How To Install A Soda Fountain In Your Own Home

by Matthew J.X. Malady

People are always saying things on the Internet all the time. But they are such teases. We like details. So we have to ask.

TODAY IS THE DAY we install the soda fountain. Soon I will be sipping cold Diet Coke or else surveying the smoking ruins of my house

— Dan Kois (@dankois) September 9, 2013

Dan! So what happened here?
We recently finished a kitchen renovation and are on the last step: Installing a three-flavor soda fountain that I purchased from a company on the internet. My contractor, who hates me, came over yesterday afternoon and together we spent several hours staring at instructions, wielding clamps and crimpers and tubes, and staring at instructions some more, figuring out how to install the thing. There is a CO2 regulator, a steel canister of CO2, three enormous boxes of soda syrup, three flavor pumps, yards of tubing and wiring, brixing test devices, a water filter, and a water pressure regulator, in addition to the machine itself, which sits atop our counter, filled with refrigerator coils and pumps and wiring.

We are getting it because we love Diet Coke. It is what we drink instead of coffee. Actually, it is what we drink instead of coffee, orange juice, milk, water, tea, beer, cocktails, and wine. We drink a lot of it. But Diet Coke indisputably tastes better from a soda fountain than it does from a can or bottle. So for years I had a crazy dream of installing a soda machine in the kitchen, and when we did this kitchen reno, I seized on the outlandish expenditure of money we were already making to tack on the soda machine as an afterthought, the way a $25 million monkey-sex research study doesn’t seem so outlandish when included in a $81 billion defense bill.

I ordered the machine from a guy in California who seems to just make these machines at home. I ordered the soda syrup from Sam’s Club online. I got the CO2 from a local homebrew supply store.

Is this installation process as dangerous as your tweet made it sound, and, if so, is it safe to assume that your hatred for Diet Coke from a bottle is so great as to justify that risk? What’s so terrible about store-bought soda?

Probably not. The CO2 tank comes with a LOT of warning stickers and labels, but most likely the tank won’t explode. The real threat of combustion comes from the working relationship between our contractor and me, which always feels like it’s right on the edge of disaster. We both drive each other crazy. I think he is the unreasonable, enraging, intractable one, and I assume he feels the same way about me.


The real problem isn’t with Diet Coke in bottles (which is OK) as with the false promise of the SodaStream, which gives you awesome fizzy water but cannot replicate Diet Coke. The fake Diet Coke SodaStream syrup is just wrong. So then we had this thing in our house which ALMOST made fountain Diet Coke, but did it just wrong enough that it was undrinkable. So then I was angry that it was 2013 and this simple thing that ought to be a basic human right was not available to me. So I took to the internet.

Lesson learned (if any)?

Patience! After several hours of work yesterday, we still do not have a working Diet Coke fountain in our kitchen. But things are getting closer. We need to detach the water pressure regulator and water filter and switch the order they run on the water line, and my contractor is in the middle of an epic quest to find just the right nozzle to attach the machine to the water line his plumber ran directly to the spot of the machine. It’s good we’re getting some time away from each other.

Just one more thing.
Diet Coke should be a public utility. There should be lines running to every neighborhood in America, and it should be pumped directly into your house, like water or pornography. GET ON IT OBAMA.

Matthew J. X. Malady is a writer and editor in New York.