Prepare, Sustain, Thrive and Survive Simply
Clean water is crucial and it’s not an area you want there to be surprises. We need a filtration system that works flawlessly in a number of grid down scenarios with the least amount of fuss.
If you’re looking to buy a survival water filter, read on. I’m going to share important information that I wish I’d had the chance to consider before purchasing this filtering system. It’s something preppers need to be aware of when deciding what kind of gravity filter is best for them.
I’ve been convinced for several years now that everybody should have a good counter-top gravity water filter in their survival preps for when the grid goes down. Berkey or Doulton had been in my crosshairs, but then the Alexapure came to be, and it was on sale and I was able to get it for $150 with surprise birthday money — but that’s not the surprise I’m talking about.
I was so excited to reach this prepping milestone and planned to use the unit immediately because I was on a body cleanse and needed plenty of purified water for the next few weeks. I’d been buying it in plastic gallons from the store in town or hauling it from a friend’s well several miles away.
When the package arrived, I was happy and proud to see, “Made in USA” stamped on the lid. But my spirits were dampened when I read the information sheet in the package. Maybe this isn’t the best filter for my situation after all.
The good stuff
On the positive side, the Alexapure Pro filter removes an unprecedented 99.999 percent of impurities including pathogens, heavy metals, pesticides, herbicides, and pharmaceuticals. It processes 2 gallons* of water in about three hours with one filter installed. There is room for four filters in all.
*This is a correction. I originally wrote 4.5 because that is the total capacity of both top and bottom sections, not including volume taken up by the filters.
How much water can a filter clean?
That depends on what you’re putting in. However, online it was said it can do up to 5,000 gallons, as compared to other filters that claim about 3,000 under best conditions.
For one thing, I was surprised that the insert said the Alexapure is “designed for extended use over several months.” Several months? That’s hardly 5,000 gallons. For me, two gallons a day for drinking and cooking is a luxury. If a family uses 10 gallons a day, the filter should last more than a year with good care. But that’s not the surprise I’m focusing on today either.
I’m going to explain what I found in the package, but first, here is a bit of situational awareness. I’m a nomad who ends up in a lot of places with undrinkable, unpalatable, and questionable water. Small rural towns are some of the worst. I can smell the chlorine in the tap water where I am now. I also need a filter for creek, lake, rain, and snow water when camping, and for my long term survival needs.
If the system falls apart, many people will be on the move, either heading to bug out locations, or being forced to move from place to place. We could all get portable camping-size filters or Life Straws, but the capacity will be inadequate for daily drinking and cooking. Some of those portable units are disposable and the filters on others only purify a fraction of what the counter top gravity systems can do.
So what’s the problem?
The information sheet says, “Keep your Alexapure Pro™ filter hydrated. Do not let the Alexapure filter completely air-dry”!
I had intended to use the filter system for a while where I was, then pack it up and either take it with me, and set it up again a few weeks later, or put it in storage until spring camping time. But now I couldn’t do either one because the filter would dry out.
I really wanted to keep the unit, now that I finally had one, but I considered sending it back. I also considered repacking it and putting it storage until springtime, when I’d need it at our off grid camp. But I really thought I should at least assemble everything and test it to make sure it was working properly before relying on it later. Now, even that would not be possible.
I called the company and spoke to someone who was helpful and had a good grasp of English. After checking with his supervisor, here is what he said:
When taking the system apart to transport it, place the filter with the stem up in a zip lock bag with a couple of tablespoons of water. (I’m thinking of getting something that travels better than a zip lock bag with water in it). You can leave it like that for up to two weeks.
For longer term storage, the filter can and should be air-dried completely. Then, when you want to use it again, it needs to be recharged by soaking in a mixture of one part grain alcohol (190 proof Everclear will do) to two parts water for forty-eight hours. That means you need at least one pint of good alcohol in your survival preps for every time a situation arises where you have to stash the Alexapure for a while.
I don’t know if the first batch of water afterward will taste like alcohol. I will let you know because I found out I’ll be staying where I am for another month, so decided to set up the filter today.
The guy on the phone also said if you have the unit set up on the counter and you’re just leaving for a week, keep a little water in the top of the unit where the filter is. To do that, i imagine you’d have to have the bottom completely full. The top slips into the bottom and it does not have a seal, so I’m curious if water will leak out when the bottom is overfilled.
I think everyone who sells or promotes the Alexapure Pro™ should clarify these important details along with the other specs for the system. Things like this are important to know before investing in a gravity flow water filter system.
It was easy to set the unit up and I am now filtering two batches of water through to clean everything. I’m still happy to finally have a water filter, just not happy about the extra concerns with babying the filter along so it will be in top shape when my family and I really need to rely on it.
This experience underscores the importance of using and understanding the idiosyncrasies of tools and equipment before an emergency hits.
/ I have been using the Alexapure for 14 days and I’m glad to have it. A couple other observations though: There is about of inch of water at the bottom that doesn’t sift through because of how the filter is designed. I guess that solves the problem of having to keep a little water in the top of the unit when you are gone for a week. Also, I love the stainless steel water reservoirs, but if there is a weak point in the design, I suspect it’s the plastic spigot. It would be good if the company would offer this and other replacement parts (other than the filters). // Here is a new observation several months later: I was traveling and set the filter up at a relative’s home so he could babysit it. He forgot to put water in it for several days, and when we filled the unit up again the water did not go through at first. After a day, it finally started filtering again.// The Alexapro is now in storage. The filter has been completely air dried./
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