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Your Complete Guide to Clean, Clear, and Tasty Berkey Water

You may have heard of the Berkey Water Filters for quite some time now or even maybe tasted a Berkey Filtered water from a friend or family's house. Now, I know you are wondering how Berkey Water Filters work and you may have a lot of questions. This is why we've created a complete guide to help you out from deciding what size works best for you and your household to proper care and maintenance or your Berkey.

Let's get started!

Here are 4 Great Reasons Why You Should Opt for a Berkey Water Filter:

You will be in-control of what you drink which in turn gives you confidence. Knowing that you are drinking from a system that can address a broad universe of potential contaminants, you will certainly have peace of mind.

A healthier body. When you have a great-tasting water, you will be inclined to drink more of it. Enjoying a sip of your refreshing Berkey water quite often will also equate to a healthier and more nourished body.

Ready for any adventure. Whatever outdoor activities your family has planned, your drinking water is the least of your worries. You can take your Berkey with you anywhere! Your portable water filter can accompany you through your camping trips, long drives, or relaxing lounge by the lakeside.

Emergency-ready. Just like what they say, natural disasters won't announce their arrival. Sometimes, these instances would just come barging in without a warning. Having a Berkey with you will ensure that even in the most sudden situation where access to a potable water source is nowhere in sight, you can always purify raw, untreated water to get you through.

1. Why choose Berkey?

There are quite a lot of Gravity-Fed filters in the market and all of these claim to have superior abilities in purifying your water. So why choose Berkey? it is simple. Berkey was dubbed as the Gold Standard in Gravity-Fed Water Purification for a reason. Berkey® systems are powerful, freestanding water purifiers that sit on a counter top or stand. Simply pour water from virtually any source into the top chamber of the system, and dispense purified water easily from the lower chamber through a handy spigot. The systems are easy to use—no electricity, tools or plumbing needed. Enjoy clean, delicious purified water that retains the healthy minerals your body needs for less than 2 cents per gallon.

2. What can the Black Berkey Elements filter?

Black Berkey® Purification Elements are more powerful than any other gravity filter element currently available.  The Elements have a unique purification capability that is due to their unique structure. The micro- pores within the Black Berkey® Elements are so small that viruses and pathogenic bacteria are simply not able to pass through them.

Many water filters on the market may claim to be a water purifier, but do not meet the performance specifications required for this classification. In order to be classified as a water purifier, a water treatment device must remove at least 99.9999% of pathogenic bacteria and reduce viruses by 99.99%. The Black Berkey® Purification Elements can be classified as water purifiers because they remove 99.9999% of pathogenic bacteria and 99.999% of viruses, which greatly exceeds the standard. The Black Berkey®Purification Element formulation has been tested by State and EPA accredited laboratories to exceed NSF/ANSI Standard 53.

The Black Berkey® Purification Elements have been tested and confirmed to remove or greatly reduce the contaminants listed below:

Removed to Below Lab Detectable Limits: 
Chloramine; Chloride;  Chlorine Residual (Total Residual Chlorine); Free Chlorine

Aluminum (>99%); Antimony (>99.9%); Barium (>80%); Beryllium (>99.9%); Bismuth (>99.9%); Cadmium (>99.7%); Cobalt (>95%); Chromium (>99.9%); Chromium 6 (>99.85%); Copper (>99.9%); Iron (>99.9%); Lead (>99.9%); Mercury (>99.9%); Molybdenum (>90%); Nickel (>99.9%); Vanadium (>87.5%); Zinc (>99.9%).

Acetaminophen; Caffeine; Carbamazepine; Ciprofloxacin HCl; Erythromycin USP; Sulfamethoxazole; Trimethoprim; Bisphenol A; Diclofenac Sodium; 4-para-Nonylphenol; 4-tert-Octylphenol; Primidone; Progestrone; Gemfibrozil; Ibuprofen; Naproxen Sodium; Triclosan.

VIRUSES – Removed to  >99.999% (Log 5)
Exceeds Purification Standard (Log 4):
MS2 Coliphage ; Fr Coliphage.

Exceeds Purification Standard (Log 6): Bacillus atrophaeus (Anthrax surrogate); Raoultella terrigena (Pathogenic Bacteria Surrogate); Salmonella Enterica.

TRIHALOMETHANES – Removed to >99.8%
(Below Lab Detectable Limits):

Bromodichloromethane ; Bromoform ; Chloroform ; Dibromochloromethane.

3. What size should I buy?

This is the first thing that most people consider when purchasing a Berkey. To help you choose the best size for your household, you must first consider the number of people in your family and their water consumption. On an average, one person consumes half a gallon of water every day. If you have 2-3 people in your home, a Big Berkey may be ample enough to supply you daily plus enough water for your cooking. 

Here are the various sizes of the Berkey Water Systems:

4. How many filters should I get?

All Berkey System comes with 2 black Berkey elements. Having more than 2 Berkey elements will not improve the filtration quality but by adding another 2 filters in your system there would be an increase of flow rate and it will extend the lifespan of your filters. For example,

If you purchase 2 elements, it would take an hour for your water to be ready to drink.
While if you have four filters, it will cut the waiting time down to half and your filter would be able to finish filtering your water in half an hour.

In addition, two filters will filter 6000 gallons of water, four filters will filter 12,000 gallons of water.
If you consume 4 gallons a day, the 2 black filters will last you a little over 4-5 years and 4 filters will last you for at least 8 years.

How to Clean Your Berkey Water Filters



1. Does my Berkey Filters need power?

  • No need. Berkey Filters need gravity flow water purification system.

2. How will I know when to replace my Berkey Water Filters?

  • There are two possible methods:

For the first one, it may take a little bit of a calculation. If you have a two filter Big Berkey and your used 4 gallons of water per day. You would multiply 2 (#of filters) by 3000 = 6000 (Total Life), then divide 6000 by 4 (total use) = 1500 days the filters will last, That's a little over four years!

For the second method, all you have to do is observe. The Black Berkey filters in your unit will never stop working. The rate that the filters produce water will slow down. This is an indication that the filter needs to be cleaned. This brings us to the second method. If after cleaning your elements they do not filter any faster; it is time to replace them.

3. How often do I need to top-up my filter?

  • When your bottom chamber is empty, then you may fill your Berkey again up to the top of your filters. In this way, your system will be filled evenly and avoid overworking your bottom chambers.

4. How can I test the efficiency of my filter?

  • You can test the Black Berkey filter elements by filling the upper chamber with water, and then adding a teaspoon of red food coloring for every gallon of water within your upper chamber. Be sure to use red, as no other color of food coloring will work. If the food coloring is removed entirely, your system is working properly. If not, make sure the wing nuts on the filters are securely tightened then re-run the test. If you have the PF-2 fluoride filters installed, remove them prior to performing the red dye test.

5. How long can I leave the filtered water in the lower chamber?

  • It is recommended that any water left unused for 5 days in the lower chamber be discarded

6. Can I use Berkey Filters with Water Softeners?

  • We do not recommend using your Berkey with a water softener, as it may prematurely clog the Black Berkey elements and will reduce their lifespan.

7. Does Berkey Filter make water alkaline?

  • All Berkey systems use Black Berkey Filters, which will take out the unwanted, acidic substances that decrease water pH, thus increasing pH by 0.5 to 1.0. By doing this, it also serves as an alkaline water filter by increasing alkalinity.

8. Can I filter salt water with my Berkey?

  • No. The concentration of salt in sea water will more than likely ruin the elements fairly quickly.