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DIY Black Berkey Home Water Purifier

Updated on May 10, 2015

Black Berkey Filters - the BEST in the World

Survivalists and health enthusiasts alike agree that Black Berkey Water Filters are simply the best in the industry. Due to their efficient, durable and economic filtering properties, these units are used around the world to filter everything from municipal water and rainwater to unsightly pond or river water.

However, did you know the Black Berkey's are not really filters?

Its true!

To be classified as a water filter, a filtration system must simply remove: 99.99% (Log 4) of Pathogenic Bacteria contaminants. That's it!

HOWEVER, a water purification system must remove more than: 99.9999% (Log 6) of Pathogenic Bacteria contaminants AND 99.99% (Log 4) of Virus contaminants AND 99.9% (Log 3) of Cysts contaminates, like Cryptosporidium and Giardia!

Berkey Black elements SURPASS all of these filtration AND purification requirements AND more!

Filtration on a Budget

Yet, the standard stainless steel Berkey units that come with Black Berkey filters - like the Imperial Berkey ($315+) - can be outside the price range of many families.... thus, we are here to show you how you can make your very own Home Berkey Water Purifier with (2) Black Berkeys, (2) buckets and a spigot for only about $110!

That's about 1/3 the price!

DIY Home Berkey Water Filter

In the video below, Steve Spencer from Instrucatables, does a great job or taking you through step-by-step the process of building your own Home BLack Berkey Water Filter.

Supplies

As Steve outlined in the video above, for this project you will need the following:

  • (2) Black Berkey Water Filters
  • (2) Food Grade Buckets
  • (1) Water Spigot
  • (1) 3/4" drill bit and (1) 7/16" drill bit

The water spigot kit with nut and washers can be found at hardware stores like Lowes and Home Depot. The buckets can be round or square in shape and range from 4-6 gallons in size; however, these must be food grade (i.e. BPA free). These can easily be obtained free by requesting extras from bakerys and restaurants. We've personally obtained these free buckets from Costco, Sam's Club, Walmart and Food Lions. Not all bakeries give them out, but there is no harm in asking.

Buying the Filters

Berkey BB9-2 Replacement Black Purification Elements, Set of 2
Berkey BB9-2 Replacement Black Purification Elements, Set of 2

The Black Berkey filter elements can be purchased online from retailers like Amazon. Berkey monitors their dealer pricing, so $107 a set is currently the cheapest you will find.

 

Testing Your Black Berkeys

Ok, so we have all heard companies claim the moon, but who is to say it is really legit?

With the Black Berkey filters you can do your own home test to confirm they are really filtering the way they should!

Simply add a good amount of red food coloring to a full load of water in the top chamber of your unit and wait for it to filter into the bottom chamber. If the water in the bottom chamber comes out crystal clear, your filters pass!

If the water instead has a red hue to it, this means your filters simply need to be tightened in the top chamber. Tighten and test again. Yes, it really is that simple.

This method is perfect for those who have made their own DIY Berkey Filter or have had elements operating for a long time and want to check their condition. Remember, Black Berkeys are not like typical water filters that have a short shelf/use life, -these things last for up to 3,000 gallons each - even if that takes 10 years to use!

So What Makes These So Good?

Gravity!

It's like this, we all know that steel ball bearings are magnetic. However, if you were to throw several dozen ball bearings across the room at a magnet, most of them would probably bounce off. Yet, if you were to walk over there and gently place those same ball bearings up against the magnet, most of them would stick.

In simplified terms, its the same with water filters. Most manufacturers utilize similar systems to the Black Berkey; yet, they shoot water through under pressures of up to 60-90 PSI. At this rate, the filters simply can't complete their task properly. However, Berkey systems use NO electricity and NO water pressure - simply gravity. Thus, the longer "contact period" enables the unwanted particles to adhere to the filter media just like the ball bearings adhered to the magnet when gently placed against it. (If you want the full low down with all of the scientific jargon, you can visit Berkey's website at berkeywater.com.)

So how do the Black Berkey elements work? Simply pour your unfiltered water into the top chamber, let gravity do its job and enjoy the sparklingly clean water from the lower chamber. Now that is peace of mind!

Additional Berkey Benefits

With the Black Berkey elements, you can purify a lot more than just municipal water. Black Berkeys also do a great job of purifying lake, pond, stream, pool, rain water, etc.

"When would I ever want to do that?", you ask.

Well, what if your area was hit with a natural disaster and your regular water sources were unavailable? Your Black Berkeys could literally save your life!

Already Got Berkey Water? Use It!

Nalgene Tritan Wide Mouth BPA-Free Water Bottle, Red w/ Black Cap, 32-Ounces
Nalgene Tritan Wide Mouth BPA-Free Water Bottle, Red w/ Black Cap, 32-Ounces

For those who are already enjoying the benefits of a Berkey Water Purification System (homemade or purchased) make sure you are using your clean water to the fullest. Many experts recommend the average person consume 1/2 of their body weight in ounces of water per day. So, if you way 150 lbs, this means you would drink 75 ounces. This can be difficult to do, especially on the run, but making sure you have your Berkey water with you makes this goal a lot easier.

 

Other Berkey Products

Other great Berkey products available include shower filters and Berkey sport bottles. Sport bottles utilize the same Black Berkey elements as the large units and are great for foreign travel - sure saves a lot of money over buying bottled water and you actually know what you are getting!

Now, with that said, you may have seen that Berkey also manufactures a cermaic filtration elemnt in additon to the Black Berkey purification elements. However, the ceramic elements are classified as filters while the Black Berkeys are classified as purifiers. Using the criteria listed above, the Black Berkeys are a much better product and are THE industry changers. Make sure you purchase the best for your homemade Berkey water filter!

Black Berkey elements are available for all of Berkey's water systems, including: Berkey Sport, Go Berkey, Travel Berkey, Berkey Light, Big Berkey, Royal Berkey, Imperial Berkey and Crown Berkey systems. These systems range in size from 22 oz sport bottles to 6 gallon commercial systems; yet, their power comes from the very same Black Berkey elements.

The Big Berkey

Big Berkey BK4X2 Countertop Water Filter System with 2 Black Berkey Elements and 2 Fluoride Filters
Big Berkey BK4X2 Countertop Water Filter System with 2 Black Berkey Elements and 2 Fluoride Filters

The pre-packaged Berkey come in several different sizes including Travel, Big, Royal, Imperial and Crown. The Big Berkey is usually an adequate size for most small families.

 

Black Berkey Elements

Like the Berkey concept but don't want to build your own?

No problem, the Black Berkey elements are available for all of Berkey's water systems, including: Berkey Sport, Go Berkey, Travel Berkey, Berkey Light, Big Berkey, Royal Berkey, Imperial Berkey and Crown Berkey systems. These systems range in size from 22 oz sport bottles to 6 gallon commercial systems; yet, their power comes from the very same Black Berkey elements.

Make or Buy?

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