How To Clean Berkey Filters

Berkey has established itself as a household name in the world of water filtration manufacturers.

Their filtration systems have excellent build quality and can produce clear and delicious water – something that most people who own one of their filters will be able to tell you.

How To Clean Berkey Filters

While these water filters have roughly a 6,000-gallon life cycle, which translates to about three years, you still need to clean them.

The good news is that, for the most part, you can leave these filters to do their own thing. When the time comes for you to clean them, it’s a straightforward process.

We’ll be taking you through this process in this step-by-step guide, along with answering some frequently asked questions surrounding the care of the Berkey water filter.

How Often Should I Clean My Berkey Filters?

One of the best selling points for the Berkey Filter is its longevity. 

According to the Berkey Filters website, you’ll need to clean each filter element at least once every three to six months. 

You should expect two Berkey elements to last for around three years. If you’ve ever used other brands of water filters, you’ll know this is an impressive amount of time. 

Even so, if you live in an area where the water supply is high in contaminants, the expectation should be that this will shorten the time between cleaning sessions. 

When getting ready to clean the filters, many dictating factors can denote when the filters need a bit of TLC. 

We’ll talk about these factors in more detail in the next section.

Signs That The Berkey Water Filter Needs Cleaning

Another selling point of the Berkey Filter is the speed at which it can filter the water in the chamber. If you notice that this filtration speed has slowed, this is a sure-fire sign that the filters need a good clean.

The rate of filtration for a pair of Berkeley filters is around 1 gallon per hour and a set of four, naturally, is 2 gallons per hour.

Going with the premise that the lifespan of a pair of Berkey filters is roughly three years, you can determine that they need cleaning if they slow down before the end of their life cycle.

A great way to determine whether the filters are performing at optimal capacity is to add some food coloring to the top chamber.

As Berkey filters can filter food dye from water, adding a couple of drops of food coloring to the first chamber and seeing what state the water is in when it is filtered will tell you a lot about their condition.

If you add some red food coloring to the first chamber, and the water produced has a pink or red tinge, this signals that the filters need cleaning.

How To Clean Berkey Filters: Step-By-Step

How To Clean Berkey Filters Step-By-Step

We’ll now take a look at how to clean the Berkey filters. You’ll need the following items to make this process as easy as possible:

  • A flat, sturdy surface like a table/countertop
  • A Coarse Pad (3M Scotch Brite pads are ideal)

Step 1

Remove all the water from the Berkey Filter system (both chambers).

Step 2

Detach the top chamber and lay it on its top on a table/countertop.

Step 3

If you have a fluoride filter installed, remove it. Once you’ve removed this, unscrew the Black Berkey element with the wing nut and hold it in place.

Step 4 

Holding the filter firmly, place it under cold running water, with the exit hole facing upward.

Step 5

Using a coarse pad, gently scrub the black surface of the filter for around seven minutes. DO NOT USE SOAP OR DETERGENTS.

Step 6

Set each element aside and clean your hands.

Step 7 

Follow Steps 2 and 3 in reverse to reinstall all filters in the system.

A more comprehensive Printable PDF Guide is available here.

Frequently Asked Questions

The Water I Am Cleaning My System With Is Compromised. What Should I Do?

If you have no choice but to clean your Berkey system with compromised water, add around 16 to 17 drops of household bleach or iodine solution to every gallon of water used to clean the system/elements.

How Do You Dry Berkey Filters?

The best method for drying Berkey filters is a two-step process.

Wipe off any excess water from the filters with a dry cloth.

Let the filters air dry for as long as possible. Placing the filters on a window sill with good sunlight is best.

Can Berkey Filters Get Moldy?

There is a risk that Berkey Filters can become moldy, particularly in the upper chamber, as unfiltered water will contaminate this.

Allowing water to sit in the lower chamber for long periods can also encourage mold growth.

How Long Can You Leave Water In Berkey?

Don’t leave water in your Berkey filter for longer than three days. After three days, you should throw the water out and replace it.

Summing Up

Although Berkey Filters have an impressive lifespan, they still need to be cleaned at least once every six months.

It’s also important to check the filtered water’s quality as lower quality water will shorten the time between cleaning sessions.

Following the step-by-step guide above is the best way to keep your Berkey Filter System in tip-top shape.

Incorporating a deep clean of your Berkey Filters as part of the overall maintenance will prolong the system’s longevity. It’ll also ensure that you have purified drinking water all year round.

Mandy Anderson
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