Ba-dum-ding! 🔔 The reminder you set in your calendar just signaled you to do your routine Berkey system maintenance. As you're carefully taking out your black filters you notice a film on the exterior. What is that? Why is it there? Is something wrong? Help! What's the weird-looking stuff on my filters?
Have no fear--that's totally normal and a-ok. That's the visible proof that the water you're drinking doesn't have THAT in it.
Over time, as contaminants bond to the carbon, they can clog the pores and make it harder for the water to pass through the filters. Cleaning your filters with a 3M non-scratch Scotch Brite Pad will strip away the outer layer of the carbon where the pores are clogged. This will expose a fresh layer of carbon and allow the filters to purify at a faster pace.
You will want to clean the filters anytime they begin to slow in flow or have any visible build up on the exterior of them. Always prime the filters after cleaning them to rid of any air pockets within the filters. They are manufactured to sustain up to 100 cleanings in their lifespan. Proper cleaning is the key to the longevity of the filter’s lifespan.
I Found Mold in My Berkey, Now What?
Take the system apart and clean all small parts and pieces, as well as the stainless steel chambers with dish soap and warm water. DO NOT use any soap on the filters themselves.
You can find more information on cleaning the system here. Once you have the system clean we would suggest scrubbing the Black Berkey filter elements with a 3M Scotch Brite pad or any similar gentle scrubbing tool for about 2-4 minutes under cool running water to remove any buildup from the surface of the filters. After you've scrubbed the filters you'll want to re-prime and reinstall them. You will want to run a pre-treated batch of water through the filters after this to ensure that they are clean. To create a pre-treated batch of water we recommend adding 16 drops of household bleach or iodine for every gallon of water being used and then letting it sit for 30 minutes. You will then want to run this water through the system. The Black Berkey Purifiers have silver in them as proprietary media to ensure that no bacteria will grow within the filters. You can find more information on cleaning the Black Berkey Purifiers here!
After cleaning you will want to run the Red Dye test from the link here. This will tell you if the filers are working or if you will want to purchase another set. All original Berkey filters should pass this test if set up correctly.
What are the Floaters in My Berkey Water?
Floaters sometimes occur with hard (heavily mineralized) water. When the pH level of the purified water is raised, the acidity of the water goes down and the water is no longer able to hold as many minerals in the solution. Because of this, the minerals begin to build up over time. Depending on the mineral composition, they will either sink to the bottom or float to the top. This process is known as flocculation and the precipitated minerals are usually referred to as "white floaters."
Rest assured this is not to raise concern and the floaters are not harmful. They are minerals that were already in your water and now they are simply visible whereas they were previously invisible due to their suspension in an ionic form.
Why is My Berkey Water Cloudy?
Cloudy water is a sign that the Fluoride Filters need additional priming. The cloudiness is causes by residual process dust within the capsule of the filter. Please continue with the following instruction. The priming process may need to be repeated more than once to completely remove any residual manufacturing dust.
1. Plug one end of the fluoride filters with the blue caps they come with initially. If you do not have the blue caps, your thumb will do.
2. From the uncovered end, fill the capsule part way with water and cap/plug both ends.
3. Moderately shake the filters to loosen any residual process dust that may be trapped within the filter. Gently tapping the PF-2 element on the counter a few times will also help to loosen any excess manufacturing dust.
4. Remove both blue caps from the ends of the PF-2 element and empty out any residual water.
5. Next, re-prime the filters following standard procedure.