In less than an hour you can turn a couple of simple steel pots into a Berkey-style water filtration system for pennies on the dollar.
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The Berkey system
How many of you have thought about purchasing a Berkey water filtration system then saw the price tag on one? They run around $300-600 depending on the style and size and the filters are over $100. This is not outrageous, but when you look at the system it is quite simple; two steel containers sitting on top of each other with a filter in the top and a spout in the bottom. That’s about the sum of the system.
Why you need a water filtration system
I have city water where I live and must say that I have been blessed with great tasting water right out of the faucet. Our water supply team does an excellent job at providing great water to the area. I don’t get hard water stains or build up on my shower head, and there is rarely a chlorine smell or taste to the water.
However, even the best of water can contain contaminants like bacteria, viruses, nitrates, and arsenic. I feel better knowing my water has gone through filtration to greatly reduce if not eliminate these contaminants.
Although my water is great, I am concerned this will change in the future. In today’s uncertain times, it is a good idea to have a system in place that is portable and can filter even the dirtiest of water into something clean and drinkable.
Materials needed to make a Berkey-style water filtration system
- 2 stainless steel stock pots with thin bottoms and riveted handles OR 2 5-gallon plastic buckets
- Ceramic water filter
- Optional fluoride filter
- Dispenser spout
- 7/16″ drill bit for metal
- 3/4″ drill bit for metal
I listed either the stainless pots or plastic buckets as you can use either. The plastic buckets are, of course, easier to drill into, but I prefer the look of stainless that I can keep on my counter. Make sure your steel pots have rivets inside of the pot for one to sit on top of the other. As a fair warning, it is a little difficult to drill into steel but if I can do it, anyone can!
I also listed the ceramic water filters that I am currently using, but you can use any ceramic filters including the Berkey filters and/or fluoride cartridge. I tested these filters using red dye and no color passed through the system.
If using a different filter, you may need larger pots to fit them. Also, if using larger pots, you may install two filters instead of one. I am using 8-quart stock pots which makes a small system.
How to make a Berkey-style water filtration system.
Using the 7/16″ drill bit, drill a hole in the center of the bottom of one pot. If using larger pots and/or two filters, drill holes with enough space to account for two filters in the bottom.
Using the 3/4″ drill bit, drill a hole in the side of the OTHER pot, approximately 1 1/2″ up from the bottom. Insert the spigot and fasten tightly using a gasket on the inside and outside of the spigot tube.
Prime your ceramic filter by forcing water through the bottom hole of the filter using the kitchen faucet. This pushes out any particles blocking the filter. Insert the filter into the bottom of the first pot and fasten tightly.
Place the pot with the filter on top of the other pot with the spigot. Fill the top pot with water and allow the water to filter through to the bottom. You will want to throw this first filtrated water out due to possible residue in the filters first usage.
How long do the filters last?
Depending on use and particulate matter of water being filtered, ceramic filters last around six months to a year. You will know when your filter needs changed when the filtration rate slows due to particles clogging the filter.
Cleaning your water filtration system
Periodically, you should clean your system by simply removing the filter and washing each container with hot soapy water. Replace your filter and fill with water.
I hope you enjoy your new water filtration system as much as I do. Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below. Thank you for stopping by!
Thank you Dani,
This post is exactly what I wanted, as I have a Berkey system but also enough filters with no housing to make another system.The cost of the complete systems has leapt recently.
Greetings from Portugal
With regards Rob