Survivalist Forum banner
1 - 20 of 30 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
102 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a Berkey filter and was considering getting the go Berkey which is the smallest version. One thing I have heard is that the Berkey filters are not NSF/ANSI certified or something to that effect and occasionally I see negative reviews of say someone using a berkey in the Philippines and saying they got sick. Does anyone have any deeper insights into this ?

I saw that alexapure filters are certified, though they don't have a tiny version and still have reviews that claim berkee is better in many cases. I like the gravity fed concept generally

These filters claim to be able to filter the filthiest water, I am generally afraid to try doing that so I filter the best water I can get but I would like to have some confidence in the filters capabilities
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,254 Posts
Berkey filters are good filters! Their marketing department wrote their lab reports most likely, but they do work!

I don’t find the small ones useful. If I want portable I use a gravity cartridge filter or some such and if I use Berkey I want lots of water in reserve.

I use two candles in the larger sizes to minimize maintenance and filter cost and don’t care if it takes a day to process a tank full of water.

SD
 

·
Dog Lives Matter
Joined
·
7,404 Posts
I use two candles in the larger sizes to minimize maintenance and filter cost and don’t care if it takes a day to process a tank full of water.
Two candles? Can you expand on that? I've been thinking about getting a Berkey. If there are tips to keep the filter cost down, I's like to hear them.

We are currently using a simple Brita pitcher with a filter. We tried the ZeroWater pitcher and rated is a zero. It does not do what they claim.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,564 Posts
Berkey’s website says they can’t ship to California. WTH? Why not, I wonder?

I have a Katadyn gravity filter. Works good, but I’m with you, I don’t try to filter dirty water thru it. I have a homemade filter I made from PVC pipe and sand and activated charcoal. Then I run the water thru my expensive Katadyn filter. I don’t really like diarrhea that much.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
102 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I know that overall it's a good filter but I am just saying how good is it for filtering really poor quality water? Most people probably don't actually do that very much. I guess if I can feel confident that it will filter your average stream water that is not super poor but still needs filtering, then that would be sufficient .. I am still considering the little go berkey for having at my camp or RV. It has 1 quart capacity and you can get a little water bottle filter with it also
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,273 Posts
If all you are doing is filtering your tap water, and you aren't concerned with the fluorine in it and are sure it has no lead or other dangerous chemical contaminants, then a Berkey is as good as a Brita and less expensive per volume of water. Both will remove the chlorine taste and any particulates and make you feel all warm and fuzzy and safe.

If you are thinking of filtering seriously contaminated water, though, you need something better, and if you want to remove things like fluorine, lead, chloramines, or some of the nasty pharmaceuticals, PFOS, or VOC chemical residues floating around in our waters these days, you need something much better than Brita, Berkey, or just sand and charcoal.

Dalton filters are a step up from Berkey, although they were designed to deal with 3rd world contamination, not some of the stuff the 1st world in now putting into its water tables. If you want the best biologic AND chemical filtration you can get, you need something like the Aquacera gravity filters, preferably the latest generation CeraMetix AMB. They make 5", 7", and large-diameter 7" models that will fit most gravity urns.
CeraMetix® AMB Gravity - Chloramine, VOC, Glyphosate & Fluoride Reduction
As a further plus, these do not utilize aluminum for fluoride removal.

There are some other good choices out there, but Berkey and homemade columns don't make that list. You should be looking for something that both has NSF/ANSI certification and provides full lab test results from a reputable independent laboratory, not their own garage or similar no-info testing service. AquaMetix publishes theirs on their website from a testing lab registered with the EPA and the states of NY and NJ.
Envirotek Laboratories CeraMetix Test Results
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,273 Posts
BTW, there was an interesting real-world subjective water quality from filters test run here this summer. NYC temporarily switched the reservoir it was drawing water from for a number of customers while inspecting and shoring up one of the aging century-old tunnels that bring the water here.

No end of people with Brita and other countertop filters complaining on the neighborhood forum that they'd changed their filter several times, and the water still tasted odd/bad/muddy. (Umm, haven't any of you heard the definition of insanity?) Then there were actually a couple of posts from people with a Berkey complaining of the same.

I have no idea if I was in the affected area, although supposedly I was, because I live in a century-old building with ancient pipes, and I've always run my drinking/cooking water through a good chemical/heavy metal, not just biologic, filter because however good the water quality is supposed to be for the city, I'm pretty sure it ain't by the time it comes out of my faucet just based on the way rust stains slowly show up on the porcelain in the bathroom. My water tasted just as good all summer as it did in the spring, but no surprise there. And of course, my coffee and tea always taste great, and my sourdough always ferments happily in the absence of all chlorine/chloramines and other things yeast beasties dislike.
 

·
KOAD; FOAD; ESAD
Joined
·
9,423 Posts
Ive had/still have most all of them; started w a First Need circa early 80’s…added thru the years…A 20$ Sawyer w some charcoal matrix to run thru after filtering will work as well as my 285$ Berkey..thats jmo but those Sawyers are unbeatable for the price
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,273 Posts
Two candles? Can you expand on that? I've been thinking about getting a Berkey. If there are tips to keep the filter cost down, I's like to hear them.
All multi-candle urns can be used with fewer than the number of holes for candles they have by simply plugging the unused holes. Most companies that sell urns provide plugs for just that purpose, usually including 1 or 2 with the urn. Filtration with 2 candles instead of 4 will take twice as long for the same volume, 4 times as long if you reduce it to 1 candle, but the water quality will be exactly the same. However, since the volume being filtered by the single candle will also be 4 times what it would be if there were 4 candles in there, assuming you can use 1 candle and replace it at the same recommended time interval as if you were using 4 is a false assumption. The lifespan will be the same number of gallons filtered it is advertised for, but you will hit that number of gallons faster. OTOH, if you like to replace your candles relatively frequently to be sure you don't exceed the charcoal core's chemical filtration capacity, it may save you a bit of money to use fewer candles or extend the time you can safely filter very dubious water in an emergency absent lab tests to see if the filtration is failing.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,254 Posts
It’s n
All multi-candle urns can be used with fewer than the number of holes for candles they have by simply plugging the unused holes. Most companies that sell urns provide plugs for just that purpose, usually including 1 or 2 with the urn. Filtration with 2 candles instead of 4 will take twice as long for the same volume, 4 times as long if you reduce it to 1 candle, but the water quality will be exactly the same. However, since the volume being filtered by the single candle will also be 4 times what it would be if there were 4 candles in there, assuming you can use 1 candle and replace it at the same recommended time interval as if you were using 4 is a false assumption. The lifespan will be the same number of gallons filtered it is advertised for, but you will hit that number of gallons faster. OTOH, if you like to replace your candles relatively frequently to be sure you don't exceed the charcoal core's chemical filtration capacity, it may save you a bit of money to use fewer candles or extend the time you can safely filter very dubious water in an emergency absent lab tests to see if the filtration is failing.
It’s not about saving money it’s the time saved cleaning 2 filters versus 8 filter candles during maintenance.

Yes the water filters through slower, but who cares I fill the top chamber at night and go to bed, by the next morning I have enough water for several days!


Doulton makes several filters that work with Berkey. They are quality filters and I’ve used both.

SD
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,273 Posts
It’s not about saving money it’s the time saved cleaning 2 filters versus 8 filter candles during maintenance.

Yes the water filters through slower, but who cares I fill the top chamber at night and go to bed, by the next morning I have enough water for several days!
Okay, labor saving is a valid reason, and I agree that if you don't need fast filtration, fewer candles will do the job as well.

I've just run into too many people who think 1 candle in a 4-candle urn will last just as long as 4 would, not realizing the limiter is volume filtered by any given candle. While the ceramic outside can be scrubbed down a number of times before it becomes too thin to do an adequate job of biologic filtration, the ability of the internal carbon to adsorb chemical contaminants is finite and limited.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,929 Posts
If you want the best biologic AND chemical filtration you can get, you need something like the Aquacera gravity filters, preferably the latest generation CeraMetix AMB.
Thank you for the suggestion! I have wondered about how effective the Berkey and similar filters would be with really nasty water. I suspect most people are putting relatively uncontaminated water in them to start with, not typical pond or stream water. Still useful, perhaps, but not a really good test run for SHTF.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,273 Posts
Thank you for the suggestion! I have wondered about how effective the Berkey and similar filters would be with really nasty water.
The biggest problem with Berkey is that they claim to meet NSF standards but have never submitted their product for testing and certification. One has to ask why they would not get the certification and seal if they actually could. They also claim better results at removing a number of things than other companies with similar technology have found possible.

Stick to companies that have gotten certified and that also make full tests results available from an EPA certified lab. If you can get the details, also pay attention to whether tests were run according to the recommended protocol. You can get wonderful results running 2 gallons of water through almost any adsorbent filter. But if you're claiming that filter is good for 3000 gallons or whatever, you can only provi that by testing after the 3000th gallon. It's my understanding what test results Berkey has ever presented were based on a cute little fudge like that.

You can, of course, go get a few thousand gallons of thoroughly polluted water and send a sample of the final filtered gallon to a certified lab yourself, but that gets expensive. Better to stick to buying from those who present at least a reasonable semblance of good data on their product and have gotten it certified to at least meet the minimal government standards on effectiveness.

Could be all the experts are wrong, and the Chinese are actually manufacturing a water filter that's the best invention since sliced bread for Berkey, but they ain't willing to prove it, so I ain't willing to believe it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
917 Posts
I have wondered about how effective the Berkey and similar filters would be with really nasty water.
Hush now, don't go bringing up things like that, you might cause unnecessary anxiety.:eek:

Turbid water is going to clog the ceramic shell relatively quickly, in direct ratio to just how much sediment etc is in the water. Some sort of effective pre-filtration is necessary to protect the ceramic shell from premature clogging. This system should be tested repeatedly with very turbid water for function, well before it is needed.

Heavy toxin contamination is another issue, and utilizing candles that contain the carbon inside will result in having to toss the entire candle just to replace the carbon.

Pathogen filtration is fairly straightforward, easy to achieve with off the shelf systems, but toxin remediation is another thing entirely, and what is commonly available for this is barely adequate. The testing that sellers show potential buyers is with new product, in other words it is the best it can do. They never show a series of tests at multiple gallon intervals with various levels of toxin contamination. To do so would scare off all those potential buyers that want some magical system that provides the illusion of safety for however many gallons. It also helps the sellers of these systems that one generally does not get sick or die from normal toxin levels quickly. They maintain deniability from the fact that most people have no clue as to what is going on with toxins.

There is a lot to be said concerning toxin mitigation. None of the approaches are magic, GAC, BC, ion exchange, they all have limitations, lifespans directly in relation to the toxin load, and the types of toxins being addressed. What is advertised to work, will not continue to do so as time passes, and toxin loads increase, or become varied as to type. I have done a lot of research on this, as I build my own systems in response to the dismal pickings from the commercial world.

Pathogen filtration should be physically separate from toxin mitigation, so as to be able to address them as needed, given that said needs will arise at different points in time, for certain reasons. Pre-filtration should be included in all systems as a separate component, for the same reasons. As separate components, toxin mitigation substances can be changed out as necessary to match the toxin load, and to address their effectiveness over time.

If one wants a system for a very short period of time, addressing normal toxin loads, then buy something that seems good, but don't think it is adequate for the long term. If one wants a system that will address possibly heavy, and varied toxin contamination in addition to pathogen issues, over a long period of time, then it will be necessary to learn and invest money to achieve that level of preparedness. If one cannot for whatever reasons, build things, then one had best be wealthy, or do without.

Yes, there are going to be a lot of unpleasant surprises for people after SHTF, especially for those who are unwilling to research on their own, instead relying on the information from the sellers of different products, or the information fed to them on the internet forums.
 

·
Super Moderator and Walking Methane Refinery
Joined
·
68,576 Posts
Years ago I fell for the Berkey scam too. When I learned better, I threw the candles out and replaced them with Doulton. Berkey needs avoided like the plague. But same as with Wise Foods, their advertising sucks unsuspecting people in. Both of those companies need to go out of business.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,929 Posts
Kinda sounds like it matters where the water is coming from, too. A tank that collects rain water may be quite different than a storm runoff kind of pond.

Makes me wonder if being prepared for a multi-stage filter wouldn't be the most prudent.

That said, some stuff doesn't really require potable water. You need clean water to drink. But for bathing, washing clothes, flushing toilets (if you have them), none of that would require the same level of filtration as drinking so no need to purify all of that, at least to the same extent.

Was talking to a guy who's retired military last week, speaking of his time in Iraq (or someplace over that way, extreme hot). He was saying 4 guys in a tank have 5 gallons of water a day, total. That's all they get. And on days they're not in the tank but still in the desert, it wasn't a huge amount of water at their disposal, for anything. People can get by with a remarkably small amount of potable water. But we require at least some to live.

It's not anywhere near the level of military, but my wife and I lived in an RV for about a decade. Living off of the water in the water tank definitely encouraged us to conserve it. "Navy showers" became the norm. A toilet that uses like a cup of water to flush rather than a couple of gallons was closer to the norm. I can't say I wanna move back into the RV, but it was an experience that gave us some perspective on living with less.

(Sorry for rambling.)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,100 Posts
Was talking to a guy who's retired military last week, speaking of his time in Iraq (or someplace over that way, extreme hot). He was saying 4 guys in a tank have 5 gallons of water a day, total. That's all they get. And on days they're not in the tank but still in the desert, it wasn't a huge amount of water at their disposal, for anything. People can get by with a remarkably small amount of potable water. But we require at least some to live.
One thing to keep in mind for this situation is that the 4 guys in a tank with 5 gallons of water didn't have to use any water to cook with.

If you're using it only for a short period of time where you're eating canned soups or other prepared foods, that's fine. But if you're long term and need to soak beans, cook rice or pasta, or make soups/stews, or make breads/oatmeals/porridges, you need more water to prepare food.
 
1 - 20 of 30 Posts
Top