Learn how to do a red dye test on Berkey water filters purification system to ensure your filters are working or to see if they need to be replaced. Whether your water source is tap water from city water or well water, you want to make sure your black filter elements are not leaking pink water when doing the red food dye test but that your getting clear water dripping down into the bottom chamber of your Berkey water filter system.
I prefer to do the red dye test on my Berkey after I prime the filters. This test just guarantees you that the filters are working properly to remove everything out of your water. In other words, do the red dye test to make sure your water bottle is being filled with clean drinking water.
The following information will mostly be for new customers of a Berkey dealer that have never done the red food colouring test before, but you can come back to this time and time again whenever you want to make sure there are no heavy metals or anything gross leaking into your water!
This post contains affiliate links, which means I make a small commission at no extra cost to you. See my full disclosure here.
Tips for How to Do a Red Dye Test on Berkey
- Remove the white fluoride filters. You can only do the dye test on the black berkey elements.
- Use mason jars to test individual filters instead of letting them all drip into one big container.
- If filters have a slow flow rate, try cleaning them first.
What You’ll Need:
- Berkey water filter
- Mason jars – the same amount of jars for the amount of black filters you have
- Artificial red dye food coloring – not gel food coloring and not natural dyes
How to Do a Red Dye Test on Berkey
- Empty all the water from the top chamber.
- Remove white fluoride filters if you use those to manage your fluoride levels.
- Next, place the top chamber over the mason jars, with a black stem going into each mason jar. This allows you to see which filter is not working.
- Add one teaspoon of red food coloring for every gallon of water your upper chamber holds, and mix to water. Do not pour straight red food coloring onto your black filters.
- Pour the red tinted water inside of the upper chamber.
- If red coloring passes through any of your filters, double check that they’re installed correctly and not allowing water to seep through where the filter is attached with the washer and bolt. Make sure the wing nut is providing a correct seal.
- However, if red food coloring still passes through, you have defective filters and will need to order new ones. The only type of filters you want to use are Berkey’s black filters. Buying the ceramic filters from other companies will not clean your water as well.
- You can see here that I have unused holes. That’s only because my size of Berkey has spots for 6 filters, but I only have 4. Therefore, I have some blocking plugs in the extra two holes.
- When water comes out clear, it is time to drink your clean water! There should be no type of color coming through the black Berkey purification elements.
When I first did this red food coloring test today, one particular black filter was leaking a slight pinkish tinge. After that, I had to troubleshoot. The most frequent reason that the filters fail this test is because the seal between the filter and container isn’t tight. Therefore, water is sneaking past the seal. However, all I had to do was fix the seal, to ensure a snug fit, to prevent anymore leaking. Having a proper seal is obviously very important. After that, it passed the test and I had clean filtered water dripping down into the mason jars.
Ordering New Filters & Replacement Parts
These filters are a bit fragile. In other words, they can become damaged with just a little movement. It is also tough to tell where they are damaged so you might not even know until doing the red food color test. If the filter is damaged, you just have to pop online and order some new ones.
Berkey recommend replacing these filters every two to five years. For instance, if you are like me and fill your Berkey up numerous times a day, you are going to be closer to the two year mark.
After you ran artificial red food color and water through the black Berkey filters and got good test results, this is a good chance to clean out your empty system. Give your Berkey product a good wipe down, making sure to really get that lower chamber and don’t forget the outside of the chamber too. I hate to admit it, however, sometimes it is a long time in between cleanings for us, so I make sure that the rest of the system is looking like the first time I got the first use out of my Imperial Berkey.
After that, fill up your system, making sure to not overfill, otherwise you get excess water seeping out and going everywhere. Then, go on to your normal use and enjoy your water without any health concerns!
Ways We Use Our Berkey Water
- Drinking Water – I wish we would have got the Crown Berkey. We actually fill up our Berkey twice a day. Once you have great tasting water, you will be going through gallons of water!
- Feeding my sourdough starter
- Homemade chicken broth
- Basically anything that needs water for our daily use!
More Berkey Water
Shower Filter – Did you know about these?! The Berkey Shower Filter reduces chlorine by up to 95% while significantly decreasing the amount of scale build up in your shower. By doing this, the Berkey Shower Filter reduces chemical absorption & vapor inhalation while you bathe!