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 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 the flow rate slows down or have any visible scum on their exterior. 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 and the stainless steel chambers with dish soap and warm water. Please 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 suggest scrubbing the Black Berkey filter elements. Use a 3M Scotch Brite pad or any similar gentle scrubbing tool for about 2-4 minutes under cool running water to remove any build-up 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 their proprietary media to ensure that no bacteria grow within the filters. You can find more information on cleaning the Black Berkey Purifiers here!
After cleaning your filters from mold, you will want to run the Red Dye Test. This will tell you if the filters 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 already in your water, and now they are visible, whereas they were previously invisible due to their suspension in an ionic form.