Do you use a Berkey? (failed filter tests)
If you use a Berkey water filter with Black Berkey elements, please comment your experience below.
- Have you run the red food dye test every few months of use, as recommended by the manufacturer?
- If so, how long have your filters lasted until they failed the test? (This assumes that you used them regularly during this period.)
I'd love to hear the experience of others. Here's why I ask. I bought the Go Berkey and the Big Berkey after reading the lab tests of everything that Black Berkey filters are supposed to filter out of the water. The list is almost endless. I was very excited. But by now I've gone through 4 black berkey filters and they've all failed the red dye test after just 2-4 weeks of use! (except one filter which I didn't test initially and failed on the first test I did after about 2 months). I called the manufacturer and they told me to scrub the exterior of the filters that had failed with the green part of a Scotch Brite, rinse, re-prime, and test again, and all 4 filters failed the second test again. The 4 filters that failed came from 3 different sellers, so I can't even blame it on they all coming from the same manufacturing batch.
So how can I trust these darn things to safely filter unsafe water in a long emergency if they fail after maybe 20 gallons of tap water instead of the 3000 gallons they are supposed to be good for?
Note: Read the red food dye test instructions carefully. It has to be FD&C 40 or 3 dye, such as McCormick's (other dyes can give false results).
I also bought the big Berkey in 2010, with 8 black filters. They all failed after a few months of use. Some of them failed spectacularly, coming completely off the base they were glued to. Tap water was just pouring through. Useless, and angry-making after spending so much money. So my Berkey sat unused for seven years while I waited and read reviews, looking for good filters to replace the bad ones. I’ve finally found good replacements at the infowars store. They’re real ceramic and ship from England. They’re heavy and smell like calcium. I screwed them into my existing Berkey housing and they work better than the original black filters. Construction looks top-notch, the base being firmly secured to the filter body.
The new white ceramic filters passed the blue dye test a week after I installed them. I haven’t tested them again, but I have no reason to question them yet because my tap water tastes 100% better than the mothball smell/flavor it has coming out the tap. Also, I know the original black berkey filters were made of plastic because they melted when I tested a broken one at my stove burner. Ceramic wouldn’t melt like that.
The replacement filters I found are at: https://www.infowarsstore.com/health-and-wellness/water-filtration/proone-g20-filter-elements-pair-7-nomad-and-big-pair.html
I hope this is helpful to you. If you watch for a sale, these filters are sometimes less expensive. Or you can find a different source for the same filter, but I like supporting infowars.
Finally, my Berkey is back in operation after a 7 year break.
Darn. I’ve seen that same problem in many reviews on Amazon, the filters breaking off from the base. I’ll check out those ProPur filters.
If you run the dye test again, please share your results.
I hope someone else will comment on their experience with Berkey black filters.
Thanks for this heads up on the Berkey filters. I just bought a Crown Berkey with a number of filters. I’m interested in switching to those you mention, but I’m not clear after looking as to which size to order and whether they will fit the Crown Berkey. Do you know if all Berkeys have the same size filter attachment port? I couldn’t find info on the web that talked about “crossing” brands or offered specs to compare, etc.
I think all Berkeys have the same hole size, because they only sell one black Berkey filter for all Berkeys except the Go Berkey (and even with the Go Berkey, the regular black filter fits too). I don’t know about other brands of filters.
By the way, now that you have your black filters, I suggest you run the red food dye test every month to keep tabs on them. As long as the water comes out clear you’re good. The basic version of the test is super easy, just fill with water and add the correct amount of dye.
I have had the Big Berkey for years now. I draw water out of my irrigation well using a hand pump I had installed in case of emergency.
I have had water filtered through both the white and the black filters tested by my County health department. My results were that both the white and the black filters allowed E. Coli into the drinking water. I just don’t know how much because the test only detects presence and not levels. The water has never made me sick, but I don’t drink it often. It’s a little disheartening.
E. Coli aside, the water out of the white filters tastes really good. The water out of the black filters tastes like ass. It’s still a work in progress. Any suggestions from those with experience in this would be welcome.
Hmm, interesting. It’s not supposed to let through bacteria. By the way, I don’t think all E. coli bacteria are equally harmful, so it’s not surprising the water never made you sick.
I don’t taste anything in the water coming out of my black filters, and I’ve been using them for several months.
Have you tried calling the manufacturer? https://www.berkeywater.com/contact/
your county health department testing specialist had poopie hands (i.e. accidentally ignored the sign in the washroom).
And then we have this one, slighty less serious of course.
I got the ProOne G2.0 9″ filter elements and put it in my Big Berkey, as Swampmama3 suggested. So far so good, but it’s too early to tell. I liked about them that they can be tested with blue food dye to see if they are still working, similar to the Berkey. (I don’t know how reliable the test is, but it’s something.)
There isn’t a whole lot to choose from for gravity filters that claim to have been independently tested. Unfortunately none is certified by the NSF. The lab that supposedly certified both the ProOne and the Berkey has a website that looks a decade old ( enviroteklab.com ). But hey, if you want emergency water filtered for viruses, bacteria, heavy metals and more, these and few others seem to be the choices.
I also got a Pur faucet filter. It’s not a microbiological filter so you can only run bacteriolocially safe water through it, and it obviously doesn’t work for emergencies without running water, but it’s certified by the NSF for 70+ contaminants, apparently the one faucet filter certified to reduce the highest number of contaminants. I trust the NSF certification more than some random lab.
Me too 🙂 I would love to find an explanation for what’s going on, so I am looking though any postings online where people have had a similar experience. We have gone through at least a dozen filters over the past year. They have all failed the red food dye test either right away or within a couple of months of use. When they did fail, it was often mid cycle (meaning we filled the canister full, and monitored it until filtered all the way through – about midway it began leaking pink water). We used them to filter regular tap water. We have sent photos and video recordings of our tests to our distributor and they did not see anything we were doing wrong. Then we sent our filters for them to test and somehow their tests came back completely normal…. I don’t know how to explain this, and don’t know where to go from here. They will no longer replace our filters because for them the filters worked perfectly. I don’t feel comfortable drinking water from a filter that (at my house) lets red food coloring through – to me that means that everything else is also leaking through. In addition to that, the water doesn’t taste very good (even with weekly washing the bottom canister with vinegar and dishsoap). Even our kids much prefer to drink spring water from a gallon rather than our Berkey water.
I know there’s got to be a reasonable explanation for this, but I have no idea where to go from here…