The Berkley Water Filter is an expensive system used extensively all over the world. You can buy one of the four ceramic water filters it uses, and create your own simple system, for under fifty dollars. These are the printed directions, with links to the sites on the web. A second web page, listed after this, gives more information.
Operating Pure Water Products’ Style A Siphon Filter –
Style A C-DSS Doulton Super Sterasyl Candle–9″
1. Find a container for the water you are going to filter. A rectangular, flat-bottomed container is best, but other types will work. Fill the container with clean (potable) water and drop the ceramic candle into the water. The position doesn’t matter as long as the water will cover the candle.
LET IT SOAK UNTIL IT WON’T FLOAT BEFORE ATTEMPTING TO USE IT AS A SIPHON FILTER.
This may take an hour or so and it may take overnight. You can speed the process up by putting an object on top of it to hold it under water. (After the initial use of the ceramic candle, such extensive soaking will not be necessary.)
IMPORTANT: IF CLEAN WATER IS NOT AVAILABLE FOR SOAKING THE CANDLE, , INSTALL THE SIPHON ADAPTER ON THE CANDLE AS INSTRUCTED BELOW BEFORE SOAKING. BE SURE TO KEEP THE OPEN END OF THE TUBE WELL OUT OF THE WATER TO AVOID CONTAMINATION.
2. Assemble the filter by screwing the female fitting attached to the hose onto the male fitting of the ceramic candle. Be sure that the O ring is inserted onto the stem of the candle. For added security and to assure the tightest seal possible, the threads of the candle should be taped with two or three wraps of Teflon pipe thread tape. Teflon tape is sold at all hardware stores Tighten the fitting onto the candle until the O ring is firmly against the shoulders of the fitting.
3. Select a container to receive the filtered water. Any clean container will work. (Actually, a dirty container will work, but you’ll have to drink dirty water.)
4. Arrange the two containers so that the dirty water container is above the clean water container. The greater the difference in elevation, the faster the filter will work.
5. Start the filter by sucking water through the hose as if it were a soda straw until you get water in your mouth, then quickly lower the hose to allow water to flow into the clean water container. The water should continue to flow. If it doesn’t, repeat the process until you get a start. Several attempts may be necessary. (If you suck until your eyeballs pop out and can’t get water to come through the candle, it means you ignored the presoaking instructions in step #1.)
6. Once the filter has started, it will continue to filter water into the clean water container until the upper container runs out of water. Simply adding water to the upper container will restart the filter even if the container has run dry.
7. Discard the first batch of water you filter. Any water filter, this one included, always needs to run awhile to rinse itself out when it’s new.
Water Candle extension:
To extend the hose you can buy 20 ft of tubing, (enough for the three filters I bought), for under three dollars, at most hardware stores. Use 3/8 outside diameter, and 1/4 inside diameter. The tubing that comes with the ceramic “water candle” is 1/4 outside diameter.
You can slip one tube into the other, and it makes a connection that is difficult to pull apart. No tape or other glue is needed. Works well, if you are siphoning.
There is only the pressure of running water over the connection. As well, separately, the 20 ft of tubing will work as an excellent siphon tube, on its own. I looked going directly into the connection on the water candle itself, but it would not adapt. The tubing extension works well. (-from my files)
- The filter needs no maintenance as long as flow is good. When flow gets slower, clean the candle by holding it under running water and wiping it clean with a cloth or a mildly abrasive pad.
- The filter will last indefinitely. It should be replaced when a significant amount of the ceramic outer surface has been worn away by cleaning, or until it becomes so filled with contaminants that cleaning will not restore normal water flow.
- Filters with a carbon inner core (Super Sterasyl) have a shorter life span and should be replaced when the carbon is expended. Failure to improve the taste of the filtered water is an indication that replacement is needed. If chlorinated water is filtered, replace when the filter fails to remove chlorine. (The three that I bought were the Super Sterasyl variety.)
- The hose can be trimmed to a convenient length, but keep in mind that the greater the elevation, the faster the production.
Capability of Filter
Doulton ceramic cartridges are capable of making virtually any water safe to drink from a microbiological standpoint. They are not designed to remove heavy chemical contamination. You can filter pond water and drink it, but be selective. The clearer the water, the less cleaning you’ll have to do, and the longer the element will last.
(Does not seem to apply to the Super Sterasyl variety I bought, except that the idea of pre-treating with chlorine may be good.) If you use a carbon filter like the CeramiKX, for best results chlorinate the water lightly to be sure bacteria are killed. The carbon filter will remove chlorine and finish the job. Carbon filters usually require more pre-soaking than ceramics before use. Be patient. Weight the cartridge down to hold it under water and don’t waste your breath until it won’t float.
Further Notes from the website, worth reading:
Style A: This simple filter adapter consists of a length of 1/4″ plastic filter tubing and a Jaco fitting that attaches the tubing to the threads of a candle-style filter cartridge. The end result (in case the explanation was too technical) is a filter cartridge with a piece of plastic tubing hooked to it. Not a lot of excess parts.
The operation is very simple. Get some water in a container–a flat container big enough for the filter cartridge to lie horizontally in works best–, drop the filter cartridge into the water, let it soak until it won’t float, then suck on the end of the tubing. . When you get water in your mouth, drop the tube into another container a few inches lower than the first and clean water will flow from the end of the tube into your container. The rate of flow is pretty spectacular.
Three gallons per hour is a reasonable expectation, and these filters have done more than that in our tests. It’s faster than a four-candle gravity filter and it will run on nature’s energy as long as you keep water in the top container. And, get this, the ceramic candle filter acts like a lamp wick. It will suck every drop of water from the top container, then start working again without priming if you pour more water into the top vessel.
…We stock Doulton Sterasyl ceramic candles (exactly the same cartridges used in the $300 gravity filters). The high-tech Rubbermaid container we use, by the way, doesn’t come with the unit. You’ll have to get one at K-Mart as we did……. The advantages of Style A are that it is lighter and more portable and therefore makes a much better backpacking filter. It is also easier to use. Style A is an emergency filter–that’s it.