How to Prime Your Berkey Water Filter for Optimal Performance

Clean Berkly filters

For preppers, clean water is vital. The Berkey Filter ensures access to safe hydration during crises by purifying any freshwater source. A good water filter is a must-have in a 3 day emergency kit.

Proper priming maximizes efficiency.Properly priming your Berkey water filter is essential for ensuring efficient operation and optimal water purification. Priming the Berkey filter elements involves preparing them to filter out impurities effectively. This step is crucial to remove air pockets that can hinder the filtration process.

Understanding Berkey Filters

These filters are renowned for their efficient water filtration capability, and recommended here at 72 hour prepper. They are designed to remove contaminants and provide clean drinking water through a system made up of specific components and various types of filter elements.

How to clean a Berkly filter

Components and Functionality

The Berkey Fluoride Filters are added to combat fluoride and other heavy metals. The system includes chambers—typically upper and lower—where unfiltered water is added to the upper chamber and clean, filtered water is collected in the lower chamber. Wing nuts and washers are essential for securing the filters in place. The system operates without electricity, relying solely on gravity to push water through the filters.

Types of Filters

The Berkey line offers various filters to cater to different filtration needs. The Black Berkey Filter is the most common and effective, capable of removing over 200 contaminants from drinking water. They also provide fluoride filters specifically designed to reduce fluoride and arsenic levels in the water.

Each filter type has its specific maintenance and priming procedures. The priming process is crucial for activating new filters, ensuring they are ready for use. Different priming techniques, like using a priming button or a prime kit, are available to facilitate this step effectively. Understanding these filters and their respective functions ensures the efficient operation of the Berkey Water Filter System.

Types of water filters

How to Prime Berkey Filters

When preparing your Berkey filter system for use, priming the filters is an important step. Properly priming the filters ensures they are ready to provide clean and efficient water filtration.

Before You Begin

Before beginning, make sure you have all necessary components, including the Prime Berkey filters and the priming button. The area should have access to clean water and an appropriate faucet for connection.

Remove the filters from their packaging, and disassemble them by taking off the wing nut and washer. Reinsert these components in reverse order to prepare the filter for priming. Follow the instructions, such as pressing the priming button against the faucet and allow water to run through.

Adjust the water pressure as needed to avoid inflating the primer. Continue running water until beads form on the filter surface, usually within a minute.

By adhering to these steps, your filters will be adequately primed and ready for installation.

New vs Old filter

Step-by-Step Priming Process

Properly priming your Berkey filter ensures optimal performance by removing air pockets and trapped particles. Here’s a breakdown of the essential steps to effectively prime a Berkey filter.

Assembling the Priming Setup

To start, gather your Black Berkey Filter, Priming Button, and thick tan washer. Attach the thick tan washer to the filter’s stem.

Next, press the Priming Button onto the stem, placing it over the tan washer. Ensure a tight fit. Position the filter horizontally next to the faucet with the button at the faucet’s tip.

Turn on the faucet and let water flow through the Priming Button. Adjust the faucet to maintain a steady but gentle stream. This position allows surface tension to hold the Priming Button in place, ready for the next steps.

Executing the Priming Sequence

With the setup in place, press the Priming Button firmly against the faucet to create a seal. Water will start to fill the filter. The goal is to push water through the filter until it lets clear water out.

Hold the filter under running water for about 2 minutes. If you notice any air bubbles, reposition the filter or re-press the Priming Button to ensure they are released.

For filters without water pressure, use the Prime Rite, attaching it to the faucet for more controlled water flow. Let the water run through until the filter is fully saturated and all air pockets are eliminated. Repeat for each Black Berkey Filter.

Water filter jug

Maintaining Your Berkey System

Proper maintenance of your Berkey System ensures it continues to provide clean and safe drinking water. This involves regular cleaning and addressing any issues that may arise during its use.

Regular Cleaning and Storage

Keeping the Berkey Water Filter clean is essential for optimal performance. Disassemble the unit and wash each component with a mild soap solution every month. Focus on scrubbing the Black Berkey Filters gently with a brush to remove any buildup.

Store the system in a cool, dry place when not in use. If storing for an extended period, allow all parts to air dry completely before reassembly. This helps prevent mold and bacteria growth. Check the filters periodically and replace them as needed to maintain filtration efficiency.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

Even a well-maintained Berkey System can encounter issues. If you notice a slow filtration rate, it may be due to air pockets in the Black Berkey Filters. Remove and reprime the filters, ensuring they are properly saturated with water.

Leaks are another common issue. Ensure the washers and wing nuts are tightly secured and inspect the filters for any cracks or damage. Reassemble carefully and test the system for leaks by filling it with water and checking all connections.

Cloudy filtered water usually indicates a need to clean or replace the filters. Following these troubleshooting steps will help maintain the efficiency and longevity of your Berkey Water Filter.


  1. What components are needed for priming a Berkey filter? You’ll need the Black Berkey filter(s), a priming button or Prime Rite attachment, a thick tan washer, access to running water, and the instructions.
  2. How do you assemble the priming setup? Attach the thick tan washer to the filter stem, press the priming button onto the stem over the washer, position the filter horizontally next to the faucet with the button at the faucet tip.
  3. How long does the priming process take? Hold the filter under running water for about 2 minutes, ensuring clear water flows out to eliminate all air pockets.
  4. How often should the Berkey system be cleaned? It’s recommended to disassemble and clean the unit with a mild soap solution every month, scrubbing the filters gently with a brush.
  5. How do you troubleshoot slow filtration or leaks? For slow filtration, remove and reprime the filters. For leaks, ensure washers and wing nuts are tightened, and inspect for cracks or damage.
  6. What could cause cloudy filtered water? Cloudy water typically indicates the need to clean or replace the filters.
  7. How should the Berkey system be stored when not in use? Store it in a cool, dry place, ensuring all components are completely dry before reassembly to prevent mold and bacteria growth.
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