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Fashioning Your Own Water Filter System

 
Posts: 13
Location: Northeastern US
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#1 I am just starting out homesteading for the first time on my own. I have a question about what other people have done to create a home-made water filtration system? One Idea in my head was to buy a shower filter and place it in a 5 gallon bucket of water and let it sit there for a day?
THanks.
 
pollinator
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I think sand filtration systems are the best bet.

The basic idea is that you have water passing through different grades of sand, with the sand picking up everything that's not water. I like the idea of including a layer of charcoal, but the clean kind, not the BBQ kind. Like what people make for biochar. The tiny spaces and massive surface area of the biochar picks up whatever the sand might miss.

I like the idea of letting water filtered this way sit in the sun in a mason jar, maybe with a couple drops of lemon juice, for eight hours, so the UV radiation sterilises whatever may be left.

If the water is clean, you can use a paper coffee filter and the sunlight method, or boil it.

It really depends, though, on how much water you need daily, and how much work you want to put into it on the daily. A well is basically uses the same properties of sand filtration, but all you do is drill the hole.

-CK
 
pollinator
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For our cabin I bought 2 stainless steel stockpots (fairly thin-walled and inexpensive) to make a cheap "Berkey-type" 2-chamber knock-off. For the lower "chamber" I drilled out the rivets for the lid handle, and then drilled a hole through the top chamber pot and lower chamber lid to accept a ceramic filter. The ceramic filter is inserted through the top chamber pot and with gaskets to take up space is tightened against the lid to the lower chamber. Then drill a small hole in the lower chamber top 1/2" to allow for air; and, a hole for a tap to be installed bottom (lower 1" of space-ish). Then you have a 2-chamber drip system that takes the unfiltered water from the top, through the filter into the lower chamber, and you access from the tap at the bottom. I think all-in, might have cost me about $20-35.
 
Casey Flynn
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Location: Northeastern US
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I should say I live currently on an urban homestead, so drilling a well isn't possible. And, I need a lot of water daily, not just a couple pitchers currently. Thanks
 
pollinator
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Hi River, does that mean that you're on city water?  What are you trying to filter out?  Also, how much water do you need?  A 5 gallon bucket isn't much more than a few pitchers.
 
pioneer
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Timothy Markus wrote:Hi River, does that mean that you're on city water?  What are you trying to filter out?  Also, how much water do you need?  A 5 gallon bucket isn't much more than a few pitchers.



We are on city water but planning on getting or making a Berkey filter.  Our water varies in color and taste from day to day.  Some days it is clear and tastes passable, other days it has a yellowish tint and is not very palatable.  On those days, it also has a very strong chlorine smell.  They've also had issues with their flouridation system getting out of whack and send out notices warning not to give the water to infants under 6 months of age because it can be deadly to them with excess flouride.  Plenty good reasons to get a good filtration system!

I know a couple that has a Big Berkey and absolutely love it.  With 2 filters, it can filter almost 4 gallons per hour.  With 4 filters it can do 7 gallon per hour.  At this point, I'm not worried about the shower, laundry, or dishwashing water.  I just want good tasting, safe water for drinking and cooking.  If you need more water, you could always fill it and drain it into a 5 gallon glass carboy for storage.  I've seen those listed cheap on Craigslist and FB marketplace by people who decided home brewing beer was too much work.  Although they are heavy, I prefer that to plastic.
 
gardener
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Harbor Freight has the best prices for cheap stainless steel stockpots that I've found,  a set of 4 for about 20 bucks.
I'm interested in filtering my rainwater water for drinking,  but I have an old asphalt roof.
I'm not sure if it's worse than the chlorinated and fluoridated city water,  but I'm also not sure a Berkey could filter out the petrochemical leaching, guess that would  be worth researching.

A new steel roof  on my house would be great,   but a 10x10 rainwater collecting shelter might actually be achievable .
A conventional whole house filter could be plumbed to serve a dedicated drinking/cooking water line.
Given the relatively low daily use,  it should last a long time.


 
gardener & hugelmaster
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https://www.biosandfilter.org/biosand-filter/rapid-vs-slow-filtration/

https://www.cdc.gov/safewater/sand-filtration.html

It's hard to beat a good slow sand filter. Easy to make & very effective. Especially if used with activated charcoal & solar distillation (SODIS) as Chris mentioned. Mine normally starts with slightly funky greenish collected rainwater & drips out 5 gallons of clear safe drinking water every day. It comes out just as clear & tastes great even when starting with extremely dirty water. I would use SODIS as a final step if the supply water was suspected of being seriously contaminated but normally don't bother. There is a beneficial biological film that develops on top of slow sand filters that neutralizes almost all harmful biological contaminants. Mine is a dual stage slow sand filter with activated carbon as a final filter. Basically nothing gets past it except clean water.

Cost about $10 in parts & an hour to build. Three 5 gallon buckets, some plumbing pieces, & sand. A few minutes of simple maintenance about once a month. This one is about 6 years old. Have been using them for many more. Has never failed. Many examples online & on Youtube.

Factories use fast sand filters to scrub huge volumes of water. Not clean enough to drink but reasonably free of visible particles. Farms & homesteads can do the same.

Sand. Charcoal. Sun. Seems about as natural as it gets.
 
steward & bricolagier
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I made a cheap Berkey filter system. I originally used Doulton filters, they are cheaper, but needed to put Berkey's arsenic and fluoride filter into the system, so shifted to the Berkey filters to make it all go together easier.
I used restaurant food storage containers (they stack well, and I needed them clear) and a float valve, have it plumbed into the water lines (city water, with excess fluoride.)
Water comes in the top chamber, filters through, comes out the spout. Works VERY well, I have been running it for 7 years or so now.


 
Bob Gallamore
pioneer
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Pearl Sutton wrote:I made a cheap Berkey filter system. I originally used Doulton filters, they are cheaper, but needed to put Berkey's arsenic and fluoride filter into the system, so shifted to the Berkey filters to make it all go together easier.
I used restaurant food storage containers (they stack well, and I needed them clear) and a float valve, have it plumbed into the water lines (city water, with excess fluoride.)
Water comes in the top chamber, filters through, comes out the spout. Works VERY well, I have been running it for 7 years or so now.




Ingenious setup!  I especially like the float and the plumbing.  Beats having to pour buckets of water into something that high.
 
Pearl Sutton
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Bob Gallamore wrote:
Ingenious setup!  I especially like the float and the plumbing.  Beats having to pour buckets of water into something that high.


Glad you like it :) Neither me or my mom are strong enough to lift buckets of water on a regular basis. I have had problems since moving to MO with the 1/4 inch valves crudding up and not working right, but I modified it when I moved, knowing I would be in a rental, to plumb into the cold water line for a washing machine. So we just turn the washer water off when we aren't using it for laundry or water filter filling. Before I moved, the valves worked correctly, and I had it set so it just always took care of itself, filled when it needed to, etc. This is more nonsense, but better than drinking unfiltered tap water.
 
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I guess that there are a lot of pesticides and herbicides in my water.I have not send samples to lab. but I live in the middle of an intense,agricultuar area.Is there anything you can do to filter the water taking away these pollutions?
 
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Location: Philippines
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If you are connected to city water then that's difficult to filter with all the craps in there. If you have a well or any source that is not contaminated with chems then a "biosand filter" is a good choice. I Have constructed a couple of those for family use. Works great.
 
pollinator
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Oh wow what a great thread!! I'm adding the ideas on here to my "future homestead projects" list!  It's great to have some great DIY options rather than paying hundreds of dollars for a store bought one!
 
Timothy Markus
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I like your setup, too, Pearl.  

My best friend, who I haven't seen in over 20 years, is moving back to Canada from Uganda.  He spent over 20 years in Africa working for various aid agencies in shitstorms like Rwanda and Darfur.  He's one of the true geniuses that I've known and the only person I've ever met who was able to get 90's at the top engineering school in Canada without going to a single class, doing assignments or writing the mid-term exams.  He was a big proponent of sand filtration in Africa due to the simplicity of construction, maintenance and efficacy.  I can't wait to pick his brain.
 
Denise Kersting
pollinator
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FYI: for anyone local to PA, here is where I found cheap stainless stockpots, I'm not sure how much shipping would be, but if you have one of these stores near you the pots are almost always "on sale" 20qt for 11.99: https://www.boscovs.com/shop/prod/select-home-20qt-stockpot/494340.htm or the 16qt for 9.99: https://www.boscovs.com/shop/prod/stainless-steel-stockpot-16-quart/12395.htm?fromsearch=1.  (They are also great stock pots if you just want a large stainless steel pot for cooking).
 
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Harbor Freight has the best costs for modest treated steel stockpots that I've discovered, a lot of 4 for around 20 bucks.

I'm keen on sifting my water for drinking, yet I have an old black-top rooftop.

I don't know whether it's more terrible than the chlorinated and fluoridated city water, but at the same time I don't know a Berkey could sift through the petrochemical draining, surmise that would merit investigating.

Another steel rooftop on my home would be incredible, however a 10x10 water gathering haven may really be attainable .

A regular entire house channel could be plumbed to serve a committed drinking/cooking water line.

Given the moderately low day by day use, it should keep going quite a while.
 
gardener
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If I was trying to remove chlorine, I would use activated charcoal.  
 
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