I made one. And I took some pictures. So I thought I'd show you how easy it is.
2 six-gallon, food-grade water buckets (You can use smaller buckets, but they aren't recommended.)
2 black Berkey purification elements, with priming button
1 spigot, if you want to use one
1 1/2" drill bit
I didn't have a 1/2" drill bit. So I went to my go-to guy for hardware. He said that most home drills aren't big enough to accommodate a standard 1/2" drill bit. But they make a 1/2" drill bit that narrows down at the end so you can fit it in your drill. I got one, and it worked perfectly. So that's probably what you'll need, too.
I got my black Berkey purification elements from the Berkey Guy. I bought from him because he was the last supplier I found on the Internet who was still selling them for $99 and including a free Sport Berkey Water Bottle Portable Water Purifier. Everyone was selling them for this price last year. Now, no one is. Even the Berkey Guy has raised his prices since I got mine. (2 black Berkey purification elements are now $107, and the Sport Berkey is $24.99).
- Prime the purification elements.
- Drill holes for the purification elements in the bottom of one bucket and in the lid of the other bucket.
- Put the purification elements through the holes in the bottom of the bucket, with the elements inside the bucket, and tighten the wing nuts.
- Install the spigot in the bottom bucket, if you want one (I did not).
- Assemble the Water Filter.
- Set the lid with the holes on the bucket without the holes.
- Put the bucket with the purification elements on the other bucket with the lid, with the stems going into the holes in the lid (the clean water drips through the stems).
- Put the lid without holes on the bucket with the purification elements in it.
So. Let's get started.
First, you need some clean water to prime the purification elements. I had some bottled water on hand, so I used that. It took a 20-oz bottle of water to prime each element. If you have nice water from your faucet, you can use that. The instructions for priming the purification elements are in the box.
The priming button looks like a tan rubber gasket. It goes over the stem and rests against the bottom of the element. The priming process forces water backwards through each purification element, wetting it and flushing out any residue. The priming button serves to prevent (mostly) water from squirting out while you're forcing the water backwards through the stem and into and through the element.
You hold the element firmly against the faucet (you'd probably have to take the little screen off) or against your water bottle, and force water through it until it beads up on on the surface of the element and runs down.
Then I installed the elements.
And finally, I stacked up the buckes to make my filter.
Oops! Despite my care I got the holes in the lid in the wrong place, and the filter bucket doesn't quite sit on the lid of the lower bucket properly. Ah well. It still works.
So. How do I like it and what have I learned?
It's easy to use. I just take a third bucket (labeled "Dirty Water") out to my rain barrel and fetch some water. Pour it into the filter bucket, and a few hours later I have clean water in the lower bucket.
Yeah. That's right. A few hours. It is not a fast filter. But there are a few things you can do to speed things up.
- Keep the water level in the filter bucket topped off. The higher the water level in the filter bucket, the greater the water pressure against the filters, so the faster they filter. Just make sure you don't overflow your bottom bucket!
- Use 6-gallon buckets. I used 4 1/2-gallon buckets, because when I wanted to order them Emergency Essentials was out of the bigger buckets and I was impatient. But by using 6-gallon buckets, I would have started with the water level higher, and would have gotten clean water faster.
- Get 4 purification elements instead of 2. You can cut your filter time in half. This also lets you filter a lot more water before you have to replace your purification elements. Of course, it costs twice as much up front.
Another thing to remember is that you can clean the black Berkey purification elements several times. They recommend using a ScotchBright(r) pad.
You can put a spigot in the bottom bucket, to use it as a dispenser. I decided not to do this for 2 reasons. I forgot to purchase a spigot! But also, I already have a couple water dispensers. So I just collect water in the bucket and pour it into the dispensers I already have.
I got my first dispenser from The Water Crock Shop. They have a very nice selection of water crocks. You can either get a lid, like I did, or put a water bottle on top. The crock, by itself, holds 2 1/2 gallons of water.
But the water crock was too big for my tiny bathroom counter. So I picked up a glass dispenser on sale at my local Fred Meyer store. I think it's supposed to be for serving Limoncello. But I'm using it for nice, clean, water.