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How Long Does Berkey Water Filter Last?

Jennifer Hansen
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by Jennifer Hansen

Berkey is a self-proclaimed world leader in water purification, and most people who use their products agree; unlike standard filters, Berkey’s filters remove bacteria and viruses.

However, like anything, Berkey’s filters won’t work forever.

So, how long do Berkey filters last? In short, the Black Berkey filter can last two to five years, and the Fluoride filter can last up to one year.

That said, the lifespan of your Berkey filters depends on how many gallons of water you consume and how well you maintain the system. By keeping in mind the tips we shared here, you’ll prolong the life of your Berkey filters and have years to enjoy safe drinking water.

How Long Do Berkey Filters Last?

Berkey’s products come with either Black Berkey filters or Fluoride filters. Each has its own lifespan as follows:

Black Berkey filter: Filters up to 3,000 gallons.

Fluoride Reduction filter: Filters up to 1,000 gallons. It needs an annual replacement even if you don’t use 1,000 gallons of water in a year.

If you’ve already done some water filtration research, you can appreciate that these are generous filter lifespans. However, when using Berkey filters, there’s sometimes more to consider than maximum gallon amounts. So, let’s take a closer look at these filter types.

Related: Berkey vs Propur Comparison

All About the Black Berkey Filter

As if the Black Berkey’s 3,000-gallon lifespan isn’t impressive enough, it gets better: Berkey systems come with a minimum of two filters. That means your water system operates on at least a 6,000-gallon lifespan.

The average adult should aim to consume half a gallon of water per day. That adds up quickly if you’re using other filter brands with a shorter lifespan, meaning that you need to invest more money and time into replacing filters.

However, if you use a Berkey product with two Black Berkey filters, the filters will last you for over three years, assuming your household consumes five gallons of water a day.

That’s a lot of filtered water! Can you imagine how long your filter would last if you’re the sole person living in your home?

All About the Berkey Fluoride Filter

Berkey’s Fluoride Reduction filter works in conjunction with the Black Berkey filter to remove harmful contaminants in your water. You simply need to thread the Fluoride Reduction filter onto the Black Berkey filter. By doing so, you’ll reduce as much as 97% of fluoride as well as arsenic and other heavy metals.

The Berkey Fluoride filter requires slightly more maintenance than the Black Berkey because you need to change it every year, regardless of whether you hit its maximum 1,000-gallon capacity.

Although it’s best to calculate how much water passes through your Berkey filter each day, you can also set a one-year reminder on your phone. If you notice a reduction in your filter’s flow rate before that time, then you’ll know you need a new fluoride filter. Otherwise, you can change it once your reminder goes off.

How Often Should You Replace Berkey Filters?

Knowing how often to replace Berkey filters is critical to receive the bacteria and virus-fighting properties of this water purification system.

Both Berkey filters require some light math skills to make sure your filters have ideal operating conditions. To do this, we recommend keeping track of how much water you pass through your filter every day for a week based on your system’s capacity in gallons.

Add those numbers up and divide it by the filter’s shelf life (3,000 gallons per Black Berkey and 1,000 gallons for the Fluoride filter. That way, you’ll find out approximately how many weeks your filters will be good for.

Other Ways to Know You Should Replace You Berkey Filters

If math isn’t your thing, there’s still hope. In that case, it’ll be up to you to monitor it so you can identify when your Berkey filter isn’t producing as much water per hour.

As a general rule, well-functioning Berkey filters can produce one gallon of water per hour. If they make less than this, then it’s time for you to clean or change the filters.

An even better way to ascertain if it’s time to change your filters is by putting a few drops of food dye into your tap water. The water should be clear once it reaches the bottom chamber.

If there are still traces of the dye once it reaches the final chamber, it’s a huge sign that you need to change your filter—if it’s not filtering out the dye, just imagine the other particles getting left in your water!

When to Use Berkey Filters

You might be wondering—how long do Berkey filters last if I use the water for bathing? The answer is not nearly as long. That’s because Berkey didn’t design their filters for purifying bathwater.

Instead, situations suitable for using Berkey filters include:

  • Drinking water
  • Cooking water
  • Watering small plants
  • Water for your pets

If you’re looking for help with purifying your bathing water, then you’ll need to install a larger purification tank in your home, such as a reverse osmosis system.

Extending Your Berkey Filter’s Lifespan

Berkey systems are low maintenance, but they still need occasional care to ensure the filters last as long as possible.

We recommend cleaning your Black Berkey filters every six months by using a scrubber meant for dishes. That way, you remove sediment, which will prevent a reduction in water flow.

Once you replace Berkey’s filters, make sure to follow the instructions on the filter to flush and prime them. That will put the filter in a position to work more effectively for a longer amount of time.

Finally, should you pass sediment or algae-filled water through your Berkey system, it’s best to put that water through a cloth first. That way, the fabric will capture large pieces of debris so that your filter doesn’t have to do extra work.

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About Jennifer Hansen
Jennifer Hansen
Jennifer is a clean water enthusiast and the lead editor of Water Filter Spot and created this website several years ago to share information that she's been researching in this industry for over 20 years.Jennifer studied environmental resource science in college and studied Western US water issues, including water policy, water rights, water pollution and environmental concerns.
Jennifer Hansen
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