Berkey systems and their hard-working Black Berkey Filtration Elements

Every Berkey system consists of two chambers, the upper canister is where the water to be filtered is poured and the bottom canister is where the filtered water is stored for your consumption. Between the two chambers is where the Black Berkeys rest and perform the filtration of the water, using gravity as their driving force. Berkey water systems can purify water from a variety of sources including tap, rivers and even stagnant water.

What is each Black Berkey purification element made out of?

Composed of a formulation of more than six media types, the Black Berkey is constructed into a very fine matrix which creates millions of micro-fine pores that don’t allow bacteria, cysts, parasites, sediment or sedimentary minerals to pass through. The elements also remove herbicides, pesticides, organic solvents, VOC’s, foul tastes and odors from the water. These pollutants are physically trapped in a process known as microfiltration.

How does the Black Berkey purify water?

 The formulation of the media absorbs and adsorbs contaminants, depending on their formulations. An Ion exchange process electrically bonds heavy metals ions – also known as mineral molecules- to the media. The pores in this system of adsorption can even block water contaminants that are smaller than them. This is how they can remove submicron viruses without the use of chemicals such as iodine and chlorine.  This Ion exchange process attracts heavy metal ions such as cadmium, chromium, copper, mercury and others to the media where they electronically bond to it.

 Each water molecule passes through the filter elements at a slower rate than that of other types of filtration systems; they stay in contact for a longer time with the media, allowing more contaminants to be effectively removed from the water.  The advanced technology took years of diligent, investigative research to develop and refine. The team involved included water purification specialists, researchers and engineers and much testing and proving was required.  The flow rate of the water through the Black Berkey purification elements ensures the greatest volume of removal of all contaminants.

How often will the Black Berkey filters need to be replaced?

Most Berkeys work best with two or more purification elements and they will generally need replacing every 6,000 gallons. If you are only using one Black Berkey you can expect to change the filter at 3,000 gallons. Depending on the amount of water filtered per day, these can last for anything for 1-3 years.

How to clean your Black Berkey filters?

Once again, depending on the amount of water to be filtered daily, it is suggested the filters be cleaned regularly. You will notice that the water will take longer to run through from the top chamber to the bottom one. At the very least, the filters should be cleaned every 12 months with warm water and a soft sponge or brush. This will help maintain them for longer.

What about storing Black Berkey filters?

If you are not going to be using your Berkey for a while, then it is best to empty both chambers of the Berkey. Wash them with soapy water, rinse well and allow them to dry properly before packing away. This is important because stagnant water can produce bacteria. The same applies to the cleaned and primed Black Berkey Purification Elements which should be allowed to dry properly. This can take anything up to three days in a sunny area of your home. Berkey does have a tool called a Black Berkey Primer that helps prime and purge the filters in less time.

The Black Berkeys can be sealed in storage bags, especially if they are to be stored long term. This is important because the elements can absorb odors and smoke from the air.  When the time comes to reuse the elements again, they will need to be re-primed. This entails a scrub with a kitchen sponge or a stiff brush. The Black Berkey does not have an expiry date and its shelf life is indefinite when not in use.

Other tips on maintaining the Black Berkey

All Black Berkey elements should not be washed in very hot water, nor should they be frozen. The manufacturers of Berkey Water Systems also advise against their use in sub-freezing climates. The concern is that any extreme changes in temperatures, especially colder ones will increase the pore size and ruin the element.

Choose the Berkey Water System that best suits the needs of your family and rest assured that the hard working Black Berkey filtration elements will give you the safest drinking water.