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How to Build a Big Berkey Clone Water Filter

What if I told you that you could make a water filter for less than half the cost of a real Big Berkey? Would you be interested? You should.

Now, I must admit, building a Big Berkey clone wasn’t my idea. It actually came from my currently favorite book written by James Wesley Rawles called How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It: Tactics, Techniques, and Technologies for Uncertain Times. If you’re interested in long term preparedness, then this book is a MUST! If only I could afford half of what he proposes.

Anyway, the Big Berkey clone idea is a really simple one indeed. Instead of buying a real Big Berkey or other expensive gravity-fed water filter, buy a set of Black Berkey Replacement Water Filters and install them into a large hdpe 3 to 6 gallon bucket (such as a hardware store Homer pail). Simply cut an appropriate sized hole (about half inch in diameter) for each filter in the bottom of a bucket (ensuring the filters do not touch the sides of the bucket), install the filters (ensure the filter seal is tight so that contamination cannot occur), then set the bucket with the filters installed atop another bucket of the same size to collect the clean water. You could even install a spigot into the lower collection bucket just like a real Big Berkey if you like. Here’s an article with pictures detailing exactly how to make your own.

A few things to consider:

  • ensure the hdpe buckets are food grade, not previously used for anything else, and thoroughly cleaned with soap and water before use
  • install at least two filters in the bucket to speed up filtering and prolong filter life
  • prefilter / strain the water before pouring it into the upper bucket (the one with the filter elements)
  • You might also want to watch this video on How to Prime Berkey Water Filter:

That’s it. You’ve just created a long term home water filter (with the ability to filter thousands of gallons of water) for less than half of the cost. It’s this kind of thinking that brings true preparedness to the masses. Thank you Mr. Rawles.

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