Purifying Rain Water and Tap Water with a Berkey Filter

Robin Greenfield holding a cup, while leaning on a water dispenser.
Cold Climate ResourcesEnvironmentFloridaFood and DietFood FreedomHealthy, Happy LivingSustainable Living

People ask me all the time about how I purify my rainwater and also come to me seeking advice on how they can purify their own water. So, here’s my answer!

I simply collect the rainwater that falls onto the roof of my tiny house with a gutter that directs the rainwater into food grade 55-gallon drums. These I purchased on Craigslist used for $25 each. Rainwater harvesting is as simple as putting a bucket under your downspout or the roof drip line and letting the rainwater fall into the buckets. Truly that simple.

I then take the water from the 55-gallon drums and pour it into my Berkey filter. It comes out pure as can be! Again, simple as that.

Rainwater is pure when it falls from the sky, but it collects bacteria from the surfaces that it falls on, such as the roof. That’s why I purify it. I specifically chose a metal roof for my house because there’s no toxins released from it, like an asphalt roof, and the smooth surface collects less debris and is easy to keep clean.
I use a Berkey Filter because in my opinion they are one of the most sustainable, cost-effective, widely applicable, and easy to use filters on the market.

This filter (and many other brands) can be used for both rainwater and tap water. It removes bacteria, parasites, and viruses, which is important for drinking water directly from rain, lakes, and rivers like I do. And it removes heavy metals (including lead), pesticides, BPA, pharmaceuticals, chlorine, and many other toxic elements and contaminants. This is key, because many municipal tap waters are contaminated with these elements. There’s also an additional filter for removing fluoride.

The filters do not remove the beneficial minerals in the water. Reverse Osmosis, for example, removes all beneficial minerals. I vastly prefer the Berkey over RO.

I used a Berkey Filter at my first tiny house in San Diego in 2016, and I’ve been recommending it to people ever since.

It takes no installation and can sit right on top of any countertop or table. It’s a little more work to fill this filter than to have an RO system hooked up to a tap, but that’s pretty much the only downside. It’s portable, so it can go with you when you travel. It is cost-effective. It is very low tech, can last a life time, and is far more sustainable than high tech filters. It can be used for rainwater and tap water. In a state of emergency where the water system is down, it will still function with no flaw whatsoever.

When I built my tiny house in Orlando, I knew for certain that I was going to get another Berkey. This time I reached out to them to see if they would send one to me in exchange for me telling people about them. I explained that I would honestly tell people about them either way, because I truly believe in the product. They said yes and sent me one right away. I wanted to be transparent to all of you reading this post.  I’ve made a commitment to only “promote” something that I truly believe in first and foremost, never for the money or the gift of an item to me. You can read more about my commitment to responsibility and transparency with my relationship to companies and money here.  I’ve been recommending Berkey Filters for 3 years now and will continue to do so.

Visit their website to learn more or to buy a filter. I recommend purchasing a Scratch and Dent system to save some money and resources.
Cover photo by Sierra Ford Photography

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