Berkey Red Food Color Test
Red Food Color Test FAQ
Just what is the "red" food coloring test and why do I have to perform this test on my system?
First and most important, the "red" food coloring test is only for the Black Berkey™ purification elements and not ceramic or other filter elements that do not filter out food color. This test is also not recommended for the Sport Berkey™ Water Bottle. Your Black Berkey™ purification elements are powerful enough to remove food coloring from water; this feature allows you to make sure your system is operating properly. Simply remove your PF-2™ Post Filter elements (if installed) fill the upper chamber with water and add a tablespoon of red food coloring per gallon capacity of your system. If the food coloring is removed entirely, your purification system is working properly.
At what interval should I conduct the "red" food coloring test?
We recommend this test be done upon first use, then every 3 to 6 months, before you take your system out of the country, or any time you use your system after drying and storing the elements for an extended period of time.
So, exactly how much "red" food coloring do I add to my water? I've heard everything from a few drops to a whole bottle.
At a minimum, you should use one teaspoon of "red" food coloring per gallon of water. We recommend up to one tablespoon of "red" food coloring per gallon of water, especially if you are going to be taking your elements out of the country for any period of time. We also recommend one tablespoon for extreme conditions.
Further, when comparing other systems to a genuine Black Berkey™ water purification system, one tablespoon of "red" food coloring tells all.
Why "red" food coloring and not some other color. Is there really a difference?
"red" food coloring doesn't have any minerals so the filter recognizes it as a contaminant. While other colors "may" work, we always recommend using "red" food coloring .
What else could be happening if my Black Berkey™ elements seem to be allowing "red" food coloring to pass through them?
There are several things that you can check first.
1. Are the wing nuts too tight? If the wing nuts are on too tight, this could cause stripping on the threads of the stem, preventing a correct seal. If you have inadvertently stripped the threads on your element, please call our Customer Service Center for additional assistance, 888-803-4438.
2. Are you using actual "red" food coloring or another color or type of color? Red food coloring is what is recommended for the test.
3. Is the washer on the stem inside the upper chamber and is the wing nut secured outside at the bottom? If the washer is on the outside of the chamber with the wing nut, you will not have a proper seal which will cause your system to fail the test. Place the washer on the interior of the upper chamber and re-run the test.
4. Is the wing nut tight on each element? If your system fails the test, tighten the wing nuts a bit more and re run the test. However, please do not tighten the wing nuts using any tools, they should be hand tightened to a snug fit, but not more.
5. Are the blocking plugs properly sealing the unused holes without elements? Are the plugs installed tight with a washer on each side? If the plugs are leaking this will cause your system to fail the test. Tighten the plugs more securely and re run the test.
6. Are you retesting an element that you think may have failed the test? If so, rinse off and re-prime the element first. Additionally, make sure you pour any excess water out of the bottom tank or whatever you are using to catch the water coming out of the element. Also, if you are using the lower chamber to catch water, run clean water through the spigot to clean it out as well. Now you are ready to repeat the test.
So, I've done everything I can and it seems like there may be a problem. What do I do now?
If you purchased your system through one of our fine distributors, please contact them directly. If you purchased your system through us, please refer to our FAQ regarding our return policy.
Do the Black Berkey™ purification elements have a warranty?
Yes, the Black Berkey™ purification elements have a two-year prorated warranty calculated in six months intervals. Our guarantee is prorated similar to the guarantee on tire tread. In other words, if you have used the filters for six months, 75% of the guarantee still applies and so you can get a replacement set for 25% of the normal cost.
The systems themselves and their components have a six-month warranty as stated below.