Berkey Systems Tips and Suggestions
If you leave the system unused for more than 3 days, it is recommended that any water left in the lower chamber be discarded as well as the new water that is purified in the first minute of re-use.
After cleaning the Black Berkey elements it is recommended that the elements be re-primed. This will back-flush any impurities from the pores of the filter elements and prevent premature clogging.
If you plan to leave the system unused for a longer time such as a trip or vacation, it’s best to empty both reservoirs and leave them upside-down in the dish rack to dry. Upon your return you will need to re-prime the Berkey water filter elements.
For refilling the upper chamber a large pitcher or jug is best kept in the vicinity. You can also use a flexible faucet or a hose attached to your faucet.
When the lower chamber is partially filled be careful not to overfill the upper chamber as this could cause the lower chamber to overflow. For example, if the lower chamber is 1/2 full the upper chamber can be refilled by 1/2. If the lower chamber is 1/3 full then the upper chamber can be refilled by 2/3 etc.
In our experience it’s best to attach a sightglass spigot to a stainless steel system. This saves having to lift the upper chamber, peeking in the lower chamber and then having to estimate how much water is in the lower chamber. If you make an inaccurate estimation you may overfill the upper chamber leading to overflow of the lower chamber. A sightglass spigot can be purchased separately under accessories when ordering a Berkey water filter system.
If you unfortunately do overfill and experience an overflow, you may find that hardly any water comes out of the spigot. Just lift the upper chamber slightly to let in some air. This should remedy the problem.
It’s best to wash the lower chamber in ordinary dishwater every month or 2.
If leaking occurs around the washers of the spigot, make sure that you have washers on both sides of the stainless steel chamber (white outside beveled side facing system hole, black inside for stainless systems). Hand tighten as much as you can and leave the spigot about 90-180 degrees out of phase. Then, clasping the nut in the back with a wrench turn the spigot itself that last quarter to half turn using the spigot as leverage to get a tighter fit. If this is ineffective, please soak the washers in olive oil for approximately 1 hour. Sometimes the washers can dry out and get hard over time and the olive oil will soften them up allowing for a good seal. To see a diagram of spigot installation please click here.
An important tip to ensure you get the full life out of your Black Berkey filters is to fill the upper chamber to the top every time (always checking that the lower chamber has enough room for the water). This will allow for the entire length of the filter to be put to use so that the filter gets used up evenly.
To avoid de-threading the wing nuts when installing or re-installing the Black Berkey filters only tighten until the wing nut is just about to skip a turn. Do not continue tightening (turning the wing nut) as this will de-thread the wing nut, rendering it useless.