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Berkey Filter Assembly & Care


Berkey Filter Assembly

Assembles in less than 10 minutes and with no tools!


  1. Remove the filter elements and parts from their protective packaging, checking each item against the diagram. Note: The number of filter elements supplied will depend on the type of unit ordered:
    • Standard Berkey: 4 Filter Elements
    • Big Berkey: 4 Filter Elements
    • Imperial Berkey: 6 Filter Elements
    • Crown Berkey: 8 Filter Elements
  2. Extreme cleanliness is important. Wash hands before proceeding. Assure that contamination of the components does not take place during assembly.
  3. Fit the knob (1) onto the lid (2) by inserting the screw (3) up through the hole in the lid and screwing on the knob. Hand tighten only.
  4. Place the large sealing washer (10) over the threaded part of the filter element (5).
  5. Place the element (5) into the hole in the base of the upper chamber (4).
  6. Secure element in the chamber base by screwing on the wing nut (11) onto the threaded mount. Repeat #5 & #6 until all filter elements have been installed. Hand tighten only.
  7. Place one small washer (8) onto the threaded part of the outlet spigot (7).
  8. Insert thread of spigot (7) through hole in the side of the lower chamber (6). Place the second small washer (8) over the thread within the chamber and secure in place with the nut (9). Tighten securely by hand only.
  9. Put the upper chamber (4) on top of the lower chamber (6) and place lid (2) in position.


Berkey Filter Care & Use Instructions

  1. Priming each Filter:
    Before installing the filters, insert the end of the filter nozzle into the priming button and hold it upside down under gently running water with your hand wrapped around it to force the water into the filter backwards through the nozzle. Run water into the filter until you see water begin to come out in little beads or droplets all over on the surface of the filter. Priming the filter pushes air bubbles out of the filter that are trapped in the filter media so that water tension does not slow or stop the rate of filtration.
  2. Fill upper chamber (4) fully with cold or room temperature water and cover with lid (2). Allow all water to gravity filter into lower chamber. Open the spigot to allow all water to run to waste. Allow filters to stand unused overnight. Refill upper chamber again with water and open spigot for two minutes and allow water to run to waste.
  3. The Berkey water filter is now ready to use.

Note: If the filters are left to stand for more than 3 days, then it is recommended that water be run to waste for 1 minute before using. When installing filter elements for the first time or replacing a used element with a new one, it is important to condition the new filters using the above procedure.

How & When to Clean Black Berkey Filters

The use of clean water filters is vital to a healthy lifestyle. One of the reasons Black Berkey filter elements last so long is their ability to maintain their integrity during a thorough cleaning. Berkey water filter elements, regardless of their variety, boast this quality. The unique composition of the Black Berkey purification element creates a pore structure so small that minute particulates become trapped on the very outermost surface of the filter. Over time, like all filters, this will cause the flow rate to decrease. At this time, people will find themselves having to shop online for replacement water filter systems. There is no need to buy a replacement with Black Berkey filters; in fact, as part of a regular maintenance routine, our black filter elements can be cleaned up to 100 times before the need to purchase a replacement.

How often should you clean Black Berkey Filters, or How do you know when they need to be cleaned?

If you are using well water

If you are using well water, the "turbidity" - the silt and sediment in the water - may gradually build up in the exterior layer of the filter element until it blocks the water from going through. You will know this happens when the flow rate diminished to the point where the water no longer goes through the filter. At this point you should clean your filters - see directions below

If you are using city water

If you are using city water there is no "turbitidy" in the water - no silt or sediment to clog the pores. In this case the flow rate will never diminish. However, the filter media will reach it's capacity at some point, and when it does the great taste of the Berkey water will change back to the taste of chlorine, like pool water. When this happens, it is time to purchase new filters.


When cleaning Berkey water filter systems, it is important to keep some things in mind. While this system can effectively purify untreated pond or river water, always use the cleanest, clearest source possible when cleaning the Berkey filter elements. As an additional precaution, if using water that may contain high concentrations of bacteria or viral contamination, add 16 drops of household bleach to every gallon of water being used. Then filter water through your Berkey system.

Cleaning Instructions for Black Berkey Filters

  1. Empty all of the water from your Berkey system.
  2. Remove the top container and set it on its side on a solid surface like a table or countertop.
  3. Remove the filters by unscrewing the wing nut that secures the Black Berkey element to the container.
  4. Hold each filter under running water
  5. Scrub the black surface of the filter element for several minutes. You will feel the granular surface coming off.
  6. Rinse the filter, then re-install it into the Berkey system.

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