6: Testing the System and Checking for Leaks

Picture of Testing the System and Checking for Leaks

At this point, it is very important to test your setup and check for any leaks. First, turn the knob on your CO2 to the on position. Listen for leaks (hissing) in the connection between the CO2 tank and the Regulator. Spray the connection with soapy water, and look for any bubbling of the soap. If you see bubbles, this indicates there might be a leak. Turn off the CO2 tank, and attempt to reinstall your regulator.

After fixing and leaks between the tank and the regulator, test for leaks in the hose connections. First you need to turn on your tank and adjust the outflow from your regulator. If your regulator is like mine, you will need to "burb" the regulator -- pulling and releasing the pressure release valve -- to get an accurate outflow reading. I adjusted my knob until the PSI outflow was around 40 PSI. Now, turn on the regulator outflow valve and listen for leaks at the regulator barb and at the ball lock barb. Next, spray soapy water on each connection and again check for bubbles. If you see any bubbles, try reattaching the parts and redo all checks.

Once you have assured that all connections are leak free, you are ready to use your home carbonation system. The next step will walk you through the process of using the carbonation cap.

Step 7: Carbonating a Beverage

Picture of Carbonating a Beverage

In this example we will use an old soda bottle to show the steps for carbonating water. However, this process works with any liquid you want to carbonate. A quick note, it is best to carbonate cold liquids that do not contain any solids. Being cold allows the liquid to absorb CO2 more quickly. Having any solids in your liquid (such as pulp from orange juice, undissolved sugars) allows CO2 to attach its self to the solids, preventing it from absorbing into the liquid.

Steps for Carbonating a Beverage:

  1. Chill your water. Overnight in the fridge does wonders, but a few minutes in the freezer with a paper towel wrapped around it will do just fine.
  2. Turn on your CO2 tank and regulator, adjusting the outflow PSI to your desired amount (I use 40 PSI for water).
  3. Add water to the plastic bottle, leaving some room for air. A good rule of thumb is to never fill it more than the container would have been filled when carbonated. Note: Do not use a regular water bottle or a bottle that has not held a carbonated beverage. These containers are often not meant to hold pressure and the bottom is likely to blow out when you pressurize it. Along the same lines, bottles that have been crinkled, folded, or otherwise damaged may also burst. Make sure to use a relatively new bottle and to switch them out from time to time.
  4. Squeeze the bottle until the water is aligned with the top edge, then screw on your carbonation cap. By squeezing the bottle, we are forcing as much oxygen out of the bottle as possible. This allows the CO2 to more readily dissolve into the water.
  5. Lifting up on the bottom ring of your Ball Lock, press the Ball Lock over the Carbonation Cap. Right away the bottle should expand.
  6. Holding onto the ball lock and cap, turn the bottle upside down. This allows the CO2 to flow through the water, helping it to absorb more quickly.
  7. Shake the bottle for approximately 30 seconds, or until you see little to no bubbles flowing through the water. Little or no bubbles indicates that the water has absorbed as much CO2 as it can.
  8. Turn the bottle right side up and, lifting the bottom ring of the Ball Lock, remove the ball lock from the carbonation cap.
  9. Remove the carbonation cap and enjoy.

Step 8: Store Bought Carbonated Water Vs Home Carbonation System

In the video I attempt to show the difference in carbonation between a store bought bottle (the first pour), a bottle that has been carbonated once (second pour), and a bottle that has been double carbonated -- carbonate it once, release carbonation by unscrewing the carbonation cap, and than carbonated again (third pour).

As you can see in the video, the store bought carbonated water holds is bubbles in the glass longer. However, the double carbonated water has a very similar carbonation level and flavor added as the store bought. My wife swears double carbonating is better and makes it taste like store bought, however, I prefer a single carbonation when I do flavored waters or teas.

The great thing about this system is you can experiment for yourself, and see what level of carbonation works best for you.

In terms of storage length; if you leave the carbonation cap on the water it will stay easily carbonated for a few days. Once its removed and replaced with a normal cap, the carbonation tends to disappear slowly. I still think it taste great recapped the next day or two, but after that its tends to be pretty flat.

Step 9: Optional: Add a One-Way Check Valve

Picture of Optional: Add a One-Way Check Valve

A problem I noticed when using the basic system is that when I removed my ball lock from the bottle, I would often get whatever liquid I was using back into the hose. While this isn't a problem for water, I didn't want to have to remove and wash the hose line every time I carbonated tea, wine, or beer. To circumvent this issue, I added a one-way check valve about 6" from the Ball Lock. Not only does this prevent liquids from going back into the rest of the line, but provides a shorter amount of tubing I need to sanitize before force carbonating my beer.

Many of the steps involved in adding a check valve are the same as putting the system together. With that in mind, I won't go into as much detail as before.

Steps for Adding a Check Valve:

  1. Wrap all threads with tape, using the procedures listed in previous steps.
  2. Tighten the barb connections onto the check valve.
  3. Determine where in your line you want the check valve to go. I wanted mine close to the ball lock, to prevent to much cleaning, but not so close that it got in the way. I choose approximately 6" from the ball lock.
  4. Cut the hose at your desired location.
  5. Add hose clamps to both sides of the cut portion.
  6. Align your check valve with the hose and attach the hose to the barbs. Make sure the arrows (showing flow) are pointing towards your ball lock.
  7. Tighten the hose clamps over the barbs.
  8. Test for flow and check for leaks.

Step 10: Optional: Secure the CO2 Tank

Picture of Optional: Secure the CO2 Tank

I live in a high earthquake area, and was wanting to make sure my CO2 never fell over and broke. To do this, I added a simple system; a ratchet strap and ratchet strap brace. To install I screwed the brace into my cabinet, thread the ratchet strap through, and tightened it to my CO2 tank. Nothing fancy, but it has done its job and the tank has not fallen over.

Comments

Zaacharia (author)2017-10-04

In step 7 substep 7 - I shake regular side up and turn the tank off and shake some more to see if carbonation is maxed out. Sorry, I seem to be a little OCD today. Your 'structible is wonderful and I am going to go back over my system using it.

Home Brew 350 (author)Zaacharia2017-10-05

I've done it a few ways myself. When I did it the way you're describing, I could never get a consistent carbonation. However, I think your method would save a bit of CO2, though I'm not terrible worried.

Zaacharia (author)Home Brew 3502017-11-27

I apologize for not making myself clear. When I shut the valve and shake some more it is to check that it is at the pressure I want. So, if I shake it and there is no change in the gauges, then I have the bottle at the pressure I want. Sometimes, when I shut the valve and the bottle is not fully charged I will notice that the input valve will lose pressure as it fully pressurizes - output valve will remain at the 60 psi that I typically use. If the input valve/meter goes to zero, then the output valve/meter will then begin to drop.

The point of shaking the bottle with the valve shut is to ensure that the CO2 pressure is what I want (which is a little less messy than turning the bottle upside down and shaking it).

Zaacharia made it! (author)2017-10-04

I wish I had read your article before I built mine! I bought a 20 # tank and it takes me about 2 years to use it up and it is too big to fit under the counter, sigh. Besides all the other savings there us also savings in resources (reusing already purchased) and transportation. I spent 8 days in a cabin in the mountains and I went through 3 or 4 12 packs of sparkling water. I decided to build my setup when I realized I was going through a case or 2 a week of Talking Rain (really good stuff).

***WARNING***

Do not reuse glass bottles! It is the equivalent if playing with a grenade - a failure will blow glass shards every where.

Thanks for pointing out the difference in thread tape - I used the white stuff so there is always just a little bit of a leak.

Zaacharia (author)Zaacharia2017-10-04

I can't find the 'edit' button; I charge my bottles to 60 psi and have for about 7 years. I keep 4 bottles charged in the fridge and, lately, I keep filtered water in the fridge and use that when I charge. OT: Seattle has really wonderful water but the ice cubes I make with purified water are clear and city water cubes are cloudy.

Home Brew 350 (author)Zaacharia2017-10-05

Random tip on the ice cubes; boil the water before you freeze. This generally gets rid of impurities that cause clouded ice. Also makes ice molds in fancy drinks look better.

Zaacharia (author)Home Brew 3502017-11-27

Yeah but running the water through a filter is easier and I am lazy.

Home Brew 350 (author)Zaacharia2017-10-05

I agree with the reusing aspects, why I love it as well. Especially in a state that charges for plastic/glass bottle purchases.

I would also caution glass bottles, however, they can be reused. But, any minor flaw in the bottle will result in it being structurally unsound and more likely to break. I have experimented with carbonating in glass using VERY low PIS (3-5 psi) for short periods. It works, but not worth the hassle or potential explosion.

RonM148 (author)2017-11-23

I setup something similar earlier this year with a 15# CO2 tank. I batch about 6-7 2 liter plastic bottles twice a month or so. I use metal disconnects with aquarium diffusers attached by clear plastic tubing. You can visually guage how much CO2 is going into the solution by watching the bubbles come out of the diffusers.

For 2 liter bottles, I find you need to shake each bottle about 2 1/2 - 3 minutes to get max carbonation (where bubbles no longer are coming out of diffusers). I made the task of shaking easier by using my reciprocal saw. Using duct tape, I taped a blade to the bottom half of a 2 liter bottle. The bottom half needs to be split in order for the full bottles to fit snugly. The entire setup is in a vice. One hand operates the saw and the other holds the bottle of water in place. Works great.

38ren (author)2017-09-22

Welcome to the world of being an Instructables author :) I just want to tell you that I enjoyed your instructable a lot, and especially like how clear the steps and parts list were, the fact that you added the prices of the parts, and the part you weighed the diy vs the store bought systems! Thanks for sharing

Home Brew 350 (author)38ren2017-10-05

Thank you. I enjoy making sure people can follow step by step; though I suggest everyone do a bit of research on there own to find the setup that works for them.

grannyjones (author)2017-09-09

My beef with Sodastream is that they have hardly any diet flavors of syrup left--oh, well, time to DIY.

grannyjones (author)2017-09-09

My husband has refilled SodaStream bottles with broken up (and weighed) dry ice. The bottle is stored in a secure outbuilding for a couple of hours for safety. Dry ice costs around a buck or so a pound in a 5 lb block.

cprmichael (author)2017-08-11

Does anyone have experience using the little CO2 cylinders from paintball guns? They're nice and tiny, and from what I understand they're meant to be refilled by the user from a larger (20#) tank. I'm thinking they'd be great for when I want to take one of my cornelius kegs out to an event and dispense beverages.

KellyCraig (author)2017-08-08

Love the edit feature [end the "no I don't font].

KellyCraig (author)2017-08-07

I've been using my system for two or three years now and it, certainly, stomps all over a Soda Stream, which we had, but found to be expensive and too limited in both capacity and uses.

I use a 20# tank and I can either swap or refill my tank at the "local" gas supply house about an hour away (we have to travel for shopping anyway). Swaps run me $11.00.

I discussed the food quality issue with the supplier and they supply medical grade an welding grade from the same supply.

_______________________________

I'll have to give the double charge a try. I charge at around 45 psi. Thanks for sharing the experiment.

I have very good luck storing my bottles. I buy two liter charged water bottles and just swap them out. At about a buck a bottle, I swap them a couple times a year (6ea) and I'm still saving hundreds over Soda Stream.

Of course, as you point out, I can "sparkle" apple juice or cider, wine or whatever too.

Thanks

mtnredhed (author)KellyCraig2017-08-08

This is EXACTLY my experience too. I think my recharge costs are higher for a 20, but it's still a small fraction of the SS costs. I also charge @ 45 and shake with the hose connected. I'm using the blue plastic "carba" caps.

KellyCraig (author)mtnredhed2017-08-08

I've thought about a slowed down version of a paint shaker, as I stand out in my shop shaking bottles.

I, also, am use the plastic carba caps for charging and they work fine. Of course, I just re-install the stock cheap caps for storing charged bottles (need to remember to keep them, since they fit over a woodworking F clamp.

Home Brew 350 (author)mtnredhed2017-08-08

How do you like the Carba Cap? I've heard that they are more likely to not seal well against the bottle. The stainless steel one has an amazing seal on the bottle, but the seal can sometimes faulter between the ball lock and attachment (especially when shaking)

Home Brew 350 (author)KellyCraig2017-08-07

Glad to hear someone else's system has been going strong for a while, ours is only a few months old at this point. The price point for your refill seems to be more realistic than mine, California is a bit more expensive in everything it seems. Do you have problems transporting the 20# tank?

KellyCraig (author)Home Brew 3502017-08-07

I didn't worry much about swapping tanks, since I picked mine up, with gauges and an aquarium injector, for five bucks. It might be more to get the same tank back, and I might have to wait, or come back on another day.

I'm of old fart status ("they" say), but the tank poses no problem for me or the car. I do try to secure it well, if only because it would make an impressive missile.

I know I'm guaranteed 500 charges, but it may be higher (e.g., 700).

dalesql (author)2017-08-08

I did a very similar system myself a few years ago. Wrote the instructable on it also. Alas my system was destroyed in a house fire last year, and the surviving pieces and parts are probably only good for scrap metal now. Once the house is rebuilt, rebuilding my seltzer system is definitely on the list. Seriously considering putting in a permanent seltzer tap in the kitchen somehow. Maybe piping carbonated water in via the regular icemaker and water dispenser line? Have to be sure there are no brass or copper components in the fridge water lines though.

https://www.instructables.com/id/Seltzer-water-for...

The only thing I'd really change is for the check valve not to be made from brass. Use plastic or stainless steel instead. Carbonated water is a weak acid, and it will leach the copper out of brass if left in contact. The copper is a toxin, and will be readily absorbed into the body if dissolved in seltzer. This is not an issue with beer.

Home Brew 350 (author)dalesql2017-08-08

Sorry to hear about the fire. I did actually look at your Instructable while doing some research, excited you took the time out to view mine. I think the set up before would be perfect for a dedicated line. Store the keg in a mini fridge (and CO2 if there is room) and run a tap line up to your sink, counter, or right off the fridge. Guess the final set up would depend a lot on your situation.


I agree, and likely something I should have mentioned. For my system, there is now very little back flow into the hose (developed a better system of removing the ball lock), and I clean the hose and dry it every once in a while. Something like this (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XK2C13R?psc=1) would probably work well (and is cheaper), though I didn't find that at the time.

carlos66ba (author)2017-08-04

Nice instructable. I built a similar system to use with siphons (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soda_syphon) but I am having trouble getting my cylinder recharged. A welding place here does a horrible job and is only able to put ca. 2 lbs on a tank that should hold 10 lbs (due to incompetence...). I have stopped using it as I can't find a good refill.

ata1anta (author)carlos66ba2017-08-08

carlos66ba - I'd love to hear about your soda siphon set up. I have some siphons that I would love to be able to use with a tank rather than a cartridge.

carlos66ba (author)ata1anta2017-08-08

Well, it was one of these metal siphons meant to be used with the disposable CO2 cartridges. I bought a 10 lbs tank and regulator (I use about 100 psi) and a rubberized cone to inject CO2 in the place the cartridge goes. Alternatively, perhaps with the "non refillable" siphons perhaps one can use the spout to inject the CO2 (opening the valve to let the gas in).

jaysonc16 (author)carlos66ba2017-08-08

Try to find a "Fire safety services" kind of place.

Home Brew 350 (author)carlos66ba2017-08-04

I'm not sure where your located, but I would look for home brew stores or restaurant supplier. If you can't find them via google, ask your favorite restaurant how they get there tanks refilled.

My local home brew store is the only one place within 20 min drive that can do it. They have a relatively small tank (probably 100-150 lb), so they won't do tanks over 10 lbs unless you call ahead.

carlos66ba (author)Home Brew 3502017-08-04

Thanks! I will try.

mtnredhed (author)2017-08-08

I did this a few years ago after figuring out the real costs of the counter top units. I bought a 20# tank and get refills at a fire extinguisher company. CO2 is CO2, there's no "food" grade that I'm aware off. Swap may actually be better for some folks if you can't get local refills. I even have the nylon webbing thing to hold the tank too.

thanrose (author)2017-08-08

Gotta love homebrewers for the detail and rationale. Over generalized of course, but the author and the commenters are to be commended. Critical thinking for the win.

Home Brew 350 (author)thanrose2017-08-08

Just for my reference (and future posts), what was an "over generalization" that you found in my instructable. I'd love to improve it if you have suggestions.

thanrose (author)Home Brew 3502017-08-08

Oh, so sorry! Twas my overgeneralization of all homebrewers as being explicit in instructions. Many are but some aren't. Your 'ible was fantastic and I voted for you.

csmolka (author)2017-08-08

Your refill price is cheap. $28 here for a 5# tank swap at Roberts Oxygen, a welding supply

OutofPatience (author)2017-08-08

Very thorough and useful "ible"...thanks!

ndjalva (author)2017-08-08

A fire extinguisher mount might be better.

it is Ball Cock not ball lock ... unless you live PC

jaysonc16 (author)ndjalva2017-08-08

In home brewing it is common to use two types of Cornelius kegs, pin lock and ball lock. This is a ball lock fitting.

http://www.beveragefactory.com/draftbeer/couplers/homebrew/BLCP-CS.shtml?catargetid=320012430000341477&cadevice=c&gclid=Cj0KCQjwwqXMBRCDARIsAD-AQ2h6j_6JF070B8HraAB248ZM_9AEPmdRDmt9eDYc_buwmcw1w9bwHtkaAtIsEALw_wcB

Home Brew 350 made it! (author)ndjalva2017-08-08

Yes it would be better, however, I could not find one that fit my tank that was within a reasonable price range. If I keep this set up, I may consider investing.

Not to be too contradictory, but it can be called either ball cock or ball lock. The official amazon listing (pictured), calls it a ball lock as is true of many of the home brew supply stores and pages.

playa dunk (author)2017-08-08

Easier/cheaper way to go is to drill a cap from a PET bottle, then pull a tubeless tire valve into the hole in the cap. Then use a tire chuck on a CO2 regulator to carbonate the water.

Keep the pressure well below 100 PSI to reduce the risk of bottle explosion.

Home Brew 350 (author)playa dunk2017-08-08

Yes, there are many instructables on how to make a DIY carbonation cap using a tire valve. However, I am planning on using this system in the future for kegging/draft system, so wanted to go with the ball lock system.

I am using the tire valve type set up in another system I will hopefully have on Instructables soon.

SerjNSK made it! (author)2017-08-08

Hi! I have absolutely the same system of carbonization. The cost turned out $45. Tank, gas pressure regulator and hose I bought offline. The stainless steel lid and quick-release valve bought on aliexpress. Tank capacity of 5 litres of gas in it about 3 kilograms. The refill bottle costs $3,5. Very cheap, right? Three months I carbonzero make homemade beer and sodas. Confirm, the pipe system is very easy to use at home. Russia, Novosibirsk.

Home Brew 350 (author)SerjNSK2017-08-08

Glad you were able to find stuff so cheap. It can definitely be made cheaper, but I wanted my stuff quickly (I really hate waiting), so everything was purchased off amazon or locally. I probably could have found a used tank for a better price, but I wanted assurance I would have no issues for years to come.

cagstorm (author)2017-08-08

A bit of advice on your connections, from a guy who's been homebrewing for 15 years and kegging for 5 years.
The Teflon tape is not needed on the valve threads. That plastic washer in (shown in the regulator) is all the seal you will need. Teflon tape really isn't a "sealant" tape anyway, it's a thread lubricant. On the ball lock fitting you should use a nylon flare washer instead of Teflon tape. These should be available at your local homebrew supply shop.

Home Brew 350 (author)cagstorm2017-08-08

I appreciate the advice, and I will look into adding a nylon flare to the ball lock.The tape I am using is a sealant, its made specifically for gas applications. I'm not sure if the tape you referring too is the normal Teflon tape mostly used in a liquid applications, or some other tape that isn't designed for sealing.

Different colors of tape for different operations UBC, (Building Code) like PVC cement. Makes it easy for inspectors. Otherwise, teflon tape is teflon tape. It's a lubricant not a sealer regardless of color. Think pipe dope - it's all about easily getting the tapered threads together as far as they go. TT is not used on straight (normal) threads. Straight threads use washers, 'O' rings, flairs and ferrul

ata1anta (author)2017-08-08

I have a similar set up that I made over 5 years ago. We have a kegerator and I wanted to carbonate my own seltzer. BF told me that I couldn't use the spare 5lb tank so I hit craigslist and scored a 20lb tank, regulars, and stuff for $70. I started with the stainless steel carbonator top then switched it out for one with a barb and the ability to switch between gas in and gas out. So my system gasses the liquid from the bottom up (minimizes the need to shake) then I switch sankeys and can then dispense without ever opening the bottle.

chingada (author)2017-08-08

nice , will give a try on this one that's the water I drink to keep control of stomach acids

mjbird (author)2017-08-07

I arrived at the same conclusion as you when I started looking at carbonization. My wife found a sodastream unit for $15, so I researched it, and found a bunch of videos on alternatives. I have an almost setup as you. I tried the plastic cap, and it leaks. I prefer the steel one. I thought the fitting wasn't so good, but I discovered that you have to push it a little bit to get it centered, then push the rest of the way to lock it.

I don't leave it attached while shaking. I pump the bottle up, then disconnect the hose, and shake things around. It's really cool to have the bottle shrink under my hand while the CO2 enters the water. Then I re-pressurize and do it some more. The colder the water the better.

Swansong (author)2017-08-04

That's a neat setup! That would be fun to have one of these installed for our game nights. :)

Home Brew 350 (author)Swansong2017-08-04

I agree, it is great for parties! Let people make their own homemade fizzy drinks or carbonate a pony keg the right way (so it won't go flat). Once you've gotten the parts (don't you just hate the wait?) it only takes 10-15 minutes to set up.

About This Instructable

7,796views

136favorites

License:

Bio: PhD Student and Home Brewer. Think your place is to small to brew? I currently home brew in a 350 sq ft apartment that also ... More »
More by Home Brew 350:Home Carbonation System for Water, Beer, and More
Add instructable to: