Making Soda From Rainwater! How Frugal Can You Get?

I’ve done a great deal recently trying to cut down my expenses. LED bulbs, water saving showerhead, that kind of thing. With crypto only now beginning to rebound, I need every advantage I can get if I’m gonna be able to keep paying rent and utilities.

With that in mind, about a month ago I looked at how much I spend in a month just on soda. It’s my only vice, and I can’t quit however hard I try. But I can make it healthier and cheaper. Step one was to buy a Sodastream used for $10.

Step two, as seen above, was to never ever use the official sodastream CO2 bottles. They cost $35 upfront and then $20 for refills IIRC. I was able to buy a food grade CO2 bottle with the correct nozzle type to be refilled at any sporting goods store for $24, and an adapter I bought online for $10.

Alright, getting a little spendy. But when you consider that a CO2 refill from Dick’s Sporting Goods is $3.50 you can see how this method saves money aggressively over time compared to continual $20 refills of the official Sodastream CO2 bottles.

It’s important to find out from wherever you plan to get CO2 what the impurities profile of their CO2 is. Industrial grade can be as low as 99.0% pure. Food grade is 99.90% pure. Medical grade is 99.99% pure.

Dick’s supplies CO2 that’s 99.8% pure, which imo is close enough to food grade that the 0.1% difference doesn’t matter. The impurities are stuff like hydrogen, nitrogen and oxygen. In industrial grade CO2 there can be benzene and traces of oil vapor in there, so definitely stay away from that.

For flavoring I’m using a variety of cheapo powdered drink mixes. Kool Aid, Wyler’s, and a brand of sugar free apple cider I’ve discovered that’s quite tasty. I can’t find any traditional soda flavors like cola, dr. pepper or creme soda in powdered form, but will keep looking.

Already I’ve drastically reduced the cost of carbonated, flavored sugar water. But what if the water can be free as well? We’ve had a rainy weekend in Portland, so given that rainwater catchment is perfectly legal here (despite what you may have heard from disreputable sources a few years back) I put a water tank out with a large funnel:

Low tech but it’s a start. I collected plenty enough water for doing the dishes, and for making soda. It sort of boggles my mind that it’s actually illegal in some places to catch free water that falls from the sky. If you can use a solar panel to catch sunlight and turn it into electricity, why should it be illegal to catch rainwater?

Anyway that’s my fizzy sugar water craving taken care of as cheaply as possible, in perpetuity. Next thing I’ll be taking a serious look at is investing in a large, proper rainwater catchment system hooked up to the gutter, with filters and whatnot.

I don’t know if I can connect it to the house water supply as a renter, but I could certainly use it for watering the yard. More on that as it develops.

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