Making Sparkling Water

Soda Stream One Touch

My family does not consume much for soft drinks. But they do drink a great deal of sparkling water. We have been through all of the brands such as La Croix, Bubly, Waterloo, Perrier, and of course Pellegrino. It seemed we were in a constant cycle of buying more water and recycling cans. Would it be more convenient and cost effective for me to make sparkling water?

Store bought sparkling water brands
Typical Sparkling Water Brands

Cost of drinking store bought sparkling water

First lets breakdown the cost of drinking sparkling water to begin with. I am sure everyone’s consumption rate is different but I took a very conservative average and made the assumption that my family of four is consuming about one case (24 x 12oz cans) every week. The kids would certainly drink more but we only buy a few cases every week.

BrandPrice/Case (average)Cost of Consumption / Year
La Croix$18.88$1,040.00
Bubly$8.88$461.00
Waterloo$25$1,300.00
Perrier$15$780.00
Pellegrino$17$884.00
Average Cost of Sparkling water (2020)

First of all, this is a bit of an inflated estimate as it assumes a constant consumption rate of one case per week. I would say that you could shave off about 20% to get a more accurate number. Now keep in mind, we don’t drink soft drinks so this is kind of the “go to” refreshment at dinner time and throughout the day. That being said… WOW, that is some silly money for water not to mention all of the cans that had to go to recycling!

Why not just drink the tap water?

We do drink a lot of tap water. We have hard water where I live so we have an all house water softener but we intentionally do not soften the drinking water. Instead, we use a combination of reverse osmosis water filtration system and UV filtration on the drinking water. The reverse osmosis system intentionally leaves the minerals in the water (hard water) while doing a fantastic job filtering out the chlorine. Essentially we have gourmet mineral water coming right out of the tap!

Reverse osmosis water filtration keeps minerals in your DIY Sparkling Water while filtering out the chlorine taste
Reverse Osmosis Three Stage Filtration

So why are we drinking canned or bottled water? Sparkling water or mineral water became a kind of special treat we would let the kids have at restaurants or during air travel. Essentially, we just got hooked on it. Every meal turned into a special occasion. Well, no going back now. Time for another random project.

Cost of carbonating your own drinks

The Soda Stream products have been around for a long time. I wanted to make my own sparkling water (carbonated mineral water) so I grabbed one off of Amazon.

Soda Stream One Touch for making your own sparkling water
Soda Stream One Touch

The Soda Stream One Touch is very simple to operate so it is easy for the kids. It has three settings. If you give a kid/adult three settings, low, medium, or max carbonation. Guess which button they hit every time?

The Soda Stream comes with one or two 14 oz CO2 bottles. These bottles can be refilled at local retail stores like Bed, Bath, and Beyond. Below is my breakdown of making your own sparkling water using the supplied 14 oz CO2 cans. If we assume the exact same consumption for the canned/bottled water from above which was approximately one case of water (24 cans) per week. The table below shows how the Soda Stream (unaltered) stacks up annually.

Container
Size
Price for RefillNumber of 12oz Drinks CarbonatedCost to carbonate a 12oz drinkCost of Operation / Year
(1248 12oz Drinks)
14 oz Bottle$3.0039.5$0.08$100
Cost of operating Soda Stream Annually

The initial investment for the Soda Stream One Touch is about $150. That puts us at roughly $250 for the first year of operation and after that around $100/year for making sparkling water. This is WAY less expensive than buying canned/bottled sparkling water and we don’t have to mess with recycling cans. The big bonus is that you can carbonate all sorts of stuff like fruit juices and the kids love pressing the button to make their own drinks.

How long does the little CO2 can last?

Ok, here comes the problem. The little 14 oz can does not last very long. You can only get about 40 drinks out of a single 14 oz CO2 can before it is empty and you need to go get it refilled. That means with our assumed rate of consumption we are getting this little can filled about every three weeks or so which is a bit inconvenient.

Modified Soda Stream with mega CO2!

I didn’t want to refill the small CO2 cans every three weeks so I looked into investing just a little more in the setup for convenience which also translated into a lower annual operating cost. I purchased an 80 oz (5lbs) tank and a conversion hose from Amazon (links below). A word of caution on the hoses. You can buy a less expensive rubber hose but many have complained that the cheaper hoses either burst or gave a rubber/plastic taste to the water. I decided to invest a little more to get a higher quality stainless hose.

This increased my investment by about $140. So now we have a ~$300 sunk cost in the setup (Soda Stream + 80oz Tank + Hose).

make more sparkling water with a larger tank and hose adapter
Soda Stream + 5lbs Tank + Conversion Hose

Lets look at the breakdown for the new larger tank.

Container
Size
Price for RefillNumber of 12oz Drinks CarbonatedCost to carbonate a 12oz drinkCost of Operation / Year
(1248 12oz Drinks)
80oz (5lbs) $13.00225$0.06$74.88
Cost of operating Soda Stream with larger tank annually

Modifying the Soda Stream

The Soda Stream modification was very simple. The hose comes with a quick disconnect attached.

  1. Remove the quick disconnect from the hose
Soda Stream adapter hose with quick disconnect
Quick Disconnect Conversion Hose


2. Screw the gold threaded end into the back of the Soda Stream

Soda Stream quick disconnect adapter speeds up the refill process
Soda Stream Quick Disconnect

3. Drill a 1″ hole in either the back or bottom of the Soda Stream depending on your preferred hose routing. I knew that I would be mounting the tank in the cupboards above the Soda Stream so I made the exit hole come out of the back.

Tip on drilling the hole: Start with a small bit and drill at a very slow speed. Gradually increase the bit size until you reach the 1″ size that allows the Quick Disconnect to pass through it.

Modified Soda Stream with exit hole for the hose adapter for making sparkling water
Modified Soda Stream with Conversion Hose

4) Test for leaks – I happened to have an IR camera. I used the camera to look for extreme cold spots since a leak would cool the spot due to the venture effect. You can either listen for leaks or use soapy water around the fittings to look for bubbles.

Testing the Soda Stream with an adapter hose and larger 5 lbs CO2 tank
Testing for leaks

Mounting the tank in your kitchen

I have a large corner cupboard that is the perfect size for this tank. The mounting location makes it easy to turn off the tank or remove it for refilling. This location required me to make a small hole on the underside of the cupboard that is not easily visible. I used an adhesive zip tie attachment to control the hose routing.

CO2 tank mounted above the kitchen counter for making sparkling water
Mounted Tank in Corner Cabinet

The short hose run to the corner cabinet above isn’t visible and now we can make a lot of carbonated drinks before we need to go get another $13 refill.

Soda Stream One Touch with concealed 5 lbs CO2 tank used to make sparkling water
Finished DIY Sparkling Water with Concealed Mega CO2 Tank

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