Cleaning the Black Berkey Filters

One of the reasons Black Berkey filter elements last so long is their ability to be cleaned. The unique composition of the Black Berky purification element creates a pore structure so small that minute particulate becomes trapped on the very outermost surface of the filter. Over time, like all filters this will cause the flow rate to decrease. At this time most other brands of water filters need replaced. Not the Black Berkey, in fact as part of a regular maintenance routine our black filter elements can be cleaned up to 100 times before the need for replacement. 

This cleaning ability is what sets the Black Berkey purification elements apart from our competition. How often do they need cleaned? The purification elements need to be cleaned when the flow rate decreases to the point that the output slows to the point that it is no longer meeting your needs. This point depends on how much sediment or turbidity you are removing. Try this test: put some of your water in a clear glass and hold it up to the light, can you see through it. If so this is considered clear. Under these circumstances the Black Berkey filter would only need to be cleaned every several months or possibly years. On the other hand if it is stained or has a high content of sediment and mud like found in some rivers, lakes and streams, the Berkey elements may need cleaning as often as weekly or possibly daily.

Precaution:

While this system can effectively purify untreated pond or river water, always use the cleanest, clearest source possible when cleaning the Berkey filter elements. As an additional precaution, if using water that may contain high concentrations of bacteria or viral contamination, add sixteen drops of household bleach to every gallon of water being used. Then filter water through your Berkey system.

Cleaning Instructions for Household Use

  1. Cleanliness is very important. Do not allow contaminated water to enter the core of the Berkey filtering element. This can be prevented by placing your finger over the hole where the water exits the filter.
  2. Empty all of the water from your Berkey system.
  3. Remove the top container and set it on its side on a solid surface like a table or countertop.
  4. Remove the filters by unscrewing the wing nut that secure the Black Berkey element to the container.
  5. Hold the filter under the running faucet, with the exit hole pointed up.
  6. Using a new 3M Scotch Brite® pad carefully scrub the Black surface of the filter element for several minutes.
  7. Set the elements aside and wash your hands.
  8. Reassemble the unit.

Printable Instructions PDF 

Cleaning Instructions for Field Use

  1. Read precaution above.
  2. All water used to clean the filters and the unit must be free of harmful contaminants prior to proceeding.
  3. In a clean bucket, basin or other similar container add clean water. If you are forced to clean your Berkey system elements with compromised water, we recommend adding sixteen drops of household bleach or iodine for every gallon of water being used to clean the elements.
  4. Empty all of the water from your Berkey system.
  5. Remove the top container and set it on its side on a clean solid surface like a table or countertop.
  6. Remove the filters by unscrewing the wing nut that secure the Black Berkey element to the container.
  7. Using a new 3M Scotch Brite® pad carefully scrub the outer black surface of the filtering element, rinsing it as needed in the clean water.
  8. Clean all filters as described above and set them aside on a clean surface.
  9. Empty the container and add more fresh clean bleach treated water as described in precaution above.
  10. Submerge the filters in the fresh, clean bleach treated water and set them aside on a clean surface.
  11. Wash your hands with soap.
  12. Reinstall the filters in the system.
 

Water Purification Systems and Filters

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