1) Why are the Berkey ceramic elements unique?
A) Bereky ceramic filters have been in continual use since 1827.
B) Silver impregnated: Inhibits Mitosis or Bacterial Grow-Through.
C) Particulate reduction: .2 Nominal
a. .2 Microns 98%, @ .3 Microns >99.7%
b. .5 Microns >99.9% (Spectrum Labs)
D) Removes >99.99% of Cryptosporidium, Giardia, E. coli, Vibro Cholerae, Salmonella, Dysenteria.
E) Toxicological extraction is commonly the most difficult area of the NSF testing standards to satisfy. This shows that the filter does not re-contaminate the water. Many other ceramics have not passed and may not be capable of passing the NSF material extraction test. The Ceramic shell of our Super Sterasyl™ element is an NSF Listed Component and is manufactured to meet NSF standard 42 for materials.
F) Carbon Core: Reduces bad tastes and odors as well as pesticides, herbicides, organic solvents and trihalomethanes.
G) Ceramic elements may be cleaned many times to prolong the life of the filtration elements.
H) No other ceramic manufacturer may claim all of the above.
2) When and how do I clean the ceramic filter elements?
If the time it takes for the water to filter into the lower chamber substantially decreases, simply hold the ceramic element under clean running water while scrubbing lightly with a ScotchBrite® pad or toothbrush. Cleaning should be performed evenly by working from the threaded mount down.
3) What else should I do to maintain the system properly?
A) Wash lower chamber once per month with soapy dishwater.
B) In areas with hard water, calcium scale may build up on spigot and chambers after prolonged use. To remove, soak affected part(s) in vinegar or a 50-50% mix of vinegar and water for about 15 minutes. Wipe away calcium scale with a ScotchBrite® pad or soft brush then wash with soapy dishwater and rinse.
4) What happens when the carbon becomes exhausted?
The carbon will be unable to reduce chemicals, foul tastes and odors in the source water. Notes: a) When the carbon is exhausted, the ceramic shell will continue to remove pathogenic bacteria and turbidity.
5) How do I determine when the filter element must be replaced?
Replace the elements when the carbon has been exhausted or if there is a significant change in diameter of the ceramic after cleaning. Anytime a crack in the ceramic occurs, the integrity has been lost and the filter must be replaced.
6) Does the system remove beneficial minerals?
7) How durable are the systems?
The exterior chambers are made of high-grade polished stainless steel making them rugged enough to handle camping trips and college dorms yet elegant enough to complement your finest décor (The LP system is made of food grade polypropylene).
8) Historically, who has used these filtration systems?
A) The Royal household in England.
B) Populations in over 140 countries worldwide.
C) Relief Organizations such as UNICEF, the Peace Corps, Missionary organizations and Red Cross Societies Internationally.
D) Hunters, campers, adventurers and explorers.
9) What are the limitations found in other types of water filtration systems?
Carbon Block, paper and certain resin based filters:
Most commonly used, filters are not re-cleanable, there is no feedback mechanism for filter replacement and most do not remove pathogenic bacteria. Most popular systems provide only 40-700 gallons (150-2,660 liters) before the filter must be replaced.
Distillation: Removes beneficial minerals from water, does not remove VOCs (chemicals found in herbicides, pesticides and fertilizers).
Reverse Osmosis: Removes beneficial minerals from water, does not remove pathogenic bacteria, filter is not re-cleanable, there is no feedback mechanism for filter replacement and reservoir tank can become a breeding ground for bacteria.
The Above Sytems: Virtually all of the above systems become useless during emergencies when power and or water pressure is lost.
Bottled Water: Tap water is considered an acceptable source; many bottled waters contain high levels of bacteria and the industry is virtually unregulated.
10) How do I determine which Berkey® system is right for my needs?
The most popular small family model is the Big Berkey™ system. The most popular medium to large family model is the Royal Berkey™ system. The Imperial Berkey™ model is designed for small to medium sized groups and the Crown Berkey™ model is more useful for medium to large groups and can service from 75 up to 150 people per day. Please see our store for ordering details, as all Berkeys may not be available in your state.