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Portable Berkey-like water filter. — The Grow Network Community
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Portable Berkey-like water filter.

Linzi GoesLinzi Goes Posts: 4 ✭✭
edited April 2019 in DIY Tutorials

I'm in the research phase of putting together a DIY, probably Berkey-style, water filter. I plan to use this daily, though with an eye towards being prepared if finding clean water becomes an issue.. and it needs to be compact, durable, and portable as it'll travel the country with me in an rv.

So far, I'm thinking of mostly following this DIY build - https://www.survivalresources.com/diy-countertop-water-filter.html.

I'm totally open to other ideas, and would love to hear any feedback and advice you guys may have!


  • Ruth Ann ReyesRuth Ann Reyes Managing Director TGN Shy of the Chi - Zone 5bPosts: 350 admin

    This is pretty clever! Keep us updated on your build...

  • alindsay22alindsay22 Posts: 129 ✭✭✭

    Love it!

  • WendyWendy Posts: 20

    What does that filter remove? I would love to see your results as that is a really simple build so I may even be able to do it myself.

  • Linzi GoesLinzi Goes Posts: 4 ✭✭

    I'm looking into filters now.. There's so many options on micron size, with out without activated charcoal, and if they remove fluoride and heavy metals, etc etc. The great thing about this though, is that these candle filters all seem to use the same exit tube size, so I'll be able to switch them out regularly or change for a different type easily.

    I'm trying to find one that filters to the same .1 micron as the Sawyer emergency/camping style filters do. At that micron size, it's considered truly "purified" water I believe, with 99.999... of everything from biological, parasite, and most chemicals removed. I'm still reading a lot into this on what's really needed for day to day use, vs what I might want to have on hand in case I need to filter ditch water.

    It'll be a week or so before I really start building this, but I will definitely post pics and maybe a video guide on what I do too!

  • Marc ThomaMarc Thoma Posts: 77 ✭✭

    Interesting idea. Problem is you need to buy the filters, so you would need to stockpile them for emergencies. Unless there is a way to clean and reactivate them?

  • Linzi GoesLinzi Goes Posts: 4 ✭✭

    I'm still researching filters and all the questions around them.. But, I think I'll be going with these - https://www.amazon.com/SHTFandGO-Ceramic-Element-Anti-Bacterial-Purification/dp/B01DN7NT6S or some like this. These are the smallest micron size I can find for this type of filter at .2

    This style, without activated carbon, seems to be the most recommended for long term storage. The silver should stay effective for a long while. The manufacturers say 1000+ for filter life, but with good cleaning, a few people said they've lasted much much longer (basically until you've cleaned them so much that you've worn down 1/4-1/2" of the ceramic).

    I'll likely have one or two with carbon for my everyday use, and then a couple of these without carbon stashed away.

    If all things go bad, I could still use the main body of the setup to do a layer filter with sand, homemade carbon, etc.. Certainly not as good as a ceramic filter, but better than nothing, and a nice step to be able to do before boiling if I find myself in a very rough situation.

  • GrammyprepperGrammyprepper Mamaw, retired RN, jack of all trades master of none Zone 5BPosts: 169 ✭✭✭

    For your food grade buckets, you can often get them free or at a nominal price from local grocery stores, bakeries, restaurants. I sure wouldn't want to use a pickle bucket for a water system, but used cake icing buckets would work! I know where I work, there are two sizes (I couldn't guarantee what gallons, but about 2 and 5 gallons sound about right)

  • bmaverickbmaverick Posts: 175 ✭✭✭

    There are a few dozen Berkey DIY vids on YT that have already addressed this.

    As for where you get the water prior to putting in your DIY Berkey is another story. Always go for the cleaner looking water and not from the water's edge. Well water works the best vs. a stream with Ag chemical run-off or city creeks with pollution from chemicals, oils, and round-up.

    No matter the water source, ALWAYS pre-filter the water before putting into the Berkey. WHY? Because once you clog a Berkey filter or any dense 0.2 or less micro filter, it's a pain to clean off the slime or the scale buildup. Then you have to REPRIME the Berkey filter(s). Not really possible in a SHTF event unless you own an air compressor with 65psi available to push the water into the carbon-block Berkey cylinder. For Y2K, I was able to prime Berkey filters using a manual brake bleeding kit. It took much longer than a pressurized home kitchen faucet. It worked though. It was a demonstration I had given to 35 families during the Y2K preparedness classes. That same hand bleader kit also was used to seal lids on Mason/Ball/Kerr jars too. Very handy indeed.

  • Marjory WildcraftMarjory Wildcraft ✭✭✭ Posts: 1,083 admin

    Hi Linzi, did you get an email for this response?

  • LinziLinzi Posts: 123 admin

    Hey bmaverick,

    Thank you for your food-for-thought. Yep, a few of the YouTube videos, and my general want for a gravity filter without paying Berkey's shiny price, is what planted the seeds for this project. I like to diy/customize stuff in general too and think this could be a fun one to tackle.

    In most cases, I'll be running pre-filtered tap water through this gravity filter. The tap itself will have one of these sorts of filters on it - https://www.amazon.com/Camco-TastePURE-Chlorine-Sediment-40045/dp/B0024E6V30.

    In emergency cases, where I don't have the luxury of a tap with pressure, I'm thinking of having one of these on hand that could be added to the lid of the top reservoir and would pre-filter as I pour water in - https://www.amazon.com/Premium-Infuser-Modern-Perfect-Stainless/dp/B076PS6FW1.

    I only see priming mentioned for the Black Berkey filters specifically.. I won't be using those specific filters, but understand why this may need to be done for just about any of these candle or dome-type filters. Thank you for bringing it up. I did see a couple videos/guides on how to use a stiff brush to clean/scrape filters when they get clogged, but this may be a better method in general to keep them clean and flowing. I will have an air compressor, but can't find any info on how to use one to prime a filter (from my understanding, the point of priming is to push all air pockets out of the filter so it's thoroughly saturated). The air compressor seems like it would do the exact opposite.. Am I thinking about it all wrong? Any advice you can share on how I could use air to the same affect?

    I was already thinking of getting a brake bleeder kit toward my efforts of learning to service all I can with my truck... That use is pretty ingenious. I do love learning ways to make tools like that multi-purpose.

    I found this thing too that may work too if nothing else. - https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00KY605W8 Not sure yet if this will work on all filters as-is, but I'm sure there's something I could do to make it work with other brands...

    Marjory Wildcraft - I didn't receive an email btw.. I'm testing these setting our more today.. Let me know if you get one from this response!

  • shllnzlshllnzl Southwestern UtahPosts: 1,528 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Your system would be a great emergency item. Personally, I would be concerned about plastic chemicals leaching into the water over the long term. I spent the money and bought an Alexapure brand stainless steel system for everyday use. It is a little cheaper than the Berkey and looks similar. The ceramic filters (you can use up to four at a time) cost around $100 and are good for 5000 gallons. Filters remove 99% of contaminants while leaving minerals.

  • tla.cls.mttla.cls.mt Posts: 19 ✭✭✭

    I like the set up from the post on SurvivalResources.com. John McCann is a well known, and well respected friend of mine. The Berkey filter in food grade buckets is inexpensive and easy to set up.

    The ceramic filter:

    Has an Absolute filtration rating (characterized as >99.99%), equal to 0.9 microns.

    Made using 100% natural ceramic elements. They don't add anything to the water being filtered, and the natural, healthy minerals remain.

    Consist of trace elements of silver, which hinders microbiological development on the filter.

    Evaluated for 600 gallons or when cleaning is inadequate. It can last up to a half year life expectancy.

    They can remove: 

    Pathogenic Bacteria such as E-coli, Salmonella, Legionella, Cholera, Salmonella Typhi (Typhoid), Shigella, Klebsiella: >99.99%

    >99.99%; Cryptosporidium, Giardia, and other cysts

    Chlorine (taste & odour); (2ppm): >96%

    Turbidity: >98%; Rust, Silt, and dirt

    Lead; (150ppb) 99.2%

    They have a few disadvantages, like: 

    They ought to be replaced at regular intervals like every 6 months as the activated carbon inside can create harmful microorganisms once it has achieved most extreme absorption.

    They are not as powerful in expelling contaminants as other filter elements available as they are intended to meet the filtration class, not surpass it.

    Definitely consider your water source. Prefilter if necessary.

  • ines871ines871 zn8APosts: 1,290 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Linzi - have you finished your "DIU water-filtration system" yet? - And how well is it working?

    Yet another subject remain fairly clueless about so please keep your promised Demo-Video simple 🙂... Thank you !

  • LinziLinzi Posts: 123 admin

    @rainbow No.. I haven't yet. I have all the supplies now, except I wound up finding a couple stainless steel pots that stack perfectly together (They look almost like the real "Berkey" even), so now I need to get a cobalt drill bit to be able to drill them. I should be near a Home Depot later this week, and hopefully I'll remember to pick one up so I can get this project done!

    I will certainly post my build, and try to explain my plans for everyday use of it, vs if I ever need to use it for an emergency with a worse-than-tap water supply.

  • ines871ines871 zn8APosts: 1,290 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Linzi 🙂 Thank you . Looking forward to you sharing success...

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