If I could filter rice, I bet this Berkey could get the white off.
And you know what they say about white on rice…
I’ve been waiting for almost a year to have a Berkey filter in our home. When we were selling our house, it just didn’t seem like a good idea to invite one more large appliance in, since clearing the counters is a priority for house showings.
Of course, I’m not sure “appliance” is exactly the right term, since it doesn’t need to be plugged in (a huge bonus!).
What Does the Berkey Do?
The Berkey filters 99% of everything (a technical term). I’m thrilled to get the chlorine, pathogens, heavy metals, and other weird things out of my water. The only thing I know of that it cannot touch is hormones, which are sadly rampant in our water supply because of artificial birth control and hormone replacement. However, from what I understand, nothing can touch that stuff.
I have extra filters to get the fluoride out, since fluoride is, in my opinion, a weird additive that we don’t need to ingest. Fluoride is a byproduct of some industrial process, and really, people who ate well a hundred years ago did not lose all their teeth.
My dental hygienist got a little uptight when I started talking about avoiding fluoride. She basically told us we’d get cavities, and when I said I grew up on well water and have pretty good teeth, she said unequivocally, “You were lucky then.”
A bit lucky, I suppose, since I ate a fairly standard American diet, but I’m not too worried about our teeth. If I want the kids to have fluoride, it will be in their toothpaste (and oh, isn’t toothpaste another story entirely! One I’m still working on…).
Our Berkey Experience
So far, I love the Berkey. You definitely need a dedicated place for it that won’t be under a cupboard, because it’s tall, maybe two-and-a-half feet, but it’s not quite as wide as I was expecting, only about a foot diameter. Our Berkey holds 3 gallons at a time, which has been enough without problem, even with making chicken stock, oatmeal, and company over (as long as we remember to fill it).
We had a piece of furniture our microwave sat on in our old house, and it’s the perfect spot for the Berkey. I can serve myself water from the table without even standing up (or stopping nursing, if that be the case).
Beyond feeling really, really good about the clean water, my absolute favorite part is that my kids can now serve themselves water. It’s awesome to have one more thing in the kitchen that’s easy for them to do, since we’re really working on increasing responsibility around here.
It does need to be filled, but I’ve figured out some strategies for that:
- It’s usually the 6yo’s job, with a 1/2 gallon plastic pitcher and a chair. He loves doing it. Here’s hoping that enthusiasm doesn’t wear off any time soon.
- When I realize I forgot to ask Paul to fill the Berkey, I just run the water into the pitcher while putting away dishes or something, then pour it in.
The worst part about the filter is that it takes a really long time to fill a pot for something like cooking with dry beans. Holding the pot underneath the spout is much more involved than plunking it in the sink and letting the water run. However – the microwave cart has a little shelf, and I’ve learned that a big heavy pot will sit there while the water runs into it. Score!
The flow of the water is actually better than I thought it might be, too. I’m a busy, hurried person, and I like everything to be FAST. I don’t get annoyed while waiting for my 16-ounce glass to fill up. You can set the spout to continue pouring or just push the lever backward and it stops when you release it. That second method allows me to fill a glass with one hand, another HUGE benefit for the mom of a 5-month-old!
Putting the Berkey together was a job delegated to my husband, and he gives one word of caution: you have to tighten the spout incredibly hard, so hard you think you might break it. Fill with just a 1/2 gallon of water the first time and let it sit on a counter with a towel nearby. You’ll probably have a leak and some troubleshooting, but it wasn’t too much of a pain, and now that it’s put together properly, we don’t even get one drop on the floor.
We did have an 18-month-old visit, who quickly reminded us that the water filter is NOT childproof, and it IS fun to pour water on the floor. !!! I can’t think of any way to keep the filter away from a child (it’s much too heavy to move around when full), so we just had to train the child to stay away from the filter. It took two timeouts, and he never went near it again. Great parenting!
The Amazing Color Disappearance Trick
This is the part I’ve been super excited to share with you in pictures. I just can’t even believe it. This filter rocks. Watch how you’re supposed to test to make sure the filters are working properly:
And then this happens on the other end:
I kid you not. This thing takes the color out of water.
I couldn’t get the red off my fingers for three days, and in only a few hours, all the food coloring came out. A. Maze. Ing.
I feel pretty confident that the Berkey also took out the nasty parabens that I discovered were in the food coloring!
See my full disclosure statement here.