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  #1  
Old 02-06-2021, 12:29 PM
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Default Berkey Filter? Would Someone mind please recommending a good water filtration unit?

Hello Calguns,

I recently purchased online a Travel Berkey Filter with the 4 black filter units and stainless steel spigot etc (https://www.berkeyfilters.com/products/travel-berkey). Supposedly they are the top or one of the top in the business. However, I've seen threads where one or more person/s may have questioned Berkey's effectiveness. Now I am having my doubt/s. Did I get ripped off?

If you could choose only one water filter for daily safe/reliable water usage, and also for long term reliable emergency preparedness, which water filtration unit would you choose? I would like a unit that can reliably filter out bacteria, viruses, heavy metals, chemicals, etc.

Threads Where One or More Persons may have questioned Berkey's filtration:

https://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/...ghlight=berkey
https://www.survivalistboards.com/th...#post-14772457

Youtube Videos:

Berkey PPM test, unimpressive result/s: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X2ckxAd6H1M
Berkey Filter positive for coliform bacteria: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mGWAB4y6S60

TLDR: I ordered Berkey Filter with black filters, and now questioning the reliability of Berkey etc. Could Calguns please let me know if Berkey is good, or if not, could you please recommend a good long term reliable and safe water filter?

Thank you!!!
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Old 02-06-2021, 12:58 PM
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We've used Berkey black filters for years on well water. Water tastes/smells totally neutral.

We take it camping too. The filters are easy to clean and last a long time.
Money well spent. We use the Berkey lite and only keep 1 filter in it.
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Old 02-06-2021, 1:22 PM
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Hi, thanks for the response. Are all berkey filters the same and all are compatible with black filter (except sports bottle), and the only difference is size or stainless vs lite/plastic or so?
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Old 02-06-2021, 2:32 PM
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Berkey sends up all sorts of red flags. Look for truely independent testing and certification of their filters....you won't find much. It seems their biggest fans are folks that bought one of their systems and feel compelled to like it after laying out the big bucks.

If your normal water supply is a domestic system pretty much anywhere is CA, water out of the tap is fine....assuming you don't have messed up piping on your side of the meter.

For emergency use, I'd go with something like First Need, which are available sometimes at Costco. After pumping through the First Need, you can back up the filtration with MiOx, mixed oxident, or a tiny splash of chlorine.

Katadyn is another reputable filter, usually more expensive than First Need. Back it up with MiOx or Chlorine as well.

If you have a big group, check into the filter systems river rafting outfitters use. You can find them at Partner Steel up in Idahoe. Rafting outfitters have a huge interest in their customers not getting sick and they know clean water is key...you will not find a reputable outfitter using a Berkey....you will find many using Partner Steel built systems.

Berkey might make sense for taste issues, but I would not use them for bioligical or chemical safety. And make sure you maintain the Berkey regularly and fully as such a vessel can harbor things you don't want in your water.
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Old 02-06-2021, 2:49 PM
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Likely the most expensive portable unit, but look at the MSR Gaurdian Purifier. Yes, purifier

https://www.msrgear.com/water-treatm...ier/02370.html
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Old 02-06-2021, 3:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MasterrEugene View Post
Hi, thanks for the response. Are all berkey filters the same and all are compatible with black filter (except sports bottle), and the only difference is size or stainless vs lite/plastic or so?
https://www.berkeyfilters.com/pages/...-water-filters
There's lots of data and science behind these filters.

Quote:
Water Filtration Comparison
As far as capability for filtration is concerned, the Berkey® wins again, hands down. The Katadyn is not capable of removing substances including heavy metals, toxic chemicals, and chlorine, or pathogens such as viruses. The Berkey® filters all of these out of your water, and it is the only water filter that works so well that it can be classified as a water purification system.
Another benefit is that the Berkey® has the capability to remove more contaminants, like fluoride and arsenic, within the lower chamber with post filters that may be added to the system, while the Katadyn does not have this capability.
The Berkey® has the ability to remove at least 99.99 percent of pathogenic bacteria from the water source, as does the Katadyn, which means they are both classified as water filters. But the Berkey® is also classified as a water purifier, as it removes 99.999 percent of viruses, while the Katadyn does not. Learn about the differences between a water purifier and a water filter.
https://www.berkeyfilters.com/pages/...water-purifier
Quote:
Water Filter vs. Water Purifier
The term water filter is universally used to describe many water filtration devices including the Berkey® systems. While the term can be an accurate description, the meaning when talking about water treatment standards is different.
I never use YT nutless monkey reviewers to decide for me. Years of service proved my choice was a good one. Their reputation was/is still pretty solid.

Keep doing your research and make your best WAG.
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Old 02-06-2021, 6:45 PM
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Well, there is a lot of info on the web about effective filtering. I would go there and read some..

Here are the ingredients you need to make a very very good filter, better than store bought in most cases.

0. Filter material, Paper filters or coffee filters. Coffee filters work fine.

1. Activated Charcoal - Amazon sells it for fish tank filters and other uses. Frequently comes in 5 pound containers of small pellet form.

2. Diatomaceous Earth - Amazon, or you can go to a swimming pool supply store and buy it a little cheaper. Amazon says you can use it for killing ants, that's not because its poison, it's because the ants get caught up in the fine powder and die. Of dehydration I believe.

3. Sanitized sand - Home depot. This is sand for children's play boxes. Its very fine and clean. You can boil it or mix it with a water/clorox bleach (only a few drops of clorox or chlorine per gallon). Then rinse the sand with clean water, if you are worried about it being clean.

4. This is a pre-filtration layer of larger sand particles, or some other screener that removes larger particles.

What are the materials for---------

Coffee filters are used to separate the filtration layers.

Activated charcoal is used to absorb unwanted chemicals from the water. Look that up.

Diatomaceous Earth is an extremely effective filter for contaminants down to 2-5 microns! Which is finer than bacteria.

Sand is used to remove larger particles.

The pre-filter layer is there to remove visible contaminants.

Construction---------------------

The simplest filter construction is using disposable water bottles.

Use thicker high end water bottles. Cut the bottoms off the bottles.

The top bottle will be a coffee filter (CF) at the cap end, covered with fine sanitized sand.

The next bottle would be a coffee filter (CF) with Activated Charcoal (AC) on top.

The next filter down will be a CF, covered with Diatomaceous Earth (DE), and maybe a pre-wet CF on top.


With the caps off, nest the DE filter inside the AC filter and tape them in place. Leave plenty of space between the bottle and the filter media for water to flow. The water won't touch the tape if you are careful not to over fill the filter.

Now, do the same with the fine sand filter.

So, you have bottles nested inside each other. Water poured in the top bottle will trickle to through the filter media to the next bottle, and the next, until it finally drips out of the bottom bottle into a catch bottle. This water will be extremely clean. If you are still concerned about the water you can boil it or add 2-3 drops of chlorine per gallon.

Lots of people who make this type of filter use PVC pipe and fittings so they can unscrew sections and replace the filter media.

Finally, you can do a search for "DIY water filtration" but most of the suggestions do not use Diatomaceous Earth, probably because they are not aware of the material and its amazing filtration capability.

A home made filtration system similar to what I've described will filter a LOT of water before you will need to replace filter media, but you may need to experiment to get it working exactly the way you want.


DE -> https://www.waterworld.com/drinking-...omaceous-earth

Survivalist Boards DE -> https://www.survivalistboards.com/th...-filter.69159/
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Old 02-06-2021, 7:37 PM
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Here is the article I was looking for...

https://www.hunker.com/13408571/home...omaceous-earth

I do it a little differently, but close.
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Old 02-07-2021, 4:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ScottsBad View Post
Well, there is a lot of info on the web about effective filtering. I would go there and read some..

Here are the ingredients you need to make a very very good filter, better than store bought in most cases.

0. Filter material, Paper filters or coffee filters. Coffee filters work fine.

1. Activated Charcoal - Amazon sells it for fish tank filters and other uses. Frequently comes in 5 pound containers of small pellet form.

2. Diatomaceous Earth - Amazon, or you can go to a swimming pool supply store and buy it a little cheaper. Amazon says you can use it for killing ants, that's not because its poison, it's because the ants get caught up in the fine powder and die. Of dehydration I believe.

3. Sanitized sand - Home depot. This is sand for children's play boxes. Its very fine and clean. You can boil it or mix it with a water/clorox bleach (only a few drops of clorox or chlorine per gallon). Then rinse the sand with clean water, if you are worried about it being clean.

4. This is a pre-filtration layer of larger sand particles, or some other screener that removes larger particles.

What are the materials for---------

Coffee filters are used to separate the filtration layers.

Activated charcoal is used to absorb unwanted chemicals from the water. Look that up.

Diatomaceous Earth is an extremely effective filter for contaminants down to 2-5 microns! Which is finer than bacteria.

Sand is used to remove larger particles.

The pre-filter layer is there to remove visible contaminants.

Construction---------------------

The simplest filter construction is using disposable water bottles.

Use thicker high end water bottles. Cut the bottoms off the bottles.

The top bottle will be a coffee filter (CF) at the cap end, covered with fine sanitized sand.

The next bottle would be a coffee filter (CF) with Activated Charcoal (AC) on top.

The next filter down will be a CF, covered with Diatomaceous Earth (DE), and maybe a pre-wet CF on top.


With the caps off, nest the DE filter inside the AC filter and tape them in place. Leave plenty of space between the bottle and the filter media for water to flow. The water won't touch the tape if you are careful not to over fill the filter.

Now, do the same with the fine sand filter.

So, you have bottles nested inside each other. Water poured in the top bottle will trickle to through the filter media to the next bottle, and the next, until it finally drips out of the bottom bottle into a catch bottle. This water will be extremely clean. If you are still concerned about the water you can boil it or add 2-3 drops of chlorine per gallon.

Lots of people who make this type of filter use PVC pipe and fittings so they can unscrew sections and replace the filter media.

Finally, you can do a search for "DIY water filtration" but most of the suggestions do not use Diatomaceous Earth, probably because they are not aware of the material and its amazing filtration capability.

A home made filtration system similar to what I've described will filter a LOT of water before you will need to replace filter media, but you may need to experiment to get it working exactly the way you want.


DE -> https://www.waterworld.com/drinking-...omaceous-earth

Survivalist Boards DE -> https://www.survivalistboards.com/th...-filter.69159/
This is interesting.

What is the filtering order, Sand-AC-DE

Thank you for this information.

ETA. I re-read your writeup.

All clear now.

Thanks!
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Old 02-10-2021, 6:43 PM
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I have a reverse osmosis filter and I can test (not taste) the water by measuring total dissolved solids and what is in those total dissolved solids before and after.

I recently bought a berkey and to my surprise the reading from the tap and after the filter is exactly the same 80ppm. Then I ran reverse osmosis water thru the berkey and the TDS was higher after the filter. From 5ppm to 80ppm.

I'm in the process of understanding the reason behind my findings by talking to a chemist this week and showing her my test results.

I bought the berkey filter because I have a 500gal fish tank with bluegill, and it is a bit short of 10 months worth of water for my fam, in case I ever need. So a gravity filter sounded good but no one was able to answer my questions without citing their own website published results. It's kind of a leap of faith, and I'm not a faith guy. I need proof, specially for water purification.

So, im figuring how to rig a water pump to a bike in order to create enough pressure to run the water thru my reverse osmosis filter as I HAVE NO PROOF yet that berkey is indeed adequate for the job.

I will keep you posted.

I know a bit about a water, I've been keeping freshwater fish, plants and invertebrates for about 20years.

Sent from my LM-K500 using Tapatalk

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Old 02-10-2021, 7:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeepergeo View Post
Berkey sends up all sorts of red flags. Look for truely independent testing and certification of their filters....you won't find much. It seems their biggest fans are folks that bought one of their systems and feel compelled to like it after laying out the big bucks.

If your normal water supply is a domestic system pretty much anywhere is CA, water out of the tap is fine....assuming you don't have messed up piping on your side of the meter.

For emergency use, I'd go with something like First Need, which are available sometimes at Costco. After pumping through the First Need, you can back up the filtration with MiOx, mixed oxident, or a tiny splash of chlorine.

Katadyn is another reputable filter, usually more expensive than First Need. Back it up with MiOx or Chlorine as well.

If you have a big group, check into the filter systems river rafting outfitters use. You can find them at Partner Steel up in Idahoe. Rafting outfitters have a huge interest in their customers not getting sick and they know clean water is key...you will not find a reputable outfitter using a Berkey....you will find many using Partner Steel built systems.

Berkey might make sense for taste issues, but I would not use them for bioligical or chemical safety. And make sure you maintain the Berkey regularly and fully as such a vessel can harbor things you don't want in your water.
I agree with this. I use MSR, Katadyn and Sawyer in get home bags. I also use in combination with chlorine dioxide. For bug in, I use treated water in proper storage.
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Old 02-10-2021, 7:14 PM
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Try propur, single cartridge to remove fluoride as well. I believe they publish the independent lab results.
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Old 02-13-2021, 5:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheChief View Post
Likely the most expensive portable unit, but look at the MSR Gaurdian Purifier. Yes, purifier

https://www.msrgear.com/water-treatm...ier/02370.html
Thanks for the suggestion. It's cool how apparently the unit cleans itself and it's nice that it is military grade. Gotta love robust equipment especially if you're like me and can be reckless at times

Unfortunately, I didn't see anywhere on description on Amazon that noted it removes heavy metals or chemicals. Do you know if MSR offers any products that filters out bacteria, viruses, heavy mentals, and chemicals?

The unit also has a proposition 65 warning, unfortunately :/

https://www.amazon.com/MSR-Military-...s%2C243&sr=8-2


-----------------------------

Do you think this one might be a good backup unit for bugging in scenario?

https://www.msrgear.com/water-treatm...ter/13237.html
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Old 02-13-2021, 5:48 PM
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Thank you everyone for your inputs. I have dropped off the Berkey unit etc at Fedex for return/refund. Perhaps in the future, I may decide on buying a Berkey Gravity Filter but for now might try to see what else is on the market or so.

I've recently purchased the Survivor Pro and Survivor Straw water filters. Apparently they can filter out heavy metals, chemicals, viruses, bacteria, which is what I am looking for.

Right now, filters I own (May not be a complete list): at least 2x sawyer mini filters, Berkey Sport Bottle Filter, Survivor pro, Survivor straw.

I may end up buying a gravity filter and also a distiller. The idea is to have reliable ways to filter out water for maybe a bug in scenario. If someone knows a good, reliable, long term gravity filter that reliably removes chemicals, bacteria, viruses, and heavy metals, please let me know!

*UPDATE 2/13/2021, 10:07PM: Not too long ago I put in an order today for the Propur Scout II. (I guess they renamed themselves to ProOne, but anywho, I put an order in for Propur/ProOne Scout II).

https://www.amazon.com/Survivor-Filt...dDbGljaz10cnVl

https://www.amazon.com/Survivor-Filt...0LA97I8M&psc=1
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Old 02-13-2021, 5:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bionerd View Post
So, im figuring how to rig a water pump to a bike in order to create enough pressure to run the water thru my reverse osmosis filter as I HAVE NO PROOF yet that berkey is indeed adequate for the job.

I will keep you posted.

I know a bit about a water, I've been keeping freshwater fish, plants and invertebrates for about 20years.

Sent from my LM-K500 using Tapatalk
Thanks for your input! Would you mind letting me know your findings? I may be convinced to have a change of heart or so
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Old 02-13-2021, 5:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ScottsBad View Post
Well, there is a lot of info on the web about effective filtering. I would go there and read some..

Here are the ingredients you need to make a very very good filter, better than store bought in most cases.

0. Filter material, Paper filters or coffee filters. Coffee filters work fine.

1. Activated Charcoal - Amazon sells it for fish tank filters and other uses. Frequently comes in 5 pound containers of small pellet form.

2. Diatomaceous Earth - Amazon, or you can go to a swimming pool supply store and buy it a little cheaper. Amazon says you can use it for killing ants, that's not because its poison, it's because the ants get caught up in the fine powder and die. Of dehydration I believe.

3. Sanitized sand - Home depot. This is sand for children's play boxes. Its very fine and clean. You can boil it or mix it with a water/clorox bleach (only a few drops of clorox or chlorine per gallon). Then rinse the sand with clean water, if you are worried about it being clean.

4. This is a pre-filtration layer of larger sand particles, or some other screener that removes larger particles.

What are the materials for---------

Coffee filters are used to separate the filtration layers.

Activated charcoal is used to absorb unwanted chemicals from the water. Look that up.

Diatomaceous Earth is an extremely effective filter for contaminants down to 2-5 microns! Which is finer than bacteria.

Sand is used to remove larger particles.

The pre-filter layer is there to remove visible contaminants.

Construction---------------------

The simplest filter construction is using disposable water bottles.

Use thicker high end water bottles. Cut the bottoms off the bottles.

The top bottle will be a coffee filter (CF) at the cap end, covered with fine sanitized sand.

The next bottle would be a coffee filter (CF) with Activated Charcoal (AC) on top.

The next filter down will be a CF, covered with Diatomaceous Earth (DE), and maybe a pre-wet CF on top.


With the caps off, nest the DE filter inside the AC filter and tape them in place. Leave plenty of space between the bottle and the filter media for water to flow. The water won't touch the tape if you are careful not to over fill the filter.

Now, do the same with the fine sand filter.

So, you have bottles nested inside each other. Water poured in the top bottle will trickle to through the filter media to the next bottle, and the next, until it finally drips out of the bottom bottle into a catch bottle. This water will be extremely clean. If you are still concerned about the water you can boil it or add 2-3 drops of chlorine per gallon.

Lots of people who make this type of filter use PVC pipe and fittings so they can unscrew sections and replace the filter media.

Finally, you can do a search for "DIY water filtration" but most of the suggestions do not use Diatomaceous Earth, probably because they are not aware of the material and its amazing filtration capability.

A home made filtration system similar to what I've described will filter a LOT of water before you will need to replace filter media, but you may need to experiment to get it working exactly the way you want.


DE -> https://www.waterworld.com/drinking-...omaceous-earth

Survivalist Boards DE -> https://www.survivalistboards.com/th...-filter.69159/
Thanks for the share! Do you have a water filter set up that matches this?

You did note that this is better than store bought in most cases, do you know of any filter for sale to the public that comes close to this?
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Old 02-17-2021, 9:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MasterrEugene View Post
Thanks for the share! Do you have a water filter set up that matches this?



You did note that this is better than store bought in most cases, do you know of any filter for sale to the public that comes close to this?
Reverse Osmosis. Easy to install.

Sent from my LM-K500 using Tapatalk
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Old 02-17-2021, 10:06 PM
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Sawyer Squeeze.
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Old 02-17-2021, 10:44 PM
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Get OCD
Develop OCD

Every time you are out dining and see the soda machine, take a look to see if you can find what filters they use....

A lot of coke and Pepsi dispensers in Los Angeles use everpure filters.
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Old 02-18-2021, 12:41 PM
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I chose ProPur over Berkey because Berkey has basically no truly independent testing I could find. Sure their own tests show its effective, but what kind of dumb company would commission and publicize a test they fail?

Good science is Verifiable, Falsifiable, and Repeatable.

One thing about the propur though, it removes so much crap (dissolved solids and more) it leave the water tasting "bland" or "empty". You think water 'tasts like nothing' but indeed natural salts do provide a slight flavor and mouth feel we associate with normal water. The ProPur water is different, probably from being devoid of minerals and such. Personally I didnt like it and end up using our RO system a lot more.

As for the MSR guardian, it is a hollow membrane fiber with .02 micron pore size. This will filter basically EVERYTHING out of the water, but does not absorb chemicals as there is no Carbon element to the guardian. You could probably use the hose output attachment and add an in-line carbon filter though.

Last edited by OVGCguy; 02-18-2021 at 12:47 PM..
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Old 02-18-2021, 3:29 PM
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RevOs is not a great system for power down/zero water pressure in your typical city cracker box sized dwelling du jour.

Ever wonder why commercial restaurant water is legally certified safe but still tastes like azz water? RevOs is great if properly maintained and extra filters are on hand.
https://optipurewater.com/news/rever...ed-simplified/
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What doesn’t RO do?
RO is not typically designed for biological purification of water. Minor defects in the membrane structure may allow passage of microbes without a significant impact on its ability to remove dissolved solids.

RO is not capable of removing chlorine from water. Chlorine can damage the non-porous films that allow removal of dissolved solids; so, carbon must be placed upstream of Reverse Osmosis to ensure good membrane performance.

RO is capable of removing some undissolved solids (dirt); however, it is not designed for this purpose, and using it in this manner will often reduce the lifetime of the membranes. As such, particulate filtration is recommended upstream of RO.
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  #22  
Old 02-18-2021, 4:17 PM
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I too have under sink RO system, 7 stages. Best tasting water. Have to agree RO may not be the best for power down situation or if water pressure drop. This is why I have life strays for every family member.
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Old 02-18-2021, 6:36 PM
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I chose ProPur over Berkey because Berkey has basically no truly independent testing I could find. Sure their own tests show its effective, but what kind of dumb company would commission and publicize a test they fail?

Good science is Verifiable, Falsifiable, and Repeatable.

One thing about the propur though, it removes so much crap (dissolved solids and more) it leave the water tasting "bland" or "empty". You think water 'tasts like nothing' but indeed natural salts do provide a slight flavor and mouth feel we associate with normal water. The ProPur water is different, probably from being devoid of minerals and such. Personally I didnt like it and end up using our RO system a lot more.

As for the MSR guardian, it is a hollow membrane fiber with .02 micron pore size. This will filter basically EVERYTHING out of the water, but does not absorb chemicals as there is no Carbon element to the guardian. You could probably use the hose output attachment and add an in-line carbon filter though.
Oh that might be a good idea/suggestion! Perhaps in the future I will buy a MSR Guardian and hose output attachment and maybe in-line carbon filter or something. One thing that throws me off about the MSR Guardian though is apparently it has the Prop 65 warning. Do you know why it has that warning by any chance?
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Old 02-20-2021, 10:17 AM
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This is interesting.

What is the filtering order, Sand-AC-DE

Thank you for this information.

ETA. I re-read your writeup.

All clear now.

Thanks!
Sorry, I never got back to this before now. I think you can do it different ways, but I like sand and then DE the AC, then DE again. But you just need to find the best way it works for you. You can experiment with plastic bottles.

This is not a high flow filter, it filters slowly. These are gravity filters.

I have not used these products and I'm sure they are available elsewhere, but there are other filter materials that could be used instead if coffee filters.

https://filterswater.com/filtration-...s-specialties/
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Old 02-20-2021, 10:34 AM
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Thanks for the share! Do you have a water filter set up that matches this?

You did note that this is better than store bought in most cases, do you know of any filter for sale to the public that comes close to this?
I built a proof of concept water bottle version gravity filter. This is for emergencies or you could build one to sit on a counter I imagine.

These are not pressurized filters, although pressurized DE filters are common.

Yes, most people buy filters like the Sawyer that have no charcoal to remove chemicals. Not that the Sawyer is a bad filter, they are compact and work well for travel and hiking. But if you are at home and run out of the store bought filters...

My point is that keeping filter media with an indefinite shelf life (fine clean sand, DE, and activated charcoal) is a great way to ensure that you have clean water in an emergency, even if you don't have a fancy filter.
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Last edited by ScottsBad; 02-20-2021 at 10:42 AM..
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Old 02-23-2021, 1:46 AM
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Oh that might be a good idea/suggestion! Perhaps in the future I will buy a MSR Guardian and hose output attachment and maybe in-line carbon filter or something. One thing that throws me off about the MSR Guardian though is apparently it has the Prop 65 warning. Do you know why it has that warning by any chance?
Most companies place a prop 65 warning just because it's a lot easier and cheaper than being sued by California. It is basically a useless warning and means basically nothing.
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Old 02-23-2021, 10:03 AM
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One thing that throws me off about the MSR Guardian though is apparently it has the Prop 65 warning. Do you know why it has that warning by any chance?
The authors of Prop 65 admit it's a failure. The way the law is written, you can be sued out of existence if you didn't label your product with the cancer warning and anyone finds a chemical in your product that is found to have even the most remote link to cancer. Even if that chemical was not on any list at the time of manufacture of your product, you could be dragged into court and sued for gazillions at any time.

The way out of this new liability the law created out of thin air, is to label your product with that silly warning we all now see. There is no penalty for putting the warning label on your product even if it is provably false. But if you don't put the warning label on, you are forever at risk of being sued out of business. The result is that companies just label everything to be safe from the lawyers.

This is the upside down state of affairs in California and part of what drives the exodus.
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