How To Clean The Berkey Water Filter Elements

January 19, 2016, by Ken Jorgustin

berkey-black-filters

(Sometimes called filter candles)

If you have a gravity water filter system such as the Berkey, or any type which uses ‘filter candle’ elements, every once in awhile you will need to clean the filters that are inside. They eventually get coated with ‘stuff’, the outside of the filters become discolored, and the flow will slow down.

Even though the water filter elements will filter thousands of gallons (apprx. 3,000 gallons each), periodically they will require cleaning due to the contaminants of the sourced water which will adhere to the surface.

Here’s how to clean and renew a Berkey water filter candle:


 
I currently own two Berkey drinking water filters, one for the house and one for the trailer. I’ve owned one of them for well over 10 years and the other for several years – without issue. It has been one of the better preparedness investments that I’ve made.

Clean, pure drinking water is #1.

For your interest (PDF download),
Specifications for Berkey black filter elements

 

How To Clean A Berkey Water Filter Element At Home

how-to-clean-berkey-filter
image: BerkeyFilters

1. Empty all of the water from your Berkey system.

2. Remove the top container and set it on its side on a solid surface like a table or countertop.

3. Remove the filters by unscrewing the wing nut that secures the Black Berkey element to the container.

4. Hold the filter under the running faucet, with the exit hole pointed up.

Note: Do not allow contaminated water to enter the core of the Berkey filtering element. This can be prevented by placing your finger over the hole where the water exits the filter.

5. Using a new 3M Scotch-Brite pad, carefully scrub the black surface of the filter element for several minutes.

6. Set the elements aside and wash your hands.

7. Reassemble the unit

 

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Berkey Replacement Black Purification Elements, Set of 2
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How To Clean A Berkey Water Filter Element In The Field

how-to-clean-berkey-filter-element
image: BerkeyFilters

Note: All water used to clean the filters and the unit must be free of harmful contaminants prior to proceeding.

Note: Do not allow contaminated water to enter the core of the Berkey filtering element. This can be prevented by placing your finger over the hole where the water exits the filter.

 
1. In a clean bucket, basin, or other similar container, add clean water. If you are forced to clean your Berkey system elements with compromised water, add 16 drops of household bleach or iodine for every gallon of water being used to clean the elements.

2. Empty all of the water from your Berkey system.

3. Remove the top container and set it on its side on a clean solid surface like a table or countertop.

4. Remove the filters by unscrewing the wing nut that secures the Black Berkey element to the container.

5. Using a new 3M Scotch-Brite pad, carefully scrub the outer black surface of the filtering element, rinsing it as needed in the clean water.

6. Clean all filters as described above and set them aside on a clean surface.

7. Empty the container and add more fresh, clean, bleach-treated water as described in precaution above.

8. Submerge the filters in the fresh, clean, bleach-treated water, and set them aside on a clean surface.

9. Wash your hands with soap.

10. Reinstall the filters in the system.

 

Tips

During the winter when I’m not using the trailer, I remove the Berkey and bring it inside the house because the filter elements could potentially crack under freezing conditions.

Don’t drop the filter elements! They are expensive!

Keep a spare set of filter elements for future use. The prices will only go up in the future…

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Big Berkey Stainless Steel Water Filtration System with 2 Black Filter Elements
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