Please read all the notes below for information on maintaining your Berkey®, calculating your filters lifespan, and the Red Food Dye test.
Your Black Berkey® Elements will slow down when the micro pores become clogged with contaminants and/or dry out. They need Cleaning and Re-Priming every 1-6 months depending on your source water quality. Once completed, your elements will return to approximately their 100% optimal flow rate.
1. Remove the elements and scrub the outer surface all over and vigorously with a stiff kitchen brush or green Scotch-Brite pad under cold running water.
6. You are good to go!
Here are some helpful videos:
If you would like to purchase the Black Berkey® Primer to make this process easier, you may do so easily and securely here:
If you have lost your instructions, they are all available here:
- Wash the lower reservoir of your Berkey® and your spigot with soap and water once a month. Use some vinegar if you have mineral build-up.
- If you have the optional alkaline stones, boil them once every 3 months to sterilize them.
Filter lifespan reminders:
- PF2 Fluoride Filters Lifespan, as a pair – 3,785 liters – About 1 year for most folks. Divide 3,785 by your average daily usage in liters to determine how many days yours will last.
- Black Berkey® Elements Lifespan, as a pair – 22,700 liters – About 4-6 years for most folks. Perform the Red Food Dye Test explained below to know if they are still working 100%.
- Berkey® Shower Filter Lifespan – 75,000 liters or 1 year, whichever comes first.
- Sport Berkey® Filter Lifespan – up to 640 refills with municipal water, or 160 refills with untreated water.
- Alkalizing Mineral Stones Lifespan – 2 years. Boil these every 3 months to sterilize them.
The Red Food Colouring Test must be performed periodically as per the manufacturer’s instructions included with your Berkey®.
This is the method to determine if your Black Berkey® elements are working 100%. Do not use organic or natural food colouring as it does not work for this test. The most common brand of Red Food Dye here in Canada is ‘Club House’.
- If you have the PF2 Fluoride filters, remove them before doing this test. The dye will damage them.
- Place your upper chamber on 4-6 equal sized strong glasses so each filter and/or blocking plug is centered over each glass. This way you can watch and see if/where any red water is leaking through.
- Completely fill the upper chamber of a Travel, Light, Big, or Royal Berkey® with water, and then add a quarter (1/4) teaspoon or less of red food colouring to the upper chamber, stirring well. Add a half (1/2) teaspoon or less to the upper chamber of an Imperial or Crown Berkey. The water should have a slight pinkish tinge.
- NOTE: This amount is less than the manufacturer instructs because those are American instructions based on American Red Food Dye (McCormick’s), which we do not have here in Canada. The most common brand here in Canada is Club House and we have found less of it is required for this test.
- If the food colouring is completely removed, your Black Berkey® Elements are working 100%.
- If any red food colouring is leaking through, it is necessary to determine where, for it could be through one of the blocking plugs, leaking around a loose wing-nut, or you may have a cracked/faulty Black Berkey® element.