How Should I Clean my Berkey Water Filter?

Reliable and pure drinking water is so important. With a Royal Berkey water filter, you can safely drink from freshwater sources—from rivers to even stagnant pond water. But that important filter requires a change on occasion. You won’t need to change the filter every time you clean the Berkey® unit, so a lot of people want to know how often they will need to swap out the Black Berkey® Purification Elements. It largely depends on what kind of water you have been filtering.

In order to reduce how often you need to swap filters, start by always filtering really dirty water before even putting it in your Berkey® system. By doing a preliminary filter to remove dirt and debris from really dirty water, you reduce how much gets caught in the pores of the Black Berkey® Purification Elements. You can use a cloth (like a shirt, bandana, pillowcase), or even better, a coffee filter, to remove the bulky debris before putting it through the Berkey® and this will extend the life of the filter.

It is also recommended to use water that has not been softened. If you use a salt water softener, fill your Berkey with unsoftened water from the second tap at your kitchen sink or draw it from upstream of your softener.  The salt from softened water will damage your Berkey filters. 

How Often Should I Change My Royal Berkey® Water Filter?

It is always a good idea to keep a spare set of Black Berkey® Elements on hand. The pair lasts for 22,700 Liters or about 5-6 years for most families. Signs that you need to clean your Berkey® filter include a drastically reduced flow rate. Many choose to clean the elements on a consistent basis (about every 3-6 months) to avoid this slowdown and keep the system functioning at top-notch. Also perform the Red Food Dye test as explained here:

How Do You Clean Your Royal Berkey Water Filter?

Whenever you need to change out your Black Berkey® Elements, that spare pair will come into play. You could always swap them out so your system requires no downtime as you clean the filters.

  • Empty and disassemble your filters from the unit.
  • Use a stiff cleaning pad (like a Scotch Brite Pad) or bristle brush to scrub the Black Berkey® filters gently under cool running water.
  • Re-prime the filters by running water into each Black Berkey® filter using the Priming Button (small, circular tan rubber washer) or the Black Berkey® Primer if you have a short faucet or a clean source of water is not available.
  • Reassemble the filter into the Royal Berkey® unit.
  • Use red food coloring to test your filters. Other colors don’t contain minerals and won’t be seen as contaminants, so it has to be red. Use three teaspoons of food coloring for every liter of water.
  • If the red water runs from the upper chamber to the bottom chamber with all the food coloring removed, then the purification system is working correctly and ready to go.

Keeping your water clean is easier with the Berkey® system. If you need help finding parts or selecting your ideal setup, call our team at 1-705-305-2225 or shop Berkey water filters at our online store. Learn more about operating your system and the benefits of a Berkey® filtration system by reading our FAQ’s.

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