Traveling throughout the United States in an RV, the first thing we notice after hooking up to a campground water spigot is how awful the water tastes and smells. But also, other unknown water sources leave us in question of how safe the water really is. But, once we started using a Berkey Water Filter System, all of that changed!
Berkey® is now becoming a household brand amongst RVers. And for good reason. The degradation of our Nation’s infrastructure and water filtration plants putting in chemicals to make nasty water drinkable is actually making people sick!
In fact, the Red Cross uses Berkey water filter systems in areas hit by hurricanes, tornadoes and flooding areas where water quality has been compromised. And now, there’s so much controversy over bad water at military bases and FamCamps, military families are getting a Berkey too.
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What is a Berkey?
Why You NEED a Berkey at home and in Your RV!
We were compensated with product to review this product in this article. However, it in no way influences our review or information in this article.
As full-time RVers who travel throughout the United States, we oftentimes find ourselves in places where water quality is questionable. It’s not just about the water itself but also the aging infrastructure.
It’s not uncommon for us to pull into a campground only to discover the water is just plain repulsive. Either the water smells bad or tastes horrible because of where it comes from or from the chemicals added in water filtration plants to make the water “safe to drink”. And, in some campgrounds, especially those on military bases, this is a huge health concern.
Even when we use external RV water filters or more elaborate onboard water filter systems, it’s still not enough to be confident in some water we drink from outside sources or even after we sanitize our RV water tanks.
Which is why we decided to get serious about the water we ingest, cook with or give to our pets.
What is a Berkey? What does a Berkey do that a regular water filter doesn’t?
A Berkey water filter system, using the Black Berkey Purification Elements, filters water but also purifies water.
A Berkey removes 99.9999% of viruses and pathogenic bacteria from your drinking water without removing the necessary minerals our body needs.
The Berkey water filter system removes and dramatically reduces protozoa (such as giardia and cryptosporidium), trihalomethanes, inorganic minerals, heavy metals (including arsenic, lead, mercury, chromium), pharmaceutical drugs (including caffeine, Acetaminophen, Ibuprofen, Progesterone, Triclosan).
Can a Berkey filter any water?
The Berkey water filter system works without the need for electricity or plumbing components. The Berkey 2-chamber water filter systems are off grid water purifiers that are gravity fed.
You literally can filter from several water sources such as creeks, streams and rivers, stagnant ponds, springs and wells as well as rain water, tap water and water from long term storage.
According to Berkey, “The Berkey water purification systems can efficiently purify raw untreated pond, lake and river water.”
One small caveat, we don’t recommend making that as a common practice as those water sources can contain extreme viral and bacteriological contamination.
Berkey does recommend, by way of the CDC, EPA and other health organizations, that users should add approximately sixteen drops of plain bleach or iodine per gallon before purifying using the Berkey.
This should kill minute pathogens such as viruses, within 30 minutes. After which, disinfectant will be removed from the treated water entirely with the Berkey system, including any odor or taste.
How easy is a Berkey to set up and maintain?
Seriously, it took less than 15 minutes to set up our Travel Berkey in our RV. After following the directions that come in our Berkey box, we were soon drinking impeccably clean water with no weird tastes or smells.
Once we installed the Berkey filters and did the initial flush to ready the filters, it was as easy as pouring water into the top chamber and waiting for it to filter down into the ready chamber.
The Travel Berkey comes with 2 filters that will easily last a few years between changing. Those 2 filters will filter 6000 gallons before needing replacement.
For monthly maintenance, I simply disassemble both chambers of our Berkey. Then, I give the stainless steel components a good hot soapy water wash and thorough rinse out (with Berkey water of course!).
Then we just give the filters a light scrubbing with a clean soft toothbrush and clean water to remove any limescale or debris. After which, we just insert the Berkey filters again and fill the top chamber with water to filter into the bottom chamber.
To keep our Berkey exterior spotless from fingerprints or water spots, I just wipe it down with a clean nonabrasive soft cloth and a few spritzes of Wash Wax ALL. I’ll flip my cloth to the clean dry side to wipe off any residue. Our travel Berkey stays shiny and looking brand new!
Why you should get a BERKEY?
Your Family’s Health
Water pollution is the contamination of bodies of water, usually as a result of human activities, so that it negatively affects its uses.
Those bodies of water include lakes, rivers, oceans, aquifers, reservoirs and groundwater. Water pollution results when contaminants are introduced into these water bodies.
In their March 2022 fact sheet, WHOI reports,
“Contaminated water and poor sanitation are linked to transmission of diseases such as cholera, diarrhoea, dysentery, hepatitis A, typhoid and polio.”
Now, while the U.S. certainly is not a third world country with water sanitation issues, don’t think for a moment that some of those disease aren’t happening in the United States.
Let’s go a step further, what’s in your water that comes from water filtration plants all over the U.S. is alarming!
The CDC says,
“To prevent contamination with germs, water companies add a disinfectant—usually either chlorine or chloramine—that kills disease-causing germs such as Salmonella, Campylobacter, and norovirus.”
But, sadly, there are serious health implications that go with chlorine in our human systems. While we’re vying to make drinking water safe, we’re adding foreign chemicals into our bodies which interrupt the endocrine system, may cause infertility, birth defects, child development, increased aging, etc.
However, it’s not just what’s been added by the water filtration plants that heeds strong concern.
The severe degradation of our nation’s infrastructure is aging. Water pipes and systems containing lead, heavy metals and unknown contaminants are leaching into our water.
Scientists have found links between a number of the forever chemicals and many health concerns;
- Kidney cancer
- Testicular cancer
- Thyroid disease
- Liver damage
- Eevelopmental toxicity
- Ulcerative colitis
- High cholesterol
- Pregnancy-induced preeclampsia
- Immune dysfunction
And let’s not forget what people dump down the drain or toilet;
- Prescription medicines
- Chemicals and cleaners
- Human waste containing methamphetamines
With every cup of tap water, all of those are going into your body, your families’ bodies; including your pets’. Scary, isn’t it?
Environmental Impact: Landfills and Carbon Footprint
“80% of the plastic water bottles end up in landfills. U.S. landfills are overflowing in excess of 2 million tons of discarded water bottles.”
Once you get a Berkey water filter system, you’ll soon realize the positive impact it has on our planet. I know we sure did.
Actually, we’re quite embarrassed about our unnecessary output of plastic and what it takes to produce those water bottles.
We typically would purchase a 36-pack of bottled water every 3 to 4 days. Over the course of a year, that’s almost 4000 plastic water bottles per year.
That’s not including the individual bottles of water we would purchase on outings, meals out and at stores. And, that’s just for the two of us!
Can you imagine how many disposable water bottles a family of 4, 5 or even more puts out there? Those numbers are staggering when you start multiplying that by the hundreds of millions of people living in the United States alone!
And something else to consider, most plastic disposable water bottles can no longer be recycled because they’ve been generationally recycled leaving them unable to be recycled. So, they end up in the landfills.
✰ READ MORE ✰ How to Recycle on the Road – RV & Road Trip Recycling
As huge proponents of our environment and the Leave No Trace principal, those numbers and our unnecessary contribution literally made us sick to our stomachs.
Not to mention, what the chemicals from those disposable water bottles were doing to our health.
This all is precisely why we got serious about our health and our environment. Berkey water filter systems are an eco-friendly, green alternative that helps improve our environment by eliminating wasteful disposable water bottles.
Since getting our Travel Berkey for our small motorhome, not only are we (and our kitties!) improving our aging health, we’re feeling mighty good at how much less we’re contributing as landfill waste.
And let’s not forget the carbon footprint impact it leaves to produce all those useless, disposable water bottles.
“Did you know it takes approximately 450 years for a single plastic water bottle to decompose?”
Saving money is important to us all. Who really wants to be spending upwards of $2 for a bottle of drinking water?
While the investment of buying a Berkey is omnipresent, you’re going to experience cost savings within just a few months.
As mentioned above, As stated above, we would buy two large cases of water per week.
At the current average price of $5 per case that amounts to spending over $500 per year. That’s not including the individual bottles of water we would purchase on outings, meals out and at stores.
Guess what? That’s about what you’d pay for a Berkey Water Filter System (less if for the Travel Berkey!).
But, going further than obvious cost savings is your and your family’s health.
A simple doctor appointment or trip to the ER for gastric emergencies will run you in the hundreds to even thousands of dollars; even with health insurance. Not to mention, the time and money you would lose from work or school.
Water Smells and Tastes Bad
It all boils down to this. We all know that water is our body’s lifeblood to survival.
If your drinking water doesn’t smell or taste good, you and your family aren’t going to drink it. Thus, you will become dehydrated and incur dangerous issues that can become a detriment to your health.
Let me preface that in saying we’re not easily impressed by gimmicky gadgets that claim one thing and do another.
But I have to say, the first time we drank our first glass of Berkey water, we were absolutely floored.
“Filtered water from the Berkey IS the best water we’ve ever EVER drank!”
In fact, now that we’re accustomed to drinking this pure water, we take our own water into restaurants with us. We are constantly filling our water bottles. And when we head out for the hiking trails, we fill up our hydration packs with our Berkey water.
We now don’t begrudgingly gulp down water just to get it down the hatch to stay hydrated. Our water tastes so good that we actually can enjoy sipping it.
We now only drink water that is filtered from our Berkey. And, when our Berkey is nearing empty, we simply pull our kitchen faucet hose over to the top chamber, lift the lid and fill it close to the top of the filters.
The only thing we use tap water for in our RV was for hand and dishwashing.
What WE use our Berkey water for
We use our Berkey water for anything and everything we consume in our bodies.
Even our kitty cat loves our Berkey filtered water. In fact, she used to turn her nose up at tap water. But ever since we started using our Berkey, she actually enjoys drinking water.
Berkey water is the source to make our ice cubes for our refreshing glasses of water, ice tea and even our cocktails!
The water filtered through our Berkey is the only water I use now to make coffee, ice tea and cooking. I use it for boiling pasta, cooking rice, soups and stews, and making anything that requires water as an ingredient.
And, I know this sounds crazy, but while CPAP device manufacturers require distilled water in those breathing machines, I don’t fret when I use our Berkey water if we run out.
If we end up taking on water from an unknown water source or when they’re are boil alerts, we simply fill up our Berkey and even use it to wash our dishes and hands.
In other words, anything that we consume that requires water or needs sanitization, our Berkey is our number one ‘tool’ for keeping us and our kitties safe.
Clearly, this is why we explicitly recommend the Berkey. It’s probably one of the best investments you can make for you and your family’s health.
The Berkey is perfect for those who RV in places of questionable water quality. But also anyone who cares about about what goes into their family’s bodies.
Travel Berkey Water Filter System Kit
For RVers or Boaters, we totally recommend the Travel Berkey because of it’s the perfect size and capacity. It’s ideal for 2 people and of course, our kitties.
As with all Berkeys, it’s constructed of highly polished AISI 304 stainless steel chrome. The travel Berkey stores about 1.5 gallons in the bottom chamber.
The upper chamber nests within the lower chamber for transport and stands only 12″ in height.
The Travel Berkey System can produce up to 2.75 gallons (10.4 liters) of purified water per hour which can produce enough water to serve our water needs for the day. This includes what we use for our French Press coffee maker, cooking and drinking.
Big Berkey® Water Filter System Kit
Now, if you are looking for a larger Berkey water filter system, then you’ll want to get the Big Berkey water filter system.
The versatile Big Berkey is ideal for small to medium families and is perfect for a home. Going on a trip in your RV? Take your Berkey with you in your RV!
Its’ storage capacity of about 2.25 gallons (8.5 liters). And the upper chamber nests within the lower chamber for transport and stands only 13″ in height.
Either of the Berkey water filter systems is an incredible improvement for your health, our environment and your wallet.
Berkey Water Filter System Stand
Depending on where you set your Berkey, you may want to raise it up so you can get your cup underneath the spigot using a stainless steel Berkey stand.
They come in different heights depending on how high you want your Berkey water filter system to sit on the counter or surface.
Berkey Sight Glass Spigot
If you don’t want to have to guess how full or empty your filtered water reservoir is, you may want to get the Berkey sight glass spigot compatible with Berkey water filter systems.
A floating ball in the sight glass spigot indicates the water level, allowing you to see at a glance how much water remains in the lower chamber.
Stainless Water Spigot
So, replace it with a stainless steel water spigot that allows a much higher volume of water to dispense from the water canister so that’s a huge plus!
Berkey Stainless Water Bottle
You can take your filtered water on the go using a Berkey stainless water bottle.
Or, you can fill your own preferred water bottle (we love our Hydro Flask bottles!) to take in your car, on a bike ride or hike, in your kayak or just to keep around you at all times.
Berkey PF-2 Fluoride and Arsenic Reduction Elements (PF-2 Filter Attachment)
The Berkey PF-2 Fluoride and Arsenic Reduction Elements adsorb the following unwanted elements found in drinking water: Fluoride: Sodium Fluoride, Sodium Fluorosilicate, Fluorosilicic Acid (aka Hydrofluorosilic Acid) * Arsenic: V & pre-oxidized Arsenic III * Other residual heavy metal ions.
Black Berkey Purification Elements
The Black Berkey Purification Elements is designed to purify approximately 3,000 gallons of water before needing replacement. Two (2) elements in a Berkey system will purify approximately 6,000 gallons of water before replacement is recommended.
Each Berkey includes Two 9″ Black Berkey Purification Elements with 2 washers, 2 wing nuts, and 1 priming button that installs in the upper chamber of any Berkey system.
Elements can also be used to upgrade most other gravity-fed water filter systems. Re-cleanable and self-sterilizing during the life of the element that come with a 2-year, pro-rated warranty. Sold as a set of 2 elements
Black Berkey Primer
The Black Berkey Primer is a hand-powered priming pump that makes it possible to prime Black Berkey Elements easily offline, without the need for faucets or hose connections.
Priming the Black Berkey Elements saturates the filters with water prior to their use, allowing for clean water production anywhere.
The Black Berkey Primer also purges (or back-flushes) the Black Berkey Elements using air instead of water to clean the proprietary pores of the compressed carbon filter wall.
This is perfect for those who may be having difficulty priming their elements in small RV sinks.
Berkey Gravity-Feed Water Filter System Pro-Care Maintenance Kit
While not an actual Berkey brand product, you can use the pro-care maintenance kit with Berkey Water Systems.
This kit makes maintenance of the Berkey Water Systems convenient and easy.
Included in the Berkey maintenance kit: Flo-Duck lid holder & anti-airlock clip, microfiber glove small spigot brush, compact filter scrub pad, easy-to-use red food coloring dropper, microfiber clean/polish glove and instructions.
Your take away of why you NEED a Berkey
If you care about your family’s health, it’s time to get serious about the water you drink and cook with. The Berkey gravity-fed water filter system will help improve your health. Equally important, a Berkey will also save our environment and your wallet!
You, your family and your pets deserve safe and clean drinking water. Its the reason why a Berkey is a MUST in your RV and your home.
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