Note: Technology marches on. New filter technology was introduced that permitted release of a modernized improved filter that makes the Portable Simple Emergency Water Filter obsolete. The new filter costs a little more but has 5 major advantages:
1.) In addition to filtering bacteria, crypto and cysts - the new filter also removes viruses.
2.) The new filter flows 5 times faster than this ceramic/ carbon based filter
3.) New filter has 10 times the filtration capacity of this cermic / carbon based filter
4.) New Filter media is made in the USA
5.) Filter is lighter weight, less fragile and easier to ship and store.
This page will remain up for information purposes since so many link to it.
Archival information about the Portable Simple Emergency Water Filter:
No moving parts, no expiration date, simple to use -- great for disaster kits or basecamp. Price is cheap, yet quality is very good, this one is good for YOUR personal economy ! Worth it's weight in gold after a disaster. Get some and store them for the next unexpected interruption in water supply.
A small dome-shaped ceramic filter, it measures roughly 4" X 4" and fits in your hand. We also include the optional filter sock for FREE ! The sock acts as a prefilter, keeping your ceramic filter flowing longer between cleanings.
The outer shell of each filter is a porous ceramic. Inside is a core of activated charcoal surrounding the outlet hole (see cutaway view in Additional Images). Together the sock, ceramic, and activated carbon charcoal -- work to filter out giardia, cryptosporidium, and other microbes, providing clean, safe, drinking water.
Activated carbon, also called activated charcoal or activated coal, is a form of carbon that has been processed to make it extremely porous and thus to have a very large surface area available for adsorption or chemical reactions. Due to its high degree of microporosity, just 1 gram of activated carbon has a surface area in excess of 500 meters. This means there are many twists and turns for water to pass through and many nooks and crannies for the bad stuff to get caught up in - so that it does not pass through.
Let gravity do the work - use this as a Siphon Style (add hose) or a Bucket Filter (documented in video below). This filter is both economical and practical for camping, disaster relief, survivalist preparation, home or business use.
The filter can be mounted inside a bucket or other such container and the clean water drains into a second container underneath. The filters are small and easy to transport to any location, where one needs only two containers and a means to drill or poke a small drainage hole into the first one.
These filters have been a favorite of missionaries and humanitarians who have introduced them to users after Hurricane Katrina, in Mexico, Colombia, Guatemala, Haiti, Nigeria, Nairobi, Kenya and Mombasa.
Below is a video from Mexico where the water filter is used to provide clean, safe drinking water via a simple bucket installation. The construction of the bucket system is documented and tips are provided for use. The 5 gallon buckets and lids can be found at most hardware stores. The water spigots are sold in the sidebar here.
Washable pre-filter socks are included to catch the largest particles and greatly extend the lives of the encased ceramic /carbon filters.
These Bucket Filters were used in Haiti to relieve the clean water shortage caused by the 2010 earthquake, as reported by CNN World News.
* The Outer Ceramic filters are made of ceramic diatomaceous earth (basically sea shells) , and designed prevent anything larger than 0.7 microns from penetrating the filter.
* The ceramic contains silver, which is a natural bactericide.
* Encased in the ceramic is high-grade Granular Activated Carbon. GAC has a vast pore structure that has enough surface area to absorb numerous organic and inorganic compounds and impurities from contaminated water. Activated Carbon is very effective in eliminating unpleasant tastes, odors and color
* Washers and a nut are provided with the filter to facilitate installation.
* No moving parts, no expiration date, simple, effective, life saving.
Questions and Answers:
1. I realize that it will depend upon the initial sediment in the water, but what do you estimate the average number of gallons filtered before the filter components need to be cleaned?
If the water being filtered is reasonably clear, but from a source such as a river or lake or otherwise unregulated source, I would recommend cleaning the components after about 3 uses This would just prevent build-up of materials that would clog the filter or severely reduce flow rate. For the best performance, I recommend cleaning the filter or at least wiping it down and drying it between uses to prevent mold, bacterial growth and mineral build-up.
2. Can you estimate the total number of gallons that can pass through the ceramic filter before it has to be replaced as opposed to cleaned?
The ceramic filters can really last a long time, as the surface, which will catch the most sediment and pollutants can be completely renewed when it is lightly sanded or brushed. If proper care is taken with the filters, including occasional sanding, they can last through hundreds of gallons or more, making this a cheaper per gallon solution than competitors. It really depends on the quality of water, mineral contents, and maintenance. With proper maintenance, a filter can be used regularly for up to six months. When the flow is reduced to an unsatisfactory rate, and scrubbing the ceramic surface does not improve flow - it is time to replace the filter.
3. Can you supply the flow rate for the filter? It would be helpful to know what the estimated maximum rate would be.
Flow rates vary by elevation (atmospheric pressure) but vary from 1 - 3 gallons per hour.
4. What testing has been done ?
The filters have been tested for bacterial removal and have consistently removed four logs (99.99%) of environmental and laboratory bacterial samples. Bacteria such as Ecoli, and protozoa such as Cryptosporidium and Giardia are effectively removed. In an emergency or outdoors situation, microbiologicals are the most important contaminants to be prepared against. The products have been used for years in disaster situations and remote locations with no reports of illness from water that has been filtered by them.Note These Ceramic and Carbon filters will reduce, but not eliminate viruses. If you suspect viruses may be in the source water (i.e., human activity upstream / urban sources) filter it with the bucket system and then treat the filtered water with plain Clorox bleach (typically 8-10 drops per gallon), stir and wait 30 minutes before consumption. It is important to treat AFTER filtration. Treating with Clorox before filtration will increase disinfection by-products (DBPs) which are chemical compounds formed when chlorine is added to water with organic material in it. All natural waters have some organic material in them, and generally waters that are more turbid (dirty) have more organic material. Some DBPs have been associated with a very low risk of cancer according to the CDC. So filter first to remove organic material, then treat for viruses, wait, consume.
5. With regard to the micron size limit for filtration, you state that it is 0.7 when the filter is new. At what point does this begin to diminish?
I am glad you asked about the initial pore size! A very appealing aspect of the ceramic technology - is that with use, the pore size is actually reduced, it actually filters BETTER! This is due to the fact that filtrates build up and block portions of the interior of the ceramic. They essentially line the walls of the pores, which are tiny and labyrinthine to begin with. So with use, only smaller and smaller particles will be able to penetrate the ceramic of the filter, making the water cleaner than when the filter was brand-new. Eventually, this is what leads to reduced flow rate, but again, sanding the surface of the ceramic prolongs the life of the filter dramatically
6. How do I get the most life out of my ceramic / carbon filter ?
Longevity is based on two things:
1.) Turbidity of Source water
Some users have reported 500 - 750 gallons when maintained properly.
For turbidity - choose a clear source of water if possible. If not available , let dirty source water settle a while before filtering. Even muddy river water will settle to a clearer state if left to sit still. Prefilter with a microfiber camp towel if possible. Always use the included prefilter sock on the ceramic filters and clean them as needed.
Maintenance - clean and let dry the entire product between uses. Periodically use an abrasive pad to resurface the ceramic filter stone to give a fresh filtration surface. Let the filters get several minutes of bright sun if possible. Drying the product out between uses will deter algae growth.
It is like anything else, you take care of it, it takes care of you
Note: 5 gallon buckets shown in the video are not included. They are available at any hardware store. It is highly recommended to use NEW buckets and to ONLY use them for water. Color coding is a good idea - get white buckets to store filtered clean water and use orange, red or black for storing unfiltered source water.
These are designed for camping, field use, and post disaster deployment, they are not designed or sold as a residential water filter. Not designed to be connected to residential plumbing.
Tags: Arctic Filters
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