Since I was a kid, I’ve really had a thing for club soda and seltzer water, and it’s really become more of an addiction in the past few years. I just prefer to drink my water in the form of club soda. Since I am an active and athletic person I drink a lot of water; this is compounded by the fact that it’s also summertime now, so add even more water to the usual amount. Therefore, I’m going through basically about three bottles of club soda every day. And it’s getting to be a pain in the ass to pay for it all, and it is adding up.
So I got to thinking: don’t some people make seltzer water at home with some kind of special machine? I’m sure I’ve seen it on TV and I recall seeing it in someone’s house too. It looks like a bottle with some sort of nozzle on top; you put in regular water and carbonated water comes out.
Would it be more economical to buy one of those machines and make it at home? And how much do they cost anyway?
O.K., as might have been expected, Q.E.D. bangs out an answer while I’m figuring out how to use the reply function. Nothing to add, except that if you do buy one of these things, make sure it’s brand-new. Some are impossible to thoroughly clean if they haven’t been maintained and crud has been allowed to develop. Now I go back to amusing myself with the story of P., whose expensive seltzer habit threatened to destroy his life, until a friend intervened…
The Soda Club is what my parents have - they think it is Og’s gift as mom has a crazy seltzer addiction, too. They went to one of those giant home shows where they show all the new gadgets for your home and were able to purchase it at the show price of $79.
The solution QED pointed out will work just fine, but it makes smallish quantities. For not much more, I would by a CO2 tank and buy soda kegs from a distributor. You can buy 5 gallon soda kegs for usually less than $15. Restaurant supplies usually have used soda faucets and stuff for cheap. The advantage is you can have gallons of club soda or seltzer on tap. In addition, you could pick up kegs of your favorite soda (pepsi, coke, etc). and serve whatever you wanted fairly economically (and as a side benifit, generate much less waste of aluminum cans and plastic bottles).
I’m a homebrewer…may I suggest RCB for 5 gallon kegs and needed gadgets (regulators etc…)
Your best place to get a CO2 tank is from an outfit that sells and refills fire extinguishers. Look in the phonebook. You want a CO2 tank for carbonic uses (tell them what you’re planning to use it for)
Yeah, I think the device that the OP half-remembers is a soda syphon (also used extensively in slapstick routines as a sort of high-brow squirt gun.) If you’re just planning to use it to make sparkling water, it’s definitely a better deal than the Soda Club and has the advantage of having no moving parts (I’m not altogether familiar with the Soda Club, but it looks like it’s an electric appliance.)
My parents have a soda syphon, which they’ve had for nigh-on ten years now with no problems. It works as follows: you fill the bottle with water and screw the lid on. There’s a small gadget that holds a canister of compressed CO[sub]2[/sub] (sold separately) that you screw in a special valve on the side of the lid; the CO[sub]2[/sub] then expands into the water & carbonates it. As an added bonus, you get to observe what happens when a gas adiabatically expands, and the canister makes a satisfying little bang when you remove it from the valve.
The disavantage is that you have to find a place that sells the little CO[sub]2[/sub] canisters required for each batch, but that role can be filled by any kitchen-supply store worth its salt, as well as many department stores.
Searching a little found this site (scroll down about a third of the way, or search on “8 grams”), which implies that standard paintball cartridges are too large (12 grams vs. 8 grams), and that some of them contain a lubricating oil that you probably don’t want in your seltzer. Aside from that, there’s also the issue that the paintball gas is probably not “food-grade” — but I won’t tell the FDA if you won’t.
All told, you’re probably better off with the real thing.
Good gravy, how much seltzer are you drinking? I love the stuff and I pick up a couple of 24-packs of aluminum cans at Safeway for a couple of bucks each all the time. Cans go into the recycling. It’s the same price as their store-brand soda (that is, CHEAP).
I’m sure it’s cheaper in the long run to get a CO2 tank and make your own but it seems to me to be on the same scale as making your own sponges or something.
the paintball co2 cartridges may not have the same threads as the soda siphon cartridges.
i will echo the suggestion that you check with a fire extinguisher company for your co2 needs.
the fire alarm/fire extinguisher company i work for sells co2 cylinders for home beer taps and the like for pretty reasonable prices, and recharging them is pretty cheap also.
mike s discussed the 8 grams verses 12 grams question. we sell cylinders from 2 1/2 pound up to 100 pound capacity. that would fill alot of soda water containers ;o)
I’m a little confused. Club soda and seltzer (a.k.a soda water) are not the same thing. Seltzer/soda water are simply carbonated water, although the term has been perverted lately by brands which sell them with a small amount of flavouring included. Club soda contains quinine, salt, and a very significant amount of sugar - it’s essentially a strangely-flavoured soft drink. Which one of these are you looking for?
There’s a brand of seltzer called “vintage” that sells one-liter bottles for under 50 cents. However, if you want a serious supply I would also recommend picking up a restaurant-supply soda machine. Some come with built-in cooling.