Finding water while living off the grid may be a difficult task but an equal challenge is getting that water to acceptable drinking standards. To do this, you will need to utilize a purification system. Though there are various ways to clean drinking water, here are a few different ways we’ve listed below to purify your drinking water in any situation.
1. Boiling Your Water
The classic, foolproof way to purify your water. Place your water into a pot and bring it to a nice slow boil for about 15 to 20 minutes. This will remove 99.9% of all bacteria. Once your water is boiled, let it sit. This will not only cool the water but it will settle out the heavier elements.
Important directions and considerations for boiling drinking water:
Water temperatures at 160° F (70° C) or more will kill all pathogens within 30 minutes. The higher the temperature, the less time to kill those pathogens. For example, water temperatures above 185° F (85° C) will kill all pathogens within about 5-10 minutes. So, in the amount of time it takes for water to reach the boiling point (212° F or 100° C) all pathogens will be killed, even at high altitude. When your drinking water finally reaches a steady, rolling boil, the water is already safe to drink since it has been boiled at 212° F.
Caveats regarding safe water boil times:
Boiling your drinking water will NOT remove any chemical toxins that may be within the water. Also, if your water is very dirty, such as out of a dirty stream or pond, it should be filtered first by using a cloth, bandana, coffee filter, charcoal, or other material to remove sediments. Or, let stand for awhile to allow the dirt and other sediments to settle. Then pour off clearer water on top.
2. Water Purification Drops (or Tablets)
Purification tablets are often used when camping but they can also come in handy when living off the grid. For optimal performance, you will want to strain the water to remove any large particles. Place your iodine tablets or drops into the water (iodine is the most common but there are other purification drops that work just as well) and wait for it to dissolve. Wait 30 minutes before enjoying your bacteria free water.
3. Water Purifiers
There are a variety of water purifiers including:
- Pump purifiers that easily attach to your tap;
- Water bottles with purifiers built in (like the Sawyer Mini Water filter we reviewed);
- Gravity fed purifiers, much like you see on a Brita;
- Ultraviolet purifiers – put the “pen” in the water and wait until the light goes off
Any of these systems mentioned above will greatly reduce the bacterial level in your water and provide clean drinking water in most all situations. Find the best purification option that works for you and enjoy the thought of knowing you’re giving yourself and your family the most crucial of all things to stay alive — water.