Berkey Water Filter Canada FAQ’s And Berkey Knowledge Base

  • Fluoride – Removed to greater than 99.9%.
  • Pathogenic Bacteria – Removed to greater than 99.9%.
  • Chloramines – Removed to greater than 99.9%.
  • Pharmaceuticals – Removed to greater than 99.5%.
  • Petroleum Contaminants – Removed to greater than 99.9%.
  • Methylcycohexane-methane – Removed to greater than 99.9%.
  • Pesticides – Removed to greater than 99.9%.
  • Heavy Metals – Removed to greater than 99.1%.
  • Coliform and e-Coli – Removed to greater than 99.9%.
  • Atrazine – Removed to greater than 99.9%.
  • Lead – Removed to greater than 99.9%.
  • Arsenic – Removed to greater than 99.9%.
  • Iron – Removed to greater than 99.9%.
  • Mercury – Removed to greater than 99.9%.
  • Chlorine – Removed to greater than 99.9%.
  • Trihalomethane(THMs) – Removed to greater than 99.8%.
  • Bisphenol-A – Removed to greater than 99.9%.
  • Uranium – Removed to greater than 97.0%.
  • Gross Alpha emitters – Removed to greater than 98.7%.
  • Viruses – Removed to greater than 99.9%.

Berkey Water Filter Systems are the world’s most effective and most cost effective personal water purification system available. It uses gravity water filtration technology to remove toxic elements, parasites, bacteria and hundreds of other contaminants from water without removing the beneficial minerals. It also doesn’t use any electricity so you can use it literally anywhere.

Question: What type of steel is used for the housing of Berkey Water Filter Systems?
Answer: Berkey Water Filter Systems use only the highest quality highly polished AISI 304 grade stainless steel, known for its high corrosion and heat-resistant properties. These stainless steel chambers are durable enough to handle camping trips, emergencies, offices, and college dorms. They are still very elegant enough to complement your kitchen counter or any other place you choose to keep them.
Question: I need help cleaning my Berkey Water Filter System. How should I clean my stainless steel upper and lower chambers?
Answer: The Berkey Water Filter Systems and engineered and made with high quality stainless steel (excluding the Berkey Light). Wash lower chamber once per month with light soap and luke warm water. In areas with hard water, calcium scale may build up on spigot and chambers after prolonged use. To remove, soak affected part(s) in soap or a 50-50% mix of soap and water for about 15 minutes. Wipe away calcium scale with a ScotchBrite pad or soft brush then wash with soapy dishwater and rinse.

The reason of having a bad smell or taste in your filtered water is generally comes from not having enough priming filters. The unpleasant taste is from process dust that may have remained from the initial priming process. Please try priming your filters a couple of more times throughout.

GlobalTradersPlus- How To Prime And Install The Post Filters

GlobalTradersPlus- How To Prime The Black Berkey Elements

Cleaning the elements should be done when you experience a drastic slowdown in your flow rate in your Berkey Water Filter System. You may consider cleaning your elements on a consistent basis. For example, every 5-7 months. The benefit to doing so is that you won’t experience a slow flow rate. Black Berkey Filters Purification Elements don’t necessarily need to be cleaned every time one cleans their Berkey System. However, in certain areas, the water could be much dirtier than normal, and will require cleaning the filters more frequently. Follow these steps:
1) Empty and disassemble the Black Berkey Filters Purification Elements from the Berkey system.
2) Use a cleaning pad similar to a Scotch Brite Pad or a toothbrush and gently scrub the outside of the Black Berkey Filters under cool running water.
3) Re-prime the filters. Watch our video below for detailed instructions.
4) Reassemble the Black Berkey Filters into the Berkey system.
5) Fill your Berkey system and perform a red dye test as described in your instructions to ensure the Black Berkey Filters Purification Elements are effective.

GlobalTradersPlus- How To Prime The Black Berkey Elements

We strongly advise against freezing your elements as a general rule of caution. We also advise against storing the elements (even unused) in sub-freezing climates. Please note that this recommendation applies to all our Berkey elements, including the Sport Berkey water filter bottle element. Freezing your element and rendering it unusable will also void your warranty coverage.
The concern with freezing the elements is that any cold or freezing water will expand inside in the element, thereby increasing the pore size and ruining the element. Whether the elements are unused or used and fully dried out, a small amount of moisture could still exist inside the element, especially in predominately humid climates. This moisture could expand inside the element and render them unusable.

It is best to pour the water into the upper chamber, however if you have a spray hose on your sink, using it to refill the system is a very convenient method.

We do recommend replacing your Berkey water after three days. If the water is in a cold environment, the length can be extended to a 7-9 days. This is a conservative basis estimate for caution. The reason for this is because when you filter your water, the chemicals that inhibit bacteria growth are removed. In more humid environments, bacteria growth can occur more quickly.

The thread size on the stem of the Berkey Purification Elements is 11 millimeters. The outer diameter is about 3/8 of an inch and the inner is about 2/8 of an inch.

The length of storage varies on many different factors such as the treatment of the water. When using the Berkey Biofilm Drops, water can be stored for up to 5 years. It is recommended for long term storage to use 16 drops (1/2 tablespoon) of chlorinated bleach per gallon of water. Both treatments will inhibit bacteria growth. Once you are ready to use the water, just purify it by using your Berkey system. It is best to use a sterilized glass container for long time storage and a plastic storage container for short term storage. It is recommended to store your water in a dry and cool place away from direct sunlight.

If you feel as though the water is filtering too slowly, please understand that the water will always filter faster when there’s more water pressure in the upper chamber. Also, priming the Black Berkey filters opens the pores up to allow water in. A priming that has not been fully completed will still have closed pores and thus filter slower. Try re-priming the filters to ensure priming has been fully completed.

There will always be about 1.3 cm. to 2.5 cm of water left in the upper chamber of the system as not enough water pressure is available to push the remaining water through the Black Berkey and Berkey Earth filters.

Fully fill the upper chamber covering the Black Berkey or Berkey Earth filters, (making sure the lower chamber is completely empty), and allow the upper chamber to completely empty. Use the purified water and empty out the lower chamber before starting the process again.

No, as this will damage the filters. Removing large amounts of salt requires a form of a distillation system.

The Black Berkey Purification Elements can initially reduce fluoride up to 99.9%. The efficiency of removing Fluoride begins to lose after a few hundred gallons. In order to reduce fluoride in your water effectively, you will still need to use post filters that work in conjunction with the filters in your system which is called the Berkey PF-2 Elements. The Berkey PF-2 elements can remove Fluoride for up to 1,010 gallons.

They don’t remove fluoride by themselves. They will need more power and with the addition of the PF-2 fluoride filter; they will remove about 96%.

The odd taste is from process dust that may not have been washed free from the filters during the conditioning process. Please remove the PF-2 elements and prime them again for no less than 5 minutes (longer may be needed) on both ends. This should remove any residual process dust and fix the problem. Insufficient conditioning (priming) of the Berkey Fluoride elements may result in an undesirable taste and/or cloudiness in the water.

The Black Berkey Purification Elements do remove Chloramine and other harmful contaminants and chemicals.

The Black Berkey Filters can remove Chromium-6 for over 99.90% from water.

The Black Berkey Purification Element Filters have been tested to remove the following petroleum contaminants up to 99.998%: Kerosene, Mineral Spirits, Refine Oil, Gasoline, Diesel, and Crude Oil amongst the others. Petroleum based products are some of the easiest to remove from water. Please keep in mind that it is possible to overwhelm filtration elements, so don’t do anything on purpose such as mixing petroleum based products.

Berkey can remove other heavy metals such as Cadmium (>99.7%), Chromium 6 (>99.85%), Chromium (>99.9%), Copper (>99.9%), Cobalt (>95%), Mercury (>99.9%), Molybdenum (>90%), Bismuth (>99.9%), Beryllium (>99.9%), Barium (>80%), Zinc (>99.9%), Vanadium (>87.5%), Nickel (>99.9%), Aluminum (>99%), Antimony (>99.9%), Lead (>99.9%), and Iron (>99.9%) amongst others.

The Black Berkey elements have been tested to remove both of these plastic materials. There are various plastic materials that can be leeched into water and the most common are BPA (Biphenyl A) and 1,1-Dichloroethane (11-DCA).

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 Black Berkey elements they do not filter any faster; it is time to replace them.

The technology utilized in the Black Berkey purification elements is designed not to remove ionic minerals from the water. The elements are however, designed to remove sedimentary minerals. Additionally, in order to reduce heavy metals, there are several types of media used in the proprietary formulation that have a specific affinity for heavy metals. The best part is that the media used in the Black Berkey elements is designed to not remove beneficial minerals. Because the media formulation does not have an affinity for beneficial minerals such as calcium and magnesium, these minerals should pass right on through the elements.

Beneficial minerals that are recommended for the human body are typically categorized into two different groups:

Major Minerals: Minerals that are recommended in our diet at recommended amounts greater than 100mg/day.

Major Minerals research shows that; Calcium promotes strong bones & muscles, cardiovascular health, tooth & bone formation. Chloride Helps create cells. Magnesium helps in Heart Regulation, relaxes muscles, Phosphorus promotes tooth & bone formation. Potassium sends oxygen to the brain, blood pressure, nerve & muscle function. Sodium provides nerve & muscle function and maintains the proper balance of water in the body. Sulfur helps stabilizes protein structures-hair, skin, nails.

Trace Minerals: Minerals that are recommended in our diet at recommended amounts less than 100mg/day.

Trace Minerals research show that Chromium promotes glucose function – makes sure every cell gets energy as & when needed. Cobalt Supports red blood cell production and the formation of myelin nerve coverings. Copper promotes metabolic process, blood cell production; helps create hemoglobin-to carry O2 in blood. Fluoride helps in increasing the structural stability of teeth and bones. Iodine assists thyroid hormone production, helps make thyroid hormones Iron Blood production, disease resistance, production of amino acids, natural muscle building & maintaining healthy red blood cells. Manganese helps the nervous System function, bone strength, enzyme production & activation. Molybdenum promotes enzyme production & activation. Selenium helps immune function; protects cells from damage. Silica is necessary for the formation of collagen for bones and connective tissue. Zinc promotes prostate, food processing, cellular and immune function.

Yes, the Berkey Water Filter Systems do eliminate viruses. That makes them the best water purification filters available on the market. The micro fine pores are so small that they prevent micro fine particulate such as bacteria, viruses and even food coloring particulate from passing through the tortuous path that water is able to pass through. These contaminates are trapped in the micro fine pores while the much smaller H2O molecules are not. This method separates the contaminates from the purified water. You can test this method out by doing the red food coloring test on the Berkey Light Water System.

No, Black Berkey Purification Element Filters do not remove lithium as lithium is a mineral. The Black Berkey Purification Elements do not remove minerals.

While some of the surface pores will clog up from contaminates, it is difficult for such contamination to overwhelm all of the pores and thus clog up the filter. The proprietary filter formulation used in Black Berkey Purification Elements makes up for the incredibly small pore size by utilizing an exponentially greater number of micro pores in each purification element than that found in other filter elements. This is the reason Black Berkey Purification Elements produce approximately 8 times more water per hour than other elements. Eventually the majority of surface pores may clog up slowing down the flow rate of the Black Berkey Purification Elements. When this happens the filter can be refreshed by simply brushing the outside of the element with a ScotchBrite pad or toothbrush. This will remove the surface pores that have become clogged. Therefore, even though the filters have such small micro fine pores, the element will not clog up prematurely.

Black Berkey Purification Element Filters will reduce glyphosate in your water by greater than 78%. Glyphosate is a broad-spectrum systemic herbicide and crop desiccant. It is an organophosphorus compound, specifically a phosphonate. It is used to kill weeds, especially annual broadleaf weeds and grasses that compete with crops. Glyphosate is primarily released into the environment via runoff water and predominately applied as a spray for agricultural purposes. This contaminant has recently become a hot topic as it is associated with acute or chronic exposure leading to various potential health issues or concerns.

With respect to the little white floaters in the water, it is not bacteria but rather a problem that sometimes occurs with hard (heavily mineralize) water. When the PH level, of the purified water is raised, the acidity of the water goes down and the water is no longer able to hold as many minerals in solution. When this happens the minerals begin to precipitate out over time and depending on the mineral composition they will either sink to the bottom or float to the top. This process is known as flocculation and the precipitated minerals are usually referred to as “white floaters”. The bottom line is that this is nothing to be concerned about, the white floaters are minerals that were already in your water; they are now simply visible whereas they were previously invisible due to their suspension in an ionic form.

This test is not recommended for the Sport Berkey Water Bottle. Please note that the Red food coloring test is only for the Black Berkey purification elements and not the Berkey Earth ceramic filters, PF-2 and PF-4 fluoride and arsenic filters or other filter elements that do not filter out food color. Your Black Berkey purification elements are powerful enough to remove food coloring from water; this feature allows you to make sure your system is operating properly. If you want to perform this test, simply remove your PF-2 Post Filter elements (if installed) fill the upper chamber with water and add a tablespoon of red food coloring per gallon capacity of your system. If the food coloring is removed entirely, your purification system is working properly.

There are several things that you can check first.
1. Are the wingnuts attached too tight? If the wing nuts are on too tight, this could cause stripping on the threads of the stem, preventing a correct seal. If you have inadvertently stripped the threads on your element.
2. Is the wing nut tight on each element? If your system fails the test, tighten the wing nuts a bit more and re-run the test. However, please do not tighten the wing nuts using any tools, they should be hand tightened to a snug fit, but not more.
3. Are you using actual “RED” food coloring or another color or type of color? Red food coloring is what is recommended for the test.
4. Are the blocking plugs properly sealing the unused holes without elements? Are the plugs installed tight with a washer on each side? If the plugs are leaking this will cause your system to fail, the test. Tighten the plugs more securely and re-run the test.
5. Is the washer on the stem inside the upper chamber and is the wing nut secured outside at the bottom? If the washer is on the outside of the chamber with the wing nut, you will not have a proper seal which will cause your system to fail the test. Place the washer on the interior of the upper chamber and re-run the test.
6. Are you retesting an element that you think may have failed the test? If so, rinse off and re-prime the element first. Additionally, make sure you pour any excess water out of the bottom tank or whatever you are using to catch the water coming out of the element. Also, if you are using the lower chamber to catch water, run clean water through the spigot to clean it out as well. Now you are ready to repeat the test.

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 liter 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. If you need any assistance, please watch our video tutorial.

GlobalTradersPlus- Black Berkey Red Food Dye Test

Each Black Berkey Purification Element is designed to purify approximately 3000 gallons of water before needing to be replaced. A set of two elements will last approximately 6000 gallons of water before needing replacement.

It is best to empty both chambers before storing because anytime water is still it becomes stagnant, which means it can produce bacteria and other harmful substances which are harmful for your health and wellbeing. You may consider washing your chambers with light dish soap and water before leaving them to air dry. If you have used your elements, you should fully dry them before storing. A tool is also available to assist in both priming and purging. This tool is called a Black Berkey Primer. The benefit to purging the Black Berkey Purification Elements is that they are dried very quickly and cleaned at the same time. Another option for drying your elements is to leave them on a window sill for one to three day and allow them to air-dry. The key is to ensure they are 100% dry before you store them away, and to prevent any growth of bacteria.
To order our Black Berkey Primer, please click here.

Take the number of Black Berkey filtering elements in your system and multiply it by 11,000. This number will be the (Total Life) in liters. Estimate the average amount of water you filter through your Berkey per day. This number will be the (Daily Use) in Liters. Then simply divide the (Total Life) by the (Daily Use). This number represents how many days your filter will effectively treat your water before needing to replace them. As a reminder, with a permanent marker write the date that you calculated the need for Berkey replacement filters on the bottom of your unit.
Example: If you have a 2 Black Berkey filter Big Berkey and your used 8.5 liters of water per day.
You would multiply 2 (# of filters) by 11,000 = 22,000 liters (Total Life)

Then divide 22,000 by 8.5 liters (Daily use) = 2588 days the filters will last.

That equals over 7 years. Each Black Berkey filter set has a filtration life of 22,000 Liters.

You can save over $7,500 if you choose to use a Berkey Water Filter System instead of buying 44,000 500 Milliliter water bottles. That is the reason why Berkey Water Filter Systems are the best Filtration Systems available, they save you your hard earned money that you can use elsewhere.

No. We actually don’t recommend the recycling of the Black Berkey filters, PF-2s or PF-4s. The shells of the Berkey PF-2 and PF-4 are made of Polypropylene, which is Recycle Code 5. Uses of Polypro include catsup bottles, yogurt containers, margarine tubs & medicine bottles. However, there is no recycle code for the Berkey PF elements. As we understand it, a recycle code cannot be assigned since the element is sealed and contains material inside for arsenic & fluoride reduction. To recycle, you would have to cut the element open and remove the material before recycling the plastic shell. The same issue applies to the Black Berkey filters. The complex matrix of materials involved in the manufacture of the BB9 elements does not allow the elements to be easily classified by a single recycle code. In addition, with both of these types of elements, there is no way of knowing what contaminants are in the media after use. That is why we are not recommending to recycle our filters.

It depends on various factors. For long term storage, we recommend sealing the purification elements. This can be done with a storage bag such as a sealable plastic Ziploc bad. The elements are extremely powerful and can absorb smoke and odors from the air. By sealing them in a storage bag, they will not absorb any odors from the air. When you are ready to use your elements, they will need to be re-primed by scrubbing them clean with a scotch brite pad or stiff brush. Basically the shelf life of the elements is indefinite, but you must take good care of them.

Each set of two PF-2 filters should be replaced after approximately 1,000 gallons. If you have a two filter Big Berkey and you used 5 gallons of water per day, then PF-2 filters should be replaced after 200 days. They should be replaced after 6 months.

If you have a two filter Big Berkey and you used 5 gallons of water per day, then you have 1200 days the filters will last. That’s over 3 years.

The breakthrough of heavy minerals can occur at about 3,000 gallons (6000 gallons per set of 2). Heavy metals can leach through beyond 3,000 gallons. However, the elements can be used beyond that point because other reductions continue well beyond 3,000 gallons. We determine the typical lifespan of the Black Berkey Purification Elements by their ability to reduce heavy metals.

Make sure you are aligning the seams, as most of the systems will not snap together unless the seams are aligned. If that doesn’t solve the problem, please measure the opening on the lower chamber from seam to seam. The diameter should be at least 7 15/16″ or greater.

It is normal and not unusual for the last 1/2″ to 1″ of water to remain in the upper chamber. By design, the water must pass through very fine micro pores within the elements in order to pass from the upper chamber to the lower. You should not be concerned about the excess water during normal use however if you discontinue using your filter for a period of time such as during a leave of absence, it would not hurt to empty the upper chamber before departing.
The lower the water level in the upper chamber, the lower the pressure available to force the water through the micro pores. You might have noticed that the system purifies much faster when full than when half full. That is because there is more pressure. The only way to remedy the problem would be to enlarge the pores within the filter elements. That would, of course, reduce the efficiency of the purification elements. During each cycle, the water left from the previous cycle mixes with the water from the current cycle and is then purified.

This is due to the fact because of the last 1/4 turn was not tightened enough. The last 1/4 turn, leave the spigot at 90 degrees out of phase, then hold the nut in place, and turn the spigot itself for the last quarter to get a tighter turn.
If the leakage is coming from the cap of the spigot, simply unscrew it and pull the cap off. Once the cap and lever are off, simply assemble them again. If you need any further assistance, please contact customer support.

If the flow rate slows down considerably at any time during the life span of the filter elements, the problem can be easily remedied by re-cleaning the elements. What typically causes the elements to drip slowly is turbidity and sediment clogging the micro- pores of the purification elements. Simply remove the elements from your system and scrub the exterior of each element with a ScotchBrite Pad or toothbrush. Scrub a section of the element until you see a bit of black on the pads and then move to the next section. This simple process should take only a few minutes. Re-prime each element and then reinstall it in your unit. Your flow rate should be restored. Please note; to never use soap or detergents.
If you just purchased your Berkey system and the filters are hardly filtering water, the problem is typically due to high water tension. This high water tension prevents the air from being purged from the micro pores of the new purification elements. Your Black Berkey elements need to be primed to purge this air out and allow water to flow through them. Included with your Black Berkey elements is a tan priming button and instructions for priming. Please remove your elements from the unit, prime your elements and then install them back in your unit. This should fix the slow flow rate problem.

My Berkey Water Filter System has been used for about six months and the flow rate has slowed down considerably. No, unlike other filtration elements Black Berkey purification elements are re-cleanable. What typically causes the filters to drip slowly is turbidity and sediment clogging the micro-pores of the purification elements. Simply remove the elements from your system, scrub the exterior of the Black Berkey under running water with a green scrub pad (3M or ScotchBrite) or a stiff toothbrush. It’s a very simple process to do and takes less than a minute per element. Then re-prime each element and re-install them.

The Black Berkey purification elements are designed to remove heavy metals, but will not remove mineral salts, which are added by the water softener. We highly recommend that you obtain per-softened water to use in your Berkey Water Filter System,
You can use one of our purification systems on a regular basis by bypassing your water softener to get your drinking water. Most water softeners have a bypass valve or way to get water before it passes through your softener. This is where you can obtain drinking water to run through our purification system.
If you are currently using a water softening system, we highly recommend that you obtain pre-softened water directly from the source rather than run softened water through your Black Berkey Elements.

The Sport Berkey Water Bottle is the most powerful sport bottle available on the market. We recommend the Sport Berkey Water Bottle for all outdoor enthusiasts and athletes.
However, because the wall thickness of the filter is thinner than the wall thickness of the Black Berkey elements, it is slightly less efficient. The larger Berkey Water Filter Systems are much more powerful due to the fact they can hold more filter elements in the upper stainless steel chamber.
If you were to put red food coloring into the water and run it through the Sport Berkey Water bottle, most of the food coloring will be removed. If you were to run it through the Larger Berkey Water Filter Systems, the food coloring would be removed entirely.

There are many contaminants that Sport Berkey Water Bottle can remove and/or dramatically reduce. To name a few the Sport Berkey Water Bottle can reduces up to 99.9% of the following: Detergents, Trihalomathanes, Heavy Metals, Volatile Organic Compounds, Toxic Chemicals, Pesticides, Unpleasant tastes, odors, cloudiness, silt, sediment and chlorine amongst the many others.

Yes; both systems function identically. The only difference is the generic version has no silk-screening on the exterior of the bottle. The generic versions of the Sport Berkey filters have been designed for organizations, such as missionaries and relief organizations, where it is critical to keep their costs to a minimum price.

There are no fluoride reduction filters for the Sports bottle. Fluoride is very difficult to extract once it has been introduced into the water supply and it requires a large amount of media to remove just a small amount of fluoride. Currently, it would require that most of the room within the sport bottle be used for a fluoride filter leaving next to no room for the source water. Until a more powerful media is developed, it seems to us that it will be unfeasible to develop a fluoride reduction filter for the sport bottle. We do however make fluoride reduction filters for our larger systems because we have more room with which to work.

You can refrigerate the Sport Bottle, just don’t let it freeze as freezing could expand the pores within the filter element and could compromise the integrity of the filter element.

The Sport Berkey filter is not cleanable. However, replacements are available to purchase.

Hot water can break down the filter element and compromise its efficiency so we recommend that you first filter the source water through the Sport Berkey Water Bottle then afterward boil the filtered water for your desired drink.

The Berkey fluoride reduction filters should only be used if you are on city water, you have confirmed with your city that they are adding fluoride to the water and you want to remove the fluoride. The PF-2 elements are not needed if you are on spring water.

On occasion, the straw in the cap becomes pinched. Many times you can actually see where the straw has become stuck together internally. You can fix this very simply by doing the following:
1) Open the cap so the straw is sticking up.
2) Grasp the straw with your thumb and index finger, at the point where the straw exits the cap.
3) Gently pull the straw out slightly, at the same time rotating the part of the straw that comes in contact with the cap, between your finger and thumb. Note that this should open the straw up, allowing you to use your new Sport Berkey water bottle.

Aluminum Oxide has been utilized in removing fluoride from water since 1936. Aluminum oxide is an inert compound of aluminum and oxygen. It is a naturally occurring inorganic compound that is chemically inert and non-toxic. It’s also known as corundum. Rubies and Sapphires are gem quality corundum. Corrin (1963a;1963b) noted that aluminum reacts with water but is not able to do so when coated with inert aluminum oxide. Therefore, Aluminum oxide is no more toxic or water-soluble than are rubies and sapphires. The fact that alumina is a compound of aluminum and oxygen, should not be cause for concern. The properties of the compound differ greatly from the plain components. For example, pure aluminum reacts so readily with water that, according to the laws of chemistry, the aluminum shell of an airplane should actually dissolve in the rain whereas Aluminum oxide is the most stable form of aluminum known and it is not soluble in water. Table salt, NaCl, is a compound of sodium and chlorine, each by themselves a harmful substance, but together it is something the human body needs. Likewise, both oxygen and hydrogen are highly flammable, yet a compound of both creates water (H20) which is used to extinguish fire. As such Aluminum oxide was taken off the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s chemicals lists in 1988.

When laboratories test for metal contamination in water it is first necessary to break apart the oxidized metal ions from their oxygen component. Then an ion count is taken. This is the same for Aluminum oxide. The oxygen is separated from the pure aluminum molecules so that the aluminum ions can then be counted. It is for this reason that laboratory tests do not distinguish between aluminum oxide and pure aluminum in their test water. In other words, such tests generate a false positive by separating the aluminum from the oxygen and then reporting the amount of pure aluminum in the sample. However, as illustrated above, pure aluminum and aluminum oxide have vastly different characteristics. Pure aluminum is water-soluble, it is highly reactive and it is associated with negative health effects. By contrast aluminum oxide is not water-soluble, it is inert, it is very stable and is not associated with negative health effects.

There are two different types of Blocking Plugs: Black Blocking Plugs come standard in all Berkey Light systems and some stainless steel systems. The black plugs are made of FDA approved Buna rubber. White blocking plugs may be used in some stainless steel systems. These include a nut and bolt that are made of Polypropylene. The washers are made of food- grade silicone. The water will be purified before it reaches the bottom chamber. Please keep in mind that the water in the bottom chamber will not touch either type of Blocking Plug.

There are different versions we carry.

Standard Spigots and Sight Glass Spigots are made of the following materials:

The stopper inside is “FDA grade silicone”
The shell/nut is FDA grade polypropylene.
The washers are FDA grade rubber.
The Sight Glass Spigot tubes are a buffed aluminum gauge shield with a glass insert tube.
The small washers in the top and bottom of the tube to the Sight Glass Spigot are FDA grade Rubber.

Vino Spigot is made of the following materials:

Washer – EPDM + Black Rubber
Back Nut- High Density Polyethylene
Body – Polypropylene
Spigot – Polypropylene

The color of the priming button is tan.
I just purchased a Berkey Water Filter system but didn’t receive a priming button. Instead, I think I received an extra black washer in the box. The instructions say to use the tan colored priming button. What gives? Please check the box which held your Black Berkey purification elements. The box should contain two (2) elements. Attached to each element should be a rubber washer and a wing nut. Also in the boxes should be what could look like another single black rubber washer. This is your priming button. It is thicker than the washer and the center hole is smaller. This black priming button can easily be confused with a washer; so it was changed by the manufacturer. The color of the priming button is tan.

The Black Berkey Purification elements are composed of a proprietary formulation of more than six different media types including high grade coconut shell carbon, all constructed into a very compact matrix containing millions of microscopic pores. They are very effective and cannot be matched in quality.

The pH range is from 0 to 14, with 7.0 being neutral. Anything above 7.0 is alkaline, anything below 7.0 is considered acidic. A healthy blood pH without cancer has acid + alkaline balance almost equal. Actually a healthy body is slightly alkaline measuring approximately 7.4. When water is filtered through our system, the Black Berkey Purification Elements increase the PH level of the water. This is healthful because pathogenic bacteria and viruses thrive in acidic environments and have difficulty surviving in alkaline environments. An environment with more alkalinity does have a higher PH level. The PH level will depend on various factors including what the PH level of the per-filtered water is.

If you leave the system unused for 5 days, it is recommended that any water left in the lower chamber be discarded. If you plan to leave the system unused for a period longer than 5 days such as a trip or vacation, it’s best to empty both reservoirs and leave them upside-down in the dish rack to dry. Remove your Black Berkey filters and your PF-2 fluoride filters, place them in baggies and put them in the refrigerator. When you come home, remove the filters and install them and they’re ready to filter. Leaving them for more than 5 days will start the drying process and you may have to prime them again when you return. Also placing the sealed bags in the refrigerator keeps them from drying and absorbing odors in your refrigerator. Upon your return, you will need to re-prime the Berkey water filter elements. To store the Black Berkey elements, place them in a plastic Ziploc bag and get as much air as possible out of the bag. Be sure to store them in an area that is free of any odors or fragrances.

Yes, the outdoor systems were designed for use in third world countries and can be used instead of commercial bottled water. The Sport Berkey Water Bottle is used worldwide by missionaries and relief organizations to transform otherwise unpotable water into potable drinking water. We always recommend, however, that you use the cleanest water possible as this extends the life of the filters. You may also want to consider ordering several replacement filter elements to bring along with you. These will come in handy in the event that you are forced to rely on very turbid water that can more easily clog the filter elements. The Travel Berkey, Berkey Light, and Go Berkey Kit are all great systems to bring along with you to your trips and vacations.

If leaking occurs around the washers of the spigot, make sure you have washers on both sides of the stainless steel. Tighten as much as you can and leave the spigot about 90 degrees out of phase. Then, grab onto the nut in the back with a wrench, and turn the spigot itself that last quarter turns using the spigot as leverage to get a tighter turn. If this is ineffective, please soak the washers in olive oil for approximately 1 hour. Sometimes the washers can dry out and get hard over time and the olive oil will soften them up allowing for a good seal.

BPA stands for bisphenol A. BPA is an industrial chemical that has been used to make certain plastics and resins since the 1960s.
BPA is found in polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins. Polycarbonate plastics are often used in containers that store food and beverages, such as water bottles. They may also be used in other consumer goods. Epoxy resins are used to coat the inside of metal products, such as food cans, bottle tops and water supply lines. Some dental sealants and composites also may contain BPA. Some research has shown that BPA can seep into food or beverages from containers that are made with BPA. Exposure to BPA is a concern because of possible health effects of BPA on the brain, behavior and prostate gland of fetuses, infants and children. Additional research suggests a possible link between BPA and increased blood pressure.
In the past the Berkey Light™ systems were made of food grade polycarbonate that has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration. Some research suggests that polycarbonate have been known to leach BPA (Bis phenol-A) when either exposed to High Strength Industrial Grade Alkaline Detergents or when they are repeatedly exposed to temperatures in excess of 192 degrees Fahrenheit (over 88 degrees Celsius); neither of which occurs when utilizing the Berkey Light Water Filter System.
New studies concerning the possible leaching of BPA are ongoing. There has also been a wealth of misinformation circulated over the airwaves and the Internet. The FDA stated in April 2008 that it was not recommending anyone discontinue using products that contain BPA while they continue their risk assessment process.
Even with such statements from the FDA, New Millennium Concepts determined that it was in the best interest of our customers to utilize an alternative to the polycarbonate previously used to produce the Berkey Light™ system. Fortunately, in 2008, a new product was developed that is BPA FREE. New Millennium replaced the polycarbonate material with this new material to alleviate any concerns that our customers might potentially have. Not only is this co polyester highly durable and dishwasher safe, it is also scratch, stain, shatter and odor-resistant.
Important Note: Over the past year there has been an increasing concern over containers that contain the recycle code #7. The recycle code found on the bottom of plastic containers are called “Resin Identification Codes “.
Polycarbonate is simply one type of plastic that falls under the code #7. Code #7 is a catchall code that basically means “Other” and most products that do not fit into categories #1 through #6 are placed into category #7. It is also for products that are made from more than one type of plastic in category #1 through #6. The new co polyester that the Berkey Light Water Filter System utilizes is also categorized into #7 although it is not a polycarbonate and does not contain any BPA.

RO systems typically are the most expensive due to the cost of the system and the additional expense to have the system plumbed in. Next in cost would be a Distillation unit. A Berkey Water Filter System will typically be the least expensive of the three. With respect to cost per gallon of water, calculated upon the cost per gallon for replacement filters and energy costs, Distillation systems and RO systems that properly maintained typically cost between 35-65 cents per gallon. A Berkey Water Filter system typically costs about 1.8 cents per gallon. All Berkey Water Filter Systems are easy to disassemble and clean. Typically, the lower chamber should be washed in ordinary dishwater once per month. Distillation systems need to be soaked and cleaned with vinegar solution to remove the scale, typically after each gallon or two. Reverse Osmosis systems can have up to four filter elements, with each needing to be changed at differing intervals from four months up to two years. This requires that the water pressure be shut off and part or all of the system be disassembled for maintenance. Additionally, the bladder tank should be washed with a chlorine solution at six-month intervals to kill any colonizing bacteria.

A TDS Meter indicates the Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) of a solution, i.e. the concentration of dissolved solid particles.
Dissolved ionized solids, such as salts and minerals, increase the electrical conductivity (EC) of a solution. Because it is a volume measure of ionized solids, EC can be used to estimate TDS. Dissolved organic solids, such as sugar, and microscopic solid particles, such as colloids, do not significantly affect the conductivity of a solution.
The most accurate way to measure TDS of water in a laboratory is to evaporate the water leaving behind dissolved solutes as residue and then weighing the residue.
A TDS meter does not register much of a change between the pre-filtered water and the post-filtered water. This is normal, and the answer has to do with what a TDS meter actually measures. According to, “Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) are the total amount of mobile charged ions, including minerals, salts or metals dissolved in a given volume of water, expressed in units of mg per unit volume of water (mg/L), also referred to as parts per million (ppm). TDS is directly related to the purity of water and the quality of water purification systems and affects everything that consumes, lives in, or uses water, whether organic or inorganic, whether for better or for worse.”

This statement is both correct and incorrect. It is correct in what a TDS measurement consists of, namely the “total amount of mobile charged ions, including minerals, salts or metals dissolved in a given volume of water”. It is incorrect in its conclusion that TDS is related to the purity of the water and the quality of the water purification system. If the measure of a water purification system was how close it could make water to pure H2O, then maybe it would be correct. But, people need minerals to live. Thus, helpful minerals in your water are actually a good thing. A quality water purification system should filter out things that are harmful to your body but leave in the helpful things such as minerals. Black Berkey elements are designed to leave healthful and beneficial minerals in your water and to extract the unwanted heavy metals such as lead and mercury as well as sedimentary minerals such as iron oxide and aluminum.
So, when our customers use a TDS meter, what they find is that the reading both before and after the water has gone through the Black Berkey elements about the same. And they are correct. The Black Berkey elements do not take out all of the beneficial minerals. Thus, of the things that a TDS meter will actually detect, the Black Berkey elements will only remove the unwanted heavy metals such as lead and mercury as well as sedimentary minerals such as iron oxide and aluminum. Therefore, your TDS reading will not change much unless you have a significant amount of heavy metals or sedimentary minerals in your water.

A TDS meter does not measure the amount of biological and chemical contaminants. The important thing is to not simply rely on a TDS meter for your measure of whether your water is good. You can have low TDS count water that has harmful bacteria in it. You can have high TDS count water that is perfectly safe (e.g. – pure, unpolluted ocean saltwater…albeit, you wouldn’t drink it, but that’s only because the mineral is salt). Thus, make sure you know what your TDS

If you’re noticing a chemical taste to the water without the use of PF-2’s, please perform a red food coloring test on the Black Berkey filters to ensure that all are working to specifications. If any fail, please contact us and we will have the manufacturer send you a replacement. Also, try washing out the lower chamber with soap and water.
If using the Berkey PF-2 filters, make sure the manufacturing dust has been fully flushed out of these PF-2’s as this can cause a cloudiness or oily texture to the filtered water and will leave an unpleasant taste.

Healthfulness of Reverse Osmosis and Distillation-Based on current research, most health experts are no longer recommending drinking RO or distilled water on a long-term basis because these methods strip out all of the beneficial minerals from the water, making the water an acidic “hypo tonic” solution. A chemist will tell you that when a hypotonic (de-mineralized) solution comes into contact with a “hypertonic” (mineralized) solution, the minerals within the hypertonic solution will transfer out of hypertonic solution and into the hypotonic solution until equilibrium is achieved. What this simply means is that when one drinks hypotonic water, the minerals in the blood and lymphatic system, which are hypertonic, transfer into the hypotonic RO or Distilled water that is consumed and the minerals are flushed out of the body upon urination. In an effort to re-mineralize, the blood and lymphatic systems then begin to scavenge for minerals from other parts of the body, such as bones and other organs, and this process repeats itself every time de-mineralized hypotonic water is re-consumed. Several studies suggest that people who drink de-mineralized water (hypotonic) over a long period of time tend to be more prone to degenerative diseases such as osteoporosis. Berkey® Purification systems do not remove all of the beneficial minerals from the water, but they do extract harmful heavy metals such as lead and mercury as well as sedimentary minerals such as iron oxide. Therefore, the TDS reading will not typically change much unless there are a lot of heavy metals or sedimentary minerals within the source water.
Pathological Removal Capability of a Reverse Osmosis System: Reverse Osmosis does not remove Pathogenic bacteria and that is why it is often necessary to add an additional UV light to the system. However, the UV sometimes does not kill all the bacteria because any turbidity in the water can create shaded spots, preventing some bacteria from being exposed. Typically, the UV is installed before the bladder tank, however it is in the bladder tank that bacteria usually colonize. Therefore, if the bladder tank is not sterilized on a regular basis, it becomes a source of bacteriological contamination that is never exposed to UV. Additionally, the carcasses of the dead bacteria remain within the drinking water with an RO system, whereas they are removed by the Black Berkey purification elements.

Some spray head/custom faucets are not able to properly prime your Black Berkey Filters. If you are experiencing slow filtration after using a spray head/custom faucet to prime your Black Berkey filters, re-prime the filters using your bathtub or an alternate faucet to ensure a better connection and stronger water pressure.

Alternate priming method is as follows:

Step 1: If your system is assembled, remove the Black Berkey Filters from the upper chamber. Next, fill the lower chamber with water, then place the Black Berkey Filters into the water in the lower chamber, upside down with the stems facing upward, and put a ceramic coffee cup (or something else that will hold them under the water) on top of each Black Berkey stem to force the element down under the water. Let the Black Berkey Filters soak in the water for several hours. This will force some of the air out of the stubborn pores.
Please note: Make sure that the opening in the stems of the Black Berkey Filters are not underwater as we want the water to be forced through the pores rather than entering through
the hole in the stem.

Step 2: The inside of the Black Berkey Filters should now be full of water and significantly heavier. Try to keep as much water on the inside of the Black Berkey Filters as is possible as you reassemble the Black Berkey Filters into the upper chamber by keeping the stems facing upward. Empty the water from the lower chamber and place the upper chamber back onto the lower chamber. Immediately fill the upper chamber with water.
When the Black Berkey Filters have water within the bore (inside core), more force is generated to draw water through the filters. This is because the water that drips out of the Black Berkey Filters also hydraulically pulls new water into the purification element as the Black Berkey Filters begins to work like a siphon. Thus, in addition to the “Push” of gravity, there is also a hydraulic “pull” and this drastically improves the ability of the water to force the air from the micro pores. The above method is less efficient than priming the Black Berkey Filters with the priming button but should be about 75-80% effective in clearing the blocked micro pores.
Let the water in the lower chamber run to waste and refill the upper chamber with water. Your Black Berkey elements are now primed and ready for use.

GlobalTradersPlus- How To Prime And Install The Post Filters

GlobalTradersPlus- How To Prime The Black Berkey Elements

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* Please note that we will continuously add more FAQ’s. If you have a question that needs to be answered immediately, Please contact us.

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