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dave109 09-25-2012 04:34

Big Berkey Question
Just got my Big Berkey water filters, and made my own 5 gallon water bucket system.

Seemed to work good, passed the red color test.

The only problem was when it got down to about 1 gallon of water to filter. It seemed extremely slow, almost non existent water dripping.

I seem to remember reading that the black water filters require a lot of water to get the necessary pressure to filter water.

Is this normal with the berkey water filter? Slow or non existent dripping with about 1 gallon of water in the top chamber?

SFCSMITH(RET) 09-25-2012 06:02

There is less flow when there is less pressure.. Did you "burp" the cartridges first? That helps a lot to get good flow through the whole filter.

rwrjr 09-25-2012 06:05

Are you sure you have 1 gallon left? I've had my Berkey for several years and I only have several ounces left. The filtering flow rate does increase with water pressure.

Since it is a gravity feed system it isn't going to be a speed demon.

quake 09-25-2012 08:03

+1 on the burping or priming of the cartridges; that's pretty much critical with the black berkey filters. Also, you can expect to have an inch or a little less of water remaining pretty much constantly in the bottom. As others have pointed out, just not enough pressure with that small remaining amount, to overcome the resistance of running thru the cartridges. Having more water in there not only increases the positive pressure on the cartridges, it also increases the surface area of the water in relation to the cartridges, which also helps to speed up flow as well.

If you haven't primed them, you probably want to remove & clean them and then re-install them. (Obviously, be sure to use clean, potable water for both cleaning and priming.)

Priming PDF:

Priming video:


Cleaning video:

dave109 09-25-2012 10:44

Thanks guys,

My filters didn't come with a priming washer for some reason.

Not priming it correctly probably is the problem.

I wasn't too concerned about not having a priming washer because during a shtf situation, there probably wouldn't be water pressure anyway. I'll use a water bottle and squirt water into the filters and see if that works.

But I'll call and ask for a priming washer too just to play it safe.

Thanks so much for your time guys,

syntaxerrorsix 09-25-2012 11:50

It will start flowing better even if you do nothing. The water just needs time to soak in.

garyo 09-25-2012 16:29

Please note the second video is INCORRECT!

DO NOT USE a Brillo pad or anything that has any type of soap or cleaner on it.
Also do not use any type of metal scouring pad such as SS, brass, or copper. These two items will damage the black filter.

Use only a clean, new nylon scotch-type pad to clean the filter.

quake 09-25-2012 17:47


Originally Posted by garyo (Post 19456099)
...Use only a clean, new nylon scotch-type pad to clean the filter.

Correct; I just saw the "scotch brite" box in the view and didn't realize it wasn't a normal scotch-brite.

Garyo is absolutely right - just a plain old, green, non-soaped scotch-brite is what you want to use.

My bad and thanks garyo for catching it. :thumbsup:

cowboy1964 09-25-2012 20:24

The instructions state that you should clean your elements every six months with a scotch brite pad. I have found that to NOT be a good idea. Certainly, if they get a film on them you should rinse them off, but do not scrub them. This tends to clog them up. Instead, just leave them alone until they stop filtering or slow down so much that you are not getting very much water.

When and if they stop filtering, remove them and using a vegetable peeler, peel a thin layer all the way around the Black Berkey element and up to the top like you would a carrot. This will open them up, removing the layer of clogged material off the elements. You can then re-prime (only if needed) and re-install them into your Berkey water filter system.

quake 09-26-2012 06:15

Never heard the 'vegetable peeler' thing before. Might be ok, but be aware that there are a lot of "berkey" sites that are dealers with their own ideas, not necessarily ideas recommended by the mfr.

Providence 09-28-2012 20:57

We've had our berkey royal for about 2 weeks. There is a little water left in the bottom, but you get used to it. Also, the water tasted a little funny at first.

Please vote! It's that important!

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