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Big Berkey Water Filters

  • The Importance of Berkey Shower Filters for Limiting Chlorine Exposure

    Does a Berkey shower filter make sense for your home if you're served by municipal water? It absolutely does, and there's a number of reasons why. While many are under the impression that filtering their drinking water is sufficient for bodily protection, the reality is that our skin and lungs can absorb these same dangerous chemicals and toxins as we bathe in them everyday. As Rutgers University researchers have found, "Studies show we take in about the same amount of harmful chemicals from showering as we do from drinking water."

    There are many toxins that can be dangerous to the body when showered in. One of the most common chemicals that tend to cause problems is chlorine. Chlorine is used extensively by municipal water townships to kill bacteria and pathogens keeping the water safe to drink from the distribution plant to the faucet. However, exposure to chlorine repeatedly has shown the potential to cause physical and medical problems, especially to children and those with pre-disposed sensitivities to the chemical. The American Journal of Public Health confirms that up to two-thirds of the harmful effects of chlorine are due to inhalation and skin absorption while showering.

    Absorption Through The Skin

    Were you aware that your skin is the largest organ of your body? It's continually giving off sweat and toxins yet also absorbing whatever it comes in contact with. This is called dermal (percutaneous, skin) absorption, and is a global term that describes the transport of chemicals from the outer surface of the skin both into the skin and into the systemic circulation. As you shower, your pores open and your body more readily absorbs chlorine and other contaminants that may be in the water. Chlorine absorption through the skin has been shown to cause many skin irritations, some as serious as eczema.

    Absorption Through the Lungs

    We are all keenly aware of the dangers of inhaling cigarette smoke and other dangerous chemicals, so what about the steam from your shower? The hot water, combined with steam, causes the body to take in far more chlorine than it would by just drinking water. The steam can contain up to 20 times the concentration of chlorine that tap water contains because it evaporates at a lower temperature than water. One estimate is that during a 20 minute shower, a person takes in the same amount of chlorine as drinking two quarts of water. This chlorine vapor concentration is also proportional to how confined your shower or bathroom is and increases the smaller it's square footage. The chloroform gas in the air can cause bronchitis, asthma, and has shown links to an increased risk of cancer.

    The Berkey Shower Filter With Massage Head
    The Berkey Shower Filter With Massage Head

    Other Effects of Showering in Chlorinated Water

    What are some of the effects of chlorine on the body? One of the most common results is dry and brittle hair. Mild chlorine toxicity may include headaches, eye, skin, or airway irritation, sore throat, and cough. Higher toxicity levels may also include chest tightness. Several years ago a friend shared with me that every time she cleaned the bathtub, she would suffer from breathing problems and exhaustion. She later discovered the cause to be the the chlorine bleach and ammonia reacting to give off a chlorine gas very much like steam from the shower.

    A Berkey Shower Filter for Protection

    The solution to the damage chlorine can cause is to attach a special shower filter designed to  remove the chlorine before it ever touches your skin or reaches your lungs. We repeatedly get feedback from customers who happily report that their hair becomes softer and stops breaking and splitting shorty after they begin use. Once they become accustomed to the difference a berkey shower filter makes, many customers loathe the thought of taking a shower without one.

    When you start to use the Berkey shower filter you will be removing up to 95% of the chlorine, as well as reducing hydrogen sulfide, microorganisms, scale, and water-soluble heavy metals such as lead, mercury, and iron. Berkey shower filters kill bacteria, inhibit the growth of algae and fungi, while also reducing lime scale and mold. This means your shower and tub area will stay cleaner, and potentially reduce needed cleanings.

  • How To Prime PF-2 Fluoride and Arsenic Water Filters

    Let's review how one primes and installs the PF-2 fluoride and arsenic water filters for the Berkey Water Filter. The PF-2 water filters must be primed prior to installation, and when installing into the lower chamber they should not be screwed on more than 8 revolutions onto the Black Berkey stem.

    The media within the PF-2 water filter contains micro fine dust as a result of the manufacturing process that can cause the purified water to have a bitter taste.  To dislodge the process dust from the Berkey PF-2 water filters, it is necessary to prime each element. We start off with the video showing how the priming procedure is done, followed by text instructions and some additional helpful notes.

    How To Prime Your PF-2 Filters Video

    PF-2 Water Filter Priming Procedure

    1. With blue caps in place, wash the exterior of each PF-2 water filter with a mild dish soap.
    2. With clean hands, remove both blue caps from each end of the PF-2 water filter.
    3. Place the rubber-priming button (tan colored) onto one end of the PF-2 water filter and align the hole in the button with the hole in the PF-2 water filter.
    4. Press the priming button up against a sink faucet so that the priming button creates a seal between the faucet and the PF-2 filter.
    5. While holding the priming button against the faucet, turn on the cold water gently and allow the water to fill the cavity of the PF-2 water filter and discharge from the opposite end.  Allow the water to discharge for up to 2 minutes or until the water runs clear, whichever is longer.  Hint: Place your thumb on top of the faucet to apply pressure creating a tighter seal.
    6. Now repeat the process by turning the PF-2 water filter over and priming the filter from the opposite end in the same manner.
    7. Prime each additional PF-2 filter repeating steps 3-6.

    PF-2 Water Filter Installation Procedure

    1. Remove the upper chamber from the filtration system and place it upside down on a counter so that the stems of the Black Berkey elements are facing upward.
    2. With the water flow arrow pointing away from the upper chamber (the PF-2 water filters have threads on one end only) screw the PF-2 water filters onto the stems of each black berkey element 8 revolutions.  Notes: a) Do not screw the PF-2 filter on more than 8 revolutions as this may damage the internal media screen b) The flow arrow should point away from the upper chamber. Remove flow arrow after screwing on.
    3. Replace the upper chamber onto the lower chamber (the PF-2 water filters should now be hanging in the lower chamber). Fill the upper reservoir with water and let it drain into the lower chamber. When the lower chamber is full, discard this 1st batch of water, which may contain some residual process dust.  Your purification system is ready for use.  Note: On rare occasion it can take up to 5 full chamber flushes/batches before the dust subsides.  If the dust not not subside after the 5th full batch of water, please contact us for potential replacement.

    Additional Notes on the PF-2's

    1. When the lower chamber is full, the PF-2 water filters will be immersed.
    2. When the water level in the lower chamber rises above the bottom of the PF-2 water filters, it is normal for small amounts of water to burp through threads connecting the PF-2 water filters to the Black Berkey elements.
    3. The lower chamber in most gravity purification systems has a 2-3 gallon capacity and a typical household uses about 1 refill per day.  We recommend that the upper chamber be filled at night prior to going to sleep. The water from the upper chamber should be purified and awaiting use in the lower chamber by the morning. It is normal for the purification process to slow down significantly when the water level in the lower chamber rises above the bottom of the PF-2 filter. Households requiring more water can speed up the flow rate by drawing off the purified water into a water pitcher or other containing when the water level in the lower chamber rises about the bottom of the PF-2 water filters.

    Click here for instructions on How to Prime the Black Berkey Purification Elements.

  • Coal Ash Contaminating Local Communitys' Drinking Water

    A new study finds that across the US, coal ash waste contamination is much worse than what was quoted by a new EPA report, with dozens more ash-waste ponds and landfills also leaching toxins into streams and drinking water. This reinforces water contamination concerns much of the public has had with the coal ash industry, and comes to light only 1 year after one of the worst coal ash disasters happened in Dec 2009, "Tennessee Coal Ash Spill, An Environmental Disaster".

    The Environmental Integrity Project and Earthjustice groups have identified serious water contamination caused by coal ash dumps at 31 locations in 14 states, bringing the total to 101, the number of U.S. sites where damages from coal ash have been confirmed. The groups identified the sites by assembling contamination data from state files using “similar criteria” to those sites the EPA had already identified. Arsenic, selenium, boron, and other toxic metal levels were found at up to 145 times federally permissible levels in the adjacent land and water areas of these 31 sites.

    Indian River Power Plant - Delaware


    Contamination of Surrounding Drinking Water

    Not surprisingly, contaminated water from coal-ash chemicals was found to be washing into streams and leaching into groundwater, including drinking water supplies. The full extent of how it has affected the downstream residents and wildlife is not fully understood due the enormity of the regions affected, however enough data has been accumulated to identify many contaminated areas.

    To get an idea as to the degree of contamination, some cited findings in the report include:

    1. Boron and sulfate contaminated drinking water supply that sickened people in Montana and had to be abandoned
    2. Major arsenic pollution from a coal ash dump that contributed to a Great Lake Bay becoming an "International Area of Concern"
    3. A mile-long plume of contamination in Florida
    4. Mercury contamination of residential wells in Tennessee
    5. Selenium levels in West Virginia surface waters at 4-5 times what is permitted under federal law
    6. Lead was found at 10 times the federal limit at 8 sites

    Many States and Communities Affected

    Every year, roughly 400 coal-fired power plants in the US produce about 140 million tons of scrubber sludge, fly ash, and other wastes. A fraction of that waste can be used in products like concrete and the rest goes into landfills and retention ponds becoming a subject of high concern for local communities and environmental groups alike.

    14 states are directly caught up in this firestorm of  the 31 identified including Delaware (1), Florida (3), Illinois (1), Indiana (2), Maryland (1), Michigan (1), Montana (1), Nevada (1), New Mexico (1), North Carolina (6), Pennsylvania (6), South Carolina (3), Tennessee (2), and West Virginia (2). There is a fear however that this may be an even larger problem than what this reports covers as more than the 101 sites cited are prone to polluting the surrounding region.

    Concentrations of toxic pollution at many of these coal-ash sites are shockingly high. Groundwater monitoring data show that pollutant concentrations have exceeded federal drinking water standards by a factor of 10 or more at the following sites: Indian River Power Plant Burton Island Landfill (arsenic, 145 times the standards); Grainger Generating Station (arsenic, 92 times); Trans Ash Landfill (arsenic, 27 times); Seminole Generating Station (arsenic, 19 times); Karn Weadock Generating Facility (arsenic, 100 times); Brandywine Landfill (cadmium, 100 times); Big Bend Station (arsenic, 11 times); Seward Generating Station (antimony, 17 times); Fern Valley Landfill (arsenic, 36 times); Lee Steam Plant (arsenic, 44 times); Sutton Steam Plant (arsenic, 29 times); Hunlock Power Station (arsenic, 12 times); and Wateree Station (arsenic, 18 times)

    Federal Regulation of Coal Ash Long Overdue

    Jeff Stant, lead investigator for the Environmental Integrity Project stated “While the catastrophic spill at TVA’s Kingston plant has become the poster child for the damage that coal ash can wreak, there are hundreds of leaking sites throughout the United States where the damage is deadly, but far less conspicuous”

    The environmental groups are in agreement that it's long overdue for the US government to regulate coal ash as a hazardous waste. State by state regulations are loose and not enforced to the degree that's required to protect the environment and local communities. The groups have called on the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to complete its review of a coal-ash contamination rule and allow the EPA to begin addressing the problem.

    However, many business groups and members of Congress say federal regulations on coal ash would harm the economy and businesses in that industry. In a letter this month to Peter Orszag, director of the OMB, Rep. Jerry Costello (D) of Illinois and seven other lawmakers asked him to “consider the impact the regulation of CCBs [coal combustion byproducts] will have on jobs and the economy in Illinois."

    If you live around, or downstream from a coal-fired plant, we recommend you take the time to research to what degree you may be at risk. Using a home water filter like a berkey system will help protect you and your family from the types of chemicals and contaminants that they've discovered in this study. It's your responsibility to ensure that you are ingesting the highest quality of drinking water on a daily basis.

  • Fluoride Water Contamination in Northern Punjab, India

    By now, many of you are aware of the bodily risks that fluoride in your water presents. Fluoride toxicity harms bones, causes stiff joints, encourages skeletal abnormalities, raises the risk of cancer, results in genetic damage, can damage the thyroid, and hampers nervous system function. Given that you body does not excrete and rid itself of fluoride easily, continual exposure results in continual accumulation. Many states in the US have stopped the practice of fluoridation all together, and the question "to fluoridate or not to fluoridate" is becoming commonplace on state voting ballots.

    Fluoride Contamination in Punjab

    If you are not convinced of the detrimental affects of fluoride ingestion, the news video below on the Northern region of Punjab in India is a case study on it's toxic effects. In this region, contamination occurred through natural mediums and chemical fertilizers. While this news story does not speak to the fluoride concentration levels, a little research turned up a study by the Environmental Biology Laboratory, Post Graduate Department of Zoology, S.G.N. Khalsa (PG) College, in Sri Ganganagar, India called Fluoride contamination in drinking water in rural habitations of Northern Rajasthan, India.  This study provided some valuable data and recommendations.

    At the time of this study's release in 2007, fluoride was recorded in the ranges of 4.78 and 1.01 ppm (parts per million) with an average fluoride concentration of 2.82 ppm for the Rajasthan region. To put this in perspective, the Environmental Protection Agency allows up to 1 ppm of fluoride in water for fluoridation purposes. This study states "Due to the higher fluoride level in drinking water several cases of dental and skeletal fluorosis have appeared at an alarming rate". In other words, concentrations at only 3-5 times higher that what the EPA currently allows in the US has resulted in alarming rates of dental and skeletal fluorosis with the study calling for "an instant need to take ameliorative steps in this region to prevent the population from fluorosis."

    Do We Need Fluoride in our Drinking Water?

    To be clear, the news story speaks to boiling the water, however this only address the bacteria and parasites in the water.  Boiling will not remove or reduce fluoride levels in water.  In 2007 the ADA warned parents not to mix baby formula with tap water in the first 12 months of development so as to avoid fluoride intake. Are the risks of fluoride ingestion worth the claimed rewards? Many would argue that brushing multiple times per day, flossing, and visiting your local dentist regularly are more than sufficient in this day and age for teeth health.

    For those of you who are drinking fluoridated tap water, a berkey water filter equipped with a PF-2 fluoride filter will remove the fluoride to 99.75%. If you are unsure if your city/municipal water is fluoridated, simply call you local town water authority and they will be able to provide you this information.

  • Chromium Water Contamination

    When you think of chromium or chrome, you probably think of the silvery shine on the bumper of a car (at least on the old ones.) However, chromium is used for much more than a coating, and when it gets into the water supply, it is potentially dangerous. Today, you can protect yourself from this heavy metal using a home water filter like the Big Berkey.

    (Side note: Yes, the black berkey filters that come standard with our berkey systems do filter out and remove chromium 6 from the water. These berkey test results for chromium 6 can be found here.)

    A quick chemistry lesson reveals that chromium combines readily with other elements to make chromium compounds as it can have a valance anywhere from -2 to +6. However, it usually combines with a valance of either +3 (as in CrCl3) or +6 (as in K2Cr04). The valance of an ion determines how it will combine with other elements and thus what compounds are formed.

    Chromium has been used in manufacturing in a variety of ways. Some examples include leather tanning, the manufacture of catalysts, paints, fungicides, glass and ceramics, in photography, as well as chrome plating. Most of us would be familiar with the lead chromate (PbCrO4) that was used on school buses due to it's bright color and the fact it did not fade in the sun. Because of environmental and health risks of the chromium VI compound, this paint has been replaced with less risky pigments.

    Though most of our intake of chromium is in the food we eat, nearly 10% can come from the water we drink. Chromium can get into the air in the form of aerosols but is easily removed via precipitation. Rainwater contains generally less than a microgram of chrome per liter, however groundwater can contain upwards of 2 micrograms of chromium per liter due to more exposure to contaminating sources.  For instance, near manufacturing plants, measurements of 40-80 micrograms/liter have been found contaminating the surrounding ground water sources.  The closer you live to manufacturing plants that may be using chromium, the higher the risk of exposure.

    It is certainly not true that chromium is all bad. In fact, Chromium (III) is an essential nutrient that helps the body use sugar, protein, and fat. An intake of 50–200 µg of chromium (III) per day is recommended for adults. If we don’t get that amount, it may result in weight loss or decreased growth, improper function of the nervous system, and a diabetic-like condition. Therefore, chromium (III) compounds have been used as dietary supplements and are beneficial if taken in recommended dosages. Excessive amounts of chromium (III), however, can be harmful to the body also.

    Other forms of chromium, especially chromium (VI) can be toxic. As Dr Robert Jackson, a holistic doctor states “Calcium chromate, chromium trioxide, lead chromate, strontium chromate, and zinc chromate are known human carcinogens. An increase in the incidence of lung cancer has been observed among workers in industries that produce chromate and manufacture pigments containing chromate.”  Other problems that have been found related to excessive intake of chromium include, renal failure (kidney failure), liver problems (elevated hepatic enzymes), thrombocytopenia (low blood platelets), hemolysis (breakdown of red blood cells), changes in thought processes, gastrointestinal disorders, chest pain, erythema/flushing/rash, dizziness, headache, agitation, and rhabdomyolysis (breakdown of muscle fibers that can lead to kidney damage).

    Chromium, like other heavy metals, may have other lasting negative effects on the health yet unknown to us. How much chromium VI are you ingesting daily?  Unfortunately many city quality reports do not provide the chromium levels, so it's hard to know. All of the Berkey Water Filters utilize the black berkey filters that remove 95% of  heavy metals, including chromium, from the water. Utilizing this berkey home water filter daily will ensure you are greatly reducing the amount of chromium that your body takes in.

  • What Berkey Water Can Do For You

    If you’re like most people, you’re concerned about the quality of your drinking water, but you aren’t sure what to do about it. Berkey water offers a solution that works without costing a small fortune in the process.

    The Berkey water filtration system is different from other options on the market. This system is made in the United States and uses gravity to remove unwanted chemicals and contaminants from drinking water. Berkey water systems are suitable for at-home use, but are portable enough to take on the road. They are even effective at purifying untreated water, which makes them great in emergency situations or when owners are away from home.

    Berkey water systems are used in homes throughout America and Canada and in some 140 different countries all over the world. Their effectiveness and unique design has also made them a favorite for relief organizations like the Red Cross.  The British Royal household even uses Berkey water systems.

    There are many reasons why Berkey is a great investment in personal health and safety. The top reasons why Berkey water is a solid choice are:

    The Health Benefits – Berkey water systems remove the bad things in water without impacting the good. These systems are superior to other filtration devices because they get rid of pathogenic bacteria, cysts, unhealthy chemical contaminants and even parasites. They are effective to levels higher than 99.99 percent on many chemicals. Berkey systems are even effective at reducing fluoride and arsenic found in water. When Berkey water filters are used, they will not remove the vital minerals found in water that bodies need to maintain healthy and thrive.

    The Affordability Factor – Some filtration systems can cost a small fortune to purchase and operate. While Berkey water does require an upfront investment, it’s one that can pay off quickly. Berkey water offers a fantastic return on investment. Each Black Berkey Water Filter, for example, will last up to 3,000 gallons or 6,000 gallons for a set of two. This lifespan is a great deal longer than most other water filtering systems available today. At an estimated 10 gallons of water a week, the Berkey water system will provide more than 11.5 years of use. This equates to about 1.7 cents for each gallon of clean drinking water.

    The Functionality – Berkey water systems do not require electricity to function and they are completely portable. Berkey systems can purify both standard city tap water and also untreated, raw water from sources like streams, stagnant ponds and lakes. The micro-pores found within the self-sterilizing and re-cleanable Black Berkey water purification elements are so tiny that bacteria and other contaminants simply cannot pass through them. Because Berkey water filtration systems don’t need electricity, they are ideal for use in emergency situations. They are also great to take along on camping trips and treks outside of the country.

    Choosing a water purification system can be a confusing task. When functionality, return on investment and reliability are desired, Berkey water is the clear choice.

  • Home Water Filters Take The Worry Away

    Every time you turn on the tap at home, chances are you find yourself wondering just what is in your water. Unsavory chemicals like chlorine, unwanted additives like fluoride, and a host of microscopic bacteria can seep into every glass. It's become an all to often event to read frightening headlines about just what has been found in the public water supply.

    When it’s time to enjoy peace of mind, home water filters can deliver. When the right system is selected, you will enjoy cleaner, safer water without having to spend a fortune in the process.

    The Berkey home water filter system is favored from the British Royal house to Peace Corp camps around the world for very good reasons. Our water filters remove the things in your water that you don’t want without stripping out the vital minerals your body needs.

    The gravity water filters we offer are designed to get rid of a number of major concerns in public drinking water. They are highly effective at removing such things as cysts, parasites, and harmful pathogens (to 99.99999%), while also removing many unwanted chemicals and contaminants to undetectable levels. Berkey water filter systems also significantly reduce the fluoride and arsenic levels in your water via the PF line of filters.

    When the right home water filter system is used, you can be assured of several things every time you pour a glass of water for a family member. These include:

    Enjoying better tasting water – Chlorine and other additives placed into public water supplies can give water a funny flavor that bothers many. When home water filters are used to get rid of the chemicals, the only taste left behind is pure, clean water. In addition to making drinks taste better, the removal of chemicals is also fantastic for the flavors of dishes cooked with water in the mix.

    Gaining peace of mind – There is something very comforting about knowing an effective home water filter system is on the job. With harmful bacteria found even in municipal drinking water systems, you can never be too safe. The right water filters will remove any worries and concerns associated with grabbing water straight out of your tap.

    Getting your money’s worth – Some home water filters cost a small fortune to put into operation. The Berkey system does not. Our water costs about 1.7 cents a gallon. Plus, the Berkey home water filter system does not depend on electricity to function and it is fully portable. This means it can be counted on to deliver safe, clean water even during power outages. It can also be taken on the road during camping trips and more.

    It doesn’t matter whether you are on a well or have city water, turning on the tap can sometimes be a crap-shoot. If you’re ready to stop worrying about what is in your water and start enjoying a cleaner taste, then picking the right home water filter system is a great investment. Berkey water delivers the performance you’re after, at the prices you can afford.

  • Dan DeBaun of Big Berkey Water Filters on the George Berry Radio Show

    This past Friday 1/29/2010, Dan DeBaun, owner of appeared for 1 hour on the George Berry radio show. Titled "Crash, Are You Ready?", this show on the GCN network covers diverse topics ranging from food and water shortages to political and financial corruption.

    George and Dan spoke about recent Haiti relief efforts and how Berkey Water Filters were being used by individuals and large relief organizations alike to provide potable drinking water in the region. Other topics covered were the degrading drinking water conditions here in the US and how the Safe Drinking Water Act passed by congress in 1974 has failed to protect the environment and the public's drinking water. Click here to listen to the show, or right click and "save as file" to download and play in a media player of your choosing.

  • Are you Drinking Aluminum?

    Water contamination by industrial metals such as aluminum is becoming a serious problem. Considered a heavy metal, ingestion should be avoided at all costs and is the reason why many citizens have opted for home water filters as a reliable means to protect themselves and their families.  And yes, the berkey removes aluminum from the water.

    Aluminum was first discovered in the early 1800’s, but was very expensive to use at $90/pound. In 1886, Charles Martin Hall developed an inexpensive method of extracting the metal from the ore resulting in  a price drop to $2/pound. What ensued was an explosive increase in aluminum utilization across all industries becoming the third most produced metal today.

    However, aluminum has brought with it some problems. A study by D.R.C. McLachlan showed a disturbing relationship between the amount of aluminum in drinking water and Alzheimer’s cases. He concluded that if the aluminum level in the public water had been kept below 100 micrograms/liter, 25 percent or more of the cases could have been prevented.  Other studies make similar claims, yet there seems to be a continuing scientific debate as research into the aluminum-Alzheimer connection and its associated risk degrees goes deeper.

    The negative affect of industry on our health has been know for decades, but as time passes, knowledge continues to be gleaned as to just how much risk we've placed our bodies at.  Studies are revealing that most heavy metals, when ingested over longer periods of time, will adversely affect our health. Especially susceptible and damaged by these metals are the nervous system and organs. Small levels of exposure can be tolerated, but as heavy metals accumulate in the body, a disharmony begins to develop. This disharmony can turn into disease, body disorders, and cancer.

    Aluminum solubility has relative dependency with the PH of the water, becoming more soluble at high and low PH levels. For instance, when the PH is less than 4.5, solubility rapidly increases and can be absorbed by the body much easier. The most common compounds of aluminum, aluminum oxide and aluminum hydroxide, are both insoluble, but other compounds such as aluminum sulfate is water soluble and is considered more dangerous as it leeches into our water supplies.

    The connection between aluminum in the water and Alzheimer’s is alarming enough to motivate each of us to act.  Step one for the general population should be to find a quality water filter to filter their drinking water. Whether you get your water from a well or a municipal supply, aluminum will surely be present but will hopefully be at very low concentrations. Most cities set a maximum allowable level of 50 and 200 g/L but the only way to guarantee protection is pursue further water filtration at the point of use, your home.

    One technique is to distill your drinking water but this removes valuable minerals such as potassium and magnesium while also stripping out the taste. We recommend a comprehensive water filter like the Berkey Water Filter that uses a combination of various filtration media that are able to remove 99.1% of the aluminum in the water. The Black Berkey filters that come standard with each counter top water filter system do this for a very low cost averaging approximately 2 cents per gallon.  Since concentrations of this metal have not been shown to have any benefit for the body, the more we remove, the better off we are!

  • The Black Berkey Red Food Coloring Test

    **Important - There are more and more "artificial-free" red food coloring dyes coming onto the market. This is great for our food consumption, but this type of dye will get through the filters and provide a false/inaccurate reading of a defective filter.  We're seeing this more and more with our customers who then think their filters are defective, when in fact they are NOT.

    The red food coloring MUST be artificial using reds FD&C 40 and/or 3.  The test only works with this artificial red dye, and the filters are designed to remove this out.  If the artificial red dye makes it through, then you have a defective filter.

    The Black Berkey red food coloring test provides the opportunity to showcase the impressive purification power of the Black Berkey elements. Many water filter companies make claims to their high quality, but Berkey water filters go one step further by making their lab test results public and presenting demonstrations such as the red food coloring test. While helpful for new customers to see the Black Berkey filters in action, it is invaluable for the existing customer base since it can be used at anytime during the life of the filters to ensure they are working to design specifications."Alternative" Filtered Water on Left; Black Berkey Filtered Water on Right

    McCormick Red Food Coloring McCormick Red Food Coloring

    Whether the original black berkeys have been in operation for the past 3, 7, or 10 years, one can perform this test at anytime to see if it's time for a replacement. We recommend customers place a cup underneath each filter as this will help isolate which filter is exhausted, and which is still purifying effectively.

    With other water filters, the customer must assume their system is working to specifications or spend the time and money to perform water tests.  This time lapse video shows how simple the red food coloring test can be done after priming your Black Berkey filters.

    Performing the Red Food Coloring Test

    1. Start with an empty system (upper/lower chamber) and be sure to remove any PF-2 filters that may be attached. 
    2. Check to make sure your black berkeys are installed with a tight seal and not allowing water to bypass the filter at the wingnut/washer connection.  You'll want to double check that these connections are tight.
    3. Place a glass in the lower chamber directly underneath each black berkey filter. So, 2 glasses if you are using 2 Black Berkey Filters.
    4. Next, fill your upper chamber with water and add 1 teaspoon of red food coloring for every gallon of water (only red please).
    5. After 5-10 minutes, look to see if any of the water in the glasses are red or have any pinkish tinge. If one does, then that particular filter above it is defective or saturated/exhausted.

    Important Note For European Customers

    Due to the fact that artificial red food color is banned in the UK/EU because of health concerns the instructions for the red food color test are not the same as the instructions you find on the American Berkey system assembly sheet. Do not follow the instructions on the enclosed assembly sheet.

    UK/EU Red Food Coloring Test directions

    Use only red food color sold in tiny 38-50ml bottles without any added glucose, sugars or thickening agents. These are available at all major supermarkets or Asian food shops. Do not use Dr. Oetker Gel Food Color Bright Red or any other gel-based food color.

    Completely fill the upper chamber of a Travel, Light, Big or Royal Berkey with water, and then add a (1/4) quarter teaspoon or less of red food coloring to the upper chamber, stirring well. Add a (1/2) half teaspoon or less to the upper chamber of an Imperial or Crown Berkey. The water should have a slight pinkish tinge. If the food coloring is completely removed, your system is working properly. If not, make sure the wing nuts on the elements as well as the blocking plugs are securely tightened then re-run the test.

    Once you have determined the water is running through clear for 5 -10 minutes the remainder of the colored water in the upper chamber can be discarded.

    What Are Your Results?

    As mentioned above, any red/pink in the filtered water indicates a need for filter replacement. If the water comes through clear, then you can be confident that the filters are performing as designed and removing contaminants from the water.

    We recommend running this red food coloring test every 6 months. Besides checking that your filters are working as designed, it will also verify that the filter connections are sealed properly and everything is in working order.

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