Berkey Water Filter for Off Grid & Tiny Living

Using conventional water filters like Brita can help filter your water. However, while it is initially a cheap solution, the cost of replacement filters can add up. Furthermore, you have the plastic waste issue as you have to replace the filter pretty regularly (i.e., every two to six months depending on the filter model and gallons of water consumed). Moreover, Brita state that only tap water should be filtered which makes this filtration system useless if you do not have mains water. This is where the Berkey water filter system comes in.

Berkey Water Filter System

The Berkey water filter system is a portable gravity-fed water filter system. It is easy to set up and take down and is compact enough to be stored on a kitchen counter-top. It is similar to hiking and camping filters you might have come across but far more effective at filtering water.

Effectiveness

The Berkey water filter system has gone through intensive testing and according to the Berkey Waterfilters UK website, the Berkey filter system can filter out “99,999% of chlorine, viruses, harmful pathogenic bacteria, cysts, heavy metals, parasites and hazardous chemical contaminants”. As such, you can use the Berkey system to filter most types of water i.e., tap, rain, pond etc. This means that the Berkey system can be great for filtering most off-grid water supplies.

Due to the effectiveness of the Berkey system and the variety of water it can filter, the Berkey system has become very popular in the tiny living community as well as those with off-grid water supplies.

Berkey Black Filters

The Berkey system is available in several different sizes. However, all versions have the same filters; the Berkey Black filters. These work via microfiltration – each filter has millions of microscopic pores that stop the contaminants from passing to the drinking water. What makes these filters unique is a combination of six secret filter materials developed by New Millennium Concepts.

The filtration rate depends on the number of filters used. For example, when using two Black Berkey filters, water flows at a rate of 3.5 gallons per hour. However, you can filter up to seven gallons per minute with four filters.

Gravity Powered

The Berkey water filtration system simply uses gravity to filter water. Water poured into the top tank filters through into the bottom tank which is then ready to use. Simply use the tap at the bottom of the tank to pour water out into your drinking container. This makes the Berkey filtration system one of the easiest to use since it does not require any manual or electric power to filter water. This aspect makes the Berkey system perfect for use in off-grid and tiny living situations where mains water is not available.

Maintenance

To help your Berkey water filter system perform optimally you should clean and sterilize it monthly. This will also help to preserve its longevity – potentially lasting a life time.

It is easy to disassemble the system and you can clean all the components (except the black filters) with regular washing up liquid. To make it even easier you can put the stainless steel and plastic parts into the dishwasher.

Each Berkey Black filter has a lifespan of 3,000 gallons. The Berkey system you select (and the number of filters) will generally depend on the number of people that will be using it and the amount of water you need. As an example, for a family of four, two Berkey Black filters will filter water effectively for around two years without replacing.

Testing Your Berkey Filters

To make sure your Berkey filters are working optimally you can carry out a simple test – the red dye test. To do the test add a couple of drops of red food colouring into the top water tank. If your filter is working properly, the water from the top tank should come out completely clear. For more information, check out this blog on how to do a Berkey red dye test. Doing the red dye test every few months will help you determine when the filters need to be replaced.

Pros

  • More effective at filtering water compared to other similar hiking and camping filters (removes chlorine, viruses, bacteria, cysts, heavy metals, parasites and hazardous chemical contaminants).
  • Can filters most types of water.
  • Easy to assemble and take down making it portable.
  • Economical as each Berkey Black filter has a lifespan of 3,000 gallons.
  • Works without power or pumps.
  • Simple and durable.
  • Several sizes to choose from.

Cons

  • Expensive upfront cost.
  • The water in the water tank should be changed every 3 days.

Berkey Water Filter Review by Farmhouse on Boone

Lisa from Farmhouse on Boone reviewing the Berkey water filter.

If you’re interested in off-grid any tiny living you may like our post on 3 Alternative Cooking Solutions for Off-Grid Living or Composting Toilets for Off-Grid and Tiny Living.

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