HOW DO I CHOOSE THE WATER FILTER THAT IS BEST FOR ME?
Consider the following:
What do you want to filter out? If you’re not sure what might be in the water, you would want to choose a filter that will filter out the most types of contaminants.
Where do you plan to use the filter? At home or outdoors, on-the-go?
What are you preparing for – temporary disruption to normal daily use, traveling to a foreign country, or preparing for extreme danger or major disaster?
How many people will be using the filtered water – for multiple people or just you?
HOW CAN I FIND OUT WHAT IS IN MY WATER?
In order to be sure what contaminants are found in your water, it is necessary to have the water tested. We carry a couple different kinds of water tests, but a water sample can also be sent to a state approved laboratory (call your state health department or the EPA safe Drinking Water Hotline (800) 426-4791 for more information).
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN FILTERING, DISTILLING, AND REVERSE OSMOSIS?
Filtering -- water passes through elements containing microscopic holes that are smaller than harmful contaminants. Clean water passes through, leaving contaminants behind.
Distilling -- boiling water and condensing steam into a clean container, leaving dead microbes and solids behind.
Reverse Osmosis – pressure forces water (solvent) through a semi-permeable membrane in the opposite direction of natural osmosis (low concentration to higher concentration). Reverse Osmosis flow goes from high concentration to low concentration, with the solid (solute) particles being caught, but clean water (solvent) passes.
WHAT IS A MICRON RATING?
A micron is a unit of measure that is equal to one thousandth of a millimeter. Many water filters use this measurement to describe the size of particles that are trapped. The smaller the micron rating, the smaller the size particle the water filter cartridge will remove.
For comparison, a human hair has a diameter of approximately 70 microns. Particles smaller than 40 microns are not visible to the human eye. Bacteria is .2 microns and viruses are anywhere from .004 to .1 microns.
Although the Berkey Light is made of plastic, it is BPA-free. It is no less safe than the Big Berkey, however it is a good idea not to leave filtered water in the bottom container of the Berkey Light for long periods of time.
The Ceradyn elements remove bacteria, while the Gravidyn elements will remove bacteria and chemicals. The difference is that the Gravidyn elements contain carbon, other than that the filters are the same.
The Ceradyn elements are more expensive because they last longer than the Gravidyn elements. Carbon only lasts 6 months, so once the carbon is gone, the element needs to be replaced.
IS THERE A WAY TO MAKE ELEMENTS LAST LONGER?
Elements can be cleaned to prolong their use. Use a Scotch-Brite pad or stiff toothbrush and rinse under water. Do not use soaps or detergent.
Elements should be cleaned any time the flow rate of the filter begins to slow down.
HOW DO I KNOW WHEN I SHOULD REPLACE MY FILTER’S ELEMENTS?
When the flow rate of clean water is severely reduced, and it does not help to clean the element.
Any time a crack appears, the integrity of the element is lost, and it should be replaced.
Some elements come with a measuring device to visually see when the element is worn down.
Elements that contain carbon should be replaced every 6 months, because that is all the longer carbon will stay “activated” for 6 months. There is no way to extend the life of carbon.
WHY DO ELEMENTS OFTEN CONTAIN ACTIVATED CARBON?
Activated carbon comes from sources like bituminous coal, peat, or coconut shells and are then heated in the absence of oxygen to 1000°F to bake off impurities, and is then subjected 1600°F steam to “activate” it and leave cracks and pores to store large amounts of contaminants.
Activated carbon removes contaminants through adsorption (contaminants are attracted to the surface of the carbon and held like a magnet) and by acting as a catalyst to change the chemical composition.
Carbon removes things like chemicals and pesticides, as well as improves water’s taste and odor.