I read review after review (before I went back and saw they are "affiliates!!!") and they all were happy customers. I saw a return policy and didn't question that the filter was available from different companies with the name Berkey in the title... Sites such as Berkey Filters, GetBerkey, BerkeyWaterFilters, and Directive21. Yowza, the latter gives a clue. Is a red flag waving yet? If not, maybe the name Mike Adams will ring a bell? He endorses Berkey Filters. I've linked to a wiki page for his website, as wiki calls it "dedicated to the sale of various dietary supplements, promotion of alternative medicine, controversial nutrition and health claims, and various conspiracy theories."
So before doing enough research, and after reading about Berkey filters on Wellness Mama's blog (and I love her recipes!) I ordered one on a great sale from one of the above sites.
And it arrived really quickly! Oh, delight, we were excited to have great water. My dear hubby was a little concerned when I told him how much it cost, but considering it could filter for 4-6 years without replacements, it seemed cost effective. Our current system (countertop Z,ero water filter) would cost about $40 per 3 months, or more, depending on city versus well water.
I ordered it with the arsenic/fluoride removal filters & I followed the directions. Over and over we "primed" the filters and each time they dirtied the beautiful stainless steel basin they filled with "purified water." Finally, I decided to test the water to see if it was indeed cleaner (even though it tasted like metal and had a whitish residue, with rainbow surface. Again, yowza!)
Our total dissolved solids wands (we have 2) both read 30 ppm for our well water when running cold, 40 and higher for warmer water. When I put in in the Berkey water, it read 60 ppm and higher, and as high as 120 ppm. This is twice to four times more dissolved solids in the filtered and purified water than before we filtered it at all.
A week and about 20 "primings" later, we gave up and returned our filter.
I called Berkey and a super nice, super helpful employee suggested I might need to reprime. I told him how many times I'd done this and our method. He agreed we were doing it correctly. I told him about our total dissolved solids (TDS) wands and the increase of dissolved solids in the water, and I asked if he knew what would be coming out of a black berkey filter, or an arsenic/fluoride white berkey purifier. He said he'd ask and returned to the phone a few minutes later. His coworker suggested it was sulfur from our well water. This does not explain why it would be an increased amount of solids in the water, or the rainbows or white chunks. Finally I told him I really appreciated his help trouble shooting, but would really like my money back and to return the whole system to his company.
We did this, and it worked great. The customer service was great, much better than the filter.
Thank goodness we got our money back.