We have talked about the benefits of distilled water for drinking in another post here. That was a fairly long and involved post. At one stage we touched on the fact that Nashua and I have been drinking bottled distilled water in 15 litre bottles, roughly equivalent to 4 or 5 U.S. gallon bottles. We also touched on a shower filter system to soften the water you bathe in but there is another option to get your distilled drinking water and that is from a pure water distiller. There are even units that can distill enough water for your whole household which would negate the need for a water softening shower filter. To have your whole water supply be distilled water would be the pinnacle of clean water usage. We can only imagine showering in distilled water! Ah……Nirvana!
The Two Kinds Of Water Distilling Systems
There are two basic types of water distilling systems. They are described as semi-automatic and automatic. In addition, the semi automatic kind are often described as counter top systems. The difference between the two is simple.
The semi-automatic, or counter top systems are stand alone systems that, much like a kettle, you have to manually fill and turn on for them to produce distilled drinking water. They require minimum to no installation. If they do require any minimal installation it can be done easily yourself.
The automatic systems (like the one pictured above) are attached to your house water supply. The automatic units have sensors and floats so that when the storage tank has lost a certain amount of water, the boiling tank starts the distillation cycle. Then when the level in the boiling tank gets to a predetermined low level, the house supply is turned on to fill up the boiling tank ready for another cycle.
Why Are Distillers Better Than Filters?
in short, they take out mmore crap than any other process. There are many, many different types of filter and reverse osmosis systems out in the market today. Those systems are fine. You will certainly be far better off consuming water from those systems than your local city supply that has been treated with all kinds of nasty stuff. However if you want the absolute best quality drinking water, you want it to be from a water distillation system. They will remove more than 99% of what is in the original supply including fluoride, chlorine, and viruses such as giardia. Charcoal filters do not remove a lot of inorganic substances such as arsenic, aluminium, sulphates, sodium / salt among many others. Reverse Osmosis systems with a charcoal filter only partially remove the inorganic substances and neither system remove viruses.
The ultimate system is a water distillation system with a carbon (charcoal) pre-filter or post filter. Such a system removes almost 100% of impurities including viruses, heavy metals, fluoride, and chlorine to name only a small sample. And when we say “almost 100%,” we actually mean removal of OVER 99%! That is far and above any other system of water purification available.
The Hydrologic Cycle A.K.A The Water Cycle
Water distillation is a VERY simple process that is based on natures own water distillation process known as The Hydrologic Cycle or sometimes referred to as simply The Water Cycle. Although it is so simple it is somewhat ironic that it is more effective than all of the new man made technologies available. As is often the case, the new technologies have over complicated the process, tried to alter one or more of natures processes, added nasty chemicals, or a combination of the three in an attempt to purify water. The result is always less effective than the simple, natural process of distillation.
The Hydrologic Cycle that is pictured above was taught to me as a young child at school, maybe even as young as 8 or 9 years old. I hope it is still taught today. It is the essence of simplicity. It is the largest water distiller on the planet. Our good old friend the Sun heats up the earths surface. Water in the ocean, in captured reservoirs (i.e. lakes and dams), in the soil, and in plants is converted to water vapour by evaporation (a liquid state to a gas state), sublimation (a solid state to a gas state like ice or snow), and evapotranspiration (water is transferred from the land to the atmosphere by evaporation from the soil and other surfaces and by transpiration from plants) which rises up into the atmosphere. As the water vapour rises higher into the atmosphere it cools and condenses to become clouds. As more and more water vapour is added to the clouds the individual droplets get too heavy to stay up there, or are forced higher by mountains which cools and further condenses the vapour, and begin to precipitate and fall. With regard to meteorology, precipitation can be rain, hail, sleet, snow etc. There Who said anything had to be complicated to be effective?
When water has been distilled in The Hydrologic Cycle it is PURE H²O. That’s pure, unadulterated water. An amazing example of the purifying abilities of The Hydrologic Cycle is the purification of seawater. On average seawater is 35,000 parts per million (ppm) total dissolved solids (TDS). To put that in perspective a local tap water will be somewhere around 200 – 600 ppm TDS. After it has been distilled by The Hydrologic Cycle it is 0 ppm of TDS.
Unfortunately water is a solvent and in this day and age of air pollution it will pick up contaminants and not remain clean for very long. This is the source of the phenomenon of acid rain. Rain that has fallen through the contaminants of industrial smoke stacks and vents. Because of this, a water distillation system is perfect for your personal drinking water. Rain can’t always be trusted to be clean anymore. In different places on the planet rain and other types of precipitation will still be clean but when you are living in built up areas with industry you can all but forget about clean water from heaven. Sad but true.
Not All Water Distillers Are Created Equal
All products available on the planet come in differing quality. If we think of cars there is Rolls Royce at the high end of the quality scale and a Relaint Robin somewhere down the bottom. And between those two lie the masses of automobiles available.
Some other examples.
Steak: High quality – Wagyu, low quality – Minute Steak
Airlines: High quality – Etihad, low quality – Sudan Airways
Jewellry: High quality – Diamond, low quality – Glass
Gold: High quality – 24 carat, low quality – 8 carat
You get the point. And so it is with water distillers. There are differing quality distillers available. So what constitutes a high quality distiller?
The material it is made of and contains the water in – Premium quality water distillers should be manufactured completely of high quality stainless steel. There should be no copper or brass pieces in the design. The final container of the distiller should also be high quality stainless steel or glass.
It should remove Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) – Volatile Organic Compounds are organic compounds that easily become vapours or gases, therefore they are able to pass through the distillation process with the water vapour. It should be obvious that it is preferable to have these compounds removed but some distillers either do not know to or can not be bothered making a design to remove them.
Whether or not the system boils dry – Many manufacturers build distillers that will boil dry. This is not an optimal state because if it does boil dry the heating element can quickly superheat beyond 100°C (212°F). A lot of chemicals removed by distillation have a boiling point higher than 100°C so are left behind in the process. If an element is allowed to superheat, those chemicals will then be able to reach their boiling point and pass through process into the final reservoir. As long as the heating element is immersed in water it will not be able to heat up beyond 100°C thus allowing only pure water and no chemicals into the final reservoir.
You can check out the best quality water distillers in our Water Section.
A Final Word On Some Silly Myths
In our opinion, one of the most concerning and disturbing myths going around the web is that distilled water is too pure and it will “leach” minerals from your body making it a death liquid! To set the record straight in our unequivocal style, this is a load of poppycock! Firstly, “leaching,” is a geological and NOT a biological term. There can be no leaching in a living biological organism. As referenced in our blog “What is the importance of clean drinking water,” minerals are not “leached” from the body by distilled water. Rather, distilled water helps the body enormously by removing minerals that have already been excreted or rejected by the cells. And best of all it does this without damage to body tissues.
Another myth is that distilled water is acidic which is going to cause you to have one foot in the grave ready to go to the other side at any time soon. When water is first distilled it is pH neutral. As it is exposed to the air it will become slightly acidic. But then you drink it and it goes into your stomach. And guess what? The distilled water mixes with your stomach acid and that is so much more acidic than distilled water it’s ridiculous.
The people who make these claims are usually selling some kind of filter or reverse osmosis system. At best, they are unaware of their erroneous position. At worst they are aware and they are deliberately misleading people. There is a Spanish word that describes these people. That word? “Burro!” In either case you should run for the hills if you come into contact with these burros.
Phil and Nashua,
Founders of The Organic Warriors.