Frequently Asked Questions
What size Berkey water purification system do I need?
Berkey systems are available in seven different sizes. The system you choose should accommodate the size of your space, the number of people you want to serve and the reasons for which you will be using the water (drinking only or also for cooking, hygiene, pets, etc).
The Sport Berkey holds 22 oz (almost 3 Cups). It is very light and even fits in your purse, gym bag or car cup holder. You can have up to 640 fills with tap water and 160 fills with raw water. This product is great for joggers, bikers, hikers, taking to the gym and to take with you while playing sports. It is also great for when you are doing outdoor work such as gardening, shoveling or washing your car.
The Travel Berkey stores up to 1.5gal/5.7litres, is only 18" high, 7.5” in diameter, and can filter up to 2.5gal/9.4 litres per hour of water. This product is recommended for couples. It is the best canister system to take with you when you are going to the cottage, or camping. You can take it with you to your resort in any sunny destination or any travel destination as it easily disassembles and can fit in either your luggage or carry-on. Don't forget how great it works in college dorm rooms or for renters.
The Berkey Light with the base can store up to 2.75gal/10.4 litres, is only 26.5" high and 9” in diameter. This canister system is also great for camping. With the base light, you don't need electricity and it's like having a lantern on your site. Without the lighted base this holds almost twice as much as the travel Berkey so if you are camping with a family of 4 or more this would be the system for you.
The Big Berkey stores up to 2.25 gal/8.5 litres, is only 19.25" high, and 8.5” in diameter and, with one set of black Berkey elements it can filter up to 3.5gal/13.2 litres per hour of water. This canister system is great for a family of 4. It can keep up with the demands of that many people without having to time everything. It always comes in handy over the holidays or other times when friends and family get together.
The Royal Berkey stores up to 3.25gal/12.3 litres, is only 23" high, and 9.5” in diameter and, with one set of black Berkey elements it can filter up to 4 gal/15litres of water per hour. This is a larger canister system and is suited for small office, family of 4-8 or higher demand areas such as a gym or play area.
The Imperial Berkey stores up to 4.5gal/17 litres, is only 25.75" high, and 10” in diameter and, with one set of black Berkey elements it can filter up to 5.5gal/20.7litres of water per hour. The Imperial is best suited for families of 8 people or more. It works great in medium sized offices and average church or hall kitchens.
The Crown Berkey stores up to 6 gal/22.7 litres, is only 30" high, 11” in diameter and, with one set of black Berkey elements it can filter up to 6.5gal/24.6 litres of water per hour. The largest canister system available from Berkey is great for centres such as large offices, large kitchens or halls or to keep everyone hydrated at large sporting events.
How do I set up my Berkey water purification system?
Click here to view the Travel Berkey, Big Berkey, Royal Berkey, Imperial Berkey and Crown Berkey assembly instructions.
How do I prime the Black Berkey purification elements?
Click here to download the Black Berkey purification element installation and operating instructions.
How do I prime and install the Berkey PF-2 fluoride and arsenic post filters?
Click here to download the Berkey PF-2 installation and purging instructions.
How do I conduct the Berkey red food dye test?
This test should be done initially after your Black Berkey Elements have been primed to confirm all is well with your system. It is a good policy to repeat this test once a year. Remember that the Fluoride reduction elements must not be in the system when the red food color test is being done. It is only for the Black Berkey elements. Remember to not use more than 1 teaspoon of red food colour per 1 gallon of water.
What's the difference between the Black Berkey purification element and the Berkey Earth filtration element?
Are there reports or tests I can read that demonstrate the efficiency of a Berkey water purifier?
What are the recommended maintenance and cleaning requirements for the Stainless-Steel Berkey systems?
All the Berkey stainless-steel systems require maintenance to insure they are working at an optimal level. We suggest doing the following every season; summer, fall, winter, and spring.
Without proper maintenance the Black Berkey elements may slow, causing reduced flow rate. This is often due to turbidity and sediment clogging the micro-pores of the purification elements. Remove the elements from your system and scrub the elements with a green scrubby commonly available or a stiff toothbrush. Never use a wire brush. Focus on the area near the stem of the element as this is the area where unpurified water may sit for longer periods of time. Rinse under cool water remembering to never use very hot or freezing cold water as it important not to threaten the pore size within the elements. Once the scrubbing has been completed the elements need to be re primed. Using the priming button, that comes with all the Black Berkey Element sets, place the element under mildly pressurized water until water bubbles bleed out the sides of the elements. (Please see the Black Berkey Elements priming instruction video).
Wash the stainless-steel chambers with mild dish soap and rinse thoroughly. Flush the spigot with pressurized water to ensure the flow is good. In some areas with hard water, a scale may build up. To remove this, soak the affected part in a 50-50% water/vinegar solution for about 15 minutes. Wipe away any build up with the green scrubby. Wipe with mild soapy water and then rinse thoroughly.
Reassemble the system and everything is good to go for another season.
You will have received a Canadian made K-cloth from us when you purchased your system. This can be used any time on the exterior of the stainless-steel chambers to ensure their glistening surface is maintained.
Will the Berkey Systems work with Softened Water?
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 pre-softened water to use in your Berkey 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.
What are the Black Berkey Purification elements made of? How do the Black Berkey Purification Elements work?
Our Black Berkey Purification elements are a proprietary blend of several different media types including high grade coconut shell carbon.
Our home company, New Millennium Concepts, Ltd. want you to be educated about water purification. This will allow you to make an informed decision on something as important as the quality of your drinking water. Since water filtration is a complex science, we try to use familiar terms when possible so the explanation is easier to understand. Several methodologies are used to produce the Black Berkey purification elements.MICROFILTRATION
The first line of defense is that Berkey purification elements are composed of a proprietary formulation of more than six different media types, all constructed into a very compact matrix containing millions of microscopic pores. These pores are so small that they produce what we refer to as a “Tortuous Path” that pathogenic bacteria, cysts, parasites, herbicides, pesticides, organic solvents, VOC’s, detergents, cloudiness, silt, sediment and sedimentary minerals, foul tastes and odors must travel through. These paths are so small that these pollutants physically cannot pass through them and become trapped, eliminating them from your drinking water. This process is known as microfiltration.ADSORPTION
Secondly, our media formulation uses unique adsorption and absorption properties. Adsorption works to create an ionic barrier similar to surface tension. This barrier is perfectly suited to the micro-porous water filter because it effectively allows the tiny pores to block water contaminants that are smaller than the pore size itself. This blocking process is how the Berkey water filter is able to remove submicron viruses that other brands of water filters cannot, without the use of obnoxious chemicals like iodine or chlorine. Next, the heavy metals ions (mineral molecules) such as cadmium, chromium, copper, lead, mercury, aluminum, and other dangerous heavy metals are extracted from the water through an Ion exchange process where they are attracted to and transformed by electrically bonding to the media.FLOW RATE
Finally, Berkey systems are so effective at removing contaminants from water because of the extremely long “contact period”. Other filtration systems rely on water pressure that forces water molecules through the elements at 60-90 PSI. These water molecules come into contact with the filter media for a mere fraction of a second. By comparison, water molecules passing through the structure of the Black Berkey elements are drawn gently by gravity and stay in contact with the media for a long period of time. This allows the filter media to be more efficient in capturing contaminants. This advanced technology was developed, refined, and proven through years of diligent, investigative research and testing performed by water purification specialists, researchers, and engineers. The flow rate or time of exposure through the Black Berkey purification elements has been calculated to yield the greatest volume of removal of viruses, toxic chemicals, and bacteria.
How do Berkey Systems work with Raw untreated water sources?
RAW WATER SOURCE PROTOCAL
The manufacturers of the Berkey Black elements have included very specific instructions regarding the priming and purging of these elements when their intended use is from a raw water source.
The purification elements must 1st be primed using a potable water source, not raw water/untreated water.
The following is a copy of the information sheet included with the Black Berkey elements; “When using the system in an area where treated water is not available, we recommend that the user bring along a bottle of clean water or a Sport Berkey water filter bottle to prime the purification elements. Using bottled water, have one person hold the element, with the priming button attached and facing upward. Have a second person press the mouth of the bottled water against the priming button and squeeze until water is forced through the entire exterior wall of the element and it begins to sweat beads of water. Alternatively, a sport Berkey water filter bottle can be used to prime the elements by inserting the straw into the hole in the priming button and then squeezing until water is forced through the entire exterior wall of the element and it begins to sweat beads of water. Do not discard the priming button after the purification elements have been primed.”
A third option is to use a Black Berkey Primer.
The Black Berkey Primer is a hand-powered priming pump that makes it possible to prime Black Berkey elements easily offline, without the need for faucets or hose connections. Priming the Black Berkey elements saturates the filters with water prior to their use, allowing for clean water production anywhere.
The Black Berkey Primer also purges (or back-flushes) the Black Berkey elements using air instead of water to clean the proprietary pores of the compressed carbon filter wall. Purging the Black Berkey elements accomplishes two tasks: (1) it clears the pores of debris that has accumulated with use, (2) reduces the amount of time & effort needed to dry the filters prior to storing them. In addition, those who may be having difficulty priming their elements in a small sink, can us the Black Berkey Primer instead.
While this system can efficiently purify raw untreated pond, lake and river water, always use the cleanest, clearest water possible. As an additional precaution, if using a source of water that you believe might contain extreme viral and bacteriological contamination, it is recommended by the CDC, EPA and other organizations that approximately sixteen drops of plain bleach (sodium hypochlorite) or iodine per gallon be added to treat the source water before purifying. This should kill minute pathogens such as viruses in approximately 30 minutes. The disinfectant will then be removed from the treated water entirely, including its odor and taste.
If you want to have your water tested please click here for the Testing Protocols recommended by New Millennium Concepts Ltd to ensure the results are accurate.
How do the Black Berkey Elements handle beneficial minerals in the water?
One of the very unique aspects of the Berkey systems is that they are able to identify the major & trace minerals our bodies need and they always remain in the purified Berkey water.
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:
1) Major Minerals: Minerals that are recommended in our diet at recommended amounts greater than 100mg/day.
2) Trace Minerals: Minerals that are recommended in our diet at recommended amounts less than 100mg/day.
Click here to view the Beneficial Minerals Chart provided by New Millennium Concepts Ltd.
Are you concerned about Fluoride in your water?
How should I store my Black Berkey Purification Elements and how long is their shelf-life?
If you have used your elements:
The method of storage depends upon the length of time that the Black Berkey Purification Elements will not be used:
If the filters will not be used between 4 to 15 days and you want to avoid the re-priming process, remove the filters from the system, place them into a sealable sandwich bag or container and place the filters in the refrigerator towards the front to ensure that they do not freeze. This will allow the filters to stay mostly saturated so that re-priming is not typically necessary. If for any reason the filters run slower than usual, re-prime them until the exterior wall of the filter begins to sweat beads of water for 10 seconds.
For long term storage, we recommend drying and sealing the filters. The key is to ensure they are bone-dry before storing them long-term, to prevent any potential bacterial growth. One option for drying your filters is to leave them on a window sill for one to three days and allow them to air-dry. We also offer a tool 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. Once the filters are bone-dry, place them in a storage bag such as a large, seal-able freezer bag. The elements are extremely powerful and can absorb odors and smoke from the air. By sealing them in a storage bag, they should not absorb any odors from the air. When you are ready to re-use your filters, clean them by scrubbing the outside with a green scrubby or stiff brush. Then re-prime the filters either manually or with the Black Berkey Primer before putting them back in the system
In theory, the shelf life of the Black Berkey Purification Elements is indefinite.
**Please note that the storage methods above apply to the Black Berkey Purification Elements only.
If you have never used your elements:
If the elements are unopened and in their original packaging, please ensure you do not store the elements in an area that also has strong smells to them, such as a laundry room or garage. The elements have carbon as one of their components so it is possible for them to absorb the odors of the room they are stored in. For example, if they are stored in a laundry room, it is possible for the media in the elements to pick up the odor of highly fragranced items such as powdered laundry soap.
** When storing the chambers of your Berkey system, it is best to empty both chambers before storing them, because anytime water is still, it becomes stagnant and can produce bacteria. We recommend washing your Berkey system with soapy water before leaving it to dry.
How do I transport my Berkey system?
Prior to transporting or moving any Berkey system, the Black Berkey Purification Elements must first be removed. Failure to remove the elements from the system can result in broken stems. Place the elements in secure and water-tight packaging. The top and bottom of the stainless-steel systems nest within each other for easy transport (remove spigot from lower chamber).
Please note: Failure to remove the elements from the system can result in broken stems. This is not covered under the manufacturer’s warranty.