Living with hard water is, well, hard. It tastes a bit odd and leaves scaly deposits on everything. But what’s even worse than living in a home with hard water is spending $1000 on a filtration system to soften it up. Why should you have to pay a small fortune just to get clean water? This is especially true when you consider that it’s much cheaper – and greener – to simply make a filtration system on your own. For example, here’s how to build a simple, rugged Berkey-style purifier that can provide your entire family with pure water for years.
First, you’ll need 2 large food-grade buckets with lids. You should be able to find these at any home improvement store. Then, you’ll need a quality candle or ceramic filter. We used this one from Cheaper Than Dirt, but you can find yours anywhere. Just make sure it has a filter efficiency rating of at least .5 microns and meets National Sanitation Foundation standards. Finally, you’ll need a ½” plastic spigot. You should be able to find one of these for about $10 at your local home improvement store.
- Drill a half-inch hole in the bottom of the “top” bucket.
- Drill a half-inch hole in the lid of the “bottom” bucket.
- Drill a half-inch hole one inch above the bottom of the “bottom” bucket.
- Install your spigot into the third hole.
- Attach a washer to your filter and screw it into the hole you drilled in the “top” bucket.
- Attach a second washer and screw on the lid of the “bottom” bucket.
- Secure the assembly with a wing nut.
- Attach the lid of the top bucket onto the bottom bucket, making sure to check
- Fill with water.
The science behind this type of water purifier is simple. The lid between the stacked buckets creates a seal so that all the water must pass through your industrial-grade filter before it reaches the holding tank. It’s a simple, rugged design that can purify everything from hard water to pond slurry. This makes it incredibly useful in emergencies where there’s no clean water supply available.
The only downside of the Berkey-style filter is that it’s not as efficient as the in-line water purification systems that treat your water before it gets to your faucets and shower heads. Consequently, if you’re looking for a permanent cleaning solution for your water, I highly recommend investing in a DIY in-line kit from a manufacturer like Sawyer. These kits cost between $60 and $200 and can be installed by anyone with basic home improvement experience.
Bio: Lucy Clark is a home improvement junkie and featured contributor at DIYMother.org. She enjoys refurbishing antique furniture, remodeling her living room and thinking up creative ways to get her daughters to eat their organically-grown vegetables.