@Kink's DIY Berkey Water Filter System Project

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Re: @Kink's DIY Berkey Water Filter System Project

#1 Post by Kink » Fri Jan 25, 2019 11:08 pm

Diagrams help so much :D, it's simple but explaining it in text can make things sound more complicated than they are.

Over the past month(+) Andy has helped me tremendously with getting a water filter system up and running, in my case it had to be the same cost as an R/O system (<$170) and be ale to solve the problem of having to buy bottled water due to the tap where I live being undrinkable. Gotta give a thanks to dirtymurphy too as he also suggested going with a gravity filter.

The idea is simple enough, we're taking two reservoirs and using gravity to pull the water through the carbon filters in the top res, and into the bottom where our purified water will sit and be accessible by a spigot. DIYing this can save you $100 or more. This is standard issue water filtration practice in use by many missionaries and survivalists around the world.

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DIY Berkey Water Filter Guide
Luckily I had the opportunity to make this system with both Stainless Steel stock pots and cheap food grade buckets for demonstration purposes. Stainless steel is recommended as long term the plastic will eventually start to seep into the taste of the water but buckets are a great budget route as they can be easily replaced with backups.

Water Filters:
These are the most expensive expenditure of this project, they will pay for themselves and then some; being able to have access to drinking water from any source you can find, whether that's rain, creek or even river water. Each Berkey Black filter is estimated to last 3,000 gallons, so that's 6,000 gallons per 2. Alternatively look for Propur G2.0 9" filters (non slimline) if Berkey filter prices continue to rise. Checkout this info graph of what all contaminants berkey filters can remove! Image

Supplies List (Stainless Steel):
Always research the company you are purchasing SS stock pots from before purchasing. I am here to be your crash course, sharing my journey, including screw ups with you, as a learning lesson :mrgreen:. Avoid the IMUSA brand of stockpots, as they are manufactured in India. They are what I used here and rusted within a day. Links are what I used or suggest.
  • 16 Quart Stainless Steel Stock Pots (I recommend these 4 gallon pots, sometimes bigger =/= better, it's suggested you replenish the water daily in the filter, so 4 gallons would be ideal for 3-4 people)
    7/16" Drill Bit (To make the holes for the filters, make sure to check the shank size of your drill - this one fits a 3/8" chuck)
    5/8" Drill Bit (Optional)(To make the spigot hole, alternatively you can use a dremel + diamond burr to slowly increase the size of a 7/16" hole, which is what ended up doing)
    10" Spigot w/ Water Level | Stainless Steel Spigot | Black Ceramic Spigot
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Supplies List (Buckets):
Make sure you get Food Grade (BPA Free) Buckets. If you can go cheaper and get more buckets for backups, that would be a good route to go. Tried to make the list as cheap as possible, texas state flag and all :mrgreen: ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

How to (Stainless Steel):
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STEP 1-) Where you start is up to personal choice. It technically does not matter but I recommend drilling the two port holes for the Black filters in the bottom of the top res. If you have a metal file, you can drill these holes with the pots upside down, allowing you to apply SLIGHT pressure/force down and be overall easier to work with as it's a flat surface, without any walls like the alternative way of doing it. If you don't have a metal file I recommend drilling these holes from the inside out, as it will push all the metal burr this way and you'll have a much easier time having to remove the excess metal on the outside of the pot than putting your arms down into the pot.
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Start from the middle of the pot and move out to the sides, use a sharpie and make two dots roughly 4-4.5" apart from each other. Drill these two holes using the 7/16" bit, take your time and go slow, it might take a little bit for the drill to really dig in.

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STEP 2-) Now you can either drill out a hole for the spigot or cut out the lid to the bottom pot which will serve as a foundation for the top pot to comfortably rest upon. If you don't have access to a dremel w/ a cutting disk, I recommend using Red color handled Metal snips, the red color are left cutting and are suited for cutting in a counter clockwise direction, easiest for right handed people. If you are using snips, you will want to drill out a decent sized hole along where you want to begin cutting.
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If the pot lid has a ridge around the outer edge (leaving you with about 2-2.5" of room for the top pot to sit on), this is where I'd cut along. Otherwise you can take the lid of a smaller pot to draw a line with a sharpie. If you are unsure of how this will work, do a test spot in the middle somewhere like I did in the first pic of step 2 (you can see the rugged area is where I tried unsuccessfully to use straight cutting snips). Use a metal file or dremel to smooth out the freshly cut part of the lid. Be careful once you've cut out the inner part not to cut yourself, I suggest wearing gloves.
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STEP 3-)Make a hole for the spigot, it can be slightly bigger than the spigot this won't hurt anything, as long as it's smaller than the rubber washers which act as the gaskets to prevent water from leaking out. Use either the 5/8" drill bit for this to one and done it or use the 7/16" and slowly make the hole wider with a dremel or drill if you absolutely must, just take your time. If you have a 2x4 or piece of wood on hand, you can make a test hole to see if the stem of the spigot will fit.
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Make sure the hole is not on the bottom of the pot but low enough that there's only about 1cm room between the bottom of the pot and the stem of the spigot. This is so you're not sitting with water on the bottom unable to reach the stem at all. Once the burrs are removed you can insert the stem of the spigot, making sure to remove the nut and washer. Slide the additional washer that it came with onto the threaded stem on the inside of the pot until it is snug against the wall. Tighten the nut as tight as you can get it without any tools, the spigot should look firmly attached to the pot. Can do a test with some water to make sure it is sealed properly and no leaks occur.

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STEP 4-) We are pretty much complete, final touches would be to remove any excess metal shavings on the holes/cuts we've made so that both the spigot and filters are able to sit flat and smooth when fastened to the pots. If you are going to make an LED circuit, you can now also drill a small 1/8" or so hole right below the top edge of the pot to route the wires through.
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All that is left is to prime the filters according to the instructions included with them, and insert the stems of the black filters into the holes in the bottom of the top pot and tighten the butterfly nuts as well as you can (carefully!). The white filters simply screw onto the threaded end of these black filters, be very careful when screwing these on as it's not recommended to do more than 8 full rotations. It's also suggested that you run a few batches of water through the system before consuming any, and you can also do the red food coloring test to see if it's operating correctly.
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Unfortunately I don't have any pictures of the stainless steel pots with the filters inserted, see the buckets guide for reference on that.

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How-to (Buckets):
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STEP 1-) Same as the stainless steel order, you can start wherever you would like. I suggest the filter port holes here as well.
https://i.imgur.com/sLKyJVK.jpg
Make two marks with a sharpie at least 4-4.5" inches apart from each other, start from the middle of the bucket and work your way out. Alternatively you can find spots on the bucket like I did to give you a starting point. Remove all the excess plastic with a file or dremel, also can just use your fingers.

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STEP 2-) Make your hole for your spigot. Find where the very bottom of the bucket is, and mark a spot slightly above this as your drill point. Again, make sure it will allow any water at the very bottom to flow into the stem of the spigot. If you don't have access to a 5/8" bit, use the 7/16" and slowly make it bigger with a dremel or drill, just be very careful and go slow, widen it a few cm, stop and check if the progress, repeat.
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STEP 3-) After removing any excess plastic from the spigot's hole, you can insert the spigot stem (after unscrewing the nut/removing the additional washer) and from the inside of the bucket put the washer over the stem and tighten the nut as best/tight as you can without damaging anything.
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Now is where I marked two spots on the lid to the bottom bucket with a sharpie, roughly at the same positions as the holes we made in the bottom of the top bucket. You can do exactly as the I did in the stainless steel guide and completely gut the inner core of the lid or just do like I did here and use a hole saw bit and make two small-medium sized holes for the stems of the black filters to fit through as well as for the white filters to be able to be screwed onto these stems. Remove any excess plastic with a file/dremel or your fingers the best you can.
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STEP 4-) Now you're ready to prime the filters according to the instructions that came with the them. Then insert the black filters into the port holes of the bottom bucket, and tighten the butterfly nut as tight as you can (without causing any damage). I just installed the black filters directly onto the bottom bucket's lid, and then screwed on the white filters before snapping the lid onto the bucket. As per instructions of the Berkey white filters, do not over tighten them, do no more than 8 full rotations or just until you find they are properly attached, be careful and go slow.
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You should now be completely ready to go, it's suggested you allow a few batches to drain-to-waste (let the spigot flow into the sink) before consuming any water. You can also run the red food coloring test to confirm everything is working as intended.
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I hope this was helpful to whoever is reading this, please feel free to ask any questions below that you may have! I wrote this in one sitting so there may be some improvements/edits that are needed :mrgreen:


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