Have you been wondering about the Berkey red dye test?
Want to make sure your Berkey elements are working properly?
Well, here are instructions for how to conduct the test.
The best time to do this test is when you first get your Berkey system. But if you've had your Berkey for awhile, you can still do the test now and do it again every 3-6 months.
Be sure to correctly prime your Berkey elements beforehand. Priming instructions are included with your purchase or you can find information on how to do that here.
Make sure you use only red food coloring. It is the only food coloring that doesn't have minerals, so your filters will recognize it as a contaminant and remove it.
Also, the red food coloring test will only work with the Black Berkey filtration elements. If you have the ceramic elements, or are trying to filter from the Sport Berkey water bottle, the test won't work.
DO NOT do this test with fluoride filters installed in the Berkey. Wait until after the test to install those.
The Actual Berkey Red Dye Test
Once the elements have been primed and properly installed in the upper chamber, carefully set the upper chamber aside.
Set the same number of paper cups in the bottom chamber as your number of elements (for example, if you have two elements, you need two cups in the bottom chamber).
Then place the upper chamber on the lower chamber, making sure that the elements sit directly above each cup.
Fill the upper chamber with water. For every gallon you put in, you'll need one teaspoon of red food coloring.
After the water has filtered into the cups, check to see how the water looks. If any of the water is red or has a pinkish tint, that particular filter is not working properly.
If you've detected red food coloring in the filtered water, there are a few things you can do.
Check to see if the wing nuts are on securely. Only tighten them by hand, making sure they fit snugly, but aren't so tight that they strip the threads of the stem.
Check to see if the washer is in the right place. It should be on the inside of the upper chamber, not on the outside.
If there are any unused elements holes, make sure they are properly blocked.
If you've checked and corrected these things, rinse and re-prime the element you suspect isn't working properly. Then run the red food coloring test again.
If you've done all the troubleshooting and there's still red or pink water running through the element, contact us and we'll make sure you get replacements.
Berkey Red Dye Test Video
Learn more about the Berkey water filter red dye test.