Frequently Asked Soda Fountain Questions

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What items do I need to dispense soda for a post mix Bag-in-Box system?
(Click any of the items below to see a picture)
  1. Dispenser (soda gun, draft arm, tower, counter electric, drop-in, ice/beverage combo)
  2. Cooling System (cold plate, remote cooler, etc. — Unnecessary for counter electric, drop-in, and ice/beverage combo dispensers)
  3. CO2 Tank
  4. Regulators (primary & secondary)
  5. Syrup Pumps (1 for each flavor desired)
  6. Hose/Tubing (high pressure & BIB hose)
  7. Carbonator
  8. Stainless Fittings
  9. BIB Connectors (1 for each syrup pump)
  10. Syrup
How much space do I need for a soda fountain?

Beverage dispensers come in a variety of shapes and sizes and the support equipment components are no different (Measurements and Specifications can be found in the "Features" section of the item details for complete soda systems). Generally speaking, the boxes of syrup and the CO2 tank typically take up the most space (5 gallon syrup boxes are 11" x 15" x 8").

Syrup pumps can be configured in different ways in order to best utilize the available space. They can be mounted sideways to use less horizontal space and can be in a single row/column or multiple rows/columns. We'll configure them according to your specifications at no additional charge!

Standard carbonators are approximately 12" x 12" x 12" and a 20lb. CO2 tank is 28" tall with an 8" diameter.

If you can't find the dimensions on the website, use the Live Chat or contact us.

How soon can I get my order?

Small parts orders generally ship within 1 to 2 days. The delivery of complete system orders will depend on current sales volumes and generally take 1 week to 3 weeks. During periods of high demand, delivery times can run longer. If your system order is time sensitive and you will need a rush or expedited delivery, please contact our sales representative at 704-827-7400.

NOTICE: Due to ongoing parts shortages and delays, our production time for complete system orders is about 3-4 weeks (not including transit time). If you are in need of a shorter delivery time, please contact our office for assistance. Small parts orders generally ship between 1-2 days.
Thank you for your continued patronage, we remain committed to delivering the highest quality service and products for our customers.

What is the difference between a Pre-mix and Post-mix soda fountain system?
  • Pre-mix is soda ready to drink (carbonated water & syrup mixed) as if you were buying it in a bottle — not much savings here. Major syrup distributors sell you the soda in bulky refillable stainless tanks for about what you can buy it for on sale at the local supermarket. Basically, glorified soda out of the bottle being dispensed from a faucet.
  • Post-mix is where the REAL savings lies. It is the combination of carbonated water made from a carbonator and BIB syrup mixed together at the fountain head as it is being dispensed into the cup. On average, 5 gallon Bag-in-Box name brand syrup is approx. $60. It will yield about 30 gallons of finished product. BIG savings here!
Do I NEED a water line?

YES! Since a soft drink is approximately 5 parts water to 1 part syrup, having an adequate, clean, water supply is absolutely essential.

Additionally, the carbonator MUST have a source of water in order to operate. Food grade braided nylon, copper, or stainless tubing is acceptable for your main water supply.

What size water line do I need?

A minimum 3/8" inside diameter is required. Anything less then this will starve the carbonator pump and create noise within the pump, poor carbonation, and cause premature failure of the carbonator.

How do I connect my water supply?

Configuration Question:
Are you planning to have both carbonated and non-carbonated flavors or plain/non-carbonated water available on your soda system?

  • No: You only need to connect your water source to the carbonator.
    (You will only be able to dispense carbonated flavors and/or seltzer water.)
  • Yes: Your water source connection will go to the carbonator and also to a water line going into the dispenser, chiller, or external cold plate.
    Some dispensers or chillers come configured with an internal carbonation system. In this situation, there is only a single plain water connection and the carbonator will be connected inside the dispenser.
    (You will be abe to dispense both carbonated and non-carbonated flavors, as well as seltzer and plain water.)

Note: Use only food grade rated hose/tubing to prevent poor quality or "plastic" taste.

Carbonator Connection:

The carbonator comes with a brass 3/8" inch male flare fitting for the water connection (located on the brass water pump input).

The carbonator will also come with a stainless steel 3/8" inch barbed fitting pre-installed on the Brass male flare fitting. This barbed fitting can be removed if you are going to connect/adapt to the brass male flare fitting.

Plain Water Connection:

Your dispenser, chiller, or external cold plate will have a pre-installed stainless steel 3/8" barbed fitting at the end of a braided hose for the plain water connection. If you plan to connect to the water input hose with another type of fitting, the barbed fitting can be removed. The supplied plain water hose will be either 1/4" inner diameter (ID) braided hose or a 3/8" ID braided hose (hose size will depend on the type of dispenser).

Do I NEED a cold plate or remote cooling system?

YES! Your carbonated product must be dispensed cold to keep the CO2 gas in your soda. The warmer the drink, the more gas leaves the drink when dispensed.

Can I install this myself?

We create a "do-it-yourself" scenario and have already pre-assembled most of the system for you. All the lines are labeled and professionally clamped with fittings to make it easier for you to hook up. We offer lifetime technical support and an installation manual with a start-up video.

Do you have installation instructions?

Yes — with every purchase of a complete soda fountain system, you will receive a link (via email) to download the Installation Guide pertaining to your system. Depending on the type of system, the Installation Guide is between 35-75 pages long and contains full color photos and diagrams to help you every step of the way. Additionally, the Installation Guide includes a chapter on Troubleshooting.

How do I install my soda system?

Our systems come pre-assembled with tubing professionally clamped and labeled to make it easy for you to install yourself. The systems have an installation manual and a start up video. Not only do they have everything for you to do it yourself, we also offer free technical support over the phone, through chat, and on email. Soda Dispenser Depot only installs for Charlotte, NC and the surrounding communities.

What does the carbonator do?

The carbonator combines CO2 gas and water together resulting in carbonated water (seltzer).

What are the most common flavors?
In March 2011, USA Today wrote an article on the most common flavors. In order, they are as follows:
  1. Coke
  2. Diet Coke
  3. Pepsi
  4. Mountain Dew
  5. Dr. Pepper
  6. Sprite
  7. Diet Pepsi
  8. Diet Mountain Dew
  9. Diet Dr. Pepper
  10. Fanta
Where do I get CO2 gas?

Industrial gas suppliers, such as Airgas, Arc3 Gases, Roberts Oxygen, and other welding supply will be able to refill/replace your CO2 tank.

What size CO2 tank do I need?

A 20 lb tank is an average size at most commercial facilities and will work sufficiently in home applications. Although not necessary, smaller tanks will work just as well (i.e. 10 lbs, 5 lbs, etc.)

How long will a 20 lb CO2 tank last?

Providing your system has no leaks, the average CO2 consumption rate for a household use is 4 to 6 months or approx. 3 five-gallon boxes of syrup.

How much Bag-in-Box hose do I need for my syrup pumps?

3 1/2' to 4' of BIB hose for each pump to change the box out safely and comfortably is a good rule of thumb.

How long does a box of syrup last?

A 5 gallon box of syrup will yield you, on an average, 30 gallons of finished product. A 2.5 gallon BIB yields 15 gallons.

What is the best home soda fountain system?

The best systems are ones that fit where you want them to go and are convenient to use. With this in mind, small dispensers like towers, draft arms, and soda guns are ideal for limited spaces. A remote cooler or under-counter ice maker (with cold plate installed) will allow you to dispense a refreshing beverage anytime.
Additionally, if you have the space, a counter electric model combines the dispenser and cooling device into one convenient unit!

Do you have flavor labels for dispenser valves?

Below is a list of valve labels that we generally have in-stock. Also, just because we may not have a label for a beverage does not mean you can't dispense it—it only means you'll have to find a label elsewhere. As long as you have the proper BIB connect(s) for your syrup , you'll be able to dispense them.

Valve labels are $2.50 each — Call us to order!

Brand Labels

  • Coke
  • Diet Coke
  • Caffeine Free Diet Coke
  • Cherry Coke
  • Coke Zero
  • Pepsi
  • Diet Pepsi
  • Pepsi Wild Cherry
  • Caffeine Free Diet Pepsi
  • Sprite
  • Sprite Zero
  • Sierra Mist
  • Mountain Dew
  • Diet Mountain Dew
  • Mountain Dew Code Red
  • 7UP
  • Diet 7UP
  • Sundrop
  • Mellow Yellow
  • Squirt
  • A&W Root Beer
  • Mug Root Beer
  • Barq's Root Beer
  • Ramblin' Root Beer
  • Hires Root Beer
  • Crush Orange
  • Sunkist
  • Vault
  • Surge
  • Powerade Mountain Blast
  • Gatorade Lemon-Lime
  • Gatorade Orange
  • Gatorade Fruit Punch
  • Dr. Pepper
  • Diet Dr. Pepper
  • Mr. Pibb
  • Minute Maid Lemonade
  • RC Cola
  • Tropicana Fruit Punch
  • Tropicana Pink Lemonade
  • Sobe Lean Diet Cranberry Grapefruit
  • Hawaiian Punch
  • Hi-C Fruit Punch
  • Lipton Brisk Iced Tea
  • Lipton Brisk Iced Tea w/ lemon
  • Lipton Brisk Raspberry Iced Tea
  • Big Red
  • Cheerwine
  • Schweppes Ginger Ale
  • Fanta Orange
  • Fanta Fruit Punch
  • Fanta Strawberry
  • Fanta Cherry
  • Fanta Grape
  • Fanta Red
  • Nestea

Generic Labels

  • Cola
  • Lemonade
  • Orange
  • Orange Juice
  • Tonic
  • Tea
  • Water
  • Seltzer
  • Pink Lemonade
  • Fruit Punch
  • Grape

Does one machine work better than another?

Yes—and no. Different dispensers and cooling devices are designed with application-specific attributes. So, a dispenser suitable for a home bar would not meet the needs of a busy restaurant.

Find out more about the differences between dispensers and cooling devices on our 'How It Works' page.

How it Works

Do I have to get syrup from Coke® or Pepsi®?

There are multiple distributors that sell bag-in-box syrup. Ideally, you want to locate syrup as locally as possible to avoid shipping costs, but you can easily find syrup online or even by asking local business owners/managers.

When you purchase a soda system from us, we'll send you an extensive list of syrup vendors.