sow simple.

Priming Black Berkeys

Priming the Black Berkey Purification Element

Printable PDF Berkey Users Manual


Household Priming Method

The micro pores on the Black Berkey® purification elements are extremely small, in fact they are small enough to filter pathogenic bacteria and other contaminates. But the high water tension created by the micro pores requires that the purification elements be primed before water will flow through them properly. When your elements arrive, they are dry and air is trapped within the micro fine pores. Use the following procedure to prime your elements for use.

Priming-Black-Berkey-Step-1Step 1) Place the washer and wing nut onto the Black Berkey element as shown.  Press the tan colored rubber priming button onto the stem of the Black Berkey purification element with the small end facing the element.

Priming-Black-Berkey-Step-2Step 2) Place the stem of the Black Berkey element between your fingers and using the wing nut for grip press the large end of the priming button against the faucet.

Priming-Black-Berkey-Step-3Step 3) While holding the priming button against the faucet, turn on the cold water slowly, gently allowing water to fill the cavity of the element.

Priming-Black-Berkey-Step-4Step 4) Allow the exterior wall of the element to sweat beads of water for about 5 seconds.

Priming-Black-Berkey-Step-5Step 5)  And rinse the dust fines from the exterior of the Black Berkey purification element.

Note: Do not discard the Priming Button but save it for future use such as re-priming the elements after cleaning, if the elements have dried out or if re-priming is necessary when traveling.


No Water Pressure Priming Method


In some parts of the world, the water has higher water tension than in others, which can change from season to season. The higher the water tension, the more difficult it is for the water to force the air out of the micro pores using gravity alone. The pores become air locked and do not allow water to pass through. This causes the system to either filter very slowly or not at all.

Before traveling or using the system in an area without water pressure we recommend that the purification elements are primed using the priming button method. However if it is not possible to prime them prior to leaving and there is no water pressure available to use the priming button method, the elements can be primed  in the field by using the method below.

Precaution:If you are traveling abroad or to an area known to have no pressurized water service, we recommend that you take along water in plastic bottles. You can perform this priming method without purifying the water but only if you are sure of the quality of the bottled water used other wise add 16 drops of chlorine bleach to each gallon of bottled water. Again be absolutely sure of the quality of the bottle water or purify the water with chlorine:  1 Pint add 2 drops, 1 Quart add 4 drops, and 1 Gallon add 16 drops.

Field-Priming-Black-Berkey-Step-1Step 1) Place black washer onto the elements stem, next thread the plastic nut onto the stem as if you where installing the element in your filter but only until the tip of the stem protrudes slightly through the other side of the nut. Place the tan colored Priming Button on to the protruding stem.

Field-Priming-Black-Berkey-Step-1Step 2) Quickly place an opened bottle of water over the Priming Button covering the hole of the Priming Button completely with the bottle’s mouth. Keeping a firm seal between the bottle’s mouth and the Priming button gently begin to squeeze the plastic bottle until its contents are emptied into the Black Berkey element. The element should now be significantly heavier with the addition of the water and depending on the size of the plastic bottle may now be beading up with water in which case it is fully primed. However another bottle of water maybe required to completely fill the element and force all the air from within its pores. If water is not beading up on the outside of the filter element then repeat the above procedure with another bottle of water. Repeat as necessary until all filter elements are primed and ready for installation into your filter system.

Note: This method may be more easily accomplished with the help of another man or woman.  Alternately, a Sport Berkey® maybe used to prime the filter, simply insert the straw from the Sport into the hole of the Priming Button and squeeze until beads of water can be seen on the outside of the element.