Berkey PF-2™ filters for fluoride and arsenic

Why prime Berkey® PF-2™ water filters?

When assembling, handling and shipping the filter elements, they may become loaded with a small amount of dust or harmless fine particles. For this reason, we recommend priming the Berkey® PF-2™ filter elements at both ends to remove the dust and before installing them in your Berkey® system. If this is not done properly, turbidity may occur during the first few water cycles.

The filter elements should be primed for approximately 30 seconds at both ends. It may be necessary to repeat this process up to ten times to remove all dust. An analysis was conducted to determine how turbidity decreases with the number of washings. A summary of the results is available below:

- One wash: turbidity reduced by > 94%.
- Two washes: Turbidity reduced by > 96%
- Three washes: turbidity reduction of a value > 98%

You can read the complete result of this test here

Turbidity will continue to decrease with each filling cycle of your Berkey® system. Although turbidity can be unsightly, it has no adverse health effects.


Berkey PF-2™ filters contain activated alumina. Is this the same as aluminum?

Berkey® PF-2™ water filters reduce fluoride and arsenic from water using aluminum oxide (activated alumina). What is important to know is that pure aluminum and aluminum oxide have very different characteristics. Pure aluminum is water soluble, highly reactive and has adverse health effects. On the other hand, aluminum oxide is not soluble in water, is inert, very stable and has no adverse health effects.

It should also be noted that aluminum oxide is not treated with cyanuric acid.

Learn more about aluminum oxide.


How do I store my Berkey PF-2™ water filters?

If the filters have already been used:

Berkey® PF-2™ elements can be stored in a refrigerator, for a short time (but not in a freezer). Remove the filters from the system, place them in a sealed plastic bag, and place them in the least cold part of the refrigerator so they do not freeze.

If you store them in the refrigerator, we recommend priming them for at least one minute, running water in both directions, before using them again.

Berkey PF-2™ elements should not be left in the open air to prevent the possible growth of certain bacteria in the holder.

If you have never used your filters:

If the elements are still in their original packaging and have not been opened, be sure to store them in an area that does not have strong odors, such as a laundry room or garage. Among other things, the elements contain carbon that could absorb odors from the room in which they are stored, such as soap or laundry detergent.


How long do Berkey PF-2™ water filters last?

A pair of Berkey® PF-2™ water filters is effective for treating approximately 3,800 litres of water and usable for up to 1 year.

In order to know when the filters need to be changed, a simple calculation detailed below can be used to determine which first limit comes first.

- Assuming the use of a Big Berkey® model equipped with 2 Black Berkey® filters, filled once a day, the calculation is as follows

3800 / 7.3 / 365 = 1.42 years >> in this case the annual limit comes first and you must change your PF-2 filters after one year.

- If you do 1 and a half filtration per day, you adapt the above calculation: 3800 / 7.3x1.5 / 365 = 0.95 years or 11 and a half months

- If you make 1 filtration per day with a Royal Berkey®, the calculation is as follows: 3800 / 11 / 365 = 0.94 or 11 and a half months

This calculation is to be adapted according to the model used and the frequency of refills.

You can also apply this formula to Black Berkey® filters, starting from the theoretical filtration capacity of 22,700 litres.


Can Berkey PF-2™ water filters replace Black Berkey® purification elements?

No. The positions of the two are not interchangeable and they do not have the same role. They are complementary. When the Berkey® PF-2™ water filters are installed, the water flows first from the upper chamber through the Black Berkey® purification elements, then into the Berkey PF-2™ filters and finally into the lower chamber.

The former have a purification role by removing all harmful elements from the water while the latter specialize in retaining fluoride and arsenic.


If Black Berkey® purification elements reduce arsenic, fluorure and heavy metals, why do I need Berkey PF-2™ filters?

Laboratory analysis indicates that  Black Berkey® purification elements reduce arsenic by up to 99.9% (full test results). All filters that use activated carbon to reduce arsenic begin to lose their efficiency fairly quickly. This is also the case with Black Berkey® elements, which lose their arsenic removal efficiency probably well before their estimated service life of 11,300 liters.

A number of filters on the market use charcoal extracted from carbonized bones and claim fluoride reduction, yet fail to inform their customers that the fluoride removal capacity of their filters is rapidly reduced. This is because it takes a very large amount of media to remove small amounts of fluoride. Therefore, these filters do not contain enough media to effectively remove fluoride over the long term.

For example, we tested a competitor's three-filter system that uses bone char for fluoride removal. Not surprisingly, these elements deplete quickly. Tests show that their efficiency drops from 100% to 81.4% after filtering only 170 liters, a loss of almost 20% for a use equivalent to less than 60 liters per filter! The efficiency of these filters decreases dramatically.

This same effect probably occurs with Black Berkey® water filters but only after several hundred liters. Nevertheless, we have developed a more sustainable solution for fluoride reduction by creating  Berkey® PF-2™ replaceable elements. The media contained in a Berkey® PF-2™ water filter set can reliably remove fluoride contaminants for up to 3,800 liters, which is less than the life of the 11,300-liter Black Berkey®. That's why they were designed to be replaceable. This allows users to reliably remove fluoride contaminants from their water while taking full advantage of the 11,300 liter life of their Black Berkey® filters.pleinement de la durée de vie de 11 300 litres de leurs filtres Black Berkey®.

Black Berkey® purification elements are designed to remove a wide variety of potential contaminants. The job of the Berkey® PF-2™ filters is to remove fluorinated contaminants, which the Black Berkey® purification elements can no longer do after extended use.

Keep in mind that actual capacity also depends on the presence of other competing contaminants in the water being filtered. High levels of arsenic and heavy metals, for example, can reduce the capacity and effectiveness of these elements.


Installation and priming of Berkey® PF-2™ water filters

Berkey® PF-2™ water filters provide fluoride and arsenic reduction and work in conjunction with Black Berkey® purification elements to effectively purify your water. Berkey PF-2™ elements primarily filter out fluoride, arsenic and other heavy metal ions. They are made of polypropylene and do not contain BPA.

These elements are sold in packs of two and have a shelf life of approximately 3800 liters. The fluoride reduction elements attach to the Black Berkey® purification elements and are positioned in the lower chamber of the Berkey® systems. The number of Berkey PF-2™ elements installed must match the number of Black Berkey® water filters installed for them to be effective.

Prior to use, they must be primed, following the procedure described in the following document: assembly and priming of Berkey PF-2™ elements.

Complete documentation, in the language chosen at the time of your order, is provided with any purchase from Berkey®Store of PF2™ filters.


Why do I have white deposits on the bottom of my Berkey® after installing PF-2s?

This is most likely residual media released from your Berkey® fluoride and arsenic reduction elements. The media they contain is inert and not soluble in water, so it is not a health concern. To solve the problem, we recommend that you re-prime your filters on both sides for 20-30 seconds (on each side). This should remove any dust remaining in the element and leave clear, pure water in your lower chamber.