Purify Water at Home

Edited by Nerissa Avisado, Anonymous, Eng, Lynn

Globally, domestic sources of water may be disrupted for several reasons: Natural disaster, busted underground pipes, or breakdown of local water services. These extreme circumstances can paralyze both government and private agencies in providing basic utilities, including supply of sterilized drinking water. Knowing how to purify water at home becomes an extremely important skill to help you survive.

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In the circumstances when the quality of water becomes questionable, you can purify your own water for household consumption using any of the following methods:

  1. 1
    Sedimentation:
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    The pull of gravity helps heavy suspended materials in the water to deposit at the bottom of the barrier or container.
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  2. 2
    Distillation:
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    One of the oldest methods of water treatment, this process involves boiling the water and collecting the condensed steam in a clean container. The water produced is flat and insipid due to the escape of dissolved gases, and it needs to be aerated first prior to use.
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  3. 3
    Boiling:
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    Water is heated up to a temperature of 100 degrees C or 212 degrees F. When water reaches the boiling point, all pathogenic organisms are killed.
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  4. 4
    Filtration:
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    The method of removing impurities present in the water using fine physical barriers like cloth, a sieve, sand, and charcoal. Filtering can also involve the use of chemicals such as chlorine and iodine for purifying water.
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Things You'll Need

  • Storage containers
  • Barrel, drum or bucket
  • Fine gravel
  • Clean white sand
  • Charcoal
  • Pot or kettle
  • Piece of cloth
  • Cork
  • Chlorine bleach
  • Eyedropper

Procedures you can take to source and get clean water

Know where to look for water resources

If the water supply is off, assemble the remaining sources of safe water in the house by:

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  • melting ice cubes in the freezer
  • draining water heaters
  • collecting water from water pipes

Scout for external sources of water, including:

  • well water
  • rain water
  • morning dew
  • snow
  • ground water from a lake, pond, river, etc.

Create a simple purification filter

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  1. 1
    Use a barrel, bucket or drum with 10-gallon capacity.
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  2. 2
    Drill a hole at the bottom, then plug with a cork.
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  3. 3
    Layer the bottom with a perforated material several inches above it to serve as a false bottom.
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  4. 4
    Cover the entire surface of the false bottom with a piece of cloth.
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  5. 5
    Overlay with a series of fine gravel, charcoal, and white sand.
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  6. 6
    Fill the top with a layer of fine gravel.
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  7. 7
    Place a perforated material several inches below the upper rim of the container.
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  8. 8
    Pour water into the filter system.
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  9. 9
    Remove the cork at the bottom to draw out the filtered water.
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  10. 10
    Replace the filter layers when necessary.
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Boil the filtered water

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  1. 1
    Filtered water may appear crystal-clear, but there are unseen viruses, parasites and bacteria present in it.
    Boiling water at the right temperature can kill these disease-causing microorganisms.
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  2. 2
    If there's electricity, use the stove or microwave oven to boil water.
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  3. 3
    In case a power supply is unavailable, place the pot or kettle over an open fire.
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  4. 4
    Allow the water to boil until rolling bubbles appear.
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  5. 5
    Let the bubbles continue for five minutes to kill almost 99.9 percent of any organisms in the water.
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  6. 6
    Let the purified water cool down before storing in clean, sealed containers.
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Apply chemical treatment

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When boiling water is not possible, you can use chlorine bleach to purify water. Although not as effective as boiling, chemical treatment can protect you against many harmful microorganisms infesting in the water.

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  1. 1
    Use a piece of cloth to strain the water to be treated.
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  2. 2
    Check the bleach product for chlorine content.
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  3. 3
    Use an eyedropper to apply the amount of bleach based on its chlorine content.
     
    1. 1 percent: 40 drops to each gallon of untreated water
    2. 4-6 percent: 8 drops/gallon
    3. 7-10 percent: 4 drops/gallon
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  4. 4
    Cover the container and allow the water to stand.
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  5. 5
    Wait for at least 30 minutes before consuming the water.
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Use alternative methods to purify water

In the most extreme circumstance, when it is both impossible to boil water and to apply chlorine bleach, use an alternate method of purification.

  1. 1
    Find a first aid kit to look for iodine drops
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  2. 2
    Use 2 drops for each quart of water.
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  3. 3
    Add more drops if the water is too cloudy.
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  4. 4
    Get other purification chemicals from drug and sporting goods stores.
    These include chlorine tablets, granular calcium hypochlorite, potassium permanganate, and iodine tablets.  
    1. Read and follow the product instructions carefully.
    2. Mix the tablets into the water well.
    3. Wait for at least an hour for the tablets to completely dissolve before drinking the water.
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  5. 5
    Use an ultraviolet purifier.
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    1. Stick the UV purifier pen into the water.
    2. Wait for the light to turn green.
    3. Stir the pen around in the water until the light disappears to indicate that the present bacteria are eliminated by the UV rays. Although the deceased bacteria are still in the water, they are no longer dangerous; hence the water is safe to drink.
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Tips, Tricks and Warnings:

  • Try your best to get clear water drawn from a running source.
  • Avoid using stagnant, cloudy, or bad-smelling water.
  • Add salt, sugar, or fruit juice to improve the taste of boiled or chemically treated water.
  • Add a pinch of ascorbic acid to treated water to remove the taste of chlorine and iodine.
  • To make the flat taste of boiled water better, pour the liquid in a bottle with cup then shake for several minutes to add air.
  • Use sterilized containers for storing treated water. Never use containers for gathering untreated water as storage.
  • Don't use containers that were originally used for pesticides, solvents, and other chemicals.
  • Don't drink purified water from a container that has been contaminated. Don't drink directly from the storage container so that you don't contaminate your supply of purified water.
  • For additional safety, boil water for 10 minutes.
  • Re-boil water that has been stored for long time. Even if it has been boiled already, it may always acquire new pathogens.
  • When water is boiling, open the lid a little to let the steam escape and prevent water from overflowing.
  • If you plan to store water longer, apply chemical treatment after filtering and boiling. At the maximum, distilled water can be stored for up to a year, while filtered water can be good for one week storage. Keep distilled and filtered water away from air to prevent it being contaminated with carbon dioxide and other elements in the air.
  • Both bleach and iodine tablets are more effective when used in warm water.
  • People with thyroid problems, pregnant women, and women over 50 must consult a doctor before consuming water treated with iodine tablets.
  • Always check the condition of the filters to see if cleaning or replacement is necessary.
  • If you have problems with any of these steps, ask a question for more help, or post in the comments section below.
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Article Info

Categories : Noindexed pages | Water Safety

Recent edits by: Eng, Anonymous, Nerissa Avisado

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