Do water distillers remove Chlorine & VOCs?

Written by William Fryer - MA Oxon

There are a number of water filter companies around at the moment suggesting that water distillers are inferior because they do not remove Chlorine or Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). For the record, Megahome Distillers do remove both Chlorine and VOCs, here’s how:

Water distillers remove all Chlorine

The process of distillation involves heating the water to boiling point and then cooling it to recondense the steam. The process of doing this creates pure water. Chlorine however, which is often added by water companies to kill bugs, has a lower boiling point than water. It is actually a very volatile substance. If you leave tap water for 24 hours all the chlorine present will “off-gas” and simply enter the atmosphere. A quicker way to remove Chlorine is to boil the water for 15 minutes (distillers boil water for 4 hours). Doing this releases all the Chlorine and it is the reason why the condenser tube in Megahome Distillers has a small hole drilled into its upper surface to allow Chlorine gas to escape. There is no Chlorine in the water produced by Megahome Distillers; if you test for Chlorine you will not find it.

Volatile Organic Compounds are a bit different. There are pretty nasty chemicals: pesticides, fire retardants, solvents. See the table below, they actually have a range of boiling points. Anything with a boiling point above 100°C will be left behind with all the other nasties in the distiller after distillation. Anything with a boiling point below 100°C will go through the distiller and be caught by the activated charcoal filter that your Megahome distilled water has as the final stage of purification. VOCs are absorbed by activated charcoal filtration. If you test for VOCs in the distilled water produced by your Megahome water distiller, you will not find any. This is also why it is important to use the activated charcoal filter sachets you get with your Megahome water distiller and replace them regularly every 28 distillations.

Sources of Volatile Organic Compounds in drinking water

Volatile organic compounds are chemicals that come from things like: cleaning solvents, herbicides, pesticides, and fuel. Water leaks mean fuels and chemicals containing volatile organic compounds can find their way into the water supply. If they are found in large quantities in a water supply it calls for an immediate investigation and can even result in the water supply being cut off until the problem is fixed.

The problem is that the water supply cannot be checked at every output, there will always be places that go a long time without checks and there are places where the pipes will be particularly badly damaged. So these kinds of chemicals could be leaking into the water supply literally anywhere; affecting individual homes or an entire area.

The research on volatile organic compounds indicates these compounds can cause heart problems, cancers, neurological problems and birth defects in children.

In summary, Megahome Water Distillers and distillation in general is the gold standard for water purification - more effective than any water filter or reverse osmosis. And that is why Megahome distillers are used in laboratories and medical environments for the production of pure water.

Table 1. Boiling points for different classes of Volatile Organic Compound

DescriptionAbbreviationBoiling Point Range (°C)Example Compounds
Very volatile (gaseous) organic compoundsVVOC<0 to 50-100Propane, butane, methyl chloride
Volatile organic compoundsVOC50-100 to 240-260Formaldehyde, d-Limonene, toluene, acetone, ethanol (ethyl alcohol) 2-propanol (isopropyl alcohol), hexanal
Semi volatile organic compoundsSVOC240-260 to 380-400Pesticides (DDT, chlordane, plasticizers (phthalates), fire retardants (PCBs, PBB))