How To Prime the Black Berkey Filters

Before using the Black Berkey Filters they must be primed. It is imperative for optimal water flow. Priming is running water through the filters to fully saturate them. The priming process should only take a few minutes to do.



How to Prime Berkey Filters with the Prime Rite Tool

The Prime Rite tool is exclusive to This blue silcone tool allows for a quicker and easier way to prime both the Berkey Black Filters and Fluoride Filters. The Prime Rite is included in the Quick Start Kit, free with every system purchase. It can also be purchased in the Berkey Maintenance Kit.

1. Attach PrimeRite to faucet, put it as far up the water spout as possible.
2. Remove wingnut and washer from Black Berkey Filter.
3. Hold filter in one hand and gently put the stem of the filter into the small opening of the PrimeRite.
4. Continue to hold the filter and slowly turn on the water until it's a low but steady flow. Use cold water.
If the PrimeRite inflates or forms a bulb, turn water pressure down. 
5. Run water through the filter until beads of water appear on the sides of the filter. Approximately one minute.
6. Turn off water and remove filter from PrimeRite. Prime all filters before installing in system. 

How to Prime Berkey Filters with a Priming Button

Included with all systems and filters, the Berkey Priming Button is a thick tan washer. It can be used with either of the filters. It funnels water into the filter interior to saturate the media and flush out air and manufacturing dust.

1. Place the washer, wingnut and tan colored priming button on the Black Berkey Filter.
2. Place the stem of the Black Berkey Filter between the fingers and using the wing nut for grip press the priming button against the faucet.
3. While holding the priming button against the faucet, turn on the faucet slowly, allowing the water to fill the inside of the Black Berkey Filter.
4. Allow the exterior wall of the Black Berkey Filter  to sweat beads of water for about 10 seconds.
5. The Black Berkey Filter has now been successfully primed. 


How to Prime Berkey Black Filters by Soaking

When water pressure is not adequate or available use this method to Prime Black Berkey Filters. This method can also be used if PrimeRite isn't compatible with a certain faucet. Filters must be left overnight or for an extended period of time to become fully saturated. 

Fluoride Filter cannot be primed effectively without water pressure.

1. Place the filters upright (stem up) in a container such as the bottom chamber. Place a mug or glass over the filters to weigh it down.
2. Let soak for at least eight hours.
3. Remove mugs. If filters float they may need additional priming. If they sink they are now primed. 

How to Prime Berkey Filters with Black Berkey Primer

The Black Berkey Primer, is a hand powered priming, and purging bulb, which allows you to prime your Black Filters without water pressure, faster than the soak method. The Black Berkey Primer is an accessory which can be purchased separately.

Fluoride Filter cannot be primed with the Black Berkey Primer.

1. Attach the valves to the plastic tubes and bulb.
2. Connect the threaded piece of the tube onto the stem of the filter.
3. Place the filter in enough water to cover the filter, such as the bottom chamber completely filled.
4. Squeeze or pump the bulb until water comes out of the other end.

Priming Black Filter - Faucet InstructionsPriming Black Filter - Water Beading

Why is Priming the Black Berkey Filter Elements important?

Priming the Black Berkey Filter before first use is part of the initial setup process. It is necessary for the filters to function properly and get adequate flow. The media inside the filters are very dense and has a lot of surface tension. Water has a hard time penetrating this dense medium the first time the filter is used. Forcing water through the Black Berkey filter relieves this surface tension. 

The micropore structure of the Black Berkey Filters are minute in size, in fact, they are so small that red food coloring will not pass through the filter. The main reason this is so important is that it provides a greater efficiency at removing pathogenic bacteria and other contaminants. The downside is that too much surface tension means that the filters require the priming, they can't be used immediately right out of the box. However, the priming process is well worth the benefits of the filters. From the factory the Black Berkey Filters are dry and the air is trapped within the tiny micropores. In some places, water has more water tension than in other places and this can change from season to season. The higher the tension, the more difficult it is for the water to force the air out of the micropores of the filter using gravity alone. This trapped air does not allow water to pass through the filter. This then causes the system to either filter very slowly or not at all.

Before traveling to and using the Berkey system in an area without water pressure we recommend that the purification filters be primed using the priming button. If this is not possible the filters can be primed approximately 50% by using the below method. In other words, using this method the filters will not produce flow as fast as they would using the priming button method however they will filter significantly faster than if the Berkey elements had not been primed at all. This alternative priming method is as follows:

STEP 1: If your Berkey system is assembled, remove the purification filters from the upper chamber. Next, fill the lower chamber with water, then place the purification elements into the lower chamber, upside down with the stems facing upward, and put a ceramic coffee cup (or something else that will hold them under the water) on top of each purification element stem to force the element down under the water. Let the purification elements soak for several hours. This will force some of the air out of the stubborn pores. NOTE: Make sure that opening in the stems of the purification elements are not underwater as we want the water to be forced through the pores rather than entering through the hole in the stem.

STEP 2: The inside of the Berkey purification filters should now be full of water and significantly heavier. Try to keep as much water on the inside of the purification elements as is possible as you reassemble the purification element into the upper chamber by keeping the stems facing upward. Empty the water from the lower chamber and place the upper chamber back onto the lower chamber. Immediately fill the upper chamber with water.

When the Berkey purification filters have water within the bore (inside core), more force is generated to draw it through the purification element. This is because the water that drips out of the purification elements also hydraulically pulls new water into the purification element as the purification element begins to work like a siphon. Thus, in addition to the "push" of gravity, there is also a hydraulic "pull" and this drastically improves the ability of the water to force the air from the micropores. The above method is less efficient than priming the filtering cartridges with the priming button supplied with your filters but should be about 75-80% effective in clearing the blocked micropores.

Let the water in the lower chamber run to waste and refill the upper chamber with water. Your Black Berkey Filters are now primed and ready for use.

  Priming Black Berkey Filters

  Pair of Black Berkey Filters

 Set of BF2's