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Why You Should Never Use DIY Carbonators with Your SpärkelUpdated 9 months ago

Spärkel, we share our customer’s desire for quality carbonation, saving money and the environment. However, it has come to our attention that a small number of our Spärkel users have been making DIY carbonators with ingredients commonly available in homes and grocery stores. While this may seem to work, it will lead to system problems and personal safety concerns.

Why You Should Not Use DIY Carbonators:

  • Using Carbonator Ingredients Other Than Spärkel Carbonators Will Damage Your System and Reduce Carbonation Quality
  • They Can Cause Safety Risks Due to Overpressurization and Residue Buildup
  • The Use of Non-Spärkel Carbonators Will Void Your One-Year Warranty

Spärkel Carbonators are developed and designed for consistent CO2 gas creation and carbonation every time. By not using carbonator inputs that are designed for the Spärkel System, DIY carbonators cause overpressurization and clogging in your system resulting in system damage and safety issues. 

About Spärkel’s Dual Layer Safety System & Warranty Invalidation

DIY carbonators can compromise Spärkel’s Safety System that is designed to avoid system over-pressurization.

  • Pressure Safety Valve: This valve is designed to release excess system pressure above 80psi, sometimes silently and sometimes with a “hissing” or “honking” noise. This sound can be surprising, but is simply the valve doing its job properly.
  • Compressible Stopper: Found in the top lid, Spärkel’s stopper is designed to compress in response to increased pressure in the system for a second layer of safety protection. If excess pressure builds in the carbonation chamber, at approximately 90-100psi the stopper will compress and suddenly release some pressure and possibly material from the chamber. At this point, you may hear gas and possibly see liquid exit from under your top lid. This occurring indicates there is clogging or blockage in the chamber due to the use of DIY carbonators. The chamber will need to be cleaned thoroughly and only Spärkel Carbonators should be used in the future. This will not happen with normal operation using approved Spärkel Carbonators.
  • System Quality, Durability and Non-Operation: If over-pressurization occurs, the system will be stressed beyond design specifications. As a result, the unit will experience reduced appliance life expectancy. Also, as the appliance seals and connection points decline in effectiveness or fail, this will reduce carbonation quality or result in system non-operation. For this reason, the use of non-Spärkel Carbonators immediately voids the one-year replacement warranty included with your Spärkel System purchase. The system was specifically designed to be used with Spärkel Carbonators.

Spärkel Carbonators are Custom Designed for Use with the Spärkel System:

Sodium Bicarbonate and Granulation (Sachet “B”):  Spärkel Carbonators use a very specific granulation of Sodium Bicarbonate. The Sodium Bicarbonate (baking soda) commonly found in stores is a fine powdery granulation versus the Sodium Bicarbonate used in Spärkel Carbonators. The difference between the two may not be noticeable to the eye, but has a significant impact (see video below). The use of bulk powdery Sodium Bicarbonate will cause buildup in the bottom of the carbonation chamber over time and tubing blockages. This will result in over-pressurization of the system, reduction in system durability and carbonation quality as well as possible safety concerns. 

Citric Acid and Concentration (Sachet “A”): Spärkel Systems are designed to generate a very specific amount of CO2 by dissolving a precise quantity of Citric Acid and Sodium Bicarbonate in the carbonation chamber. A variation in the concentration or quantity of either ingredient, or the ratio between the two ingredients will have a material impact on the pressure generated in the system. Even a slight imbalance of the two ingredients can lead to overpressurization of the system and the issues listed earlier.  

DIY carbonators using the incorrect concentration, granulation and quantities will result in:

  • Unexpected top lid pressure release
  • Residue resulting in components becoming gummy, sticky and breaking
  • Blockages of tubing necessary for proper gas transfer and pressure circulation
  • Reduction in system durability and carbonation quality

Side by Side Comparison of Sodium Bicarbonate:

What If I Have Already Used DIY Carbonators With My Spärkel System?

If you have already used bulk ingredients, please stop using DIY carbonators immediately and follow these cleaning steps to help maintain your system and reduce personal safety issues moving forward. While this is not guaranteed to resolve any long-term issues, it will give your Spärkel System a better chance of continued operation and reduce any possible safety concerns.

If you have any comments or questions regarding DIY carbonators, we would love to hear from you! Reach out to us at [email protected].

FAQs About Carbonator Alternatives:

Q. Why doesn’t Spärkel not offer a bulk Carbonator option to cut down on waste?

A. Spärkel Carbonators are individually packaged and sealed for precise measurement and to keep moisture away from the carbonator. Even a very small variation in quantity will impact the quantity of pressure generated. It would be impossible to get an accurate measurement every time with a scoop as the quantities required are precise. Over time, even small amounts of extra or imbalanced ingredients can lead to the system building additional pressure and residue, which will damage the Spärkel System over time and cause safety hazards. 

Q. Why are Spärkel Carbonators made of plastic?

A. After months of research and testing, our engineering team was able to make the sachet out of a single polypropylene plastic, which carries the recycling symbol #5, a commonly accepted recycling category. The sachets were made with as little material as possible with each carbonator using only 0.8g gram of recyclable plastic. This is compared to approximately 30 grams of plastic used in each plastic sparkling water bottle.

Q. What if my local recycling program doesn’t accept recycling symbol #5?

A. Number 5 plastics can be recycled through many curb side programs. If your area does not accept #5 plastics, please contact your local waste & recycling facility or visit the links below to learn more:



Plastic Film Recycling Directory

Recycle Nation


BC: Recycle BC 

NL: rethinkwaste 

NS: Scotia Recycling Limited

SK: SaskAbilities

AB, ON, MB, NB, NT, NU, PE, QC, YT : Please check with your local recycling facility.


Q. Why can’t Spärkel make their Carbonators out of paper?

A. Unfortunately any sort of moisture is not a friend of Citric Acid and Sodium Bicarbonate. If the Carbonators are exposed to any moisture or allowed to cross-react across permeable barriers (like paper), they will decline in effectiveness.

Q. Why doesn’t Spärkel use compostable or biodegradable packaging?

A. We are in the process of researching & developing options that would allow our Carbonators to be packaged without plastic. Issues sourcing viable and truly biodegradable solutions and varying local regulations make compostable and biodegradable packaging tricky, but we are taking steps toward a zero-waste solution in the future.

Q. What’s the environmental footprint of Spärkel Carbonators?

A. Our Carbonators are made of a thin polypropylene and carry recycling symbol #5, a commonly accepted recycling category. Only 0.8g of plastic goes into each Spärkel Carbonator, compared to approximately 30 grams of plastic used in each plastic sparkling water bottle. In other words, 37.5 bottles made with Spärkel use the same amount of plastic as one traditional sparkling water bottle. This is in addition to the environmental benefits of not shipping cases of water across regions or requiring two-way shipping to exchange CO2 tanks. 

Q. Why not lower the price of Spärkel Carbonators?

A. We recently reduced the price of our Carbonators thanks to the support of our growing community enabling our production volume to increase. Greater volume equals bigger savings that will be passed on to our customers. We will continue to work to make Spärkel as accessible as we can! Don’t forget you can subscribe and save on Spärkel’s Carbonator Subscription Program with discounts according to your timeline.

If you have any comments or questions regarding DIY carbonators, we would love to hear from you! Reach out to us at [email protected].

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