Want to make your tap water safe?
These toxins are nearly ubiquitous in tap water:
- Chlorine is a toxin used to sanitize water. Sanitation is necessary but drinking chlorine is not.
- Fluoride is a neurotoxic chemical banned in Western Europe, and linked to a lower IQ in children in 50 studies.
- Microorganisms, bacteria and viruses circulate in city water supplies.
- Heavy metals such as lead, copper and aluminum often pass into water from plumbing.
- Pharmaceuticals from human and animal waste (such as antibiotics and hormones) are not removed in city water treatment facilities.
When I first learned about the toxins in my tap water, I was a college student. I needed an effective, budget-friendly filter that I could transport between my parent’s house and my on-campus housing.
Pitcher filters like Pur and Brita remove only a small percent of the above toxins. Filters installed under-the-counter were expensive and not portable. And I couldn’t justify the price of high-tech alkalizing filters, which often do not remove fluoride. Berkey fit my needs perfectly.
Questions I’ve received about Berkey
I shared my Berkey recommendation in this post months ago, and want to address the engaged discussion and thoughtful questions raised in the comments.
How does Berkey compare to reverse osmosis or distillation?
Berkey has a better ability to remove pathogenic bacteria than does reverse osmosis. Distilling removes the beneficial minerals and does not remove the Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), which are chemicals found in herbicides and pesticides.
Where can I see test results for the efficacy of Berkey filters?
- Click here for independent lab results for the carbon filters
- Click here for another source of independent lab results for both the carbon and fluoride filters
I’ve heard that Berkey filters contain aluminum. Is this true?
The fluoride filters use aluminum oxide to remove fluoride. Aluminum oxide is an inert form of aluminum, so it does not react biologically when ingested. I use my Berkey confidently knowing the following points about aluminum oxide:
- Aluminum oxide is inert, meaning not absorbable, because it does not have the ability to chemically separate and bind with body tissues. As a matter of fact, aluminum oxide is inert enough to comprise 2.0% – 2.5% of our bones.
- Lab tests do not distinguish between aluminum and aluminum oxide. Trace amounts of aluminum oxide are measured in the filtered Berkey water. Even so, Berkey filters are shown to remove 85-99% of aluminum from the water.
- Another independent source tested Berkey Water filtered through the fluoride units and showed a 85% reduction in total aluminum. (Source 1, source 2, source 3)
What size filter should I get?
The Big Berkey filter is the most popular size, suitable for singles, partners, or families of 3-4. Choose a larger Berkey for larger families.
How often do filters need to be replaced?
If you use four gallons of water per day (ex: a small family), the carbon filters would need to be replaced every four years. I use about half that volume per day and haven’t had to replace my carbon filters in the four years I’ve owned my Berkey. The fluoride filters need to be replaced every 1000 gallons or a year, whichever comes first.
Do you have a recommendation for a shower filter?
Yes, I use this shower filter to remove chlorine, which is both inhaled and absorbed through the skin during showering. It does not remove fluoride from bathing water. That requires the investment of in-house filtration system. Like many of you, that isn’t an option for my budget or the home which I rent.
The water in the top chamber of my Berkey doesn’t drain all the way. Is this normal?
Yes, there is often an inch of water left in the upper chamber. This is because the lower the water in the top chamber, the lower the pressure to force the water through the micro-particles of the carbon filters. Simply add more water to the top chamber to increase this filtering pressure.
How can I increase the flow rate of my Berkey?
With use, the flow rate of your filter will slow. Remedy this by cleaning your black filters every couple of months, as part of a regular maintenance. This entails just a couple minutes of scrubbing the black filters with a Scotch Brite pad. See instructions here.
You can fit your Big Berkey with four carbon filters and four fluoride filters, rather than the standard two each, to the double flow rate.
Can I travel with my Berkey?
It takes only 5 minutes to disassemble the Berkey and another few minutes for assembly, so it makes a travel-friendly filter solution. I’ve brought my Berkey to hotel rooms and a campsite. It also works well in offices.
When assembling and diassembling your filter for travel, make sure you use sanitary conditions. Wash your hands well, and pack the filters in clean plastic bags. Wash the inside of the metal container before assembling to remove any bacteria.
How to order your Berkey
- Add a Big Berkey filter to your shopping cart.
- If you have fluoridated water, add the Fluoride Filters to your cart. See this add-on option on the above page.
- Add the stainless steel stand to your cart to make water dispensing accessible.
- Use coupon EMPOWERED5 at checkout for savings on your order.
Do you use a Berkey water filter, too? Do you have other questions about water filtration for me to address in a future post?