Author Topic: Berkey or other water filters?  (Read 675 times)

jeromedawg

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Berkey or other water filters?
« on: September 13, 2021, 03:45:00 PM »
Hey all,

Saw some suggestions on Berkey filters here. Seems interesting except I like colder water and am used to using Brita pitchers. Was looking into Zerowater too. For those of you who have Berkey filters, how often do you find you have to refill it? And is it a PITA to do it as well?

Do you just pour it into a pitcher and stick in the fridge for cold water?

Any other suggestions for drinking water? I used to have one of those Culligan faucet filters but it got gross fast and was often in the way when doing dishes. I had one of those under-sink ones too that came with a new kitchen faucet I installed at our condo but it was the basic run-of-the-mill carbon filter types. I'm looking for something where the output results in cleaner tasting water. I don't feel too comfortable drinking the tap water here in SoCal straight from tap, and it doesn't taste too great either.

JLee

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Re: Berkey or other water filters?
« Reply #1 on: September 13, 2021, 03:58:25 PM »
I love my Berkey but have recently read some concerning stuff about the filtration quality -- I would do some more research before buying one.  I have a fridge with an integrated pitcher, but back when I didn't I just filled a glass pitcher from the Berkey and put the pitcher in the fridge.

jeromedawg

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Re: Berkey or other water filters?
« Reply #2 on: September 13, 2021, 04:49:29 PM »
I love my Berkey but have recently read some concerning stuff about the filtration quality -- I would do some more research before buying one.  I have a fridge with an integrated pitcher, but back when I didn't I just filled a glass pitcher from the Berkey and put the pitcher in the fridge.

What brand fridge are you using with an integrated pitcher? Or what does that even look like?

JLee

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Re: Berkey or other water filters?
« Reply #3 on: September 13, 2021, 10:11:06 PM »
I love my Berkey but have recently read some concerning stuff about the filtration quality -- I would do some more research before buying one.  I have a fridge with an integrated pitcher, but back when I didn't I just filled a glass pitcher from the Berkey and put the pitcher in the fridge.

What brand fridge are you using with an integrated pitcher? Or what does that even look like?

I got this one on sale when I redid my kitchen.

Roots&Wings

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Re: Berkey or other water filters?
« Reply #4 on: September 14, 2021, 06:36:05 AM »
I've been using a Japanese charcoal stick in a Brita pitcher: https://smile.amazon.com/dp/B0061R8WYC. Lasts 6 months. Only annoying thing is transferring the water to another bottle (needs to sit for ~8 hours to filter a gallon).

the_hobbitish

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Re: Berkey or other water filters?
« Reply #5 on: September 14, 2021, 07:00:52 AM »
Last I researched it, Berkey was the filter used by a lot of gov orgs and NGOs in places where getting clean water another way isn't possible. I had a small desktop sized one when I was working overseas in an area with undrinkable water. I would dump it in my to go bottle in the morning and let it refill while I was out.

It comes in multiple sizes so refill timing depends entirely on how big you go. A co-worker brought a gallon sized one into the office. We fill it before we leave in the evening and have water for water bottles and plants in the am. It's not a big deal as long as you dump water in before you're out. You don't want to be waiting on it to filter, but that's true of the britas as well and this filters a lot more than a brita.

Overall I've been happy with it. It's also what a different coworker got his parents when the water in their area was polluted with Genx (the chemical that makes teflon coatings).


Sanitary Engineer

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Re: Berkey or other water filters?
« Reply #6 on: September 14, 2021, 07:48:41 AM »
This article calls out the main concerns with Berkey - It is too good to be true and it is not certified to a an accepted standard (NSF 53) by a third party. 

https://4perfectwater.com/blog/berkey-filter

Reading about the PFAS removal test is illuminating - the Berkey performs after filtering 2 liters of water, but goes untested at higher volumes.  Similarly, the filters is supposed to use an ion exchange process which swaps some ions for others.  Ion exchange systems (i.e. a water softener) need to be "regenerated" with the more ions so they keep working.  After some period of time all of the "sites" on the ion exchange media are taken up and there is no more room for contaminant ions.  The same happens for activated carbon. 

The bacteriological removal doesn't make sense to me either. Carbon filters will grow bacteria after being in use for a while, they become "biological" filters. For public drinking water, which is monitored closely for biological contamination, disinfection is required after carbon filtration.

I wouldn't trust the Berkey for something important, like protecting the health of my family.

JLee

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Re: Berkey or other water filters?
« Reply #7 on: September 14, 2021, 09:09:31 AM »
This article calls out the main concerns with Berkey - It is too good to be true and it is not certified to a an accepted standard (NSF 53) by a third party. 

https://4perfectwater.com/blog/berkey-filter

Reading about the PFAS removal test is illuminating - the Berkey performs after filtering 2 liters of water, but goes untested at higher volumes.  Similarly, the filters is supposed to use an ion exchange process which swaps some ions for others.  Ion exchange systems (i.e. a water softener) need to be "regenerated" with the more ions so they keep working.  After some period of time all of the "sites" on the ion exchange media are taken up and there is no more room for contaminant ions.  The same happens for activated carbon. 

The bacteriological removal doesn't make sense to me either. Carbon filters will grow bacteria after being in use for a while, they become "biological" filters. For public drinking water, which is monitored closely for biological contamination, disinfection is required after carbon filtration.

I wouldn't trust the Berkey for something important, like protecting the health of my family.

Yeah, I am reconsidering keeping mine now.

jeromedawg

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Re: Berkey or other water filters?
« Reply #8 on: September 14, 2021, 09:50:29 AM »
Hm so if not Berkey then what would the best recommendation currently be?


Have any of you tried Zerowater?

Sanitary Engineer

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Re: Berkey or other water filters?
« Reply #9 on: September 14, 2021, 11:15:50 AM »
Drinking water is very complicated.

What is your supply? Well or municipal.  What is the quality of that water? Does it have known carcinogens like arsenic and disinfection by-products, or suspected carcinogens like PFAS? 

Do you have a suite of water quality analyses on the water coming into your house? What are the constituents?

Or is your concern aesthetic? Do you have a reference water source to compare to? For instance, you have a camp in the mountains that gets that sweet spring water and you want to get something like that? Or your neighbor always has refreshing water.

The field of drinking water treatment is varied and specific.  Also pretty expensive.  Cheap plastic products wont provide solutions to serious problems, but expensive whole house units could exacerbate real concerns. 

Water is chemistry.

BDWW

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Re: Berkey or other water filters?
« Reply #10 on: September 14, 2021, 12:08:41 PM »
Not perfect, I would have like to see lab analysis of heavy metals and such, but here's a somewhat informative review.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ja0ioX6GSz0

Sanitary Engineer

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Re: Berkey or other water filters?
« Reply #11 on: September 15, 2021, 12:13:56 PM »
That is a pretty interesting review.  Annoying that the tester is using total dissolved solids as a metric.  There is nothing bad about total dissolved solids.  The main thing that I learned is that I am not comfortable drinking water filtered through the Zerowater.  It would be really interesting to see the alkalinity of the water after filtration through the Zerowater, the pH was much lower and I would want to know why.  It isn't fair to put the RO beside gravity filters because RO uses electricity, also RO specifically adds TDS because it isn't safe to drink water with zero minerals in it.
Illuminating also, that the iron test added iron vitamins, a good indication that iron isn't harmful or even undesired in drinking water. Iron is an issue because it might have a taste, otherwise it might effect appliances which a gravity filter isn't going to address.

And that is the main point of these filters, taste.  Really the filter that is best for aesthetics is the one that results in the water you like best from the source that you are using.

jeromedawg

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Re: Berkey or other water filters?
« Reply #12 on: September 15, 2021, 07:05:50 PM »
Drinking water is very complicated.

What is your supply? Well or municipal.  What is the quality of that water? Does it have known carcinogens like arsenic and disinfection by-products, or suspected carcinogens like PFAS? 

Do you have a suite of water quality analyses on the water coming into your house? What are the constituents?

Or is your concern aesthetic? Do you have a reference water source to compare to? For instance, you have a camp in the mountains that gets that sweet spring water and you want to get something like that? Or your neighbor always has refreshing water.

The field of drinking water treatment is varied and specific.  Also pretty expensive.  Cheap plastic products wont provide solutions to serious problems, but expensive whole house units could exacerbate real concerns. 

Water is chemistry.

It's municipal here in SoCal. As far as quality I'm not sure - I'm assuming that info I can find on the water district's website?

https://www.mnwd.com/ccr/

https://www.mnwd.com/app/uploads/2021/06/MoultonNiguel-2020-Water-Quality-Report-web.pdf

"In 2020, the hardness found in your water had an average of 16.75 grains per gallon" - drinking this water from the tap doesn't particularly taste very good. Compared to NorCal/Bay Area, for instance, though I would still put all of this through some kind of filter, it doesn't nearly taste "as good" from the faucet down here as it does up there. I've always thought this to be the case even from when I was young. I'm assuming the water here is harder in general.
« Last Edit: September 15, 2021, 07:09:01 PM by jeromedawg »

Sanitary Engineer

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Re: Berkey or other water filters?
« Reply #13 on: September 16, 2021, 02:23:21 PM »
The water quality doesn't seem likely to cause your death. But the infrastructure and the manipulation that has gone into getting that water from where it touches the earth to where you drink it is not good.

That just made me really glad I don't live in Southern California.  That is a terrible situation and I am getting a little sick from being confronted with it.  I will now go back to sticking my head in the sand about the harm caused by my profession.

jeromedawg

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Re: Berkey or other water filters?
« Reply #14 on: September 16, 2021, 07:16:37 PM »
The water quality doesn't seem likely to cause your death. But the infrastructure and the manipulation that has gone into getting that water from where it touches the earth to where you drink it is not good.

That just made me really glad I don't live in Southern California.  That is a terrible situation and I am getting a little sick from being confronted with it.  I will now go back to sticking my head in the sand about the harm caused by my profession.

Thanks...? lol


So getting back to the topic at-hand, and besides moving out of California, what might you propose as the "next best thing" as far as filtration is concerned? hahahaha

nereo

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Re: Berkey or other water filters?
« Reply #15 on: September 17, 2021, 01:40:32 AM »
The water quality doesn't seem likely to cause your death. But the infrastructure and the manipulation that has gone into getting that water from where it touches the earth to where you drink it is not good.

That just made me really glad I don't live in Southern California.  That is a terrible situation and I am getting a little sick from being confronted with it.  I will now go back to sticking my head in the sand about the harm caused by my profession.

Thanks...? lol


So getting back to the topic at-hand, and besides moving out of California, what might you propose as the "next best thing" as far as filtration is concerned? hahahaha

We’ve relied on 10” in-line “under sink” filters for our kitchen sink.  Currently we have two in series, the first is a 5micron sediment filter and the second is a carbon-block to improve taste. I’m curious @Sanitary Engineer what you think of such systems. 
Overall cost is way lower than Brita/Berkey type water filters, and we replace the filters every 3-4 months.

An RO system (generally around $200) seems to be the gold standard for at-faucet level filtration, or so I’ve been led to believe. Some get a bit extreme with the amount of pre-filtration, with three or even four 10” filters going to 1 micron and with a carbon block.  They also install under your sink (it’ll likely take up most of the space in that cabinet), include a reservoir (as the RO is very slow) and an additional special tap for the purified water.

Beardog

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Re: Berkey or other water filters?
« Reply #16 on: September 17, 2021, 05:33:04 AM »
I know this thread is concerned with removing contaminants in drinking water.  If there are no contaminants, but the water tastes funny coming out of the tap, I have found just letting water sit for 12 or so hours on the counter improves the taste.  I have a pretty cut glass container (glass, not leaded-glass) with a loose fitting glass stopper that works well for this purpose.

chemistk

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Re: Berkey or other water filters?
« Reply #17 on: September 17, 2021, 07:07:41 AM »
The water quality doesn't seem likely to cause your death. But the infrastructure and the manipulation that has gone into getting that water from where it touches the earth to where you drink it is not good.

That just made me really glad I don't live in Southern California.  That is a terrible situation and I am getting a little sick from being confronted with it.  I will now go back to sticking my head in the sand about the harm caused by my profession.

Thanks...? lol


So getting back to the topic at-hand, and besides moving out of California, what might you propose as the "next best thing" as far as filtration is concerned? hahahaha

We’ve relied on 10” in-line “under sink” filters for our kitchen sink.  Currently we have two in series, the first is a 5micron sediment filter and the second is a carbon-block to improve taste. I’m curious @Sanitary Engineer what you think of such systems. 
Overall cost is way lower than Brita/Berkey type water filters, and we replace the filters every 3-4 months.

An RO system (generally around $200) seems to be the gold standard for at-faucet level filtration, or so I’ve been led to believe. Some get a bit extreme with the amount of pre-filtration, with three or even four 10” filters going to 1 micron and with a carbon block.  They also install under your sink (it’ll likely take up most of the space in that cabinet), include a reservoir (as the RO is very slow) and an additional special tap for the purified water.

Our old house also had the undersink filters, and one of the big benefits was that there were a number of different brands and filter media that would work in them. I liked them because there was a LOT of filter media, and the water pressure was exceptionally good out of the dedicated tap. The downside is that some of the better filters cost a lot of money and there's no reminder to change them so it's easy to forget when they were last installed. Plus occasionally the housing would make almost too good of a seal, and it was pretty challenging to wrench off.

The PO of our new house left the faucet PUR assembly installed along with a new extra filter, I have to say the water that comes out of that is very good. Supposedly PUR filters are some of the best all-in-one filters available. It's also really convenient to be able to switch between filtered and standard tap water.

Jerome - I'd honestly look at getting the undersink filters with the dedicated tap. Might have to do some light plumbing if you want to DIY but it should be super easy. You'll have a range of filter media that can fit in there.

Steeze

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Re: Berkey or other water filters?
« Reply #18 on: September 17, 2021, 07:48:24 AM »
I bought the auqasana 3-Stage for my apartment - it is OK, but the water pressure blows, and I have a bit of anxiety thinking about the plastic filter housings exploding and flooding the place (i am on the top floor of an apartment building). Taste is good and water quality is good. I selected this system mostly because it is compact, is rated for lead removal, and I have limited space. A similar system with standard 10" filters and a reservoir would be much better.

If I was setting up a system with no restrictions I would go with a RO system with dedicated lines to sinks / drinking water sources. Drinking water would need to have natural salts added to re-mineralize and baking soda to raise the pH and improve alkalinity.

Sanitary Engineer

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Re: Berkey or other water filters?
« Reply #19 on: September 17, 2021, 09:10:24 AM »
I like an under sink filter plumbed to its own drinking water spigot next to the regular kitchen sink tap  The media in the filter depends on what you want to do to your water.  A carbon filter is likely to improve aesthetics and may remove some harmful contaminants, if present. Remembering to change it is the important part.

For the Southern California water I would try an under sink carbon filter if I had a problem with how the water tastes and I would put in a whole house softener if my appliances had a problem with the hardness.  If I was really savvy, I would feed my under sink carbon filter with unsoftened water.

I also leave my water on the counter and sometimes in the fridge in a pretty white ceramic pitcher. This reduces or eliminates the chlorine taste of my water and I like to think it dissipates disinfection byproducts.



jeromedawg

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Re: Berkey or other water filters?
« Reply #20 on: September 17, 2021, 09:19:56 AM »
The water quality doesn't seem likely to cause your death. But the infrastructure and the manipulation that has gone into getting that water from where it touches the earth to where you drink it is not good.

That just made me really glad I don't live in Southern California.  That is a terrible situation and I am getting a little sick from being confronted with it.  I will now go back to sticking my head in the sand about the harm caused by my profession.

Thanks...? lol


So getting back to the topic at-hand, and besides moving out of California, what might you propose as the "next best thing" as far as filtration is concerned? hahahaha

We’ve relied on 10” in-line “under sink” filters for our kitchen sink.  Currently we have two in series, the first is a 5micron sediment filter and the second is a carbon-block to improve taste. I’m curious @Sanitary Engineer what you think of such systems. 
Overall cost is way lower than Brita/Berkey type water filters, and we replace the filters every 3-4 months.

An RO system (generally around $200) seems to be the gold standard for at-faucet level filtration, or so I’ve been led to believe. Some get a bit extreme with the amount of pre-filtration, with three or even four 10” filters going to 1 micron and with a carbon block.  They also install under your sink (it’ll likely take up most of the space in that cabinet), include a reservoir (as the RO is very slow) and an additional special tap for the purified water.

Are you mix-and-matching different filters with each other? Or is this a particular brand 2-stage system you have going? In either case, which brand(s) are these? I will likely go this route. I had something like this at our condo and it was inline with the main faucet - cold 'activated' the filter while hot 'bypassed' it (https://www.amazon.com/AQUA-CREST-Replacement-Compatible-3US-MAX-F01H/dp/B01G3T08RG)... I'd probably want a dedicated tap for it though in the future.


I stumbled across this and it seems to consistently have good reviews:
https://www.amazon.com/Waterdrop-15UB-UF-Filtration-Dedicated-Capacity/dp/B08GX6BYMW

The nice thing is that you can choose different filters sizes/capacities to replace.
« Last Edit: September 17, 2021, 09:52:22 AM by jeromedawg »