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Ann's Helpful Hints For Berkey Water Filter Systems

As a proud member of the Berkey family for over 10 years, I've learned many tips and tricks that help customers with the initial setup and smooth lifelong use of their berkey water filter systems.  Below are some of my top Berkey tips.

Priming Your Black Berkey Elements

When you first receive your black berkey elements or ceramic filters it is important to prime them. A priming button (large beige washer) is included in the box with each set of elements. Be sure to keep this some place safe so that you can re-prime your element if needed. ALWAYS USE PROTECTIVE GLOVES WHEN HANDLING YOUR BLACK BERKEY PURIFICATION ELEMENTS OR THE WHITE CERAMIC FILTERS.

To prime the elements, place the priming button on top of the threaded end of the element and place it firmly against your faucet. Turn the water on so that it is just a trickle. The water will go into the black element and the outside of the element will slowly bead up and around the element. When it has completely beaded up the element you can turn off the water and install the element into the Berkey water filter system.

Be sure to throw out the first 2-3 batches of water you put through the system so that the tap water used for priming is completely out of the elements.

Fore more details please read and watch our video: How to Prime the Black Berkey Filters for Use or Storage

Drying and Storing Your Black Berkey Elements

After use and before storing your system away for an emergency, please be sure to dry the black berkey elements thoroughly. The dry the elements, place them on a towel in a sunny windowsill and turn them once per day for a full three weeks. If you don't have a sunny area to dry them, please dry them for at least 4 weeks before storing.

Transporting Your Berkey System

When transporting your Berkey please empty your canisters, remove the filters and wrap them in a towel then place them in the lower canister. Then turn the top canister over and nestle it in the lower canister. When you arrive at your destination, install your filters and you are ready to purify water.

Things To Do Before Leaving Town For More Than 5 Days

When leaving town for a more than 5 days, remove your Berkey elements 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.

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.

Cleaning Your Black Berkey Elements

Once you install the black berkey or ceramic filters, the best thing you can do for them is just LEAVE THEM ALONE. The instructions state that you should clean your elements every six months with a scotch brite pad. I have found that to NOT be a good idea. Certainly, if they get a film on them you should rinse them off, but do not scrub them. This tends to clog them up. Instead, just leave them alone until they stop filtering or slow down so much that you are not getting very much water.

When and if they stop filtering, the first thing to do would be to re-prime them. This will help push out contaminants and minerals that may be clogging the pores. If this does not open the pores back up, then using a vegetable peeler, peel a thin layer all the way around the Black Berkey element up to the top like you would a carrot. This will open them up, removing the layer of clogged material off the elements. You can then re-prime (only if needed) and re-install them into your Berkey water filter system. (Manufacturer Disclaimer: Peeling may invalidate any warranty on the black berkeys so we stress to customers that they perform this is at their own risk and only as a last resort)

Cleaning Your Berkey Chambers

Berkey Stainless Steel Canisters – Since you are most likely trying to reduce your chemical exposure, I recommend using natural cleansers to clean your bottom canister monthly. If you don't have access to natural cleansers, just fill your bottom canister ¼ of the way up and add 1 cup of white distilled vinegar. Scrub thoroughly and empty the water through the spigot on your system. This will clean the calcium buildup off the spigot. Clean your bottom canister once a month. It is not necessary to clean the top canister, but if you choose to, be sure to remove the black elements before cleaning.

Berkey Light (Plastic) Canister - Always use a mild dishwashing detergent (preferably a natural cleanser) to clean your Berkey Light. Clean your bottom canister once a month. It is not necessary to clean the top canister, but if you choose to, be sure to remove the black elements before cleaning.

Red Food Coloring Test

Every 6 months, I recommend you test your Black Berkey elements with a simple red food coloring test. It is important to use only RED food coloring as the other colors have minerals in them and will not be removed from the water.

  1. If using the white PF-2 Arsenic/Fluoride filters, remove them from the system.
  2. Empty both canisters and in the bottom canister place cups or juice glasses so that the elements will drip into each cup. If possible, use a clear or white cup/glass. You will need 1 cup for each element in your system.
  3. Place the top canister so that each element will drip directly into the cup below.
  4. The amount of red food coloring to be used depends on the size of your system. If you have a 2 ¼ gallon Big Berkey you will need to use 1 tablespoon of red food coloring and place it in the top canister. If you have a 3 ¼ gallon Royal Berkey you would use 3 teaspoons of the food coloring.
  5. After putting in the correct amount of food coloring into the top canister, fill it up completely with water. The water will be very red. Allow the water to filter down into the cups for several inches until the cups are at least one half filled. Then discard the rest of the red water in the top canister.
  6. Remove the cups/glasses from the bottom canister. Make sure you know which element goes with each cup. The water in the cups/glasses should be clear. If you are using a clear cup/glass, put a piece of white paper behind the cup/glass to get a good reading on the color of the water.
  7. If the water is pink, the element for that cup/glass is breached and should be replaced.
  8. If the water is clear, your elements are doing their job perfectly.
  9. A video of this test can be seen here: The Black Berkey Red Food Coloring Test

Berkey Fluoride and Arsenic Reduction Filters

For priming the PF-2 filters, I recommend priming from each side by at least 2 minutes to wash out as much manufacturing dust from the filter as possible. Also, once installed, it can take up to 10 full system flushes of water before all the cloudiness (manufacturing dust) has been rinsed from the water. Be patient as this will vary depending on the production run and dustiness of the granules used in the filter.

  1. To determine how long your fluoride filters will last depends on the quality of your water. Since the fluoride filters also remove arsenic and continue to reduce the heavy metals in your water they may not last 1,000 gallons for the set of 2. So don’t get upset if they don’t last as long as you expect, they are continuing to reduce other harmful things in your water.
  2. When the fluoride filters are used up you will find that they usually stop allowing any water into the bottom canister. If this happens just remove them and make sure your Black Berkey Purification Elements are working. If they are, you need to just replace the fluoride filters and you are ready to go.

Spigot Issues

If leaking occurs around the washers of the spigot, make sure you have washers on both sides of the stainless steel. (black inside, white outside for stainless systems) 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 turn 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.

One final tip to ensure you get the full life of your black berkey filters is to fill the upper chamber to the top (assuming lower chamber has the room for the water) every time. The bottom canister MUST always be at least to the spigot level before completely filling the top canister. Failure to have the bottom canister empty will result in the water overflowing between the two canisters and flooding your counter. The top canister must always be filled to the top of the black filters to get the full life of the filters. This will allow for the entire length of the filter to be put to use so that the media gets exhausted evenly. I hope this information is of help to every Berkey water filter system owner.

Ann
BigBerkeyWaterFilters.com

73 thoughts on “Ann's Helpful Hints For Berkey Water Filter Systems”

  • sam

    will it damage the fluoride filters if you do the food coloring test with them attached?

    Reply
    • Dan DeBaun

      Hi Sam -

      It will not damage the fluoride filters however it will get into the filter and make take many flushes to fully rinse that red out. Thus always remove the PF-2 filters when performing the test to avoid this.

      Thanks
      Dan

      Reply
  • Henry

    I have a few questions. First, can I use this with a well water softening (salt) system? Second, if I'm unable to use this with a well system, will it remove iron from the water, if I were to bypass the well system altogether? You see, we have a very high iron contain and I'm concerned that the iron will clog the filters. Lastly, again if I were to bypass the well system, will the filter remove that rotten egg oder and taste?

    Thank you

    Reply
    • Dan DeBaun

      Hi Henry -

      Yes, you can use this with a water softening system. If available, the manufacturer recommends to filter the softened water so that you are not exposed to the higher levels of potassium or salt that a softening unit uses, as the black berkeys do not remove these minerals, but this is not required. The filters will also significantly reduce the rotten egg odor and taste. As for the iron, it can tend to clog the filters over time quicker than other contaminants in the water, so you may need to clean them more often.

      Thanks
      Dan

      Reply
  • Crystal

    I have a question about my Berkey...We bought ours from a friend (just the stainless steel chambers) and then bought 2 filter/elements and 2 plugs. We primed the elements and threw out the 1st batch of water as instructed in the Berkey instructions. We then filled the top again and started dispensing right out of the spigot into our cups for drinking and did not keep filling the top chamber. After 2 days, we removed the top chamber to check the water level in the bottom chamber. PSHEW! What a rotten, stale smell we had in the lower chamber! So we emptied the water, cleaned the chamber with soap and water, and started again. We filled the top with tap water and then disposed of the water that filtered through. This was the 3rd filling. We then filled the Berkey for the 4th time and began drinking the water from the unit, in glassfuls. On the second day, we again removed the top to check water levels and were once again assaulted with that awful smell in the bottom chamber. The water in the top chamber (and directly from our faucet) does NOT smell bad. It's only after filtering through the Berkey that the water smells. What is our problem? Thanks in advance!

    Reply
  • Sally Bennett

    I have a Big Berkey water tank system which I purchased in 1999 or 2000. I have never changed the ceramic filters, but have cleaned them often. Do I need to put new ceramic filters in? Also, I have a problem with rust forming inside the upper lid and on the inside of the rim of the upper tank. What would cause this and what should I do about it? Thank you for your response.

    Reply
    • Dan DeBaun

      Hi Sally -

      Ceramic filters are only effective for 1400 gallons per set of 2, so you most likely need to replace them. As for the rust, if you have exposed the stainless to salt water, or live near the ocean, the salty air can and will corrode the stainless steel over time. In this case, we highly recommend you replace those rusting parts.

      Thanks
      Dan

      Reply
  • Greg

    I have a Big Berkey I purchased in 1999. I have not used it in about six years but want to use it for a camp that has spring water and recommends a filter. I thought it had three, but it may be four ceramic filters. I have several questions:
    1 I have no idea if 1400 gallons have been run through sets of two. I assume if it has four, that the number doubles to 2800, correct? Is there a way to know if these filters are exhausted, i.e., taste of water, smell, etc.?

    2 Can the red food coloring test also be used with the ceramic filters?

    3 Is the Big Berkey an appropriate filter system for filtering spring water? Base camp is about 7300 feet, and the peak is about 9300. It is a wilderness area. Or would I be safer to run through the filter and also use a purifier like SteriPen?

    Reply
    • Dan DeBaun

      Hi Greg -

      Yes, approx 2800 gallons for 4 ceramic filters. Unfortunately, there is no definite method to test if these are exhausted except for taste and smell like you mention. The red food coloring test does not work for the ceramic. Any of the berkey systems would be find for filtering spring water in areas like you mention.

      Reply
  • Johnny

    This is one of the best articles I've stumbled on to day. Thanks for the berkey tips!

    Reply
  • Julie

    Hello, I have had a Big Berkey for only two months, it worked fantastically, then we did a car trip and I left it with a friend to use. I have now set it up again, but found the water wasn't flowing through it, so I primed the black filters and it worked great for one round of tank water, now it has stopped completely. Is this normal? I could do what you recommend by peeling a layer off, but they don't appear to be clogged and the filters are relatively new. Help please!

    Reply
    • Dan DeBaun

      Hi Julie -

      Please make sure you scrub these black berkey with a scotch brite pad prior to re-priming. Also, when you re-prime, please be sure to see a full beading occur across the entire length of the filter. If the full beading occurs, then you should be good for some time before a re-cleaning may be needed. Peeling is only a last resort when the berkey filters will not re-prime due to clogging.

      Thanks
      Dan

      Reply
  • karen

    I have had my system since Aug 2011, in that time 2 sets of the Black filters came off there base, unglude when I went to clean the top part, I was very careful not to lean sideways as I could see it was hard on them, but they broke right off, the firt pair the company that makes them said there was a defect in some and sent me new ones and had me send the old ones back, but a month later the new ones did the same thing, I dont know what to do, please help, are the black ones guarenteed? I dont see where they can filter good with me just sitting them back on the bases, please let me know

    Reply
  • Krista

    I just scrubbed and reprimed my black filters; they beaded thoroughly. The water flow was great for two-three days and then has stopped filtering properly. I see that another commenter, Julie, (above) seems to have had a similar problem. In addition, I read Ann's tips and was confused by Ann saying not to scrub the filters (as per the directions which come with the filters) because this can lead to clogging?!

    Reply
    • Dan DeBaun

      Hi Krista -

      Scrubbing the filters for many users will be fine. However, those with very high levels of calcium or rust build-up may find it more beneficial to simply scrape this matter off and does not continually get pushed back into the pores of the filter.

      Thanks
      Dan

      Reply
  • Stephen

    Hi, I installed my system and primed 2 black filters and 2 pf 2 filters until they were beading and the arsenic ones were clear. The water is coming out clear for sure------ but it takes many hours to filter out 4.5 gallons of water. I have the Imperial.

    Does it take this long with the PF filters on? I had read somewhere that they add about 20% of time which would be 12 minutes--- but it takes much longer than 1 hour to filter 4.5 gallons.

    Your help is appreciated.

    Reply
    • Dan DeBaun

      Hi Stephen -

      The filtration ratings are disaster ratings, meaning in the case of an emergency you could keep the upper chamber full the entire time and reach those filtration speeds. However, typically most our customers fill the upper chamber with water, then go about their daily business. In these cases, the Imperial berkey should filter approx 1.5-2 gallons in the first hour and then the rate will decrease from there as the water pressure in the upper chamber drops.

      Thanks
      Dan

      Reply
  • jon

    i have the same question that cristal had on march 29. why does the water have a weird odor after the second day. this odor is only in the bottom chamber not the top chamber or directly from the tap. i performed the food coloring test and all went well.

    Reply
    • Dan DeBaun

      Hi Jon -

      If your system is new and you are noticing an odor, please make sure the PF-2's have been fully primed/flushed, and also perform a red food coloring test on the black berkeys. If both these bases are covered, please switch the washers around on the spigot as referred to in the last paragraph of this article.

      Thanks
      Dan

      Reply
  • Marie

    My thanks to Ann regarding our recent phone conversation. Enjoyed talking to her. I have just ordered a stainless steel Berkey as she suggested. We are looking forward to its arrival and will probably have questions afterwards.

    Reply
  • Marie

    Our Travel Berkey is up and running smoothly and the water tastes great! It looks like this size will more than meet our needs. I ran 10 flushes through on the start-up before using the water for drinking (earlier tastes were fine but I wanted to be sure). I saved the flush water to give my plants a special treat. So far no problems but if I do have a question later I know where to come to get an answer. Again, I enjoyed talking to Ann.

    Reply
  • Keith

    I was wondering if the pf2 flouride filters can be stored for later use after they have been flushed and used only a couple of times or do you recommend keeping them in? By the way, i love the clean refreshing taste of the water from my Berkey!

    Reply
    • Dan DeBaun

      Hi Keith -

      Yes, they can be stored, however once water touches them, the clock begins ticking on their lifespan, so we would recommend keeping them in to get full use out of them.

      Thanks
      Dan

      Reply
  • Lisa

    Hi - We just purchased the Berkey Light. If the lower cannister is full of water waiting to be drank, can you have the upper chamber full as well, waiting to be filtered? Not sure if you are supposed to do this, but we did, and we had water dripping out of the space between the upper and lower chamber all over our counter. Pls clarify.

    Thanks!

    Reply
    • Dan DeBaun

      Hi Lisa -

      No, if the lower chamber is overfilled, it will overflow at that seam between the 2 systems. The Berkeys are designed purposefully this way so that the system is not airtight and becomes a vacuum. So, in essence, never full the upper chamber more than the lower chamber can handle.

      Thanks
      Dan

      Reply
  • Sean

    I just bought a big berkey and the water tastes great. However, I noticed that there is a white film on top of the water in the bottom chamber. I have been told that it could be calcium, or factory dust from the pf2 filters. I have filled it many times and there is still a white film. Should I be worried? What are your thoughts?

    Reply
    • Dan DeBaun

      Hi Sean - This is most likely still Pf-2 dust washing away. Please contact our customerservice@bigberkeywaterfilters.com to work with a representative and make sure everything is operating properly.

      Thanks
      Dan

      Reply
  • Bob

    When I dispense purified water from my Royal Berkey, the water is crystal clear. However, if the water if left out overnight...exposed to the air, there is a white film on the water.

    I am using the black purification filters...with the white fluoride filters attached. And, I do not see any white film on the water anywhere inside the Berkey.

    What could be causing the white film on purified water that was dispensed ~ 24 hours previously???

    Reply
    • Dan DeBaun

      Hi Bob -

      If this system is new, it could be the PF-2 dust still washing out. If this system has been in use for a while, it could be calcium separating out of the water as it stands. If you have any additional questions, please contact us at customerservice@bigberkeywaterfilters.com

      Thanks
      Dan

      Reply
  • Michael

    What diameter is the hole in the lid for the handle? I am looking to order the Royal Berkey and replace the handle with a ball valve connected to a flexible water line for easy filling. Thank you.

    Reply
  • Matt

    Hey, I travel for a living lots of motels!!!!! Errrrrrrr
    I'm looking for something to pack the nested Big Berkey with 2 black filters installed with room for the spigot? To protect the s.s. and I will carry the fluoride filters uninstalled.
    Do you have any ideas? Thanx

    Reply
  • M.

    Hello! How long can I leave my Berkey system without refilling? (It's a Royal.) In other words, if I leave town for 3 days, will the black filters dry out? Will it harm them to leave them for a few days? I usually refill my Berkey 2-3 times per day (we use a lot of water!), and I have never left it since I installed it. I am concerned that I might damage the filters if they dry out? Thoughts? Thank you!

    Reply
    • Dan DeBaun

      Hi M -

      No, this will not damage your filters and you can leave them unused for a few days and things will be fine. Just add water to the upper chamber and being filtering when you return home.

      Thanks
      Dan

      Reply
  • Reagan

    Hi. I just noticed that one of my black filters had a couple of scratches/dents. I'm not sure why happened to it. Will this affect their performance or lifespan? Thanks!

    Reply
  • Ron Jones

    I have used the Berkey Light since Christmas with good results. In early March I noticed a green alge color in the upper chamber and as well as the filter. I cleaned the canisters with water and detergent and scubbed the filter with a green pad and re- assembled. Two weeks later it's happening again.

    Reply
    • Dan DeBaun

      Hi Ron -

      Yes, this can sometimes happen if the upper chamber is frequently exposed to sunlight and is normal for any water that is sitting for long periods. Please try to make sure the cloth lid is on at all times, and this will help. In any event, this is not a problem for the filtration mechanism and will be filtered out, but it may require you to clean the filters, upper chamber, and reduce sun exposure to limit the growth.

      Thanks
      Dan

      Reply
    • Dan DeBaun

      Hi Steve -

      Thanks for the kind words. There are multiple pages of black berkeys on Amazon, but Amazon will always show the most popular first, and since that page with the reviews from Nov. 2010 has been around longer and had the most feedback, creating another page would unfortunately not really be seen by customers.

      In terms of filter shape, the advantage of a long filter is that it provides both surface area and relatively quick speed. Shorter filters like propur's may have comparable surface ares, but they will filter much slower than the black berkeys, thus cylindrical is optimal. Propur's filter at about 1/3 the speed of the black berkeys.

      And, yes if you use a pre-filter like you mention, this will reduce stress on the black berkeys and extend their life.

      Hope this helps.

      Thanks
      Dan

      Reply
  • Robert S.

    I have just purchased the Royal Berkey and I am a bit confused by the paragraph talking about spigot leaking issues. My instructions state I am to place the black washer on first, insert the spigot then place the white washer (bevel side in) and tighten. I am getting leaking and it seems that tightening more only makes the leak worse. I was checking this site and the last paragraph states "(black inside, white outside for stainless systems)" which is opposite the instructions and I was wondering if this was a typo or a trouble shooting tip?

    Reply
    • Dan DeBaun

      Hi Robert -

      Yes, the instructions you have received are correct, however we find that if there is leaking, the white washer on the outside will fix the issue 9 times out of 10.

      Thanks
      Dan

      Reply
  • Dan

    "When the fluoride filters are used up you will find that they usually stop allowing any water into the bottom canister."

    That doesn't make sense. These are in pellets in a container so how is the flow restricted?

    Reply
    • Dan DeBaun

      Hi Dan -

      The pellets grow in size as they accumulate fluoride, arsenic, and leftover heavy metals. This combined with normal mineral build-up will tend to fill in these gaps between the pellets over time, and in some cases the water will not be able to pass through.

      Thanks
      Dan

      Reply
  • Sandra Kaiser
    Sandra Kaiser June 6, 2013 at 10:33 am

    I received my Royal Berkey and installed it as instructed. I was very careful to be very sanitary, even wore surgical gloves while washing and assembling. Primed both the black Berkeys and the PF2s as directed. Flushed through two tanks of water.

    I am accustomed to drinking bottled purified drinking water which has no taste and the water coming out of the Berkey has a taste that I'm not wild about. Is this normal or do I need to run some more water through it. When I installed the PF2s the instructions said to only tighten 8 times. I turned the label toward me and turned a full eight turns back to the label but the PF2s were rocking back and forth on the stems of the black berkeys so I had to tighten one another full turn and the other one a half turn. Could I have possibly damaged the PF2s doing that.

    Reply
    • Dan DeBaun

      Hi Sandra -

      The PF-2's need a gap between the end of the black berkey stem and screen inside the PF-2 filters for water to easily flow through. It will be slightly loose as a result of this and should not be tightened too much as it will slow down or possibly stop filtration flow. Screwing them on too much will not damage the PF-2's.

      The filters may produce a taste up to the first 10 full flushes post the priming process. This is normal as the dust washes away from both filters. After this dust dissipates, the taste will solely be dependent on what the mineral makeup of your source water is since the berkey filters do not remove these minerals. Thus, the water will taste different than distilled water that has no minerals. Water with minerals in it is what nature intended and in our opinion should be considered the most natural tasting. But as mentioned, this taste will vary depending on what the source water mineral makeup is. i.e. water with high potassium levels will taste different that water with high magnesium levels, etc.

      Thanks
      Dan

      Reply
  • larry

    You said the top canister does not need scrubbing but my water has very high lime content and after 3 months it has a very noticeable buildup. That will only continue to get worse and ruin it certainly in an aesthetic way if not also functionally. How do I get lime out of the top unit, it does not show very much in the bottom unit yet but in time will.

    Reply
  • Lynne

    We have a new Big Berkey with 2 elements and fluoride filters. After installation, water is still remaining in upper chamber after 2 days. Should we reflush/prime all filters?

    Reply
    • Dan DeBaun

      Hi Lynne -

      There will always be a couple inches left in the upper chamber because there is not enough water pressure to push that through. Just add new water to the upper chamber and continue use.

      Thanks
      Dan

      Reply
  • Christy

    Hi! I hadn't used our Berkey in a while due to getting a fridge with filtered water dispenser, but when I went to start using it again, I noticed lots of black flakes in the little bit of water left in the top chamber and stuck to the sides of the metal container. It seemed to me that it was pieces of the filter that had come off. Also, when I removed all the filters to scrub and re-prime, I think one had a little slime on it. Is all this normal for a Berkey that hasn't been used for a while? I had only been refilling it occasionally instead of daily like before. The filters should still have plenty of life left. And, when I tried to re-prime, they did not bead up along the entire length, but only halfway or so. I haven't tried to use a vegetable peeler yet, but thought I could try after reading the suggestion above. What do you think? Thank you!!!

    Reply
    • Dan DeBaun

      Hi Christy -

      Yes, this greasy scum can build up after a while and we find that rust in the water is one of the culprits. Wed recommend a deep clean of the filters as mentioned as this should clear and clogging up.

      Thanks
      Dan

      Reply
  • Vicki

    In order to prevent overfilling the lower chamber of the Big Berkey, I am measuring water dispensed thru the spigot, then adding the same amount to the upper chamber. Is there a better method for knowing how much space is available in the lower chamber ? Also, my method means the filters will rarely be completely submerged. Is that OK?

    Reply
    • Dan DeBaun

      Hi Vicki -

      You can always use a sight glass spigot for knowing what's in the lower chamber:

      http://www.bigberkeywaterfilters.com/sight-glass-spigot.html

      Also, you do not need to keep the bottom close to full all the time. For example, if you have a half tank of water in the lower chamber, you can fill the upper chamber up halfway for filtering. In this case, the filters would be close to fully submerged.

      Thanks
      Dan

      Reply
  • jerry deason

    I have bought extra black filters and extra flouride filters. how do i store them if i am not going to use them for a while

    thanks, jerry

    Reply
    • admin

      Hi Jerry -

      Room temperature storage is preferred. If used, the black berkeys must be dried out first and the PF-2's cannot be store and then reused once they've already been put into operation.

      Thanks
      Dan

      Reply
  • Vicki

    Should the upper chamber be filled to immerse the black filters regularly? After one month's use, the filtering is very slow. The filters are rarely submerged. I'll rinse them today and vinegar wash the bottom chamber. But wonder if I should change my technique and keep the top filled more often? Thanks!

    Reply
  • Deborah

    Today I decided to clean my black berkey filter candles. I stupidly put them on the top rack of my dishwasher, but before the dishwasher cycle finished I read on the instructions sheet (which I had saved from many years ago) that the filter candles should not be washed with soap. I stopped the dishwasher and removed the filter candles, and lightly scrubbed them with a scotch-brite pad. What sort of harm might I have caused to the filter candles?

    Reply
    • admin

      Hi Deborah -

      We are not sure if you have damaged them or not. Your best bet would be to perform a red food coloring test on the filters to check them.

      http://www.bigberkeywaterfilters.com/blog/berkey-water-filter/the-black-berkey-red-food-coloring-test

      Thanks
      Dan

      Reply
  • Tara Amos

    We have the big berkey. My question is, can you keep the top portion full so that you continuously have filtered water, or will the bottom portion overflow? Thanks!

    Reply
    • admin

      Hi Tara -

      The bottom chamber will overflow once it gets to the top, so you do not want to overfill the upper chamber.

      Thanks
      Dan

      Reply
  • Bente

    Does the Berkey work for water that has high lime content? We live on an island and the water might be almost brackish, with lots of lime build up on everything we use.

    Reply
    • admin

      Hi Bente -

      The filters do not remove lime, nor slay from the water. So, while the will work for you, you may need to clean the filters often to remove any lime buildup.

      Thanks
      Dan

      Reply
  • Patricia

    I am not really sure how to tell if it is time to replace fluoride filters. When I purchased by unit I was under the impression that I "just had to remember to replace them every 6 months"...But I read in the "ask" section that they will stop filtering when they are needing to be replaced. This is ESPECIALLY important to me as I cannot afford to have fluoride in my body.
    I also read that the white ceramic filters are good for 1400 gals????? At max, I make two containers per day, but (approx. 800 gals annually) but thought that I remembered that the filters need replacing every year......Clarification will be appreciated! Thanks!

    Reply
    • admin

      Hi Patricia -

      The PF-4's must be replaced every 6 months. The ceramic filters must also be replaced every 6 months or 1200 gallons, whichever comes first. This guideline has changed per the manufacturer to be more frequent replacements.

      Thanks
      Dan

      Reply
  • Aileen W.

    The cloth cover of my Berkey Light has developed mold, I think. Do you have any recommendations for cleaning it? Thanks!

    Reply
  • Kate

    How long can I leave filtered water in my big berkey unused?

    Reply
  • johnb

    Water stops flowing out the spiget until i left the top.
    I get vacuum at any water level in the bottom chamber. Tryed saftey pin but that caused rust. How can i get rid of the vacumm so that the water will flow out of the bottom chamber?

    Reply
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