Those who go through lots of carbonated beverages with their SodaStream every week will run out of gas sooner or later. It can be extremely helpful to know when it’s time to change out your empty carbonating cylinder for a fresh one. After all, your SodaStream commonly underperforms because it’s either out of gas, running low and not necessarily because it’s broken.
So how do you know when your SodaStream is empty?
There are 10 major signs that you can keep an eye or ear out for. Remembering all of these will help you determine if your SodaStream needs a fresh CO2 cylinder.
Many of the easiest ways to tell that your soda maker is empty rely on experimenting with the buttons. You’ll watch how those buttons operate when you try to initiate the carbonation process. The buttons of any soda maker are designed to operate in specific ways. They’ll normally bounce back or make a certain sound when you press down on them. If they behave oddly, it’s usually a sign that the CO2 cylinder doesn’t have enough gas to do the job.
Alternatively, you’ll also want to pay attention to the stream of bubbles emitted by your soda maker and the telltale sounds that come with proper carbonating action. Everyone knows the iconic “hiss” sound that escaping CO2 makes. This hiss is supposed to show up multiple times in the course of your soda maker’s operation. If there isn’t any sound, things are definitely going wrong. On the flip side, you might hear some sounds that don’t belong, such as a sputter that is indicative of a nearly empty canister.
In addition, you should also learn how to weigh your CO2 cylinder so you can determine for yourself how much CO2 gas remains inside.
This is a foolproof way to know if your SodaStream is empty.
Beyond that, being able to measure the weight of your CO2 carbonating cylinders can let you keep an eye on their overall capacity and help you know when it’s time to order some fresh supplies.
No Gas Going into the Bottle of Water
By far, the easiest way to tell that your soda maker is out of compressed CO2 gas is to watch your water bottle and make sure that a steady stream of bubbles is being injected. If there’s no gas entering the bottle of water, chances are that your carbonating cylinder is out of gas.
You should still check the rest of the soda maker to ensure that there are no operating issues, however. For starters, listen to the machine and see if you can hear a hum or any other sign of activity. An active soda maker is trying to push carbonated gas into your water bottle. If there are no bubbles, then the fault is with the empty cylinder and not the machine.
But if you know that your carbonating cylinder still has plenty of gas and you still aren’t seeing any bubbles erupting in your bottle of water, then there might be a different technical issue at play, and you’ll need to do some more investigation.
Some additional tips direct from SodaStream themselves
Button Doesn’t Make a Sound
The exact buttons on your SodaStream will vary from model to model, but regardless of which model you own each button should make a humming or clicking sound when you initialize the carbonating process. If your button doesn’t make any sound at all, it may be a sign that your carbonating cylinder is out of gas.
If your soda maker has multiple buttons for multiple carbonation settings, you should try each of them before determining that your SodaStream is empty. This can help you narrow down whether or not the problem is with a single button or with the carbonating cylinder at the back of the machine.
However, if other buttons managed to produce gas from your cylinder, you know for sure that the issue is only with the single button you tried before. This might lead to some technical maintenance or replacement of the soda maker depending on how bad the issue actually is.
For Electric Machines: Buttons Don’t Work
Electrical soda maker models are a little more complicated than their non-electric counterparts. This is because they have gas infusing processes that don’t solely rely on opening the pressurized carbonating cylinder valve to drive CO2 gas into your bottle of water.
You should always try several buttons before deciding that you’re out of CO2 gas. But if none of your buttons work, it’s a surefire sign that you need a new carbonating cylinder.
If some of the buttons work and some do not, it’s probably an issue with one or two of the buttons or with some electrical component at the top of the soda maker machine. For select models, it may be as simple as replacing the battery for the control panel at the top of the machine. Others may have deeper wiring trouble that requires some expert assistance or the purchasing of a new soda maker entirely.
You Can’t Hear the Sound of Gas
Any soda maker that is properly filling your bottle of water with fresh CO2 gas should be emitting a light hissing sound. This sound of “escaping gas” is actually a good sign that things are working as intended. You don’t want a purely silent soda maker, as this means that no CO2 gas is moving from place to place and no carbonating process is happening.
This light hiss is distinct from the actual sound of leaking CO2, however. A CO2 leak will sound a lot louder and you’ll be able to feel the pressurized gas to escape in the form of a light breeze near your finger when you hold your hand near the CO2 cylinder. If you can hear hissing but you don’t see CO2 gas entering your water bottle, you can test whether or not you have a leak in a simple way.
Simply open the back of your soda maker and hold your hand near the CO2 release valve at the top of the cylinder. Push one of the carbonating buttons to start the carbonation process and wait to see if you feel the telltale sign of escaping CO2. If you do feel some gas escaping, try a new gas bottle to see if the problem is with your soda maker release valve or with just a single bottle. If you’re lucky, the issue will just be with the bottle. It’s cheaper to replace the cylinder than it is to replace the whole SodaStream machine.
If you can’t hear a hiss at all, of course, it’s a good sign that your cylinder is empty, and you should try a fresh one. If you continue to not hear any hiss at all, even when you’ve installed a fresh CO2 cylinder, the problem is likely with your machine and you’ll need to turn it in for maintenance or perform your own repairs.
No Immediate Hiss
In addition to the above audio cue, there’s an immediate sign you can pay attention to when inserting a carbonating CO2 cylinder. As you twist the carbonating cylinder into the valve of your soda maker, you should hear a sharp hiss that is reminiscent of the sound you hear when you open a fresh can of soda.
This is the immediate escape of very small amounts of CO2.
It’s an inevitable reaction as the valve opens the pressurized environment of the carbonating cylinder and forms a tight seal between the cylinder and the soda maker tube that leads to your water bottle. If you don’t hear a hiss of any kind when you first install a new CO2 cylinder, it may be because that cylinder doesn’t have enough or any CO2 gas.
If it’s a fresh cylinder, double-check its exterior for any possible leaks or fractures. You may have also accidentally been shipped an empty cylinder by mistake. If this is the case, you can always turn the empty cylinder in for a fresh one at a local store or the SodaStream website.
Unopened cylinders are easy to detect because of their caps.
Carbonating Button Stays Down
This sign is only applicable to certain SodaStream models, like the Fizzi OneTouch. If you push your carbonating button and it remains down instead of popping back into place, the machine is trying to tell you that you need to replace the CO2 cylinder as it is out of gas.
This is due to the simplistic design of these soda maker machines. Rather than rely on electricity to control the valve opening and closing process, the Fizzi and Fizzi OneTouch machines rely on mechanical power provided by your finger to open the carbonating cylinder valve. If the button remains down, the process didn’t complete since the machine didn’t detect any CO2 gas moving from cylinder to water bottle.
However, you may occasionally run into a problem where the carbonating cylinder remains down despite being able to hear the telltale hiss of CO2 transferring from place to place. In this case, try to push down on the button again to cause it to pop back into place. Be aware that you may need to clean the button or work out some dirt and debris from its edges.
The starter carbonation button for these soda makers is just like any other and can be blocked by debris getting into the spring system beneath the cap. Using a little oil or rubbing alcohol on the button is a great way to clean this control without breaking things. Use a Q-tip or a similar tool to rub the cleaning oil or alcohol into the button. Be careful if you decide to take the button off the machine entirely, as it can be difficult to put it back into place securely.
The correct sound you should hear when carbonation is taking place properly is a single, unbroken hiss. If your soda maker instead sounds like it’s gargling or sputtering, this is a good sign that your carbonating cylinder is just about to run out of CO2.
The soda maker is trying to draw out the last dregs of CO2 gas and infuse them into your bottle of water before that gas escapes from the release valve.
The sputtering sound is a reaction from the cylinder being almost out of gas. As your carbonating cylinder is drained of gas, it retains its almost perfect seal and doesn’t allow lots of extra oxygen or regular air inside to take up the remaining space. This would compromise the carbonation process and make the last bits of your captured CO2 less useful for making fizzy beverages.
As a result, whenever you try to use an almost empty CO2 cylinder, the valve of the soda maker is trying to draw both the remaining CO2 gas and the empty space that makes up most of the volume of the cylinder.
This causes the sputtering sound you might hear.
Similar to the carbonator sputtering, you can also watch the stream of carbonating bubbles as you push down on your soda maker button. A proper soda maker with a full tank of CO2 should produce a strong stream of bubbles that cut right into the heart of your water bottle.
The bubbles should spread and form a frothy foam all across the top of your water bottle. This product should be strong enough that it will spill out of the top of the bottle if you overfill it past the recommended line.
However, soda makers that are out of CO2 gas will produce a choppy or weak stream of bubbles that is easily discernible with the naked eye. Watch the stream carefully and take note of any gaps that you see as the carbonating process supposedly completes. The gaps in the stream will mark breaks in the CO2 gas transfer and will result in a less fizzy drink at the end of the process.
The resulting froth or foam should be weak and won’t threaten to overtake the bottle top if you overfill it with water.
Of course, you can always taste your new bottle of carbonated water to determine if there’s enough carbonation or if the cylinder is likely running dry.
This is most useful with soda maker machines that have multiple carbonation settings, but it is possible to perform this same test with a regular SodaStream Fizzi. Simply begin the carbonating process as normal. Once completed, take a sip of your new beverage and try to determine if it’s as fizzy as you like.
Soda makers that are out of CO2 gas will produce a less bubbly beverage than normal. Our tongues are incredibly sensitive organs, so the difference should be easy to feel after your first sip. This is especially true if you normally prefer your beverages with a higher than average amount of bubbles.
SodaStream models that have multiple carbonation settings can provide you with further proof. Try making a carbonated beverage at the highest level of bubbliness possible. If you taste the resulting drink and notice that it isn’t super fizzy, it’s likely that the carbonating cylinder needs refilling.
Weigh the Cylinder
Finally, you can always weigh your CO2 cylinder yourself to determine if it’s empty for running out of gas.
A regular SodaStream refillable gas cylinder ways 660 g by itself. The CO2 gas of a full cylinder adds an additional 410 g of weight on top of the original 660. This results in a final starting weight of about 1070 g if the cylinder is totally full of CO2 gas to capacity.
You can check these weights by examining the advertised weight of a cylinder on a website like Amazon.
Therefore, you can always weigh the cylinder at any stage of its lifespan and determine approximately how much gas remains inside. This can be incredibly helpful for planning when you need to order new carbonating cylinders or how much CO2 gas you go through in a day.
It’s also helpful for determining whether or not your soda maker has a major gas leak. If you’re burning through more CO2 gas than you should for your number of carbonated beverages, that’s a sign that some gas is escaping from the release valve.
For easy math, we’ve provided a quick reference for each stage of cylinder use. This chart is useful for the standard 14-ounce refillable carbonating cylinders.
The math won’t check out for carbonating cylinders of different sizes and weights for obvious reasons.
|Weight of Cylinder + CO2 Gas||% of Gas Remaining|
To weigh your carbonating cylinder, you can use any regular household weighing device. Some easy substitutes include stepping weights for checking your body’s weight or cooking scales that you use to determine the correct amount of ingredients for making a meal.
For more information on how to use any sodastream model then check out my guide here.