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Bolster
04-04-2012, 10:10
In another thread, two forumites mentioned they were making inexpensive bucket-based water filters. One source was mentioned here (http://shop.monolithic.com/collections/just-water-filters/products/just-water-ceramic-drip-filter).

This is the coolest idea, I would like to make one, too. Those of you who've made this kit:

- How do I get started?

- Is this a water filter, or water purification system? I'm assuming filter (meaning effective against bacteria and protozoan cysts, but not viruses). So does this require additional treatment?

cowboy1964
04-04-2012, 10:39
Get Berkey filters, they will do viruses and all that. I'm debating whether to do this myself or just spend the $200+ to get a stainless Berkey.

http://www.alpharubicon.com/kids/homemadeberkeydaire.htm

Filter specs: http://berkeywater.com/BerkeyLight/BB_Purification_Elements.html

Bolster
04-04-2012, 11:03
Thanks. I noticed this at the bottom of the "how to" posted:

"Super Sterasyl elements can be substituted for the Black Berkey elements."

What are these? I need to check this out because Berkey won't sell to California (due to misguided nanny-state big-government laws in effect here in CA).

cowboy1964
04-04-2012, 15:53
The Super Sterasyl appears to be a good filter too. I don't think they claim it handles viruses but honestly I don't think that's really a problem.

M1A Shooter
04-04-2012, 21:45
i will be using the black berkey elements. i will choose to do bucket berkeys over the stainless versions because i can get free food grade buckets from a local bakery and then make 2 filter sets with 1 filter each. might slow down the production rate a bit but increases the amount you have in each tank. then there is also the whole "1 is none" rule.

quake
04-05-2012, 05:50
The super sterasyl are the white (older) berkey elements. http://www.bigberkey.com/Super_Sterasyl.html

Very good, but the black ones are an improvement; at a slightly higher price. We use the black ones, no experience with the white ones.
One accessory that I'm glad we added is their "sight glass" spigot, so we can see at a glance how much water is in the lower tank.
http://cart.berkeyfilters.com/images/products/display/watervue.jpg


I'd imagine they can be had from coffee-machine manufacturers, etc; basically whoever you'd get the normal spigot from.

bdcochran
04-05-2012, 07:42
I am building a homemade filter now. I discovered that when you do a two 5 gallon food grade bucket type (see youtube), you need the removable twist tops. The darn tops have to come off for filling and cleaning.

Sure, I have commercial filters and purifiers. So, why spend about $60 for a homemade filtering system? Just playing with the learning curve. I wanted something easy to use by a small kid and that had a few gallons of water readily available for washing, cooking or drinking.

Bolster
04-05-2012, 08:50
BD are you using Berkey filters? If so, were you able to locate someone who would ship them to you in CA?

bdcochran
04-05-2012, 11:12
If you simply buy food grade containers with the standard lids, good luck getting them off. I watched a video on youtube. Apparently, the guy didn't understand that you have to keep replacing water in the upper (bad water) container. This means taking off the top and replacing it. If you are like me and have to hammer off the standard lids, imagine that you have to do it time and again if you don't use a twist off top.

If your commercial cartridge extension is long enough to fit through a standard bucket bottom and through the top of a twist off lid, great. If not, don't worry about it. All you have to do is to aim the water into the lower bucket. Most tops and bottoms clearly indicate the center. You don't have to cut a big hole in the bottom bucket lid.

The only potential danger is water from the upper bucket leaking past the filter and down through the hole you drilled in the bottom of the upper bucket. Well, this is why you put a gasket (rubber ring/rubber washer) in place. By the way, there is a very easy way to test whether a washer is working. Fill the upper bucket. Block the hole in the center of the filter cartridge and learn if there is a leak. You don't want a leak anyway so you can use any type of plastic glue to seal the washer in place.:faint:

DrSticky
04-05-2012, 11:39
If you simply buy food grade containers with the standard lids, good luck getting them off. You don't have to cut a big hole in the bottom bucket lid.
:

I was reading that you only have to clean the bottom bucket every couple weeks. Do you think you could you get away with a gamma lid on top and a regular lid on bottom? I was thinking it might keep little hands out of the bottom too.

Bolster
04-05-2012, 12:12
I've checked the Berkey eBay sellers. They won't sell Berkeys to California or Iowa, just as Berkey instructs them not to.

The Berkey's aren't "illegal" in CA. Some confounded CA law is written so vaguely that Berkey doesn't want the potential of a lawsuit. California socialists are forever hyperventilating about what the private sector might or might not be doing, but are relatively unconcerned about government malfeasance. So Berkey has decided to cut off CA and OH, and the ridiculous consequence is we poor CA jerks can't get the best filters out there. Can't say I blame Berkey. Good for them. This actually makes me like the Berkey company more, they won't put up with crap.

If the rest of the nation were willing to boycott CA and it's stupid laws we could maybe get this ridiculous state fixed. I guess I am a member of the "California Resistance."

(EDIT: On the other hand, Berkey really gets blasted on Amazon!)

Anyway. I still need a two-bucket filtering solution, what's my next move?

Devans0
04-05-2012, 13:07
How much water does a filter process per hour average time? I am designing a PVC add-on to an truck camper boondock so that the rain would get coarse filtered, then guttered to a feed container for a final filter to have drinking and washing water.

I didn't catch the fine print. I live in the other banned state.

quake
04-05-2012, 17:15
I've seen claims of 3-4 gallons per hour with two black elements, but don't believe it. We get maybe 2 gallons per hour, give or take.

No idea if the white elements are faster or slower.

cowboy1964
04-05-2012, 18:40
It's Iowa Berkey's can't be shipped to, not Ohio.

Scared me there for a minute!

davesretired1
04-05-2012, 20:38
http://woodpilereport.com/html/index-page2.htm

Here you go. $30 or so. Less if you have the buckets.

Bolster
04-05-2012, 21:12
http://woodpilereport.com/html/index-page2.htm

Here you go. $30 or so. Less if you have the buckets.

Nice, but I don't think those Monolithics are water purifiers. (Meaning, they don't screen viruses.) I think they're just very high quality water filters. Am I wrong?

In an urban area you need to filter out viruses, as there will certainly be people crapping in whatever water is left.

It's Iowa Berkey's can't be shipped to, not Ohio

Sorry about that. Corrected.

M1A Shooter
04-05-2012, 22:24
not only people but the same should be thought about if you want to have rain barrels on your gutters. birds poop on your roof too.

Bolster
04-05-2012, 22:27
Damned birds.

Speaking of crap, you should see the things people are saying on Amazon about the Berkey Black filters!

cowboy1964
04-06-2012, 00:01
Damned birds.

Speaking of crap, you should see the things people are saying on Amazon about the Berkey Black filters!

Like what? They ARE crap, or they FILTER crap, or ... ?

Big Bird
04-06-2012, 06:57
Having a method of making AND storing relevant quantities of your own drinking water is the #1 Prep Item. Top of the heap--hands down. Nothing else matters unless you have water to drink. Not guns, not a mountain of ammo, not 10 years of wheat, rice and beans, not even a pile of gold.

There are lots of ways to go about this. Not many are long term solutions and most people neglect this mundane aspect of S&P because well, its rather boring.

Yeah, you can go out and fabricate something that might work--maybe even work well. But then again, why? Seriously, this is the biggest, most critical prep we make! Are we really going to screw around with stuff to save $100-150 on something as crucial as water prep?

I've used Berkeys to protect my water supply and the water supply of my teammates for nearly a year in some REALLY crappy places. They work. They are easy. The filters will process a lot of water and are easy to maintain. The stainless cleans up nice and easy. Its a compact system. Berkeys are the gold standard in small scale water purification. They have been in use all over the world by countless people living in third world crapholes for decades. They work--period. Why screw with that?

There are other systems out there similar in price and quality. And its true that in all cases what you are dealing with is a simple upper and lower container with some gravity activated filters in between. But the filters cost ~$100 by themselves anyhow.

Save your plastic buckets for rice and beans. Spend a little more on your highest priority--H2O! Do it right.

bdcochran
04-06-2012, 07:26
Certainly, you don't skimp on your most critical preps.

I have the Berkey - and a pile of purifiers and filters. Some are in the form of straws, inline with water bladders, cup type, go on existing sink fixtures, and even a reverse osmosis unit in the kitchen under the sink.

I don't want a 7 year old playing with my Berkey when shtf. I wanted a unit that I could put remotely and I didn't care whether it was stolen.

Big Bird is correct. You don't use inferior and unreliable products. Conversely, given the concern over ethics in this forum, do you "lend" your Berkey to your neighbor or do you let him use your homemade Filter?

I cringe when I read the endless threads about someone's rusted, surplus Soviet rifle from the 1920s being as good as an HK91. It isn't so. And when you make a water filter, it isn't a water purifier. And, when you watch youtube threads and it is clear that a guy makes a water filter that he hasn't tested or used, you take the information with a grain of salt.

Bolster
04-06-2012, 08:59
I was surprised at the recent Amazon reviews for "Black Berkey." See item "2 Black Berkey Replacement Water Filters - Big Berkey" (For some reason if I paste the reviews link here, it doesn't work.) Sort reviews by "Newest First" to see the recent comments. On the first page, of 10 comments: 8 are blistering negatives, 1 is neutral, 1 is positive. As reviews get older, they get better...?

FatBoy
04-06-2012, 10:15
Anyone try the Sawyer point2?
Amazon.com: Sawyer PointTwo Purifier with Bucket Adapter Kit with Faucet Adapter: Sports & Outdoors@@AMEPARAM@@http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41mYU6WnvCL.@@AMEPARAM@@41mYU6WnvCL

FB

Interesting...I pasted the link and it put a pic and the nice little Amazon icon in front of the link automatically.

Bolster
04-06-2012, 10:38
Can't argue with Big Bird, that water is second only to air in importance.

However, filter-style purification is not the only answer to the problem of dirty water.

There's modest filtering followed by chemical treatments of course (chlorine, iodine...)

There's the option of much less aggressive filtering, and then boiling for a minute.

And there's also modest filtering followed by SODIS (http://www.sodis.ch/methode/anwendung/index_EN), which is about a simple as you can get.

A purification filter has a major advantage of taste & convenience during the life of the filter; other methods are competitive for "shelf life," portability, and cost.

cowboy1964
04-06-2012, 11:46
Yeah it sounds like Berkey's lately have a systemic problem with the glued on base. Very disconcerting. Renders the filter useless.

Can't anyone make a quality product anymore??

Big Bird
04-06-2012, 15:45
Can't argue with Big Bird, that water is second only to air in importance.

However, filter-style purification is not the only answer to the problem of dirty water.

There's modest filtering followed by chemical treatments of course (chlorine, iodine...)

There's the option of much less aggressive filtering, and then boiling for a minute.

And there's also modest filtering followed by SODIS (http://www.sodis.ch/methode/anwendung/index_EN), which is about a simple as you can get.

A purification filter has a major advantage of taste & convenience during the life of the filter; other methods are competitive for "shelf life," portability, and cost.

No doubt, other methods exist. Without question they can purify water. Here's my challenge for you. Process ALL your families water for a month the way intend to do so when you really need it. If you can maintain your family easily with your system then by all means.

Its not just that there are other systems. Its that you need to figure in the time, effort and trouble of those methods. If you are devoting a great deal of time and energy making potable water that less time you have to devote to other tasks like growing/gathering food, fixing the roof, pulling security, gathering fuel, etc etc etc... The beauty of the gravity systems is you can make 10-15 gallons of water a day with much effort. And, of course, the fact that they work.

Bolster
04-06-2012, 16:14
And, of course, the fact that they work.

When they do work. Apparently some problems with Berkeys recently.

Seems filter purification is ideal if you know you're going to be needing cleaned water in the near term, due to its convenience and superior taste.

However if the plan is to have materials laid away for an event that could happen in 5 years or 50, the filters will slowly be deteriorating on their own with disuse...the charcoal stops functioning in time...whereas a solar oven won't degrade with time, neither will SODIS (which is convenient and widely used for keeping a family hydrated), and chlorine solutions, while they degrade quickly*, are cheap to refresh.

But yes, if you're headed out to the bush for the next year, filter/purifiers would be the way to go.

*I'm not sure about the powdered chlorine / pool cleaner solutions I've seen recommended. I have no idea what their shelf life is but probably longer than bleach.

Big Bird
04-06-2012, 16:18
When they do work. Apparently some problems recently.


As I said, I used a Berkey to supply the needs of myself and 8 people for nearly a year in Pakistan. They work.

Bolster
04-06-2012, 16:26
As I said, I used a Berkey to supply the needs of myself and 8 people for nearly a year in Pakistan. They work.

I believe you, but that was some time ago, correct? You know how manufacturing processes get modified to cheapen a product. Judging by the recent reviews, it would appear recent mfgr Berkeys are having trouble staying together. I'm not going to portray myself as an expert on this, I'm just reading the reviews and taking them at face value. There's a definite negative trend to the recent reviews. Check it out. Look up "2 Black Berkey Replacement Water Filters - Big Berkey" on Amazon, click on the reviews link, sort by "newest first" and the recent reviews from late 2011 onward turn decidedly negative (from previous very positive reviews). The older reviews are mostly 5 stars. The newer reviews are mostly 1 star.

Call me overly cautious, but that doesn't encourage me to lay down a Franklin right now. Could fail when I need it months or years into the future.

Sam Spade
04-06-2012, 16:59
Interesting side note on the subject. http://pottersforpeace.org/?page_id=9 Seems they're doing things on a pretty large scale, pretty inexpensively.

Big Bird
04-06-2012, 17:08
I believe you, but that was some time ago, correct? You know how manufacturing processes get modified to cheapen a product. Judging by the recent reviews, it would appear recent mfgr Berkeys are having trouble staying together. I'm not going to portray myself as an expert on this, I'm just reading the reviews and taking them at face value. There's a definite negative trend to the recent reviews. Check it out. Look up "2 Black Berkey Replacement Water Filters - Big Berkey" on Amazon, click on the reviews link, sort by "newest first" and the recent reviews from late 2011 onward turn decidedly negative (from previous very positive reviews). The older reviews are mostly 5 stars. The newer reviews are mostly 1 star.

Call me overly cautious, but that doesn't encourage me to lay down a Franklin right now. Could fail when I need it months or years into the future.

If you are worried Just buy the Berkey with the white ceramic filters instead if the black filters. I have a Royal with the black filters and use it in the summer at the cabin for a couple of years and have no issues.

There are other competing products with good reputations as well. They all pretty much use the same technology. Longgun used to sell a brand that I can't recall and it does as well.

But like all preps its not something you buy and put away for a rainy day. Its something you use for a while and validate it as a system that will work for you and your family. You need to run several batches of water through new filters anyhow and they don't go bad if you use them and put them away. You'll want to actually use you water filter, get to know its production capacity. Have your family drink the water. Do they like it?

Otherwise its just like buying a gun for S&P and never shooting it, never bothering to see if the sights are on, or finding out if its reliable. Or buying a survival knife and never using it...How's it cut? Is the steel well treated? Will it hold an edge? Is the bevel as it came from the maker good or do you need to alter it? How's it clean game? etc.

You have to actually USE these things to gain confidence in them. If they let you down now big deal. Send it back to the maker/retailer and get your money back.

quake
04-06-2012, 18:31
On the berkey quality thing, we bought a big berkey as recently as this past December; a Christmas gift for a family member. (Two black filters) They use it daily on their well water for drinking & cooking purposes. I primed it & set it up for them, and no problems yet.

Devans0
04-08-2012, 18:48
Interesting side note on the subject. http://pottersforpeace.org/?page_id=9 Seems they're doing things on a pretty large scale, pretty inexpensively.

I followed the link to the branches of getting colloidal silver to paint ceramic pots, making my own silver purifier filters.

Odd fact is that using too much will turn you blueish toned. I guess all that silver that aristocrats used in ancient days made them "blue bloods". HEY! If I use all those silver coins I have stashed, I can be part of the "Blue Man Group".:shocked:

In all seriousness, thanks for the information, Sam Spade. Very useful stuff.

bdcochran
04-09-2012, 04:09
Thank you sam Spade. Read your link. Found the ebay ceramic water filter equivalent by googling. If I had known about the product before undertaking my project, I would have spent the $20 on shipping.

callihan_44
04-09-2012, 06:29
Anyone try the Sawyer point2?
Amazon.com: Sawyer PointTwo Purifier with Bucket Adapter Kit with Faucet Adapter: Sports & Outdoors (http://www.amazon.com/Sawyer-PointTwo-Purifier-Bucket-Adapter/dp/B0051HHNJ8/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1333728403&sr=8-5)

FB

Interesting...I pasted the link and it put a pic and the nice little Amazon icon in front of the link automatically.

yep they work, used one for backpacking trip. If the water has alot of silt, you have to backflush it more often. Also you need a carbon filter to improve the taste(which arent expensive).

wjv
04-09-2012, 11:09
Just bought a Sawyer "1 Million Gallon" gravity filter this weekend at REI. It has a 0.1 micron filter.

I have:

a PUR Voyager purifier +and ~8 iodine & carbon filters
a MSR WaterWorks EX and ~6-8 spare filters
a Katadyn Drip Gravidyn with one set of filters (39,000 gal)
and now the Sawyer

Also have a Coghlans Water Filter with ~12 filters. Only 2 micron but I figured it would make a good pre-filter.

Also keep a couple bags of Pool Shock on hand so I can make my own bleach on demand. .

Bolster
04-09-2012, 11:35
Thank you sam Spade. Read your link. Found the ebay ceramic water filter equivalent by googling. If I had known about the product before undertaking my project, I would have spent the $20 on shipping.

Wait a second...are you're saying, you'd prefer the 'potters for peace' (PFP) colloidal silver pottery filter (of the type posted by Spade) over what you have now (which I thought was Berkey)?

And you were able to find this PFP style filter on eBay...did they mention a micron filter size? (I was unable to find a PFP style filter on ebay myself but my search-fu was perhaps lacking.)

Seemed the pore size would be highly variable if it depended on each local source to add their own sawdust, which creates the pore size. I doubt anybody is keeping track of the size of the sawdust?!

Bolster
04-09-2012, 12:04
[Post In Error]

wjv
04-09-2012, 12:29
I actually like the idea of filters you can replace after several hundreds of gallons. I don't think a million gallon filter would be nearly as easy to maintain.

Couldn't resist for $80. .

Don't expect to get a million gallons out of it. . :dunno: But I'd be happy with 25K-50K gallons!

The company claims that the backwash process is very easy, but since I haven't tried the filter, I can't say one way or another.

Devans0
04-09-2012, 20:25
Wait a second...are you're saying, you'd prefer the 'potters for peace' (PFP) colloidal silver pottery filter (of the type posted by Spade) over what you have now (which I thought was Berkey)?

Seemed the pore size would be highly variable if it depended on each local source to add their own sawdust, which creates the pore size. I doubt anybody is keeping track of the size of the sawdust?!

The recommended Hammermill and sieves should take that variable out (or using a finer sandpaper). I just found out that a local potter is on the board of directors of "Potters for Peace". Hmmmm, now who do I know with a kiln?

I've been wanting to try this with a rocket stove design, too.

SFCSMITH(RET)
04-10-2012, 06:19
On the Berkey filter problem for the the black filters. (I admit I didn't bother to go look at the Amazon link) it IS a known problem with a batch of filters, they (Berkey) will replace them for free, almost no questions asked. On another forum I am on, this came up about six months ago, and Berkey was/is all over it.

I did not use a Berkey in Pakistan, but in several other holes around the planet, and I absolutely believe in them.

And yes, water should be your #1 prep, a way to acquire it, a way to store it, a way to treat it, and a way to heat it. Then as possible, redundancies for each step.

bdcochran
04-10-2012, 09:01
Having finished making a two bucket filter, I then went to the Steripen website. I have a couple of older purifier models and wanted to learn if there were now accessories for the older models and possibly some new models.

Most people don't understand the difference between a water filter and a water purifier - they will after visiting the site.

One of the greatest advances in the last twenty years has been the development of the internet, video and product demonstrations on the internet. :wavey:

FatBoy
04-10-2012, 13:50
yep they work, used one for backpacking trip. If the water has alot of silt, you have to backflush it more often. Also you need a carbon filter to improve the taste(which arent expensive).

Thanks,
FB

Haldor
04-22-2012, 08:53
Why not just buy one of these for $70 ($63 if you are member)?

http://simage1.sportsmansguide.com/adimgs/l/1/189512_ts.jpg
http://www.sportsmansguide.com/net/cb/katadyn-base-camp.aspx?a=954070