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can a automotive fuel filter be used to filter drinking water? Answered

I am working on an emergency water filtration system for when I go camping. This system would be used to manually filter out sediment before I purify the water. Automotive fuel filters are cheap and easy to connect to tubing, but I am afraid that the paper filter element might be coated in some sort of toxic chemical that will leech into the water as i filter it. I cannot find any information about this subject on the internet, so if you know anything please tell me. thank you.


From what I've read, some filters may be treated with a reagent. Since they aren't designed to filter drinking water, the chance of getting clear (and safe) information is probably low. So I wouldn't use it.

I would just use a coffee filter to remove any sediment before your purification process. At least you'll know the water is safe to drink, plus coffee filters are relatively inexpensive.

Actually an automotive Air Filter would work better, but only as a prefiltration unit. Also, ALL automotive filters use chemicals that will flavor the water, so Potable water is what you will wind-up producing. If you want drinking water you can use an air filter to keep large bits out of the drinking water filtration unit. The best drinking water filters are Hospital grade filters with at least three stages. These types of filters allow the minerals and flavor of the water to improve. Reverse osmosis is great for converting untreated water into drinking water. In most places municipal water services are really close to palatable and a simple Hospital Grade filters is cheaper and produces a water that tastes better. I had RO for many years, my Doctor told me it was making me fat. I switched to a really good, triple stage, self enclosed filter (That I change once a year!) and lost forty pounds without thinking about it. The water does taste better, especially compared to tap water and it flows better, faster from the faucet that comes with it. It makes MUCH better Coffee and Tea. I use the RO to make water for my aquarium and to water my house plants, they LOVE RO water! Especially Orchids and African Violets! RO Units need pressure to work, at leaqst 40 PSI! You can put water to be filtered ten feet higher than the three stage and it will trickle through slowly but it will make water WAY faster than the RO and the air filter will keep it flowing better longer! DO NOT back flush such a filter, bacl flush the air filter, NOT the water filter. Back flushing a water filter is the fastest way to pollute the filter and cause bacteria to grow in it! ALWAYS keep the output clean and sealed shut when not in use! ALL filters can make you VERY sick if you do not follow this rule!

Yes. If it clogs up quickly just run some of your clean water through it backwards and wash out the crud. Then go again. As you know this is just good for the big stuff.

The safest filtration for potable water is a reverse osmosis system.

An RO system still requires a preliminary sediment filter, or a settling basin (if you're building something large scale). The poster here is looking to use something cheaper than a "camping filter" for that first stage.

Probably something like the filter that is used in aquariums. With charcoal and cotton or some other fiber.

Fuel-filters are designed for "dry" hydrocarbons, not water. They are not really suitable for the job.


If you are using a completely new, never ever used fuel filter, it is "probably" okay. If it's ever been in a vehicle, then the filter element will be saturated with gasoline (which is just a little bit toxic :-/).

The question basically boils down to whether food grade materials are used to make a fuel filter (you can look up that term yourself). You may need to read the spec sheet for the fuel filter you actually plan to use, and then go and research the components for more information.

Nah, automotive filters just filter - just use a new one !

Filtering sediment is the least of your problems - A cupful of sand with a few holes in the bottom will do that - Or a coffee filter.

BUGS and Germs are your main issue. Sterilization either by boiling for at least 10 minutes or by chemical means is the answer.

I think the original poster knows that: "This system would be used to manually filter out sediment before I purify the water."