Purify Water at Home
Edited by Nerissa Avisado, 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.
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 Things You'll Need
- 2 Procedures you can take to source and get clean water
- 3 Tips, Tricks and Warnings:
- 4 Comments
Things You'll Need
- Storage containers
- Barrel, drum or bucket
- Fine gravel
- Clean white sand
- Pot or kettle
- Piece of cloth
- Chlorine bleach
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:
- 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
- ground water from a lake, pond, river, etc.
Create a simple purification filter
- 1Use a barrel, bucket or drum with 10-gallon capacity.Advertisement
- 2Drill a hole at the bottom, then plug with a cork.
- 3Layer the bottom with a perforated material several inches above it to serve as a false bottom.
- 4Cover the entire surface of the false bottom with a piece of cloth.
- 5Overlay with a series of fine gravel, charcoal, and white sand.
- 6Fill the top with a layer of fine gravel.
- 7Place a perforated material several inches below the upper rim of the container.
- 8Pour water into the filter system.
- 9Remove the cork at the bottom to draw out the filtered water.
- 10Replace the filter layers when necessary.
Boil the filtered water
- 1Filtered 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.
- 2If there's electricity, use the stove or microwave oven to boil water.
- 3In case a power supply is unavailable, place the pot or kettle over an open fire.
- 4Allow the water to boil until rolling bubbles appear.
- 5Let the bubbles continue for five minutes to kill almost 99.9 percent of any organisms in the water.
- 6Let the purified water cool down before storing in clean, sealed containers.
Apply chemical treatment
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.
- 1Use a piece of cloth to strain the water to be treated.
- 2Check the bleach product for chlorine content.
- 3Use an eyedropper to apply the amount of bleach based on its chlorine content.
- 1 percent: 40 drops to each gallon of untreated water
- 4-6 percent: 8 drops/gallon
- 7-10 percent: 4 drops/gallon
- 4Cover the container and allow the water to stand.
- 5Wait for at least 30 minutes before consuming the water.
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.
- 1Find a first aid kit to look for iodine drops
- 2Use 2 drops for each quart of water.
- 3Add more drops if the water is too cloudy.
- 4Get other purification chemicals from drug and sporting goods stores. These include chlorine tablets, granular calcium hypochlorite, potassium permanganate, and iodine tablets.
- Read and follow the product instructions carefully.
- Mix the tablets into the water well.
- Wait for at least an hour for the tablets to completely dissolve before drinking the water.
- 5Use an ultraviolet purifier.
- Stick the UV purifier pen into the water.
- Wait for the light to turn green.
- 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.
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.