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DIY Project
How Do You Make a Homemade Water Filter Without Charcoal?

How Do You Make a Homemade Water Filter Without Charcoal?

A homemade water filter is not only a fun and educational project, but it teaches valuable skills, too. If you were to end up in a survival situation where there is no purified water, this knowledge could be vital in keeping you alive. Luckily, not only whole-house water filtration systems get you pure drinking water. A basic water filtration system is fairly easy to construct, and we have laid out the steps for you below.

One of the most common methods of making a water filter at home is by using charcoal, but that’s not the only way. You can also use materials such as ceramic or sand. The important feature of these materials is that their pores are big enough to allow water to drain through but small enough that they block dirt, sediment, and other contaminants.

Using Sand to Make a Homemade Water Filter

First, you will need to collect the following items:

  • A transparent plastic bottle of any size with the bottom cut off (the larger the bottle, the more water you can filter)
  • A coffee filter, piece of cheesecloth, muslin, or similar
  • An elastic band or piece of string
  • Gravel or small pebbles
  • Coarse sand
  • Fine sand

The Process

Begin by removing the cap from your bottle and attaching the cloth or coffee filter to cover the opening. Pull it taught and use the elastic band or string to securely fasten it in place.

Secondly, turn the bottle upside down, and pour in enough gravel or small pebbles to fill roughly a quarter of the bottle’s volume.

Pour the coarse sand on top of the gravel, again filling roughly 25% of the bottle’s original volume.

Top it off with fine sand, filling the same amount as you did with the previous materials. You should have enough space left to pour water into the container, where it will filter down through the fine sand, coarse sand, then gravel, and finally pass through the bottleneck and the material-covered bottle opening.

Finally, pour some dirty water into the top of your water filter and watch as purified water emerges from the bottom. Remember to put a container underneath to catch the clean water!

The video below will give you a good idea how this DIY water filter should look like:

How to Build a Ceramic Water Filter at Home

To build a DIY ceramic water filter, you will need these items:

  • 2 large food-grade buckets, both with lids, ideally one with a beer tap/spout
  • 1 ceramic water filter
  • 1 tap/spout (if you cannot find a bucket with one that’s already built-in)
  • A drill, or access to one

The Process

Start by drilling a hole in the bottom of one bucket, and in the lid of the 2nd bucket so that when placed on top of each other the holes line up.

Then, place the ceramic water filter into the first bucket, poke the filter’s nozzle through the hole, and fasten it with nuts.

Now, drill a hole in the side of the second bucket and secure the tap. Alternatively, you can find buckets that already have the tap installed, which means you can skip this step.

Stack the bucket containing the ceramic filter on top of the tapped bucket, matching up the holes so that the nozzle of the filter pokes through into the bottom bucket.

Fill with (dirty) water and wait for the magic to happen! The water will travel faster through the filtration system when the top bucket remains full, so if you want maximum production, keep an eye on the water level.

Another great way to filter water without using coral is using solar. This process takes a little bit longer and produces less water. Let’s have a look:

Conclusion

Whichever DIY water filter you choose, both can be made at home with minimal costs, materials, and effort. Both a sand filter and a ceramic filter offer fantastic alternatives to charcoal when it comes to removing impurities from unclean water to produce a drinkable water.

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