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Awhile back I got a Royal Berkey water filter from Directive21.com - it was setup and a video was made about it. From there it was packed up and relocated to the camp, where it has stayed in storage for the past few months.

Between July 30 - August 1 my family and I spent 3 days at the camp; while we were there, I decided to hook up the Royal Berkey water filter and give it a test.

Water was taken from a nearby creek and poured into the resevior. In about 15 minutes I could hear the first drips of the water hitting the bottom of the holding tank.

In about an hour, I was able to get a juice glass of water from the Royal Berkey.

One of the popular questions I see about the Berkey system - "do you have to prime the filters for them to work?" To get a real life answer, I did not prime the filters. The water was just poured into the reservoir with dry filters, and in about 15 minutes the water started dripping.


Stainless Steel - The Royal Berkey is made out of stainless, so rodents can not chew through it. This makes it a good choice if your looking for a long term storage filter - in other words, something you can store and not have to worry about it.

One of the big issues with storing goods at a remote location is rodents. Anything made out of plastic or cardboard can be chewed into by a mouse or rat. So lets say that you had some plastic water filters stored at your camp, how do you know for "sure" that when you need those water filters their not going to have chew holes in them?


Capacity - Each filter can filter around 3,000 gallons 2 filter unit - about 6,000 gallons 4 filter unit - about 12,000 gallons For most people, it would be impossible to store 6,000 - 12,000 gallons of safe drinking water. But with a Royal Berkey and 2 filters, its possible to make an estimated 6,000 gallons of water safe to drink.

Conclusion - A 2 filter system should be good for 2 - 4 people. But for 4 active adults, or more then 4 people, you might want to consider looking at a 4 filter unit.

Lets say you plan on having 6+ people in your group, I would consider going with something like a Imperial Berkey, just for the larger holding tank.

Royal Berkey - Holding capacity: Aprox. 3.25 Gallons.
Imperial Berkey - Holding capacity: Aprox. 4.5 Gallons.
Crown Berkey - Holding capacity: Aprox. 6 Gallons.
 

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Nice write up on your experience.

As a general rule, the filters need to be primed to flow properly. They will flow, but at a greatly reduced rate. The drips you heard should have sounded like a small constant stream.

Much of the flow rate has to do with the pressure of the water on the filter. More water=more pressure=more flow rate. That being said, there is a way to increase the flow. I will tell you about the filter I made for my workplace.

I used one black element and one PF2(or4 I cant remember which is which) and a couple of buckets. I know your aversion to plastic, but this info may come in handy, down the road.

I used a six gallon bucket and a five gallon bucket. I used one gamma seal lid and a regular lid. Understand that all of this is food grade and the lid had a nice thick gasket on it. I drilled a hole in the bottom of the five gallon bucket and a corresponding hole in the regular lid. After priming, I put the filter post through the bucket and lid(on bottom), attached the nut, and installed the PF2(8 turns).
Drilled a hole in the side of the six gallon bucket on the side for the spout. Then I set the five galon bucket assembly on the six gallon bucket and had a nice water filter. I used the gamma seal lid for the top, where I put the water in. The only problem with this setup is the fact that it all seals so well , you have to burp it occasionally. This could easily be fixed by using a lid that didn't seal so well,(like the Berkey) or drilling a tiny hole in the lid to allow it to vent. My fix will be to run a small air line in between the bucket tops so that the air will exchange places from one bucket to another. The less stuff getting in the better IMO.

The reason for telling you all of this, is to explain that having only one filter with the weight of five gallons of water on it, flows as much, if not more, than my two filter Big Berkey, at home. I drain the Berkey, or the one at work, into five gallon water jugs that go in the water dispensers you are used to seeing. Because of this, I am able to fill the filter at work one time and forget about it. When it is time to switch bottles, I just fill the bucket up and leave it.

Leper
 

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I think to give an accurate assessment of the output capacity you need to prime the filters first. The instructions clearly state that you will get a very limited output if you do not prime the filters first.

Once the filters are primed you should see the output being more like that of an automatic coffee maker.
 

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berkey water filter

I think to give an accurate assessment of the output capacity you need to prime the filters first. The instructions clearly state that you will get a very limited output if you do not prime the filters first.
I think I'am going to take my berkey light, prime 1 filter, not prime the other, and look to see if there is any noticeable difference in the flow.

With the berkey light being clear plastic, its going to be easier to see the flow then with the stainless unit.

Even if the instructions say the filters need to be primed first - so what - I want to know whats going to happen if their not primed. I'am looking for knowledge and experience. Your not going to find that by "always" playing by the rules or following the instructions.
 

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Kev,
I agree. You can prime the black filters and then dry them for later use and it will not harm the filter. If you are concerned about the output and not being able to prime the black filters at your camp you could probably use the white ceramic filters. I don't believe they need to be primed.

The charts on this page show that the Royal Berkey should put out about 4 gallons per hour when the filters are primed.
http://www.berkeywater-filter.com/Berkey-Water-FAQ.html
 

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I had a setup with two of the black elements and I did not prime them. Total filtering was less than 1/2 gallon in an hour. After priming them, you could watch the water level drop in the top tank. Half a gallon in about ten minutes.
 

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Kev and others,

I appreciate all your words here, and glad to hear the systems work especially in the situation kev was in.

The filters will work without priming them, but the flow rate is really slow. I recommend using the system daily, so that it is primed and ready to be used just in case of an emergency. The filters do last a long time, so they won't go bad after a few uses.

Thanks again kev for this post, I am happy to hear that the Royal berkey worked great!

theberkeyguy
 

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i am very satisfied with my small 2 filter Berkey water system.priming also helps eliminate any dust from manufacturing
 

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Just FYI, I have always pre-filtered water from streams or lakes etc. through coffee filters. I think it helps keep the filters cleaner and may help them last longer too. I have 2 and 4 element units and am very glad I do.
 

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Can anybody explain what "priming the filters" means? I bought a Royal berkey for when times get bad and haven't used it due to wanting to keep it in working order.
 

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To put it simply, you force water into the plastic tube to push out air to make room for the water. Without doing this, the water that is trying to flow the normal way through the filter doesn't have the pressure to do it.
 

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To put it simply, you force water into the plastic tube to push out air to make room for the water. Without doing this, the water that is trying to flow the normal way through the filter doesn't have the pressure to do it.
Excellent. Thanks for the "simple" info Leper. Much appreciated! :thumb:
 

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My royal berkey works just fine for me without priming. The key is to fill the top tank almost to the edge to create the highest water pressure. Maybe it takes longer, but not much. Fill it up and a couple hours later I have the bottom 2/3 full of clean water with 2 filter elements. I usually filter overnight, so who cares if it takes 3 hours to completely filter a full tank of H2O. Priming seems like a waste of time, and I worry about contaminating the "clean" side of the filter/tank area.
 

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Katadyn

Katadyn is another high-quality (& high-dollar) ceramic water filter.
The "Pocket" model is literally lined with silver to prevent bacterial and fungal growth inside the unit. They are $350 now! Ouch! About 25 - 30 years ago, I bought one for $150.

Toss the first bit of water. Filter water second time through an activated charcoal filter to keep nature's "special" aromas to a minimum. Katadyn provides a concave brush to scrub the filter.

http://www.katadyn.com/usen/katadyn...adyn-water-filters-endurance-series-products/

http://www.katadyn.com/usen/katadyn...endurance-series-products/katadyn-pocket-usa/

http://www.katadyn.com/usen/katadyn...endurance-series-products/katadyn-expedition/
The Expedition model is up to $1200 now days.

Katadyn also makes desalinators these days
http://www.katadyn.com/usen/katadyn-products/products/katadynshopconnect/katadyn-desalinators/

Katadyn is expensive (it's Swiss, after all), but international missions into hell country take Katadyn with them.
 

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I have had a royal Berkey now for a couple of years now, and it works great. Can't say enough good things about it.

I have never primed my filters.

I have been told by several dealers that the white ceramic filters are made in the UK and are of much higher quality than the black filters.
 

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A solution to the the problem of production is to pay a little extra for the Crown Berkey. It has 8 filters. I currently have the ceramic filters in it and the black filters in my Big Berkey. The black filters remove more harmful microorganisms than the ceramic ones do but both will make water perfectly drinkable.
 

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Something that bears repeating is the Berkey does not filter out minerals. So if you are using your creek or well water or hard city water and still see "floaties" in your coffee or tea that's the reason. Just another good reason to try your preps before you need them. Had I waited to use my Berkey until a disaster I would have questioned whether it was filtering properly. And because the minerals are still in there your coffee or tea turns darker than if you were using reverse osmosis water. These are things I didn't realize until I used it.
 

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Something that bears repeating is the Berkey does not filter out minerals. So if you are using your creek or well water or hard city water and still see "floaties" in your coffee or tea that's the reason. Just another good reason to try your preps before you need them. Had I waited to use my Berkey until a disaster I would have questioned whether it was filtering properly. And because the minerals are still in there your coffee or tea turns darker than if you were using reverse osmosis water. These are things I didn't realize until I used it.
I haven't noticed that with my Berkeys but my water isn't that hard where I live. If you're using the clay filters then you're using minerals to filter your water in the first place. It could be that some of that clay sediment is dripping into the lower reservoir.
 
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