InIn this Instructable I'm not going to show you as much some thing new as make you aware of the possibilities. Buying things to throw away drives me nuts. The phrase "When you're done, just throw it away!" never made sense and is nearly unforgivable today. Also, you aren't contributing to transportation waste by using materials about your home (I hope)
There is a plastic pitcher and filter company out there making a good buck selling the benefits of user water filtration. It uses a throw away filter. It's a great thought. I have a better one.
If you are in a rush I'll let you in on the secret right now. Instead of making coffee in a coffee maker, use the coffee maker and filter along with Activated Filter Carbon (instead of coffee) to filter your water. Who doesn't have a spare old coffee maker lying around? Don't have one? Go to a charity store and pick one up. I like to use half gallon used PET juice bottles (cleaned, c'mon) to hold the filtered water.
Activated filter Carbon - I got mine from a pet store. I called the manufacturer and they very nicely told me that it is NOT for human consumption. YOU might like to go to a health food store and buy some meant for human consumption. I recommend that method.
Drip Coffee Maker with accessories. - Carafe, filters etc.
Sieve - for rinsing the dust off the carbon particles.
Carafe - to put finished water in.
Absorbent material to mop up any possible spills.
Step 1: Wash the Carbon
If you don't wash the carbon first you'll clog your little paper filter and potentially end up with some pretty gray lookin' water. Probably won't hurt but doesn't look so appetizing. No need to dry it. Use as much carbon as you would use ground coffee.
Step 2: Filters
I always try to use the brown filters but couldn't find any PLUS, it's easier to see in the instructable and it looks tidier.
Don't forget to clean the coffee maker extremely well so that any coffee oils are removed from the machine. You would not believe how little of anything can throw the taste of your "polished" water off.
Step 3: Place Carbon in Filter
As I mentioned before, use the same amount of carbon that you would use ground coffee. Don't go overboard here. Too much and it'll slow the drip and might overflow the unit. As has been mentioned before but bears mentioning again, water and electricity are not compatible. Remember that at one point you will have nearly boiling water to contend with so err on the side of safety. Too little is far better than too much.
Step 4: Plain Tap Water
Again the idea here is to keep it inexpensive (aka Cheap). It's convenient to use a container that holds the proper amount of tap water so you don't have to be on the look out for overfilling the coffee maker
Step 5: Too Little Water Is Okay
Again- don't over-fill the unit
Step 6: Start the (former) Coffee Maker and Wait
Sit back and wait for the inexpensive hot water to drain through the carbon and filter paper. As if by some inexplicable magic your plain everyday water is turned into filtered and "polished" water. After it cools and you taste it, I think you will notice a distinct LACK of flavors. Flavors such as chlorine, the vague smell of ammonia and that weird taste you get when it rains for three days straight . . . uh oh
Step 7: Last Steps
I check for "Floaties" little carbon pieces that may have fallen in with out me noticing it. I also look to see (when using a filter for the first time) if there's a distinct gray cast to the water that signals I didn't rinse the carbon well enough. IF you do get the grayish looking water don't despair. Just toss it down the drain and try again using the SAME carbon and filter. Remember? You've really rinsed it now so don't go through the same steps again. Got it?
I use the carbon and filter for about a month which is about as long as the plastic one's last in my house. Your mileage may vary.
SAFETY ISSUES and WHINEY DISCLAIMER
#1) I have had success with this, a lot of success which is why I'm sharing it.
#2) I am not there guiding your hand or intellect and so can't be held accountable for any disasters you might bring on yourself.
#3) If you struggle making coffee then I would suggest you get someone to help or better yet do it for you. REALLY I'm not suggesting you are a dope. I wouldn't want to experiment working from a pair of crutches for example.
#1) The water is hot . . .dang hot. When you go to decant the water from the carafe, DO NOT hold the container you are pouring the hot water into. It's fine until the water gets to the level of your fingers then it's time for the bad language. Oh yes I did, because I wasn't thinking that's why. PLEASE BE CAREFUL.
Currently, I put the container into the sink and fill it that way. If some boiling water doesn't make it into the container it's not a crisis.
MORE RECYCLING - in our house we try to get Two Uses out of everything. It's called the "2 Use Rule" oddly enough. In this instance I use the PET bottles juice came in as a container for the water. I have used 2L soda bottles but find that the former juice bottles are sturdier when full of hot water and they seem to last longer. I have no experience with other types of containers and thus cannot comment on their usability.
That's it for now. This is my first "Instructable", I hope you enjoy this enough to stop using those plastic "Throw Away" filters.
Participated in the
Earthjustice United States of Efficiency Contest