You can save yourself about $100-$150 by making your own Berkey filter on the cheap. Thought this might be deserving of its own thread - this is how we made ours.
Parts You Will Need
In the bottom of one bucket drill two holes to receive the Berkey carbon-ceramic filters, and drill two matching holes in the lid of the other bucket. You will use the rubber washers and nuts to tighten the filters in through the bottom of the bucket and lid. The lid from the bottom bucket will be affixed to the bottom of the top bucket. So you will then have a bucket with two filters inside with a lid on top and a lid fastened to the bottom. You may need to use krazy glue to hold the lid in place on the bottom.
In the bottom bucket drill a hole in the side near the bottom for the spigot. Fasten the spigot through the hole again with the rubber washers and plastic nut.
Then all you have to do is stack the filter bucket on top of the spigot bucket - fasten the lid to avoid dirt in the bottom bucket - and pour some water in the top. No mater how nasty the water you pour in the top, the water will come out clear on the bottom.
Bonus item - We've obtained a smaller 3 gal food grade icing bucket, this can be filled with water (or ice packs) and frozen. Place this smaller bucket inside the bottom bucket and it will act as a water cooler.
Pablo: Where did you buy the buckets?
hats off! (and tipped!)
Nice. I own and love Berkey. Construction and parts are very simple -- it's all about those sweet Berkey filters. My kids also love the blue glow at night. But I will remember this post for Berkey replacement - if ever needed.
Berkey won't ship their systems to California (cuz stupid people make the laws here) so this is a good alternative!
You can get free buckets at your local Walmart. Ask the bakery. They have food grade, 5 gallon buckets that are used to ship their icing. These buckets also have gasket sealed tops. We use these for our grain food storage.
You can ask your local baker if they will give/sell you some icing buckets. Our walmart doesn't do this, but they did have HDPE plastic buckets that are stamped NSF on the bottom, for $3 each. If it is HDPE and stamped NSF then it is food safe. Some Home Depots also have them, you can call the bucket company to verify if it is food safe if it is not stamped.
fumofo: I'm in California, and I got one. You are correct, Berkey won't ship here. So.... don't order from Berkey. Or don't have it shipped to California. It worked quite well, and there's nothing that the State can do about it.
Would it be too much trouble to take a couple of pictures of your water system; maybe from some different angles?
So what is the dumb ass reason for the California ban on Berkey cartridges?
From Berkey: "California recently adopted AB 1953 / SB 1334 & 1395 / HSC Section 116875, commonly refered to as the "no lead law". Of course Berkey products do not contain lead, but under this measure until the state of California confirms this fact, Berkey is forced to suspend shippment of water purification systems to the state of California. This is a complex law and Shipment will resume to California when we get clarification on how to proceed on obtaining a lead free certification as defined by the state of California. We ship to all other states with the exception of Iowa. If you are purchasing a Berkey system as a gift to be shipped to someone in another state, we accept payment from residents in all 50 states."
If you have family that lives outside of California, you can just have it shipped to them and have them ship it to you.
Oh so they did to all products what they did to handguns. Make them illegal until you prove your product is safe. California defines the nanny state.
yup pretty much.
In addition to filtering particulate matter, it makes a lot of sense to place silver shot in the filtering buckets. The silver helps inhibit bacterial growth and will help keep the buckets and water much cleaner for longer periods of time. Its not something to rely on 100%, but silver's anti-microbial properties are pretty dang fantastic.
Long ago the pioneers used to drop a silver coin in their milk to keep it fresher MUCH longer... the saying, "born with a silver spoon in their mouth" comes from the people who were wealthy enough to have silver spoons letting their babies suck/chew on them to keep them healthier! I have added making collodial (ionic) silver to my prepping skills. VERY EASY. No need to stock up on it or buy it from somone else. Make your own. Check out the youtube videos on it.
IIRC the Berkey filter has silver in it. Much superior to plain ceramic. Plain ceramic will become a breeding ground for bacteria after even one use unless treated.
Actually the berkey ceramic filter is so small that no bacteria gets through it. But you are right, the top bucket gets skanky. The filters are easy to clean off though with a dobey pad and then it's good as new. Provided you don't spill the top bucket water into the bottom bucket you should have sanitary water for 1000's of gallons per filter.
I lost this thread (bookmarked now) - and search didn't turn it up, so, bumping it back to the top so I can go ahead and order the stuff.
Also a question for you Berkey owners out there, I am seeing some negative feedback on Amazon on the black filters coming unglued prematurely (I would think that should be 'never'). Anyone experienced that or know what the deal is?
Keep the inside of your Berkey clean by swabbing it with a little vinegar. My water has iron rust in it and you can see this on the cartridges as a orangey rust colored residue. Once a week I just take the top canister to the laundry room and spray the cartridges clean with a jet of water. Also if you have minerals in your water, the spigot will get a white buildup it, but a little CLR will get rid of that.
Bottom line is I would never be without it, you can dump swamp water in the top and it will come out crystal clear . If you can afford it, get the big one with four filters for convenience sake. Two filters will work just as good , just takes longer to refill the bottom.