Do you use a Berkey? (failed filter tests)

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nedyne's picture
nedyne
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Do you use a Berkey? (failed filter tests)

If you use a Berkey water filter with Black Berkey elements, please comment your experience below.

Questions:

  1. Have you run the red food dye test every few months of use, as recommended by the manufacturer? 
  2. 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).

Swampmama3's picture
Swampmama3
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black Berkey filter failure, me too, replacement filters...

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. 

nedyne's picture
nedyne
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Posts: 70
Berkey

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.

Jodi Stanley's picture
Jodi Stanley
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Joined: Feb 5 2014
Posts: 22
Ceramic filters question:

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.

 

 

nedyne's picture
nedyne
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Joined: Jan 14 2012
Posts: 70
Berkey

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.

-Casey-'s picture
-Casey-
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Joined: Nov 12 2013
Posts: 75
Big Berkey

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.

nedyne's picture
nedyne
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E. coli

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/

 

DennisC's picture
DennisC
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Joined: Mar 19 2011
Posts: 324
Perhaps

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.

https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/04/20/524894955/massachuset...

 

 

nedyne's picture
nedyne
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Posts: 70
ProPur

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.

onndsit's picture
onndsit
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Joined: Jun 27 2018
Posts: 1
Berkey failed multiple tests

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... 

TechGuy's picture
TechGuy
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Joined: Oct 13 2008
Posts: 435
Re: Food Coloring

" 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."

Filters generally can only remove non-soluble contaminates. They cannot remove soluble contaminants like food coloring.

To filter out soluble containments you need to use a high pressure reverse osmosis system, or make the containments non-soluble (ie apply Ozone treatment). Some soluble contaminents can be removed using an actived charcoal filter, but it won't remove all contaminates, and they need to be frequently replaced. Only a Reverse osmosis system won't need frequent filter replacement because the contaminates don't get stuck in the filter, they just get flushed out. Generally a Revese osmosis system will have a pre-filter that will trap sediment & non-soluble minerals that can deposit and stick pipe walls.

You can add a small reverse osmosis system that fits under your sink and uses a separate faucet for just the purified water.

If your looking for an emergency filter, than get one of those high pressure hand pumped units sold for camping\hiking.

"Even our kids much prefer to drink spring water from a gallon rather than our Berkey water."

Water Filters can remove minerals that are present in spring water that make it taste better. Pure water will have no taste at all. It also helps if the water is kept cold or chilled after filtering (at least in my opinion).

nedyne's picture
nedyne
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Jan 14 2012
Posts: 70
failed filters
onndsit wrote:

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... 

As mentioned before, the taste of spring water has little to do with the lack of contaminants. A better test would be Berkey water vs tap water. With that test, only if tap water tastes better would I suspect that something is seriously wrong.

About the Berkey, I would suggest you consider the ProPur G2.0 9" filters, which fit the Berkey housing. I only used them for 1.5 months before performing the last dye tests with them, but so far they haven't failed. There aren't that many gravity filters to choose from.

 

 

nedyne's picture
nedyne
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Jan 14 2012
Posts: 70
dye test
TechGuy wrote:

Filters generally can only remove non-soluble contaminates. They cannot remove soluble contaminants like food coloring. To filter out soluble containments you need to use a high pressure reverse osmosis system, or make the containments non-soluble (ie apply Ozone treatment). Some soluble contaminents can be removed using an actived charcoal filter, but it won't remove all contaminates, and they need to be frequently replaced.

I don't know the science involved here, but I do know that both Berkey and ProPur give a dye test for their filters in the respective manual and tell you to consider defective any filter that fails a properly done test, so I guess they must be confident enough that there's something wrong with what you said. I've also seen both brands actually pass the dye test.

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