Why I Just Bought a Second Berkey Water Filter

Creativity is intelligence having fun.
Pure water is the world’s first and foremost medicine. – Slovakian Proverb

Right off the bat, I’d like to tell you that this is NOT a sponsored post. I have absolutely no affiliation with Berkey, and I am not being compensated for this post in any way.

Our family has owned a Berkey water filter for about the last five years… and we just bought a second one. Here’s why:

Five years ago, we lived in a house with municipal water. At the time I had an infant – my 3rd child – that had to have formula. One day we received a letter in the mail informing us that the water had tested way above legal limits for voc’s and a few other chemicals used in the processing of municipal water. It told us that we shouldn’t worry – they planned to have it addressed within the following 2 years, and it was only a concern to infants and the elderly. Yeah… that wasn’t going to work.

Having to budget for bottled water for all of our consumption for the following 2 years wasn’t a feasible option, so we looked into water filters. After extensive research, we settled on the Big Berkey. We couldn’t have made a better choice.

We ended up moving about 8 months after we originally bought our Big Berkey. The new location has great tasting, clean well water, but I still filter all of our water. Agricultural run off and other forms of aquifer pollution is a growing concern nationwide. Man made pollutants, once thought to be filtered out by the soil, are now being found in aquifers with increasing frequency – including industrial solvents, agricultural run off, pesticides and uranium. PFOA — Perfluorooctanoic acid – has been in the news for a few years, thanks to Erin Brockovich.

The common reaction is to turn to bottled water, but that’s a mess, too. The pollution issue of mountains of water bottles aside, most bottled water is really just tap water. Additionally, bottled water isn’t required to report testing results, so it’s actually less regulated for safety and cleanliness than municipal tap water. To make matter worse, the plastic leaches cancer causing and hormone disrupting chemicals into the water. We’re also now seeing reports of “plastic shards” from degraded plastic floating around in the water, as well.

A study was performed on 250 bottles of water purchased in 9 different countries at the State University of New York in Fredonia.

93% of the water bottles had some contamination from plastic particles. The plastic particles were identified as 54% polypropylene, 16% nylon, 11% polystyrene 10% polyethylene, 6% polyester, and 3% other types of plastic.

Say it with me, now: Ew.

My husband has a job that requires him to travel pretty frequently. Fortunately (I think), most of his travel is by vehicle instead of flying, which means he can tote along some of his own food and drink… but his water bottle consumption was crazy. He was very aware that they weren’t good for him, and something had to give.

So, what’s a person to do?

We decided that the only thing he could do is start using reusable water bottles. We opted for stainless steel over glass or plastic. Travel conditions can be bumpy, and the last thing he needed was to have to clean up glass shards inside of his truck in the middle of nowhere. Plastic was off the list immediately because of health concerns. But we still had one problem: supply.

Our Big Berkey has been a godsend, but when we bought it we had 2 adults, and 3 very young kids (6, 3, 6 months), and we only had 2 filter elements. Let’s be honest – the kids weren’t drinking that much water. It worked fine for us then. Now we have 4 kids (almost 12, 9, almost 6, and 2), and our consumption has soared. Our 2 gallon capacity Big Berkey just wasn’t cutting it anymore. Not only in capacity, but because it filtered so slowly now. We’d really put it through the ringer over the last 5 years. There was no way we could add another gallon or so every day for my husband to bring with him to work. Enter the 2nd Berkey. The Imperial (doesn’t that sound so fancy?!).

Y’all, we upgraded in a BIG way. This beast holds 4.5 gallons of water. It has SIX filters. It can filter 5 gallons of water per hour. Holy Toledo. This is like the grown up version of Charlie and The Chocolate Factory. I’m Ooompa-Loompa dancing my way around the kitchen, because CLEAN WATER FOR DAYS!

New Imperial Berkey on the fancy schmancy stainless steel stand. Older Big Berkey in front, with a pint sized mason jar for size reference. Don’t mind the water kefir in the background…

Truth be told, it didn’t come cheap upfront. Those filter elements are $60 each. Not including the actual stainless steel set up or the stand. We also had to buy expensive stainless steel water bottles. But I feel like the cost evens out over time. The life of each filter is 3,000 gallons, so the 6 filter Imperial Berkey won’t need new elements for roughly 18,000 gallons. I mean, realistically that probably means 15+ years. Here’s the math: 3 gallons/day would get me right up to 1,100 gallons per year. We don’t use that much, but my kids are (mostly) still little… that could easily change. That would still put the lifespan at just over 16 years. That’s not bad at all. It averages out to $25/year for the initial investment. That’s $0.02/gallon, and nothing being added to a landfill. In my mind, that’s a no brainer.

And the best part? He can take our old Big Berkey – outfitted with brand spanking new filters – to his office. Not only does that mean he doesn’t have to bring his own water with him on office days, but it means he can help his coworkers have fresh, clean water, too. Big (Berkey) win.

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