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Troubleshooting Berkey®

We emphasise that you should not start assembling a Berkey® system without reading the provided information. It is not complicated to install or start the system, but there is essential prior knowledge to ensure everything goes smoothly.

Therefore, we have summarized below several things to check and do to resolve these minor issues.

✔ Do you think your Berkey® system is not working correctly?

Don't worry. The following troubleshooting tips will help you solve most problems you might find. You can of course contact our customer service if you do not find a solution or if it is a hardware defect. The Berkey® warranty covers manufacturing and workmanship defects of the stainless steel tanks, lid, standard faucet, and standard accessories. In such cases, we will replace them free of charge.

Before diving into the details of potential issues, here is a list of precautions you should know and apply for the various elements of your system:

• Never let the Black Berkey® elements freeze when being stored in a refrigerator during periods of absence.
• Never clean your Black Berkey® elements in the dishwasher and never dry them out in a microwave.
• Never boil the Black Berkey® elements to clean them, and never clean them with hot water.
• Black Berkey® filters should be cleaned with clear, room teperature water and a Scotch Brite sponge, without any cleaning products.
• Never store your Black Berkey® elements long-term if they are not completely dry to avoid mold growth.
• Your Black Berkey® filters should not be exposed to the sun for extended periods.
• Never tighten the wing nuts with tools. Ensure they are positioned perpendicular to the threaded rod of the Black Berkey® filter and tighten them by hand only.

✔ You did not find your assembly instructions or only have the English instructions provided with the system

The instructions in your language are available for download. The download link is in your order confirmation email and shipping email. Be sure to download them before starting to assemble your system.

✔ Your Berkey® filter is not filtering at all, or the filtration rate is very slow

On average, for a Travel, Big, or Royal model, the upper chamber should be filtered in 45 minutes. It takes a little longer for the Imperial and Crown models. This duration may vary by about ten minutes, which is not indicative of malfunction.

However, if the filtration times are significantly shorter or longer, several reasons could be at play:

- The first is that your filters' pores are clogged. Lime deposits, residual dirt in the filtered water, can slow down the flow. To fix this, clean your filters thoroughly with a Scotch Brite sponge as indicated in your maintenance instructions, then re-prime before reinstalling the filters.

- The second, more common reason, is improper priming. If there is air in your filters, gravity alone cannot expel it, and your filter may be very slow or stop filtering altogether. In this case, fully prime your filters using the various methods explained in your instructions.

- Using the Air Lock clip: Sometimes, the upper and lower chambers fit so well together that air cannot pass between them. Since it is a gravity system, the water flowing from the upper chamber must displace the air in the lower chamber. If this air cannot escape, the flow stops. In this case, place the clip provided in the accessory pouch between the two chambers, allowing an airflow sufficient for your system to function properly.

✔ The water filtered by your Berkey® system has a strange, metallic taste?

Discard the water from the first two filtrations, especially if you have installed the optional PF-2 filters. The first liters filtered may indeed taste metallic, like chlorine or plastic. Also, make sure to clean and prime your filter elements properly before first use.

✔ The filtered water smells like plastic

This happens when the black rubber gaskets ensuring the seal of the Black Berkey® filters are improperly positioned. These natural rubber gaskets can have a strong smell and can taint the water if placed below the upper chamber instead of above, as indicated in your assembly instructions. If this is the case, position them correctly to resolve the issue.

✔ Your Berkey® system is leaking

A puddle or residual drops can indicate a leak somewhere. It could be an overflow between the two chambers or a leaky tap.

In the first case, be careful not to fill the upper chamber while the lower chamber is not completely empty. The Berkey® system is a gravity filtration system, and water in the upper chamber will flow into the lower chamber. If it cannot collect the filtered water, there will be an overflow and a leak between the two chambers, which is normal.

In the second case, it may be a misaligned or insufficiently tightened seal at the tap. Check the assembly and tighten the nuts a bit more to ensure it is sealed properly.

✔ Are the washers and wing nuts for installing the Black Berkey® filter elements correctly installed?

To properly install your Black Berkey® filter elements, the washer should be on the threaded rod of the filter element in the upper chamber, and the wing nut should be fixed on the filter rod in the lower chamber.

Attention: Wing nuts should be hand-tightened without over-tightening, just enough to ensure a good seal. If over-tightened, the threading can be damaged, preventing a proper seal. Never use tools to tighten the various parts of your Berkey® system. All tightening should be done by hand only.

✔ Your Berkey® system is damaged or missing parts

If any part of your system is missing or damaged, you can get a replacement under warranty. Be sure to inspect your order upon delivery. If you find any missing or damaged items, you must inform us within 48 hours. Any claims regarding missing or damaged items after this period will not be considered.

✔ When should Black Berkey® filters be replaced

Black Berkey® filters should be replaced after 22,700 liters of use. To calculate the lifespan of your filter, use this calcutation: 22,700 / number of liters filtered per day / 365. Example for a Big Berkey® filled once a day: 22,700 / 8.5 / 365 = 7.3 years.

However, filters may need to be replaced earlier if used with non-tap water. Our systems are water purifiers and can filter water from a river, lake, or well, but we recommend doing so only in emergencies to extend their lifespan.