Gravity Flow Water Filter

Hi Everybody, Frank here.

Hope everybody is having a wonderful day. Here in southeastern Oklahoma the weather is in the middle 80’s – middle 60’s. If you use your imagination, you can forget that just a few days ago it was 98 degrees with a corresponding humidity. Okay, so much for the weather.

Today we’re going to talk about water filtration. Like guns, radios and cars, there is no perfect water filter, but I’d like to share with you the type of system that we have used for about 20 years. We use a gravity flow filtration device. There are a few different models to choose from, some are plastic, some are stainless steel, and you can also make your own out of a couple of five gallon buckets. Probably the most popular brand is Berkey. They make numerous models and sizes, and they appear to make a quality product. But, Fern and I years ago, went with the Katdyn line of gravity flow filters. At the time, I really can’t tell you why we chose plastic over metal. I know the plastic has worked well for us, and when we lived in Alaska, it worked particularly well when moving from one location to another. You can pack all the parts together inside of itself. I love our United States Postal System, and I really do, but sometimes things can get banged around in the mail. So, we just stayed with the Katadyn Gravidyn, which is plastic.

Okay, the pieces. You have an upper chamber and a lower chamber. The lower chamber has one part, the spigot. The upper chamber is where you pour the water initially, it flows through the filters into the lower chamber, thus completing the gravity flow cycle.

Some of these type filters have holes pre-drilled for two, three or four candle type filters. We use one filter and we fill our top container once every two or three days. It’s about 2 gallons. That would take care of most families of four to six people, if you filled it more often.

But, if you want, you can add two of the candle type filters, or three, but you would need to have a very large family to justify this. The more candles, the more water it will filter, and if you’re the immediate gratification type, then you can have your filtered water much faster.

Like I said, we use one filter, and we fill it every two to three days. It takes eight to ten hours for the water to filter from the top to the bottom, so you could theoretically fill it up two to three times a day. But, in doing so, you have to make sure you drain the filtered water out of the bottom. Otherwise you will have an unscheduled mopping. So, if we get enough water for two people filling it every two days with one filter, then if you filled it twice a day, everyday, you would have enough water for about eight people with one filter. Not to mention if you filled it three times a day. So, if you use two or three filters, you can have a lot of filtered water for a lot of people if you work it.

The cleaner the water you put in to be filtered, the longer your filters will last. I guess you could go out and scoop up muddy water and pour into your nice, pretty, clean top reservoir, but in a short period of time, you’re

going to ruin your filter and clog it up. If you’re in this type of environment, there are ways to pre-filter water. There are lots of ways to do this. You can put water in a barrel and let it sit, and the heavy particulates will settle. Then you can either scoop or siphon it off of the top and have much cleaner water. If you choose, you can filter it through a t-shirt or a pair of pantyhose. You say, “Why would you do this? Isn’t this a gravity flow water filter?” Yes, it is, but it’s intended purpose is to filter microscopic type bacteria, so you need to have the water that you’re going to filter down to a very clean level. Okay, so don’t be pouring muddy water into your filter just to prove it will do it. Because if this is what you’re using to prevent intestinal parasites or diarrhea, then you might want to give thought to putting in pre-filtered water.

The manuals indicate replacing these filters every six months, and there are instructions for how to wash them if they get a little bit dirty. We take ours apart every month or two and give it a good scrubbing. All of the plastic parts you can wash with regular liquid soap and water. The filters themselves can only be washed in warm water, no soap. A word of caution. You should always follow the manufacturers advice, when to replace the filter. We do use ours significantly past the six month date. I can’t address the other manufacturers replacement recommendations, because I have never used their products. 

There are some companies that just sell a filter. You take a five gallon bucket; put it on top of another five gallon bucket with a lid in between the two; drill matching holes into the bottom of the top bucket and into the lid of the bottom one; install your filters between the bottom of the top reservoir and the top of the bottom reservoir; drill a hole near the bottom of the bottom reservoir; install a spigot; and you’re good to go. 

We have used this type of water filter for around 20 years now. We used it all over Alaska where the treated water is sometimes of a questionable nature. Now, we use it to filter our rural water, which is also of a questionable nature. There is some question as to whether or not it will filter fluoride. There is also some question whether it will filter chlorine.

But you don’t need to filter chlorine. Either before or after you filter your water, let it sit in an open pitcher on your counter top, and the vast majority of the chlorine will dissipate into the air. I don’t understand why we continue, or ever started, to put fluoride into our drinking water. If you need fluoride treatment for your teeth, the brush your teeth twice a year with a fluoride toothpaste. Fluoride is horrible for older people. You need to do your own research on fluoride. Good luck on finding a commercially made toothpaste that doesn’t have fluoride. It’s in your toothpaste and it’s in most, but not all, municipal water systems. I can find no good use for fluoride. It is terrible for babies to consume, and it does horrible things to the elderly folks bodies. So much for that.

If you would like to remove microscopic particles from your drinking water, then I can recommend the Katadyn Gravidyn gravity flow filter. Hope this helps.

We’ll talk more later. Frank

P.S. My father was the acting chemist for Dallas County Park Cities Water Control and Improvement District, No. 2 for about 20 years. He is my source of data for flouride. He was adamantly opposed to the introduction of fluoride to the water systems. Shortly thereafter, he left the water treatment business and opened a restaurant. Just thought you might want to know.