How to Make a Homemade Water Filter

In a SHTF situation, clean drinking water is a must. Why spend hundreds on a filter when you can make a quality one at home for a fraction of the price?

If things were to go south and clean drinking water became unavailable, your Brita filter is not going to cut it.

Having a quality filtration system that can turn contaminated water into life-saving drinkable water is an absolute must for every preparedness-minded person. Despite knowing this, many preppers will hold off on buying one because of the price.

Why wait? Instead of dishing out your hard-earned money on a $300 filtration system, you can make your own for well under a $100.

In this article, I’ll be showing you how to make a quality filtration system that compares to the big-boy name brands but at a fraction of the cost ($30 to be exact).

What you’ll need

  • Two 5-gallon food-grade buckets and lids – You should not need to pay for these. Most bakeries, grocery stores (the bakery section), and restaurants will give these away for free.
  • One or more quality filter elements – These can be any of the Berkey style candle filters or thicker ceramic filters (which I use in this post). You’ll want to find one that has a filtration efficiency of at least 0.2 micron and exceeds the NSF (National Safety Foundation) standards.
  • A spigot

InternetPrepper.com sells a great filter and spigot kit (which I use in this demonstration) for only $30. All you need to do is supply the buckets. If you’re interested, you can get it here.

How to make a homemade water filter

Making your own homemade water filter is a very simple process:

Step 1: Drill a 1/2″ hole in the bottom of your top bucket for each filter element (if more than one):
Step 2: Place the top bucket onto the lid of the bottom bucket and using the hole(s) you just drilled, trace a circle onto the bottom-bucket lid with a marker:
Step 3: Using the circle mark(s) as a guide, drill another 1/2″ hole in the lid of the bottom bucket for each circle you have drawn:
Step 4: Install the filter element(s) in the hole(s) you made in the top bucket (If your filter comes with a pre-filter “sock”, you’ll want to set that up before installing):
Step 5: Drill a 3/4″ hole on the side and near the bottom of the bottom bucket:
Step 6: Install the spigot:
Step 7: Place the top bucket onto the lid of the bottom bucket ensuring that you align the filter element nipple(s) wth the hole(s) of the lid from the bottom bucket:
Step 8: Fill the top bucket with water and in an hour you will have bacteria free water to drink in the bottom bucket:
Step 9: Enjoy the clean, clear, filtered water:

Testing out the filter

In addition to showing you how to make a homemade water filter, I also wanted to use this opportunity to test out the filter element that I got from InternetPrepper.com.

I already tried this test with the Berkey filter elements that I have (which passed without issue), but I figured given the huge price difference between the generic filter from InternetPrepper.com and the British Berkefield ones, I wanted to see if I could drink the same stagnant water without any ill effects.

The water I used in this experiment is from a nearby small pool of water that resembles a small swamp. I’m pretty certain it’s loaded with giardia and other biological nasties.

Since this could potentially be one of the sources of water that my family would use in a SHTF situation, I want to be sure we don’t get sick from it. So now’s the time to test it.

My results

Clarity

As you can see from the two pictures, their is a stark difference in clarity. Keep in mind that clarity is only the first step which means it’s good at sediment removal but it does not mean it necessarily tastes good or is free of biological contaminants.

Taste

After taking a taste, it was ok. There was a slight flat taste to it which is likely due to it not being very oxygenated since it’s a stagnant pool of water (similar to boiled water). I’m sure if it was river water or some other running source of water with a lot of oxygen it would have been better.

To ensure that I’m making a fair comparison, I did run the filter first through a couple gallons of tap water which tastes pretty good in our town.

For those that like more of an oxygenated taste, you can pour the water back and forth from one container to the other which will oxygenate it and improve the taste.

Purity

This is difficult to really test unless you have the right equipment. Since I don’t have the equipment, the best I can do is drink a few glasses and wait a week or two. As of this writing, it’s been a little over a week since I drank the water. So far so good. I have not had any ill effects like diarhea or stomach pains.

Conclusion

Despite it being a lot cheaper in comparison to the higher-end filter elements, all in all I found this filter to be pretty effective and would trust drinking any water sources nearby my house filtered with this element. Would I choose the Berkey elements over this one if I was in a Katrina-type situation where all I had to drink was flood water? You betcha. I think both have their place.

If you must have the name brand (Berkey does sell great filters), keep in mind that you only need to purchase the filter elements themselves. With those you can make the water-filtration system using the directions I detailed above. This alone will still save you over $100 dollars. You can purchase these filters at one of my sponsors, “Directive21.com” at the following link: Directive21.com

Otherwise, given their price, I would recommend purchasing a few of the filter kits for you and your loved ones (or for future barter). Again, you can get the kits at the following link: InternetPrepper.com.

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