I want to talk to you about my Berkey water filter which I love so stinkin’ much. But I want to discuss specifically 10 Berkey Water Filter mistakes to avoid. Unfortunately, some of these lessons were learned the hard way! Let’s see if we can prevent you from doing any of the same.
I often talk about my Berkey in my Instagram stories or on my blog, and I always get loads of questions about it.
POST UPDATE: We tested our Berkey water with an independent laboratory. Here are my results and what I think of the Berkey after testing our water.
DISCOUNT CODE FOR BERKEY WATER FILTER
If you are on the market for a Berkey, I have coordinated with them to offer you a coupon code! Use the code “TIDBITS” at checkout to save a little moolah!
You can check out this post to read my Berkey review and discover the reasons why you should buy one, but for now—10 Berkey mistakes to avoid!
WATCH THIS POST
If you prefer video, you can watch my video on this topic.
1) Buying the wrong size
The first Berkey I got was the Big Berkey, which holds 2.25 gallons of water. I thought that would be plenty for our family of 6, but I found I was filling it at least 2 times a day, which was annoying.
I just recently upgraded to the Royal Berkey, which holds 3.25 gallons, and feels just about perfect since my kids don’t drink that much and my husband works all day.
I always suggest to people to buy as big as your space will allow. You want to make sure the Berkey you buy isn’t taller than the spot you have for it.
We don’t have upper cabinets here so the Royal Berkey is a nice size, without feeling too bulky in our kitchen.
With the extra gallon it holds, it works perfectly for us.
You also don’t want it to be too big for your daily water consumption because you don’t want those filters to sit dry too long.
2) Filling the top chamber before the bottom chamber is empty
The filters sit in this top chamber and you pour the water in. It slowly drips and filters the clean beautiful water into the bottom chamber.
Well, if you haven’t drank through the water in the bottom chamber and you go to fill the top chamber again—you might guess what happens. Your cup overfloweth!
Your water will start to seep out of the middle and spill everywhere. It is the worst if someone does this as you all make your way to bed and you wake up with water everywhere.
I speak from experience. It took the hubs awhile to figure out he has to check that bottom chamber before he refills.
3) Leaving the spigot on
Another water mishap can happen if say a child comes to get a drink and notices the water is really low.
Well, then the child turns the spigot on, tips the berkey to pour out the last bit of water they can get, and walks away with the spigot still turned on.
They don’t notice it because the water level is below the spigot and so it isn’t pouring out.
Well, then an adult comes to fill the Berkey, unawares that the spigot is not closed—fills and walks away.
As the bottom chamber fills up, the water just starts to drain.
Just always check that spigot before filling and make sure it is closed—because the kids certainly won’t.
4) Filling the Berkey partially
To keep your filters working equally well, you want to always fill the top to completely submerge the filters and then let them drain completely.
If you continually just fill it maybe half way, then you are going to have only half of the filters working and wearing out faster than the top half.
We make it a practice to drink it all completely and then fill completely to get an even wear on the filters.
5) Letting your filters stay dirty
These filters work really well, and you will begin to see a build up or residue on them.
Depending on how contaminated the water is, will depend on how fast that build up accumulates.
You have to clean your filters regularly, and you will begin to notice how frequently you need to do this because the water won’t filter through as fast or even all the way through.
We lived in an Airbnb for a few weeks while our home was finishing up, and the water was very high in iron—like yellow.
I had to clean the filters weekly or more because it would cake the filters so quick. But man, was I grateful we had it then!
We were able to drink pure and delicious tasting water even with the terrible well water we had access to.
6) Letting your filters get dry
As I alluded to already, you don’t want to let those filters sit dry for too long. If you are not drinking through a complete cycle in a day, you may have bought too big of a Berkey.
If the filters go dry for too long, you will have to reprime them to get them to work at their optimum best. So generally, you want to fill daily, keeping them wet and moist.
If you will be traveling or putting it away, you want to scrub the filters and then let them dry thoroughly.
This will really extend the life of your filters and keep them working well for you.
7) Letting your filters get too old
You will eventually need new filters. You can read up on the Berkey site about when to do this, but with 2 filters in here filling every day, they estimate they will last up to 3 years!
We noticed our old filters not working well about 3.5 years in. They just wouldn’t drain well even after scrubbing them.
It is worth it to plan for that replacement and not let them get too old so your filter will work as great as possible.
8) Buying a used Berkey without replacing the filters
I had a friend wanting to buy our old Berkey from us. But I warned her that she would need to buy replacement filters.
I highly recommend if you are buying a used Berkey, just plan on the need to buy new filters and then price check the advantage of doing that versus just buying a new one.
If you need to save money on the purchase, they do have a scratch and dent sale section on their site.
9) Skipping the priming of your elements or the red food coloring test
This relates to the first things you will do when you get your new Berkey. There are many videos and instructions that come with the Berkey to teach you how to prime the filter elements and to test your set up with the red dye test.
Both the priming and red dye test are crucial to make sure it is all working as it should be—so don’t skip it!
10) Cleaning your filters with a dirty scrubbing pad or with soap
You want to keep as much bacteria or contaminates away from those filters as much as possible.
I keep a handful of disposable and inexpensive scrubbing pads on hand to clean the filters, and then I always toss them after the clean.
I think we all know how dirty those sponges can get and how well they grow bacteria, so using a fresh clean one for your filters is a really good idea.
Also, just use water to clean and scrub. Soap could potentially plug the filters or coat them with chemicals or irritants and they won’t work as well. I promise, running water and a clean sponge works like a charm.
I’ve had friends ask me if I don’t like not having cold water to drink. We absolutely love drinking room temp water, and if you take a minute to research it cold water is actually a bit stressful on the digestive system.
I drink way more water when it is not ice cold anyway and my kids don’t know any different. We do have ice, for those hot summer days if needed.
The water filters are made with top quality materials like stainless steel. The replaceable parts in the filters last three and a half years for us, so we drank lots of clean water in that timeframe! I say Berkey is absolutely worth the money because the products last, and we have peace of mind knowing that we are drinking water without contaminants.
Remember to use the code “TIDBITS” when shopping for a Berkey to save a 5%!
I’d love to hear if you have questions, comments or perhaps Berkey water filter mistakes you have made with your water filter, if you have one.