Can I Use The Berkey System With Softened Water?

Last Updated on September 8, 2023 by Nigel Pearson

No, you should not use the Berkey system with softened water. Softened water is treated with salt to reduce its mineral content, which can decrease the lifespan and effectiveness of your Berkey system’s filtration capabilities. The Berkey system uses a gravity-based filtration process that relies on small particles and minerals to filter out any contaminants from your water effectively. These particles and minerals are removed during the softening process, which means that softened water will not be as effective in filtering out contaminants from your water.

What Is Softened Water?

What Is Softened Water
Water softening

Softened water is simply water treated with sodium or potassium to reduce the presence of minerals like calcium and magnesium. This process makes the water “softer”, meaning it has a lower concentration of these minerals than untreated, hard water.

What Is The Berkey System?

What Is The Berkey System
Berkey Water Filters

The Berkey system is a water filtration system that removes up to 99.999% of viruses, bacteria, and other contaminants, from water sources. It uses gravity-fed technology to draw water through the filter without any electricity or pressure needed. This makes it an extremely efficient way to purify your drinking water and is ideal for use in both urban and rural areas.

Can I Use The Berkey System With Softened Water?

The Berkey system is not designed to be used with softened water. Softened water contains sodium ions which can damage your Berkey system’s filter elements and reduce the unit’s life expectancy. This can lead to decreased effectiveness in filtration over time and even premature failure of the filter elements. If you are using a softening system, bypassing the unit when using your Berkey system is recommended. You can also opt for a Berkey water filter with a particular element explicitly designed for softened water. This will ensure optimal filtration performance and longevity of the filter elements.

Disadvantages Of Using Softened Water With Berkey System

  • Softened water tends to contain large quantities of dissolved minerals that can reduce the effectiveness of the Berkey system, designed to work best with pure or filtered water.
  • Softened water also contains sodium ions, increasing limescale buildup inside the Berkey chamber and making it more difficult to clean.
  • Softeners also add large amounts of sodium chloride to the water, which can affect the taste of the water and make it less desirable for drinking.
  • Because softened water contains more dissolved minerals than filtered or pure water, it takes a longer time for the filter elements in the Berkey system to purify the water.

Does Softened Water Reduce The Lifespan Of The Berkey System?

Yes, softened water can reduce the lifespan of your Berkey system. Softened water contains a high level of sodium, which can cause corrosion and mineral buildup within the filter elements over time. The sediment filters in the Berkey system are designed to trap solid particles but will struggle with dissolved minerals such as sodium, calcium, and magnesium. These minerals can clog the filters, reducing their effectiveness and shortening your Berkey system’s life.


Is it safe to drink softened water?

Is it safe to drink softened water
Drinking Softened Water

Yes, softened water is generally considered safe to drink. However, it is essential to note that softened water may contain higher sodium levels and other additives that can affect its taste.

What is the difference between soft water in distilled water?

Soft water is treated with chemicals like sodium or potassium chloride, while distilled water is the process of boiling water and then condensing it back into liquid form.

Do water purifiers soften water?

No, water purifiers do not soften water.

Can softened water be used in aquariums?

Yes, it can. Softened water has been safely used in aquariums for many years and is typically made up of beneficial minerals to fish.

Do Barita filters work for hard water?

No, Barita filters are not designed for use with hard water.


The Berkey system should not be used with softened water because the salt ions in the softened water can clog the filters, reduce their efficiency, and cause mineral deposits to build up over time. If you are using softened water, using a different type of filtration system is best. Many other home water filtration systems are designed specifically for softened water and can provide the same or better level of filtration as the Berkey system.

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