In my posts "What's In My Water?", I talked about research I've done and why we chose the Berkey water filtration system. In this post I'll talk a bit about our experience with the Berkey in our home. After deciding that a Berkey system was the best option for us, I contacted Big Berkey Water Filters who agreed to send us a system for half price in exchange for a review. I had done plenty of research and had already chosen this system before being given the opportunity to review it. Remember too that from my calculations in Part 2, Berkey is actually cheaper per gallon than even a Pur or Brita system which many people have. Big Berkey Water Filters is offering my readers a discount code, free shipping, and a free item with purchase, so keep reading...
We set up the Berkey system on a day when Ross was here to help me figure out putting it together. I was a bit intimidated at first with trying to get it all set up correctly, but it wasn't hard. It took a while because we were careful to follow the instructions and be sure we were doing it right, but there wasn't anything difficult to understand. The filters have to be primed initially, and there are clear directions with photos on how to do this (here). We only have one place in the kitchen to place the Berkey because our cupboards all get in the way, but it has worked out fine. The system is tall, but overall doesn't take up too much space. The first week we had the Berkey set up, it started to leak from around the spout. We took it apart and tightened the washers and it hasn't leaked again.
The water does taste slightly different than our PUR pitcher water, but not bad. After a day we were all used to the new taste. Lucy and Julia both drink water all the time and never said anything about the water taste. Ross said that it reminded him of fresh spring water from his grandparents' cottage when he was little. At times when I'm filling up the Berkey I can smell the chlorine in the tap water and I'm so glad that we aren't drinking it any more.
There is a bit of a learning curve with figuring out how often to refill the system. I lifted the top half of the Berkey off a few times to see how much water was left, but for the most part I can tell when I need to fill it based on how much water we've used (if I've filled a big pot for cooking or something). The flow from the spout also gets weaker when there is less water in the system and is stronger when its full. The water takes quite a while to filter (which is a good thing, it gets more contaminants out the longer the water is filtered), so keeping track of when it needs more is important. We chose the Royal Berkey and it seems to be a good size for our family. If we need faster filtration as our family grows, we can always add two more of the filtration elements to our system.
We keep a pitcher on the counter that we use to refill the Berkey and another in the fridge with filtered water in it to drink. The pitcher I have in the fridge is a Lock and Lock brand plastic container with a lid. Although I would prefer to have glass, the pitchers I saw were heavy and I couldn't find one with a lid. This set-up seems to work well for us.
As far as other family member's reactions - well, Julia likes to put her face on the Berkey and look at her reflection, leaving fingerprints all over it. The fish thought there was another fish in the household and I had to move him away from the Berkey before he got too upset. Lucy and Julia were both excited about our new filter and couldn't wait to show it off to Grandma. I'm sort of waiting for Julia (age 2) to try filling her own cup or something and create a big flood with it. She hasn't tried yet thankfully.
Regarding our experience with Big Berkey Water Filters, they've been great. They are wonderful at responding to my emails and shipped the Berkey to me quickly. I felt like their website was very informative and their blog is continually updated with relevant articles. We received a sport water filtration bottle instead of the shower filter we had ordered. They let me keep the sport bottle and shipped the shower filter out right away. Big Berkey Water Filters offers free shipping, a free gift with purchase, and no sales tax. Use the code "oneword5" to receive 5% off of your order as well!
We ordered the shower filter after reading about how chlorine evaporates in the shower and can be inhaled. You can receive 6 to 100 times more chlorine by breathing the air around a shower or bath than by drinking the water. I'll be posting a review of the shower filter eventually. The other item we chose to add to our order was the PF-2 Arsenic and Fluoride filters to add to the Berkey system, which you can read more about here. You can also read more about fluoride on the Big Berkey Water Filters blog.
There you have it - all the information you ever wanted to know about water filtration and our new system. If you have any questions feel free to ask here or email Dan at Big Berkey Water Filters. Several of you have commented that you enjoyed the previous posts in this series; I hope this is helpful to you as well.