How To Clean Berkey Water Filters in the Sink or a Bucket

berkey-black-filters

How To Clean Berkey Filters

(Sometimes called black Berkey filters, filter elements, ceramic filters, or candles)

If you have a countertop / tabletop water filter system such as the Berkey or other brands that use ‘filter candle’ elements, every once in awhile you will need to clean the filters themselves. Eventually the water flow slows down as they get clogged.

I own two Berkey countertop water filters. One for the house, the other for the RV. I’ve owned them for MANY years. They have been a great investment! Clean, pure drinking water is #1 !

Travel Berkey Water Filter System
Travel Berkey – Specs

Even though the Berkey water filters (elements) themselves 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.

Note: You may simply need filter replacements (good to have spares).

Berkey Purification Elements (Black)
Ceramic Filter Elements (White)

Difference between the newer Berkey ‘Black’ filters and the White ceramic:
Berkey Black Filters vs. White Ceramic

For your interest (PDF download) :
Specifications for Berkey’s Black filter elements

 

How To Clean Berkey Water Filters In The Sink

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.

Question: Does it matter if you use hot or cold water to clean it?

Answer: I had inquired a few years ago (to Berkey) about hot vs. cold, and at that time they recommended to NOT use hot (boiling) water. So, I use cool water from the tap…

5. Using a new ‘Scotch-Brite’ type scrubbing 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

Tip: Don’t over-tighten the plastic wingnuts. Just good and snug.

 

How To Clean Berkey Water Filters In A Bucket

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 ‘Scotch-Brite’ type scrubbing 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.

 

Berkey Filter Tips

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

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

3. Keep a spare set of filters on hand. The price will only go up later. If SHTF long-term, you will be very glad you have extras.

4. Clean the inside of both stainless steel basins while you have the filter elements out. It tends to get musty in there after a period of time. It depends on your water, but you may want to clean the reservoirs more often.

5. If the outside of your filters are clogged with water deposits, lime or calcium: They need a good scrub so that the water can get through to the filter. Scrub with a NEW scrubby and rinse with cool water. Use no soap. Use a bit of diluted vinegar to facilitate scrubbing all that off.

6. If storing your Berkey filter for a while after having used it: Leave the cover off. Because this will allow the filters to dry out without getting algea / mold.

7. A MSB comment: “We are campers, but our (clear) Berkey stays home. When we are going to be away we remove the filters and place them in zip loc baggies and store them in the refrigerator to keep them from drying out which also seems to prevent mold.”

 
Read more: 5 Berkey Accessories For Your Countertop Filter

Read more: ‘Sawyer Mini’ portable water filter Review

  

26 Comments

  1. Defcon 01/27/2019
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        • Lauren 01/28/2019
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