Water distiller Guide
Written by William Fryer - MA Oxon
Everything you need to know about water distillers and distilled water
This article is designed to cover everything you need to know about drinking distilled water. Let’s kick off with the first question everyone asks.
Why drink distilled water?
Distilled water is water that has been purified through the process of distillation, which involves boiling the water and then condensing the steam to remove impurities.
Reasons why some people choose to drink distilled water:
- It is free of impurities: Distillation removes impurities such as chemicals, and contaminants that may be present in tap water and bottled water. Tap water typically has a large number of contaminants, everything from dissolved solids like limescale to organic compounds like herbicides, fuels and even medications and illegal drugs. Bottled water is not much better – any bottled water that comes in a plastic bottle contains microplastics that your body is unable to excrete. The only way to know what you put into your body is to use a water distiller to create your own distilled drinking water.
- Medical reasons: Distilled water is often recommended for specific medical procedures or conditions that require strict control of mineral intake. For example, in specific laboratory tests, medical procedures, or when preparing baby formula, distilled water may be preferred to minimise potential interactions with minerals or other substances.
- CPAP machines: These machines are used for sleep apnoea treatment.
- Tropical plants: Tropical plants are sensitive to water quality and hardness. Distilling water removes the impurities mentioned above, leaving you with pure H20. Using distilled water for tropical plants ensures you know exactly what you are giving them and not giving them.
- Home appliances: Distilled water is often used in appliances like steam irons, humidifiers and car batteries, it can help prevent mineral buildup and extend the lifespan of the devices. The absence of minerals in distilled water reduces the likelihood of scale deposits or clogs.
- Pure water: Some individuals prefer distilled water because they believe it provides a cleaner and purer form of hydration. Your body is 70-80% water. You need to drink 1.5-2 litres of water every day. And just as a healthy diet is an important way to avoid illness and live a long, healthy life, so too is drinking healthy water. Water distillers provide water purity superior to any other method, in fact, water distillation is THE ONLY method for producing absolutely pure water. Water distillers are better than water filters, reverse osmosis and any other method, all other methods allow some level of contamination.
Is distilled water safe to drink?
The answer is yes, distilled water is safe to drink. Distilled water is created through a process of boiling water and then collecting the condensed steam, which removes impurities and minerals present in the original water source. Distilled water is the purest water you can get.
There are differing opinions on drinking distilled water. Some concerns raised about drinking exclusively distilled water include:
- Lack of minerals: Distillation removes minerals naturally present in water, such as calcium, magnesium, and potassium. While these minerals are typically obtained through a balanced diet, some argue that drinking distilled water may contribute to a potential mineral deficiency over time.
- Altered taste: Distilled water has a different taste compared to tap water or water with natural mineral content. Some individuals find the taste of distilled water to be flat or less appealing. To us, it tastes similar to cold, boiled water.
- Electrolyte balance: Distilled water does not contain electrolytes, which are essential for maintaining proper bodily function. These can be obtained from a healthy diet or by adding salts to your distilled water.
What are the benefits of drinking distilled water?
The foremost benefit is you are not ingesting toxic chemicals. Other benefits include:
1. Distilled water is good for your teeth
Water distillers remove fluoride from your water. Fluoride was originally added to local water supplies to help strengthen teeth, however, too much exposure leads to fluorosis, which leaves a brown staining effect on young teeth. By distilling your water you can protect your children’s teeth. Most toothpaste contains fluoride and the good thing about that is you apply it where it is needed (to your teeth) if you drink fluoridated water, you are taking it into your whole body system, which you do not need. There is also an ethical issue because some people view this as the Government medicating people through the water supply.
2. Distilled water is cheaper and more convenient than bottled water
We do get a lot of people asking us how much a distiller costs to run. It costs about 96p for four litres of electricity. MUCH CHEAPER than bottled water and in fact MUCH CHEAPER than buying water filters. Bottled water is also enormously polluting. Take a look at this article in which we reveal the facts about bottled water – be warned, you will never want to buy bottled water ever again.
3. Drinking distilled water Improves body function
Tap and bottled water contain dissolved solids including sodium and calcium ions which contribute to arteries hardening and blood vessels calcifying. This can also lead to damage to the many small and delicate arteries, veins and capillaries in your brain leading to vascular dementia – a common form of dementia. The same chemicals also contribute to kidney stones and other kidney problems. Researchers found a 50% increase in urinary calcium associated with people drinking hard water compared to soft water.
What does a water distiller remove?
A water distiller is a device used to purify water by removing impurities through the process of distillation. It removes:
- Bacteria and Viruses: Distillation can kill or remove many types of bacteria and viruses present in the water due to the high temperatures involved in the process.
- Heavy Metals: Distillation can remove heavy metals like lead, mercury, arsenic, aluminium, cadmium, and others that may be present in the water.
- Dissolved Gases: Distillation can effectively remove dissolved gases, such as chlorine, fluorine, and volatile organic compounds, which can affect the taste and odour of water.
- Organic Compounds: Distillation can eliminate certain organic compounds, including volatile organic compounds (VOCs), pesticides, herbicides, and some industrial chemicals that may contaminate the water.
- Minerals and Salts: Distillation effectively removes minerals, such as calcium, magnesium, sodium, chloride, potassium and various salts that may be present in the water.
The full list of contaminants can be found here.
The Drinking Water Directive sets quality standards for drinking water and requires drinking water quality to be monitored and reported. If water surpasses the recommended limits for contaminants, it poses health risks and necessitates appropriate treatment. The standards can be found here: https://www.dwi.gov.uk/drinking-water-standards-and-regulations/
Water distillation offers a method to obtain clean drinking water without altering its chemical makeup. Nevertheless, distillation is not used in the treatment of water in the UK due to the fact that water devoid of minerals can become more soluble and absorb metals and other substances from ageing pipes.
Is distilled water acidic?
Some people talk about acidity in distilled water. The theory is that because distilled water is very mildly acidic it can leach minerals from the body. There is also a competing theory that the acidity of distilled water makes the body ultimately more alkaline. And there are many advocates of drinking alkaline water. Anyway, let’s now examine the scientific basis for this.
Distilled water at the time of distillation is considered neutral, meaning it has a pH value of 7. The pH scale ranges from 0 to 14, where values below 7 are acidic, 7 is neutral, and values above 7 are alkaline.
Distilled water is produced by a process of distillation, which involves boiling water and collecting the vapour that condenses. This process removes impurities and minerals, resulting in water that is devoid of any significant acid or alkaline content.
However, over time, when exposed to the air, distilled water can absorb carbon dioxide, to make a very small amount of carbonic acid, much less than you would get with a carbonated drink, which can slightly lower its pH (to pH6) and make it slightly acidic.
That is about the same as most fish meat, asparagus, butter, olives, or curry. With the pH scale lower is more acidic and it is also logarithmic. What that means is that pH6 is 10x more acidic than pH7, pH5 is 100x more acidic than pH7, pH4 is 1000x more acidic than pH7, etc. Something really acidic like Coca-Cola (and most fizzy drinks) is pH 2.5. Your stomach acid is pH 1.5 to 3.5. The acidity of a car battery is about pH0.7 - 1.0. You can see, yes distilled water is technically acidic, but not very much.
Now what happens in your gut?
When you consume anything, it triggers the release of hydrochloric acid into your stomach. One of the functions of this acid is to eliminate any harmful microorganisms present in the food. Moving on from the stomach, the food reaches the duodenum, where a significant amount of bicarbonate is released to neutralise the pH. As the food continues through the intestines, it gets absorbed into your body.
Maintaining the pH of your blood within the range of 7.35 to 7.45 is crucial for your body's optimal functioning. If the pH deviates from this range, your enzymes start to lose their structure, and immediate medical attention, usually via ambulance to the hospital, is required. Even a slight deviation, such as a pH of 7.25, can cause severe illness. However, it's important to note that your blood would need to be highly acidic, below pH 6, to begin dissolving minerals, and reaching such acidity would lead to fatality long before that occurs. Additionally, minerals are stored in bones as a complex organic compound called hydroxyapatite, which consists of Vitamin D and Calcium. The release of Calcium from the bones requires the action of enzymes, not acid.
Although the concept of acidic water may sound concerning, it does not pose any harm to you. If it did, rainwater and most foods would also be harmful. Drinking distilled water is safe and harmless. However, if you have any concerns about its mildly acidic nature, you can always add a small amount of Sodium Bicarbonate to rebalance the pH.
Is your body deprived of essential minerals when you consume distilled water?
There is a debate among individuals regarding whether drinking distilled water, which has had all its minerals removed, results in a deficiency of vital minerals in the body. However, it's important to consider that humans have evolved in environments like jungles, where the primary source of water is distilled water in the form of rain. Consequently, our evolutionary adaptation has led us to obtain minerals primarily from food rather than water. The notion that water serves as a significant mineral source lacks scientific support.
To illustrate this point, let's examine a table that outlines the mineral content in Evian, a reputable mineral water brand, the daily mineral requirements for the body, and the volume of Evian one would need to consume to meet those requirements.
|Mineral||Quantity in 1L of Evian||Daily Requirement||Daily Volume of Evian Needed|
To obtain enough Sodium from Evian, you would need to drink 882 litres per day. However, consuming such an excessive amount of water would overwhelm your system and potentially lead to harm before any benefits could be obtained. The reality is that we primarily acquire vitamins and minerals from our diet.
Do you need to remineralise your distilled water?
What’s the difference between Organic and Inorganic minerals?
Is bottled water distilled?
Can distilled water go off?
How to store distilled water?
- Distilled water in an open container outside the fridge should be kept no longer than 24 hours.
- Distilled water in the jug, in the fridge should be consumed within 3-4 days.
- Distilled water in a sealed bottle can be stored in the fridge for a week or two.
What are the signs of bad distilled water?
There are several signs that can indicate the quality of distilled water. Here are some common signs of bad distilled water:
- Odour: Distilled water should be odourless. If you notice a strange or unpleasant odour, it may indicate contamination or impurities.
- Taste: Distilled water should have a neutral taste. If you detect any unusual or unpleasant taste, it could be a sign of impurities or improper distillation.
- Cloudiness: Distilled water should be clear and transparent. If you notice cloudiness or any visible particles in the water, it suggests the presence of impurities.
- Residue or Stains: When distilled water evaporates, it should not leave behind any residue or stains. If you find residues or mineral deposits on surfaces after using distilled water, it may indicate impurities or insufficient distillation.
- pH Level: Distilled water should have a pH level of around 7, which is neutral. If you test the water and find a significantly higher or lower pH, it could indicate contamination or improper distillation.
- Contaminants: Distilled water should be free from contaminants such as bacteria, viruses, chemicals, and heavy metals. If you suspect the presence of these contaminants, it's a sign of poor-quality distilled water.
What are the alternatives to distilled water?
The three main methods for creating clean drinking water in the home are Carbon Filtration, Reverse Osmosis, and Water Distillation. Let’s look at each of these in turn:
Activated charcoal (carbon) is a chemical compound that is very porous and has an incredibly high surface area. That high surface area is very good at absorbing different types of impurities. When impure water passed through it the porous surface of the activated carbon scrubs some unwanted chemicals. Activated carbon is used in a medical setting to treat poisonings and overdoses, where it absorbs the undesired substance from the body. There are two problems with charcoal filtration. The first is the microscopic pores in activated charcoal get used up and charcoal filters therefore need to be regularly replaced because they clog up. Another problem with activated charcoal filters is they are good at absorbing Volatile Organic Compounds but not much else. VOCs contain chemicals like oils, herbicides, and pesticides. Any rogue minerals, fluoride or scale will NOT be removed by charcoal filtration. And most tap water is mainly contaminated by rogue minerals, fluoride, and scale but very little in the way of Volatile Organic Compounds.
However, VOCs have a strong influence on taste so when you filter tap water in this way it often seems to taste a lot cleaner after filtration. Activated charcoal filtration is the least effective way to purify water. Charcoal filtration is a profitable business. Units range from £10-£400 and sellers make the majority of their money by selling replacement filters. Claims of special technologies by filter manufacturers are usually unfounded.
Reverse osmosis is a process that operates in opposition to osmosis. In osmosis, two liquids strive to achieve equilibrium by balancing their chemical states. When a liquid is placed beside another, with a semi-permeable membrane separating them, the solvent moves from the liquid with a low concentration to the one with a higher concentration. This equalises the solute and solvent levels in both liquids. However, reverse osmosis reverses this natural process.
In reverse osmosis, one of the liquids is pressurised to disrupt equilibrium. This pressure causes the liquids to move out of balance, with one liquid retaining all the chemical solute while the other remains free of it. Reverse osmosis is an effective method for water purification.
Typically, reverse osmosis yields relatively pure water, to the extent that it is suitable for window cleaning to avoid streaks caused by using tap water. However, it is important to note that reverse osmosis is not considered the definitive standard. While the initial cost of purchasing and installing reverse osmosis (RO) units can be quite high, the subsequent maintenance costs are usually lower compared to charcoal filters. Outside of industrial applications, challenges arise from disposing of the excess solution and the need for substantial equipment to pressurise the liquid. In household settings, reverse osmosis units can occupy an entire cupboard and may require the assistance of a plumber for installation. It is worth mentioning that reverse osmosis does not eliminate bacteria, viruses, or fungal spores, and it is not as comprehensive as distillation in terms of purification.
You may have read about these water types:
Demineralised water or Deionised water
What is the best way to purify water?
Which water distiller should I buy?
1. The 316 Water Distiller
- Top of the range
- Only marine grade 316 stainless steel in the world
- Only available with glass jug
2. The Deluxe Water Distiller
- Most popular model
- Black or white top
- Glass or plastic jug
3. The Professional Water Distiller
- Designed for clinical environments
- Stainless steel internal components
- Glass or plastic collection jug
4. The Alcohol Distiller
- Lower-powered heating element for distillation control
- Internal sieve
- Only available with glass jug