Stainless Steel Systems FAQ’S
What grade of Stainless Steel is used in Berkey® systems?
High grade polished 304-stainless steel.
Is there a Berkey® system that will accommodate large groups?
Yes we offer two systems they are:
1) The Imperial Berkey® system, when configured with six Black Berkey®
purification elements can purify up to 400 gallons per day (~17 gallons per
hour) when the upper chamber is full. This is enough to provide for up to 200
people on a sustained basis and up to 800 people on a short-term emergency
2) The Crown Berkey® system, when configured with eight Black Berkey®
purification elements can purify up to 650 gallons per day (~27 gallons per
hour) when the upper chamber is full. This is enough to provide for up to 325
people on a sustained basis and up to 1,300 people on a short-term
What is the most convenient method for filling the upper reservoir?
Most people use a pitcher to pour water into the upper chamber however, if
you have a spray hose on your sink, using it to refill the system is a very
The water in the upper chamber of my Berkey® system does not drain
all the way. Is this normal?
Yes it is normal and not unusual for the last 1/2" to 1" of water to remain in
the upper chamber. By design the water must pass through very fine micro
pores within the elements in order to pass from the upper chamber to the
lower. The lower the water level in the upper chamber, the lower the pressure
available to force the water through the micro pores. You might have noticed
that the system purifies much faster when full than when half full. That is
because there is more pressure. The only way to remedy the problem would
be to enlarge the pores within the filter elements. That would of course,
reduce the efficiency of the purification elements. During each cycle the water
left from the previous cycle mixes with the water from the current cycle and is
then purified. You should not be concerned about the excess water during
normal use however if you discontinue using your filter for a period of time
such as during a vacation, it would not hurt to empty the upper chamber
I have been using my system for about six months and the flow rate
has slowed down considerably. Do I need to replace the elements?
No, unlike other filtration elements Black Berkey® purification elements are re-
cleanable. What typically causes the filters to drip slowly is turbidity and
sediment clogging the micro-pores of the purification elements. Simply remove
the elements from your system, scrub the exterior of each element with
preferably a white ScotchBrite pad or stiff toothbrush. Simply scrub a section
of the filter until you see a bit of black on the white pad then move to the next
section. It’s simple to do and takes less than a minute. Then re-prime each
element and reinstall them. Your problem should now be fixed.
How do I know when it is time to replace the elements in my system?
The best way to gauge when to replace the filters is to do the following:
1) Multiply the number of filters in your system by 3,000 gallons to get
Total Gallons For All Filters within the system.
2) Next keep a track of how many times you need to refill the upper
chamber in one week.
3) Then multiply that figure times the capacity in gallons of your particular
system (for example the Berkey Light™ system is 2.75 gallons) to determine
Total Gallons Used Per Week.
4) Finally divide the Total Gallons Used Per Week into the Total Gallons For
All Filters and that will tell you how many weeks before the filters should be
5) Next calculate the future date for replacement (52 weeks per year) and
write that date on a sticker and attach it to the bottom of your system for
By the way, if you have been using your system for some time now, you can
still use the above formula to determine when to replace the elements. Just
count forward from the date you purchased your system.
I will soon be leaving the country. Is there a way to test my Berkey®
system to make sure it is working properly?
Yes, anytime you plan on taking your system out of the country we advise
that you always perform the following test prior to leaving. You should test
your filters by filling the upper chamber with water then add a tablespoon of
food coloring for every gallon of water within your upper chamber. If the food
coloring is removed entirely, your filtration system is working properly. If not,
check to make sure that the wing nuts on your elements are securely
tightened then re-run the test.
By the way, always prime new purification elements before leaving the country,
as you may not have enough water pressure to be able to prime the elements
at your destination.
I just purchased a Berkey® system but the system is hardly filtering
any water at all. Am I doing something wrong?
Typically the problem you are experiencing is due to high water tension, which
prevents the air from being purged from the micro pores of the new
purification elements. Included with your Black Berkey® elements is a priming
button and instructions for use. Please remove and prime your purification
elements, reinstall them and that should fix the problem.
I have found that when I boil the water or freeze it into ice cubes, I
sometimes get little white floating things in the water. What is this
With respect to the little white floaters in the water, it is not bacteria but
rather a problem that sometimes occurs with hard (heavily mineralized) water.
When water is filtered through your system, the Black Berkey® purification
elements actually increase the PH of the water. This is healthful as Pathogenic
bacteria and viruses thrive in acidic environments and conversely have difficulty
surviving in alkaline environments. This is also true inside your body. 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 solution. When
this happens the minerals begin to precipitate out over time and 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". The bottom line is that this is nothing to be
concerned about, the white floaters are minerals that were already in your
water; they are now simply visible whereas they were previously invisible due
to their suspension in an ionic form.
I did a TDS reading on the purified water and was surprised to find
that the reading was about the same with the purified water as it was
with the unpurified water. Is my system working properly?
Yes, a TDS meter measures only Total Dissolved Solids or minerals; dissolved
solids are simply dissolved minerals in an ionic form. A TDS meter does not
measure the amount of biological and chemical contaminates. Black Berkey®
elements are designed to leave in your water the healthful and beneficial
minerals and to extract only the unwanted heavy metals such as lead and
mercury as well as sedimentary minerals such as iron oxide and aluminum.
Therefore, your TDS reading will not change much unless you have a
significant amount of heavy metals or sedimentary minerals in your water.