Guide to Berkey Water Filter – Review and Tips

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Berkey Water Filter – Gone are the days when you can drink water straight from the faucet.

You don’t want to suffer from a waterborne disease.

You want to keep your family, especially your kids, protected all the time.

These are some of the reasons why water filters continue to have a market, despite the presence of bottled water.

If you’ve heard about Berkey water filter, you could be wondering whether if this is the best water filter for your family.

Berkey is a company based in Pueblo, Colorado.

It began as a small family business in a farming community.

It eventually became successful and expanded its product line, from water filters to specialty filters. Organizations like UNICEF and Red Cross use these water filters to purify water in developing nations.

Getting a Berkey water filter system will prove to be one of the best investments you’ll make for your family’s health.

Aside from eliminating contaminants that can potentially cause diseases, you can enjoy a lot of savings, too.

Berkey Water Filter
Berkey Water Filter

Advantages of owning a Berkey Water Filter

With a Berkey Water Filter, you and your family can drink clean and potable water without having to pay for costly bottled waters, or having to pay for costly replacements.

Its most popular filter system, the Big Berkey, has filters with a combined life span of 6,000 gallons.

An average family of four would consume at least two gallons of water a day.

Under those conditions, the Big Berkey filters won’t need replacement for four years.

Berkey water filters will work without electricity.

Installation is also simple… you don’t have to call a plumber just to get your system up and running.

Also, because it is gravity fed, all you need is to pour the water into the upper chamber.

It then moves into the base, where pure and potable water comes out ready for drinking.

See below for how to set up a Berkey filter.

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Does the Berkey Water Filter Work?

Perhaps the most important question that can make or break your purchasing decision is whether or not Berkey water filters work.

Yes! Berkey water filters are very much capable of removing contaminants from water, including fluoride.

Although there are many popular water filters that can improve the taste of water, none of them can match up with Berkey’s ability to eliminate harmful pollutants and toxins present in tap water.

Aside from fluoride, Berkey water filters can remove chlorine, chloramine, heavy metals and microorganisms from water.

They can also eliminate up to 99 percent of pharmaceuticals including antibiotics and hormones present in water.

In fact, Berkey water filters are considered water purifiers because they surpass the water purifier standard.

It means it has a 99.9999% reduction standard on two major contaminants — pathogenic bacteria and virus.

Water filters need only to have greater than 99.99 reduction of pathogenic bacteria.

This makes Berkey water filters the only gravity flow water purification system in the market.

Types of Berkey Water Filters

There are several Berkey water filters available.

Big Berkey

The most popular of them is the Big Berkey, which has a holding capacity of 2.25 gallons.

It can produce up to 7 gallons of purified water per hour.

The Big Berkey is ideal for small and medium-sized families, and can be used for home and outdoor use.

Royal Berkey

It is a bit larger than the Big Berkey with its 3.25 gallon capacity.

Made of polished steel, it can produce up to 8 gallons of purified water in an hour.

With its capacity, it is more suited for large households.

It has two PF-2 filters that are effective in reducing fluoride in water.

The Royal Berkey is bigger than the Big Berkey but it is also portable enough for travel.

It can easily be stored in a large cabinet or closet in the kitchen.

Crown Berkey

The largest Berkey model, the Crown Berkey has a capacity of six gallons.

It can provide pure drinking water  for up to 150 people.

Also made of stainless steel, it has eight Black Berkey filters and a maximum filtration capacity of 26 gallons per hour.

It is very versatile as well; you can start with a few Black Berkey elements and expand it depending on your needs.

Travel Berkey

If you want to bring this with you when traveling, camping, etc., the Travel Berkey should be the one you should buy.

It’s a great companion for travel as it can provide clean, drinking water for up to four people.

It has a capacity of 1.5 gallons of water, and produce up to 3 gallons of filtered water in an hour.

Imperial Berkey

This Berkey is also designed for mid- to large-sized families.

It is constructed of highly polished stainless steel with a storage capacity of 4.5 gallons.

There are two Black Berkey purification elements or filters included in the package although four more can be added to the chambers.

It stands 17 inches in height.

Berkey Shower Filters

Berkey also offers shower filters that can eliminate chlorine and other water-soluble heavy metals from water.

These products can also lessen bacteria, lime scale, and fungi in showers.

Berkey shower filters come with a massaging head shower.

How to Use Berkey Water Filter

When people hear the words “water filter,” they may think installion may be difficult.

Some even think they need professional help just to install the water filter.

But things are different with Berkey water filters.

How to set up the Berkey Water Filter

Berkey Filters
Berkey Filters

Setup is generally the same for all Berkey water filter types:

Upon opening the package, clean all the components before assembling.

Get the spigot and screw it into the main canister or the base, which holds the water.

You can use a wrench to achieve a nice, tight seal and prevent water leakage.

Prime the two filters included in the package.

Priming here means cleaning the filters out of the factory process.

Hold the filter against a faucet until there are no more sediments coming out of it.

Fasten the filters into the other canister by screwing the wing nuts.

Place the second canister above the base canister.

Then place the lid over the second canister.

Screw it to tighten the lid.

You can then start to put water on the Berkey water filter.

You will be able to enjoy clean water straight from the water filter.

It should not take more than 15 minutes to set up the water filter.

Berkey’s filtration elements

Berkey’s filtration elements are composed of six media types constructed into a matrix containing millions of microscopic pores.

These pores are so small that it would be impossible for water pollutants to pass through them.

Thus they get trapped and eliminated from the water.

Berkey filters also have an absorption creating an ionic barrier.

It blocks contaminants that are smaller than the microscopic pores.

The filter is also able to remove sub-micron viruses sans the use of chemicals such as iodine and chlorine.

Another way for Berkey’s water filters to eliminate contaminants is the extraction of heavy metal ions.

This is conducted through an ion exchange process.

In this method, ions are attracted and electronically bonded to the media.

There’s a way for you to test the water filter system and determine whether it is working properly or not.

Fill the upper chamber with water, and then add a teaspoon of food coloring for every gallon of water within the upper chamber.

Berkey recommends red food coloring; other colors won’t work in this test.

Then get water from the system.

If the food coloring has been entirely removed, you can be sure your system is working well.

If not, disassemble the system, and see if the wing nuts on the filters are tightly sealed.

Does Berkey Water Filter Work on Lead?

Lead is one of those contaminants that is said to be present in tap water.

In fact, even big cities like New York have been found to have tap water with elevated levels of lead.

Exposure to lead can cause brain, kidney, and red blood cell damage.

While drinking water is rarely a cause of lead poisoning, it can contribute to an individual’s overall exposure.

Many water filter makers claim their products are capable of eliminating lead on tap water.

But none of those makers can lay claim to having a water filter as effective as Berkey in removing lead from tap water.

In fact, studies have shown that Berkey water filters can remove up to 95 percent of lead and other heavy metals in tap water.

This gives you an idea of how great Berkey’s water filter is in protecting the health of your family.

Berkey Water Filter Tips

When you buy a Berkey Water filter, you will get two re-cleanable filters.

To clean the filters and ensure that it would be running properly, simply disassemble the water filter and remove the filters.

Clean the filters by scrubbing the interiors under running water, and use a stiff toothbrush or scrub pad.

It would only take a minute or so for you to clean each element.

Remember the need to replace the two filters every few years, or depending on the volume of water consumed by your family.

Berkey also recommends cleaning the purification elements once you notice it takes longer than usual to fill with water the bottom chamber of the filtering system.

How do you know when to change the Berkey filters?

Berkey also offers a simple formula to determine when to replace the filters.

Simply multiply the number of filters you have in your system, then multiply it by 3,000.

The product will be the total life in gallons of your system.

Then estimate the average amount of water that your Berkey system filters per day.

This will be the total use in gallons.

Once you have those numbers, divide the total life by the total use.

The quotient indicates the number of days that your filter will be able to treat water before you need to replace them.

For example, you have two filters in your water filter and your daily water usage averages four gallons.

Multiply two by 3,000 which translates to 6,000 (total life) then divide total life by total use which is four.

The result is 1,500, meaning the water filters will be effective in 1,500 days or roughly four years.

Filter for reducing fluoride in water

Specialized filter sets reduce fluoride in water.

This is a feature that is particularly geared toward residents of the United States, where fluoridated water is consumed by three out of four people.

While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says fluoride in community water can prevent and reverse tooth decay, there have been many studies indicating that fluoride in water can have detrimental public health impact.

According to the Fluoride Action Network, the highly toxic substance has been linked to various health problems ranging from cancer, arthritis, bone fracture, brain damage, cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, gastrointestinal problems, and male fertility problems, among others.

Now if you’re concerned about fluoride potentially wrecking havoc on your family’s health, you can get rid of that substance with Berkey water filters.

You can buy the Berkey fluoride water filter (PF-2). It is particularly designed to remove fluoride from water, and works as a post-filter to all Berkey water filter systems.

Aside from fluoride, this special set of filters can get rid of other heavy metal ions like pre-oxidized arsenic III and arsenic V.

You don’t have to remove the two other filters in your system, as all Berkey water filters are designed to have four filters connected to the base.

Water filter’s spigot

The spigot of the water filter may also run into its own problems. One concern is leaking.

The most common remedy is to simply tighten it.

Hold the outside by hand and slowly tighten the nut on the inside using pliers or adjustable wrench.

NOTE: While Berkey discourages the use of wrench or pliers, most users can attest that the spigot is tough that it would be difficult to break it using the tools.

Alternatively, you should check that the cream-colored washer is on the outside of the spigot, while the black one is on the inside.

There’s also the chance that the spigot will run slow.

It’s a problem that is also very easy to solve.

You can insert a paperclip between the chambers of the Berkey on the backside.

This should provide enough air to flow through the base.

Review Berkey Water Filter Guide
Review Berkey Water Filter Guide

Berkey Water Filter accessories

There are several accessories available for the water filters.

Berkey base

The Berkey base will elevate the system, allowing containers to fit under the spigots.

The base comes with an optional LED lighting system; you can still see even during low light conditions.

Sight glass spigot

This lets customers see water level in the base chamber, so they would know when to add water in the upper chamber.

It is available in three sizes:

7.5 inches diameter for the Travel Berkey and the Big Berkey

10 inches diameter for the Royal and Imperial Berkey

13 inches for the Crown Berkey systems

Berkey stainless wire stand

This may well be the most important accessory you can buy for your system.

It will add function to the Berkey water filter system.

It is a polished, functional stainless steel wire stand measuring five feet tall.

When you put the water filter on it, you will be able to fit a glass or cup under the spigot.

The wire stand is made of non-marking rubber.

It is available in four sizes to fit each of the Berkey water filters.

The four Berkey sizes are:

Small (7.5 inches diameter)— designed for the Travel Berkey

Medium (8.5 inches diameter)— for the Big Berkey

Large (9.5 inches diameter)—- for the Royal Berkey

Extra Large (11 inches diameter)—- for the Imperial and Crown Berkeys

The wire stand is a great thing to have if you don’t want to lean over to fill a cup of water.

It also eliminates the need to keep the Berkey water system at the very end of the counter just to be able to fill a cup of water.

Its rubberized feet also prevent it from sliding.

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Berkey Water Filter Cleaning

Like any other item in the kitchen, you need to clean the Berkey water filters thoroughly.

But how would you know when to clean the filters?

When the flow rate is so low that the output slows down, then you need to clean the purification elements.

Another test that you can do to is to put water from the Berkey system in a clear glass.

Then hold the glass up to the light.

If you can see through it, then the water is clean.

If not, you need to clean the water filters.

Cleaning the Berkey water filters may be as frequent as weekly.

When cleaning the water filters, you should use the cleanest and clearest water possible.

If you suspect that the water you have in your household has high concentrations of bacteria or virus, you can add 16 drops of bleach to every gallon of water that you will use for cleaning the water filters.

To start cleaning the water filters for household use, eliminate all the water from the Berkey system.

Remove the top container and then place it on a solid surface like the counter top or table.

Unscrew the wing nut that secures the Black Berkey element to the container so that you can remove the filters.

Once you have removed the water filters, hold it under the running faucet with its exit hole pointed up.

Scrub the black surface of the filters using a 3M Scotch Brite pad for several minutes.

Set aside the elements and then wash your hands. Then reassemble the unit.

Cleaning water filters while traveling

One thing to keep in mind when cleaning the water systems in the field is that the water to be used should be clean.

Again, you can add 16 drops of bleach or iodine for every gallon of water that you will use for cleaning the system.

Start by emptying the Berkey system.

Remove the top container and place it on a clean solid surface.

Unscrew the wing nut so that you can remove the filters.

Once you have removed the filters, scrub its outer black surface using the green scrubbing pad.

Rinse it as needed in the clean water.

Once you have cleaned the filters, set them aside on a clean surface.

Empty the container before adding more fresh and bleach-treated water.

Place the filters in the same bleach-treated water before setting them aside on a clean surface.

Wash your hands with soap before reinstalling the filters and reassembling the water system.

There’s no denying that Berkey water filters are a great investment for any family.

If you are serious about protecting the health of your family, then you should not think twice about getting a Berkey water system.

Yes, Berkey may be more expensive than some of its competitors but you can’t argue with the quality of Berkey’s water filters.

Berkey water systems can last for many years.

You can use the water filters 3-4 years before replacing them, as long as you regularly clean them.

Berkey water filters can let you and your family members enjoy clean and contaminant-free water.

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