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Berkey Water Filters

 
pollinator
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All over the internet, including here, Youtubers and Bloggers highly recommend Berkey to filter virtually all contaminants including fluoride with the extra filter.   But I haven't seen anyone say they tested their water after filtering.    And I can't find any information about what is in those filters.
 
I'm sure it's proprietary for Berkey but how do we know it's not another chemical or synthetic material with its own risks?   These days I don't trust ANY manufacturer  (thank you Paul Wheaton for turning me into a skeptic - haha!).    

Also in DIY articles, activated alumina is recommended for filtering fluoride - but is alumina derived from aluminum and is it safe?   Is that material available retail?  Pool filter info is scanty too.   And I wonder about supposed organic hydroponics offered in grocery stores.......it never ends

 
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Susan
Mike Adams from natural news has tested some of the most popular countertop gravity water filters in his lab, including berkey.  You can see the testing results at http://www.waterfilterlabs.com.
I have had my own high end water filtration system for 20+ years and never gave much credence to gravity counter top filters, but some of his testing results are pretty good.  Certainly worth checking out if you are planning to purchase one.  I have several friends who use the big berkey, even for city water, no one has actually had the output tested, just trusts the product.  Not sure I agree with wholesale trust like that!  I test my pretreatment of total chlorine, hardness, iron, and TDS.  Output testing is only TDS, since mine is less than 1, I assume I'm doing very well!  I ozonate for microbes and polish with DI  before delivery. Lab testing is very expensive, so I'm rigorous with maintenance and trust my system, but do my minimal required testing every time I run it.
Kevin
 
pollinator
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Kevin Derheimer wrote:Susan
Mike Adams from natural news
Kevin



Considering Mike's track record (Chemtrails, pseudoscience, etc.)  I'm not sure how much credit I'd give to any "testing" performed by him.  Some of the stuff he posts seems credible, but then he dives off the deep end into junk science, etc.  
 
Kevin Derheimer
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Yes, I know, but supposedly, the testing lab is doing good work.  I followed the arsenic in rice story, And when EPA released the gold king mine toxic sludge mess, he did free testing of the water, the river flows thru my backyard so I sent sediment samples.  I'm hoping he keeps doing things to really promote trust.

I wouldn't fully discount the chemtrail thing, I worked at McDonnell douglass when it first came out many years ago.  I printed out pics of "supposed chemtrails" and took them to a couple of aeronautical engineers I knew and asked them to tell me what they thought,  they said about half looked normal, but they had no idea what was going on with the rest.  So, with me having mostly no trust in "government", I remain skeptical of any of their claims that there is nothing going on.  I'm not a tin-foil hat wearing crazy, but have worked in the military industry for enough years, and seen some really bizarre things to be able to say "there just might be something to that"!  But I also know for certain, from first hand experience, that we will probably never the full story.
 
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Two points
What is DI?
Secondly, look at my topic on the benefits of rainfall collection, it may be a viable alternative for some of you.
 
Peter VanDerWal
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John C Daley wrote:
What is DI?



Did you mean DIY?  

DIY = Do It Yourself
 
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webpage

I'm a big believer in water filtration. I notice a huge difference with my whole house filter, it's like night and day. The first time I took a shower I couldn't believe the difference! I researched a ton of different companies when I knew I wanted a filter and I ultimately went with Natural Waters for a number of reasons.

Natural Waters offers a free in-home water analysis before and after installing a whole home water filtration system. They have a three-step filtration process that starts with a carbon block filter which takes out the large contaminants and cancer-causing trihalomethane. The second step is a mixed media tank with activated carbon that takes out over 80 chemicals and toxins left in the water like chloramines and heavy metals and also improves the taste. This step also uses TAC technology to crystallize the minerals that cause hard water so they no longer stick to your pipes. This method is chemical and salt free, and allows the minerals to stay in the water so those drinking the water can still reap the health benefits. Then finally the last step is a UV water filter, which kills bacteria and viruses in the water (these are FDA approved and also used in hospitals).

Most water filtration companies I've found don't include all three steps, plus they included free installation. The other companies I researched required you to find your own plumber that was certified otherwise they wouldn't insure the filter. Plus they were super helpful with the water test that you had mentioned and gave me the test results to keep for free.

Hope this helps!
 
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university of Georgia has an outstanding water testing service

here's a pdf of services
http://aesl.ces.uga.edu/FeeSchedule/Complete.pdf
 
gardener & hugelmaster
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I ozonate for microbes and polish with DI  before delivery.




Very late reply but to answer somebody's question about what is DI. Deionized water. Deionized water is always seeking a free ion to attach to. Some particulates & contaminants are removed with that process.
 
steward
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We have been using our Berkey for a couple of years now and like it.  We just did a routine cleaning of it and noticed that the plastic nut that holds the filter stem to the bottom of the upper chamber wasn't allowing us to tighten it.  It's as if the nut thread was larger than it should be so that when you put a reasonable amount of pressure on the nut, it jumps a thread and gets loose again.  

I'm tempted to replace the nuts with some nylon ones from the hardware store.  Anyone know what size thread and pitch those nuts are?  Am I the only one having this problem?
 
pollinator
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One of the nuts on my Berkey is the same. I haven't done anything about it, though.

The first year or so of use I could tighten it juuust so and it was fine. Can't seem to hit that perfect spot anymore. I need new filters anyway so I was just going to get new plastic nuts, but replacing with decent ones would be much better.
 
Mike Haasl
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I think that's how we had them until this cleaning session (just barely as tight as we could go before they jumped the threads).  Maybe they've worn down a bit from jumping and now we can't get it tight enough.  The upper reservoir seems to "filter" into the lower one really fast now.  Suspiciously fast...

If I can figure out the thread size, I'll post here
 
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At my current home I use an electric counter top distiller, I have Berkeys (and others) in the basement for backup security.  The crap left over from distilling (city water) should scare anyone without blind trust.  

Have set up some rainwater collection at the new property (for plants at the moment) but the cost of a drilled well there is anywhere from $9-$20k USD so the Berkeys are the current plan.  I will add the distiller electrical load to my solar calculations but I have researched a few up-sized LPG distillers.  I may draw some unwanted attention if I set up a wood-fired still but hey it might be a way to make new fiends. ;-)

I do remember watching a YT video where someone set up a homemade bio-filter (with their rainwater catchment system) which I thought could be an interesting option if only to pretreat water for the Berkey.  Anyone here use rainwater for showers, washing clothes etc?  I am building my "outhouse" now, a structure to house a sawdust toilet, sink/shower and a washing machine fed from collected rainwater.  Will use an LPG on-demand water heater and an RV pump.  If anyone has a similar setup and would like to share some advice it would be appreciated.  Since the place is off grid I will likely just make this building a stand-alone solar powered system, at least for now.
 
steward & bricolagier
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Mike Haasl: I had to replace my nuts too, I just took a filter to the hardware store and tried them on. I have no clue what size I bought, but they fit.
 
Mike Haasl
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Thanks Pearl, I tried that.  But it wasn't a match for any English or Metric thread they sell at Menards.  As best I could tell it was a metric 1.50 pitch but the diameter was between a 10 and a 12mm.  It looks like a M11-1.50 thread pitch does exist so ordering one might be worth the gamble.

I just wrapped the threaded stub with 4 wraps of teflon tape and that gave the original nut enough purchase to hold on.
One-done-one-not-yet.jpg
One done, one not yet
One done, one not yet
 
Pearl Sutton
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Hm. I went to a place that is just a nuts and bolts seller, mechanics and machinists go there. So it may well have been an unusual size. They carry a lot of odd stuff.
 
pollinator
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Mike

The _may_ be a (benevolent) plan behind the plastic nuts. What is the nipple made of? If it's plastic and you use metal nuts, the chance of cross threading or cranking and stripping and thus destroying the nipple is much greater.
@Pearl, too.

Plastic and nylon and other soft threads often cross thread very easily, especially when using metal on one side. Also, it takes an educated hand to know when you approach the "strip point" and it will feel different with a nut of different material.

Plastic nuts failing before they do too much damage the nipple might not be such a bad thing.

The other thing to consider is what happens to the housing or whatever you're tightening down if you all-a-sudden can obtain twice-three times the pressure as with a plastic nut?

FWIW.
Rufus
 
Pearl Sutton
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I bought some kind of plastic wing nuts.
 
Mike Haasl
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I agree with all those concerns.  In this case the nut is tightening the filter against the bottom of the water tank.  So it goes filter-tank bottom-rubber washer-nut with the threads going through all of it.  If the stud and nut were steel and I spot torqued it I would just squish the hell out of the washer.  So no real risk of overdoing it.

In this case, the risk of not getting it tight is that I have unfiltered water sneaking past the rubber washer/gasket and down into the filtered chamber.  So I could be drinking dirty water.  
 
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Hi I am in UK and desperate for some new filters for my gravity water filter. I would really like the charcoal ones but they are really expensive and I am not sure they would fit my SS2 filter. That is the only thing I remember about the name. It hasn't got Berky written on it so guessing it's not a big berky or british berkfeld. I'm being really thick but are they the same? I tried asking by email if the charcoal ones would fit my gravity filter. I don't know if it was just me being sensitive but they seemed to be sending arsy emails back. They wouldn't commit themselves to saying they would fit mine.
Has anyone tried them please
Thank you
Ani
 
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Don't believe the hype.

All gravity flow water filters are designed using gravity to provide the physical force through a media.  It is important that the media remove both biological and chemical contaminants from the water as gravity forces it along.  This said, you need to (1) start with a media that has the appropriate physical ("porosity") and chemical ("cation exchange capacity") qualities to accomplish this feat, (2) determine the time it will take to accomplish this feat as the media and water interact with each other, and (3) design a vessel that provides the media and water enough time (the "residence time") to accomplish this feat.  

Start with what's in your water that you like out of your water.  Find a media (porosity and cation exchange capacity) and vessel (that provides proper residence time), and you're on your way to wonderful water.

Getting to Berky, I once in the relatively current past, tried to pry info out of them related to their media and proper residence time design.  They were not forthcoming.  I do know that they rely on activated carbon (I'll discuss this briefly, below) and a proprietary ion exchange resin of some sort.  This said, I'm very speculative.  I need to know what is in my filter and how the design works.  I hope they become more transparent in the future.

Now, what about activated carbon.  I could write a book on this topic, but what I'd like state here is that all activated carbon is NOT the same.  It is critically important to understand where the carbon came from -- was it municipal or medical waste, or was it "organic" coconut shells?  You can find this out by REQUIRING the "material safety data sheet" (MSDS) or the "material sheet" (MS).  Additionally, regular carbon or char CANNOT clean water like activated carbon.  How do you know you have activated carbon?  You have to trust the source and their processes.  For example, I purchase my activated carbon from 3M, and it comes with a MSDS, a confirmation that it is activated carbon, and their source of carbon.  It'll cost you more, but you'll protect your health.

How do I know this stuff?  I'm a licensed environmental engineer, with a specific discipline in water resources.  I work as a public servant for a environmental protecting federal agency and lead many humanitarian water supply projects in developing nations.  This is my life.  I figured I'd share with you.

What's my water situation?  I live on municipal supply.  I gravity drip that municipal supply through my 3M activated carbon with ample residence time, and I renew my activated carbon once per quarter.  
 
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