Sensible Water Filter





Introduction: Sensible Water Filter

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.

Material list-
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.
#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.



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    81 Discussions

    I think you're right on with this one. I'm not worried about my tap water having too many contiminants, it's already been treated at the water plant. But the taste is bad. The activated charcoal plus the heat should make it much more palatable. Good job. One other thing... Once the charcoal is spent, it and the filter can be tossed in the compost.

    3 replies

    Lately I'm not as sure about being free from contaminants as I once was. I don't think that this system would address that issue though. I think of this as more of a way to remove objectionable tastes and leave it at that. I like the compost idea but I'm not sure about what is left in the carbon. What is it that makes the water taste so poorly? Can that be good for compost? I don't know. The vinegar idea is great.

    I think the carbon is neutralizing (somewhat) the chemicals that were used to make the water "drinkable". So maybe it's not so much that we're filtering out impurities but just killing the chemical taste.

    carbonated charcoal doesn't neutralize anything, instead it captures impurities in tiny pores, like a microscopic sponge. So don't compost it, its full of toxins.

    in finland, our water comes from a spring, it's very pure. it has no tastes, just plain pure water.

    i know this is trying to be reducing waste, by not wasting the plastic in a water bottle, or even save to plastic in a brita filter. but if u compared this method to the brita( or 'pure') system, i think u would have less enviromental impact with those bc they dont require electricity. having the water being pumped and heated, wastes alot of energy than just putting it in a pitcher, plus i would then have to recool down the water to drink it- thus wasting time and energy- there is also a large possibilty that a system like this would be kept plugged in and contribute more to the 'vampire' energy being wasted- cool idea but maybe not the greenest

    2 replies

    Brita and PUR would not reduce waste, but create a great deal more waste compared to the idea proposed. Why? The author is suggesting using items mainly found around the house (e.g. coffee maker, coffee filters, sieve). The one thing that folks will most likely need to buy is the carbon filter, which is made of organic material. Brita and Pur on the other hand are factory made items that are made up of plastic based parts, which must be replaced every so often and can be costly. Plastics factories--at least non-eco plastic factories--are very detrimental to the environment making this idea, therefore, a greener one.

    what about people usin Blue Sky energy from Pacific Power? It all comes from renewable sources, so energy wouldn't be an issue

    break coconut shells, make red hot on gas or flame, place them in tight tin or metal container . cool,
    take them out and they are best charcoal pieces one can use as filter.

    you could always just drink the tap water. because tap water has flouride in it. and it has minerals that are good for you. so its cheaper than bottled water and its better for you.

    7 replies

    Fluoride is a poison. Many countries and states have banned fluoridation. It has been found in a lot of research to cause dementia and other brain disorders.

    Fluoride, the active ingredient in many pesticides and rodenticides, is a powerful poison - more acutely poisonous than lead. Because of this, accidental over-ingestion of fluoride can cause serious toxic symptoms.

    EGG-Zactly my point. I think that some folks tend to extrapolate their personal experience to the greater populace. Not all solutions work for everyone . . . and really that's a good thing. We just have to remember that. Vive le difference!
    Or, words to that effect 8-D

    lol.....the water in this part of so. cali. tastes like fish water with chlorine mixed in for

    .........why dont you try looks like lemon juice with too much water.......
    ..........and freakn taste like prehistoric algae........
    ............this might work for out tap water...or maybe if i do it 3 time........

    any one have solutions for my tap water ???