Sunday, May 22, 2011

Make Your Own Homemade Berkey Water Filter System

I have studied the best water filter for my family. I wanted it to filter out all the impurities, but also the Fluoride, Arsenic, Pathogenic Bacteria, Cysts, Parasites, Chemicals like herbicides, pesticides, organic solvents, Pharmaceuticals, heavy metals, and so on. I planned on buying a Berkey Filter system after I had completed my research, but the cost was more than I wanted to spend. I had found instructions for a do-it-yourself
version that was so much cheaper. With its price also came a bit of tackiness! I really did ponder the difference between looks and price. What I still prefer is the commercially made Berkey Filter system with the Stainless Steel tanks. With the Stainless Steel tanks you won't have the leaching of plastic into your water. Yes, it's food grade plastic you say. But still it is going to leach into the water. Plastic isn't safe. But the difference in price is still the thing with me.

So, to make a long story short.... we have the "lovely" plastic bucket system sitting in the corner of our kitchen. To make it have even more appeal it's sitting on top of a water barrel that Tom filled with cans of dog food. Now you know! We have been using this system for about 3 years now. It is long lasting. But, If I was you, I would certainly think about purchasing three "set-ups", just because you don't know if and when plastic might get brittle, old, etc, and you will have to replace a portion of your set up. If you have it pre-drilled and ready to go, you won't have to worry if you are without electricity. Or perhaps the bucket and gamma lids are not available in stores, or the prices have shot up. Always better to have replacement parts on hand.

Even though it is NOT a thing of beauty like the real Berkey Water Filter Systems it purifies our water and for that I'm very grateful. Our health has dramatically improved with clean pure water. Our city has put Fluoride in our water, and if you do a search on the internet about the terrible side effects of Fluoride you too will want to get it out of your life in every form possible. But, that is still up to you, we can disagree on cleanliness of water, and I don't care. But, for me and my house.... we use Berkey Purified Water. As for removing the Fluoride you need to purchase the WHITE filter that is added to the bottom. In the instructions and pictures below the white filter goes in the bottom bucket.
It is an easy system to build and take apart. It makes the Berkey Water Filtration System affordable to everyone.

I drink, cook, and bottle our foods only with Berkey water.

Yes, our dogs and cat also drink Berkey Water exclusively. When we had a fish tank it too was filled with Berkey Water, and when we get chickens they too will have Berkey water.

We changed the instructions to make filling the filter system much EASIER! The bucket lids we used are GAMMA lids. You can purchase those at Macey's all the time. I believe Wal-Mart carries them also. Because we drink so much water the system if filled at least once a day, sometimes more. After about three months of use, depending on how much water you filter, the rate of flow will slow down because of the impurities cling to the outside of the black filter. You just take your system apart, and use a Scotch-Brite scrubbing pad, and scrub the outside of the black filter. It will filter wonderfully all over again. I personally use a Dobie pad made by Scotch-Brite. You can purchase them at Macey's in Spanish Fork.

After scrubbing the filter, I rinse the pad off and then set it out to dry. Once dry I place the pad back in the little cardboard package it came in. I've labeled the box so when I see it on the shelf I know it's for my Berkey.

I hope this helps anyone who is concerned about the quality of water they have and is looking for a better system to purify and filter water for their family.

I purchase my black and white filters at 

The following is from Berkey itself, "Berkey Water Filtration Systems are the ultimate in portable water contamination removal. Berkey is used worldwide and sets the international standard for water filters used in clean or hostile filtration environments to provide the best tasting, purest drinking water possible.

The Berkey water filter is so powerful it is classified as a water purifier, this classification shows that the Berkey far outperforms the standard water filter. The portable Berkey can be used to filter non-potable or unhealthy water in situations where electricity and pressure are not available. For normal everyday water filtering applications from your faucet or for challenging filtration environments like wells, rivers and lakes, Berkey is the most flexible and adaptable filtering system available. Costing just pennies a day to operate, the Black Berkey cleanable replacement cartridge provides an economical, reliable and powerful long term solution to poor water quality issues that cannot be equaled. The Berkey purifier has a long standing reputation for quality and service, it is also trusted around the world by numerous international relief organizations to provide clean emergency drinking water to workers and citizens during times of crisis or natural disaster.

This Berkey water filter system is revolutionary, in fact through testing and research we found that it removed viruses to purification standards, pathogenic bacteria, cysts and parasites to non detectable levels and harmful or unwanted chemicals to below detectable levels. The Berkey also reduces toxic heavy metals such as lead and mercury without removing the beneficial and nutritional minerals in water needed to support a healthy body and mind. Review and compare the ability our unique water filter to Brita, Aquasana, Pur or bottled and see for yourself what we have to offer and why we are the manufacturer that dominates the portable water filter industry."

You can do an internet search to find the best possible price. The filters are very close in price between each dealer. Sometimes they run specials so you just have to chose for yourself.

I found these instructions on the internet back in 2008 by "Daire". In these instructions and pictures they used two black Berkey filters. We only have a single one in the middle. The two filter system is better, and I would love to have two filters, it would make the water filter much faster especially during canning sessions. But when using a Gamma lid, you can only do the one black and one white filter I believe.

By: Daire 22 January 2008
The best option for this situation is the proven Berkey water filter. Berkey filters are gravity filters that use cleanable micro-permeable ceramic filter elements. These filters are extremely effective, long-lasting and require no electricity. The only drawback is that they are expensive, and money saved is money that can be spent on other preps. You can save about $175-200 or more by making your own.
This article will guide you through the construction of a filter equivalent in performance to the Imperial Berkey that sells for about $300. My total cost was $122
Gather the necessary components. You will need the following:
  • two 5-gallon food grade buckets (got mine from Lowes for $5 each)
  • two lids for the buckets (got mine from Lowes for $1.50 each)
  • a pair of Black Berkey filter elements (ordered mine on Ebay for $99 which included free shipping and a free Sport Berkey filtered bottle)
  • a food grade spigot (the kind used for large coffee pots or water coolers is perfect, ordered mine from for $10)
Drill two 1/2" holes in the bottom of the upper bucket and two matching holes in the lid of the lower bucket.
Drill a 3/4" hole in the side of the lower bucket toward the bottom. Make sure that the hole is up just far enough for the spigot to clear when the filter is sitting on a flat surface
Assemble the lower bucket by installing the spigot and the lid with holes.
Install the filter elements in the upper bucket through the holes in the bottom.
Assemble the filter by placing the upper bucket on the lower. Be sure to line up the holes so the tubes extend through the lid of the lower bucket. Place the remaining lid on top.
To use the filter, fill the upper bucket with water and wait. If you are starting with dry elements, it will take quite a while before the water starts dripping into the lower bucket. It takes up to several hours for the clean water to drain into the lower bucket. This process can be sped up considerably by frequently topping off the water in the upper bucket. This maintains maximum pressure on the elements.
  • I had no scientific way to test the water quality; however, the filtered water was clear, had no odor, and tasted similar to distilled.
  • The specifications of the Black Berkey elements can be found here:
  • The specifications of the Fluoride Reduction Filter elements can be found here:
  • There are a number of ways to make this even cheaper: Use free buckets from a grocery store bakery or restaurant. I have found the same type of spigot for $5 since making this one. Super Sterasyl elements can be substituted for the Black Berkey elements. They cost about $84 a pair.
  • The filter can be made considerably larger by using any two stacking containers suitable for water, trash cans or 30-gallon water barrels for instance. The flow rate can also be increased by adding more filter elements.
  • The filtered solids remain on the outside of the filter elements and will eventually interfere with the rate of flow. Therefore, it is important to pre-filter through a dense cloth (we use cloth diapers) if your source water is particularly cloudy. The elements can be scrubbed clean with a plastic scouring pad. The Black Berkey elements last for about 3000 gallons each (6000 gallons for the pair).

1 comment:

  1. Berkey water filter are elegant, powerful and reliable products. We're confident that if you use a Berkey you'll feel the same way.


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