You need to prime your Berkey replacement filters before installing them in your water filtration system. The manufacturer designed the filtering to have high surface tension and density. As a result, the liquid may have a difficult time passing through this medium without proper preparation.
If this is your first time buying the replacement filters, you will be surprised by their weight. The filter is very light because it is still chock full of air. You need to get all this air out before using it. Without proper priming, it takes the system a long time to filter the water.
For instance, if you filled the Berkey Water Filter up to capacity, you will find out that barely any water has seeped into the bottom canister the morning after. You might think the system is broken, but it is only your filter that is the problem.
You can re-prime the Berkey replacement filters once you notice that the flow of purified water begins to slow down.
The filter elements feature micropores to catch heavy metals, toxic chemicals, fluoride, and other contaminants. The micropores are designed to capture 99.9% of lead, arsenic, mercury, chlorine, and Bisphenol-A, among others. On the downside, the water tension necessitates proper priming to increase the water flow.
How to Prime Berkey Replacement Filters
The water filter is equipped with a priming button to make the process easier.
- Remove the wing nut and the washer.
- Grab the priming piece and then position it in place–right on the tube where the filtered water passes through.
- Slowly turn on your water. Make sure the water flows slowly and consistently.
- You do not want the pressure to be too high because it may affect the process of pushing the priming piece on the spigot. As a result, the water may splash everywhere.
- Push the filter using the priming piece onto your faucet.
- Hold it in place until you can notice water leaking out of the pores. You may also notice some bubbles forming from the pores. Do not worry, this is normal.
- Keep on holding the filter and make sure the priming piece is directly against the running water.
- Stop when all the water has seeped through.
The entire procedure for each filter will take less than five minutes.
Handy Tips When Priming the Filters:
- Do no use warm water and instead make sure that only cold liquid seeps through the filter pores.
- Never use soap when priming.
- On average, each priming process will take about 3-4 minutes.
- Be patient if the priming will extend past the 4-minute mark. You could have skipped a process. So, just repeat the steps until the water starts seeping correctly.
Alternative Priming Process
The manufacturer has recommended another method of priming the filters if you do not want to follow the steps outlined above.
- Take out the filtration elements from the upper chamber.
- Pour water on the lower chamber.
- Dump the filters on the water-filled water chamber. The stems should be facing upward.
- Hold them in place with something heavy, such as a ceramic cup, for instance.
- Soak the filters for hours to force the air out of the micropores.
- The filters would be heavier now that the water has soaked the filters.
- Make sure you keep the water inside the filters while you are reassembling the elements onto the upper chamber. You can do this by keeping the stems upside down, with the stems facing upward.
- Pour out the water from the lower chamber before replacing the upper chamber. Once done, you can then fill the upper chamber with water.
(Bonus tip: The water in the lower chamber should be enough to soak the filters. Do not allow water to seep through the opening on the stems.)
Did You Do It Right?
The only way to know is if you already installed the Berkey replacement filters and then running water through the system. The flow should be consistent and strong.
According to the manufacturer, the average flow rate is a gallon per hour if you have two filters in your system. Of course, the more filter elements you install in your system, the faster the flow rates. For example, if you add two more, you can expect the rate to flow a gallon every 30 minutes.
When you just bought the Berkey replacement filters fresh from the store, you will find out that they are dry. Newly purchased filters still have air trapped inside the medium. Some households can get away without priming, especially if the water tension is not as high. However, proper priming is needed since the system relies only on gravity. It does not use electricity to force the water out of the micropores.