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#berkeyhack to Air-Lock in Stainless Steel Systems

Berkey® Water Purifier

This article addresses an issue called “air-lock” that can happen in some Travel, Big, Royal, Imperial, or Crown Berkey® water purification systems:

  1. What is air-lock in my Berkey®?
  2. Why does air-lock happen?
  3. How do I fix air-lock in my Berkey® system?

Scenario: You know there’s plenty of water in the lower chamber of your stainless steel Berkey® system, but nothing comes out when you open the spigot! {GRRR!} OR…water pours out fine for a few seconds but then slows or stops completely…{GRRR! again}

If you’re experiencing the above scenario with your system, it’s almost certainly caused by an issue called “air-lock”. Air-lock is caused when the top and bottom chambers fit together so snug that the air pressure inside the lower chamber remains below the air pressure on the outside, essentially creating a vacuum-effect. Without adequate air pressure to “push” the water out at the same rate air is “pulled” in, the water gets stuck. The solution is to simply create a small of enough gap for air to travel between the upper and lower chambers (AKA the joint).

To restore adequate air-flow to the lower chamber of your Berkey® system, try one of the following hacks:

  • Rotate your top and bottom chambers to find an adequate resting point where air can circulate. Once you find the right positioning, make a small mark with a permanent marker to align the upper and lower chambers moving forward.
  • Carefully fashion a metal hook to secure over the lip of the lower chamber. I cut off a small piece metal rod from one of our steel “S’mores” skewers and used that. I used my Leatherman (multi-tool, or you can use needle-nose pliers) to bend the rod and make a hook. Some folks use paperclips, or a thick silicone straw, or tubing. I placed the longer side of the hook to rest inside the lower chamber.

From what we’ve seen in the last 15 years of selling Berkey® systems worldwide, this happens in a small percentage of all systems sold.