Whether it’s a backbacking trip, a weekend campout, or a survival scenario, the Black Berkey filters are particularly suited for use in areas where the only water source might not be immediately clean enough to drink without the use of a filter. The quality of the filtration through the Black Berkey filters is unparalleled. But the standard directions state that in order to use the Black Berkey filters, they must be primed using water pressure from modern plumbing. What if such facilities are unavailable? How can the priming be accomplished without the use of modern plumbing? An excellent question! We put our minds to this, and came up with a very effective solution.
The purpose of priming is to saturate the pores of the filter with water, which requires pressure of some kind to overcome the viscosity of water, and initiate the flow of the water through the filtering element. When you don’t have pressure from a faucet of some kind, what else could be used? Especially if you have nothing but yourself and the filter?
As crude as it sounds, we discovered that one very effective way is using the power of your mouth. All that is needed is a water source to submerge the filter in. For the Go-Berkey, you already have a container to collect water in and submerge the filter. Or, if you are in a rural area with a body of water such as a stream or pond, you could submerge the filter directly in the water source. Then, use the stem of the filter like a straw, drawing water inward. This requires stiff, constant pressure for 45 seconds to a minute – don’t give up, it’ll get there eventually! Once the water actually reaches your mouth, the filter should be fully primed, and ready to install. Obviously, it might be wise to use the first cup of water that comes out of the filter to sanitize the stem of the element. Also, don’t forget to dispose of the first few cups before consuming the filtered water, as there will be some production dust being flushed out.
There are several scenarios in which this could be handy, not only in an emergency situation, but even at home when setting up your countertop unit. We have heard of some faucets being shaped such that the priming button provided with the Black Berkey filter does not create a sufficient seal to allow the water pressure to prime the filter, so this could be one alternate solution. But whatever the case, it is indeed feasible to prime your filters without a faucet or modern plumbing. A little factoid to keep in mind for a rainy day!
Alternatively, you can order our hand powered priming pump that makes it possible to prime Black Berkey Elements easily offline, without the need for faucets or hose connections.