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Cleaning & Operation

Cleaning & Operation

Printable PDF Berkey Users Manual
Cleaning the Berkey Purification System
Cleaning the Black Berkey Filters
Household Cleaning Instructions
Field Cleaning Instructions
Operation

Cleaning the Berkey Purification System

Washing-BerkeyYour Berkey water filter system is designed for a lifetime of quality service.  So to maintain its peak operational efficiency it is necessary to periodically clean the stainless steel filter housing.  This will remove the scale and deposits of the contaminated water and help your filter to continue to produce the high quality of water you have come to expect.  Since the filter housing is made of a highly polished 304 stainless steel this will be accomplished with relative ease by following the few simple steps.

For normal cleaning you may either wash the unit by hand in warm soapy water or in the dishwasher.  For either method please remove all filter elements prior to cleaning.  However, before placing the unit in the dishwasher, please remove the spigot and knobs as well.  The spigot can be washed in warm soapy water by hand.  You should also scrub the Black Berkey elements at this time see here for cleaning instructions.  After doing so set them aside on a clean surface or preferably store them temporarily in a clean plastic bag.

If your source water contains harmful pathogens be sure to add about 16 drops of regular bleach per gallon of cleaning water.  If your source water is particularly fouled it is recommended to run a filter cycle or two in your Berkey and set this water aside for use in washing out the unit  If you are still unsure if the water is good add chlorine to it as well.

After cleaning, rinse thoroughly with uncontaminated water and allow to air dry if possible.  Reassemble the unit with your freshly scrubbed Black Berkey elements after it has dried, see below for details, your filter is now ready for service.

Notes:

  • It is recommended to perform this cleaning after every six months of service.
  • It is recommended to clean the lower chamber monthly with warm soapy water.
  • If you have hard water and there is scaling build up on the interior of your chamber and spigot after prolonged use, perform the following cleaning method.  Soak the affected parts in vinegar or a 50-50 mix of vinegar and water for about 15 minutes then clean as usual with warm soapy water.  Clean the Black Berkey elements as described below re-prime them and re-install.
  • Do not use scented or industrial strength bleach for purifying your water
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Cleaning the Black Berkey Filters

One of the reasons the Black Berkey filtering elements last so long is the ability to clean them.

The unique micro-pore structure of the Black Berkey is what traps minute particulates on the outermost surface of the filter. Over time, all micro pore filters will become clogged causing the flow rate to decrease. Unlike most filter of this type the Black Berkey simply needs a gentle cleaning to un-block these pores in order to re-gain the proper flow rate again.  Most filter cartridges would have to be replaced but not the Black Berkey.  As a matter of fact, under regular maintenance our filter elements may be cleaned up to 100 times before they need replacement.  This is one more reason why the Black Berkey filter element is far superior to our competition.

The frequency of cleaning is largely determined by the amount of turbidity, total dissolved solids and sediment in the source water.  If you fill a clear container with your source water and it is relatively clear you may only have to infrequently clean your filter elements.  On the other hand, if it is extremely cloudy or turbid, then the elements may have to be scrubbed weekly or even daily to maintain a proper flow rate. To sum it up you should clean your elements when ever the flow rate of your filter is not meeting your current water demands.

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Household Cleaning Instructions

Cleaning-Black-Berkey-Step-1

  1. Empty the water from both chambers of your Berkey system.
  2. Remove the top chamber and set it on its side on any solid surface so it will not roll.
  3. It is important to avoid contamination of the elements core, prevent this by placing your finger over the hole in the element’s stem where the purified water flows from.
  4. Remove the elements by unscrewing the wing nut that secures the Black Berkeys to the housing.
  5. Place the element under running water, be sure the stem is pointed up and does not contact the water stream.
  6. Using a new 3M Scotch Brite® pad, I prefer the Non-Scratch pads, carefully scrub the entire surface of the element for several minutes and then rinse thoroughly.
  7. Re-prime the elements per the instructions here.
  8. Set the filters aside on a clean surface and wash your hands thoroughly.
  9. Reassemble your system; it is now ready for service.
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Field Cleaning Instructions

Field-Cleaning-Black-Berkey

  1. Follow the Precautions described above to provide cleaning water that is free of harmful contaminants prior to proceeding.
  2. In a clean bucket or container add clean purified water.
  3. Empty all of the water from both chambers of your Berkey filter system.
  4. Remove the top chamber and set it on its side on any solid surface so it will not roll.
  5. Remove the elements by unscrewing the wing nut that secure the Black Berkeys to the housing.
  6. Using a new 3M Scotch Brite® pad, I prefer the Non-Scratch pads, carefully scrub the entire surface of the element for several minutes and rinse thoroughly as needed in the clean water.
  7. Clean all elements as detailed and set aside on a clean surface.
  8. Empty the wash water in your bucket and add more freshly purified water as described in the Precaution above.
  9. Submerge the filters in the purified water and set them aside on a clean surface.
  10. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap.
  11. Reassemble your system; it is now ready for service.
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Operation

  • If the system is left to stand for more than 3 days, it is recommended that any water left in the lower chamber be run to waste as well as the new water that is purified during the first 1 minute to also be run to waste.
  • When installing purification elements for the first time or replacing used elements, always prime and condition the new purification elements.
  • After cleaning elements, it is recommended that the elements be re-primed.  This will back-flush any process dust from the pores of the purification elements and prevent premature clogging.
  • When lower chamber is partially filled, be cautious not to overfill upper chamber as this could cause lower chamber to overflow. For example, if the lower chamber is 1/3 full the upper chamber can be refilled by 1/3, if the lower chamber is 1/2 full, then the upper chamber can be refilled by 1/2, etc.
  • While this system can effectively purify untreated pond or river water, always use the cleanest, clearest source possible for filtering.  And while it is not at all necessary, it may be a good idea to run extremely turbid source water from say a lake, pond or stagnant water source thorough a cloth prior to running it though your Berkey to filter out the large “chunks” and reduced the frequency of cleaning required.  As an additional precaution if using water that may contain high concentrations of bacteria or viral contamination, add sixteen drops of household bleach or iodine to every gallon of water being used. Then filter the water through your Berkey system which will filter out the disinfectant and any remaining contaminants or pathogen.
  • If filter is not used regularly, removed the purification elements, allow them to air dry completely and store them for later use in a plastic bag.  Be sure to re-prime them prior to re-installing them in your Berkey System.  Do not store your elements when they are wet.
  • Before their first priming elements can be stored indefinitely, if dried and the stored use as soon as practicable.
  • Do not allow wet purification elements to freeze.
  • Do not place elements in a microwave oven, dishwasher or boiling water to clean or purify them.  They are self sterilizing.
  • Clean only as directed and never use soap when cleaning them.
  • Do not use salt water for your water source.
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