The majority of water filters are usually either carbon absorption or micro porous filters. They are found in homes in either water pitcher filtering systems, like Brita and Pur, or as filters that attach directly to the nozzle of the faucet. These remove unpleasant tastes and odors, sediment, and some microorganisms. They are straightforward to use. With pitcher filters, you simply fill the top and replace the filter every so often. Faucet filters require a little effort to install, but they can be even simpler to use.
Berkey filters are basically the same as big pitcher filters. There is a tank at the top that is filled with water. Gravity pushes the water through filters, and purified water is collected in the reservoir below. You can draw water from the reservoir to drink or use for whatever you need. The Berkey’s much larger than a kitchen pitcher. The Big Berkey, the most popular model, will filter 3 and a half gallons of water an hour. They can supply the water needs for 4 people. However, where a pitcher filter works as a very basic filter, Berkey filters do a much more complete job of removing contaminants from the water.
The United States Military grades water filters by their ability to remove contaminants, including pathogens, chemicals, and other harmful substances. The Berkey filter surpasses their requirements, doing such a good job that they are actually classed as water purifiers, rather than simply filters. This makes them useful in your kitchen, camping, or anywhere the water might be of dubious quality. These filters use a technology called ionic adsorption, which is efficient enough that the filter lasts for considerable time. These filters could also be cleaned, which can extend their lifespan to an estimated 4 years or so.
Berkey filters can seem too good to be true, and there are some aspects of the Berkey that can cause problems. The housing and many of the fixtures are made of stainless steel. However, some parts are made of plastic, for example the wing nuts that have to be tightened onto a metal rod to secure the filters. The plastic wing nuts can be stripped if not used carefully, or if used over a long period. This can make it difficult or impossible to tighten the filters properly, which will lead to unfiltered water leaking down into the reservoir. Also, the spigot that dispenses water is plastic, and likewise can become cracked or damaged, which will also lead to leaks.
Another important issue to be aware of is that bacteria will grow on the filters if they are left wet and not used for a long period of time. It takes a while for them to dry out, and if they are not in use with water flowing through them, they can become a good place for mildew to grow.
While there are a few important issues to be aware of, these filters do an amazing job of purifying water.