This is a review of the Berkey Light water filter. The filters use gravity to pull the water through them. This means that no external pressure has to be applied – which is great for a survival situation.
With any water pressure system something is required to supply the pressure, such as a pump, every pressure system has to have some kind of seal to hold the pressure in,,,, this all means there is more stuff to fail and break.
One of the good things about the Berkey water filter system – the only moving part is the faucet.
From what I read on the Berkey site, each filter has an estimated capacity of 3,000 gallons. As with other filters, I’am going to guess that the filter life is partially determined by the quality of water that is put into the unit. The more sediment and dirt that is on the water source, the shorter the filter life.
Berkey Light Dimensions
- Height: 26 1/2 inches – includes top cap
- Width: Holding tank – @ 9 3/16 inches, Base – @ 7 13/16 inches
- Holding Tank Capacity: about 2 1/2 gallons
- Flow Rate: Estimated 3 3/4 gallons per hour
The Berkey Light filter is about 10 1/2 inches long (to the end of the threaded shaft), and 2 1/4 inches in diameter at the top of the filter.
The filter has 3 parts – the body (which includes a threaded shaft), a rubber washer and a threaded wing nut. For those of you that do not know what a “wing nut” is, its a nut with “wings” on it. This makes it easy to install the retaining nut hand tight and without the use of special tools. As the “wings” provide something for the fingers to grab onto.
Not requiring tools to install the filter is a nice feature. During times of high stress – such as after a disaster, things need to be “as easy as possible.”
To install the filters, take the filters out of the box they were shipped in, wash your hands very well with warm water and anti-bacterial soap, remove the wing nut, leave the rubber washer in place against the bottom of the filter, and insert the threaded shaft through the hole at the bottom of the upper holding tank.
This is what the holding tank should look like with the filters in place. Notice the ends of the threaded shafts protruding below the holding tank.
Assembly time at this point is about 5 minutes – that is if you take the time to look at the parts, and read the directions.
The top reservoir is where the creek, pond or river water is held as gravity pulls it through the filters.
The faucet of the Berkey Light contains the only moving parts. Keep in mind, the more moving parts something has, the more likely it is to break. The items with the most simplistic design are usually the most durable and least likely to break. Lets take fire for example – no moving parts and it never breaks.
The Berkey Light faucet is composed of 4 parts:
- The faucet body
- 2 rubber washers
- Retaining nut
To install the faucet, remove the faucet assembly from the box it was shipped in, wash your hands very well with warm water and soap, remove the retaining nut and one washer. Insert the threaded shaft with one washer still in place. The washers need to point a certain direction. One side of the washer is flat, one side is rounded.
The faucet works by lifting the handle and releasing the water that is in the holding tank – this is after its been run through the filters.
After the filters have been installed on the upper tank, and the faucet has been installed on the lower tank, the 2 units are ready to be put together.
The upper tank has a lip on the bottom rim that fits into the top part of the upper tank. So that the 2 tanks slip inside of each other by about 1/4 inch. Once the unit is assembled your ready to pour the water into the top tank and let it start going through the filters.
Over the past few months I have been putting a lot of thought into the “safe drinking water after a disaster” topic. My personal solution is divided into 3 stages:
Short Term – this is your bottled water. Regardless if its 1 pint plastic bottles, or 55 gallon drums, this is your short term solution.
Mid Term – This is something like a Berkey water filter system – where you can take water from a river, lake, pond, or steam, filter it and make it safe to drink.
Long Term – private well. You have your own private water supply of safe drinking water.