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Distillation units 

Distillation units are usually installed as point-of-use (POU) systems. They are generally placed at the kitchen faucet and used to purify water intended for drinking and cooking purposes only.

Distilled water is also called steam-distilled water. Distilled water is water which has been heated to the boiling point so that impurities are separated from the water, which becomes vapour or steam at 100 degree Centigrade or 212 degrees Fahrenheit.  Steam is then cooled and condensed back into pure liquid form. The impurities remain as residue in the steam kettle. 

Distillation is effective at removing:

  • hardness; calcium and magnesium
  • inorganics such as metals - aluminum, arsenic, barium, cadmium, chloride, chromium, copper, fluoride, magnesium, iron, lead, manganese, mercury, nitrate, selenium, silver, sulfate, and zinc
  • nitrate, sulfate
  • bacteria - giardia and cryptosporidium cysts, parasites and viruses
  • particulates from a contaminated water supply. 

Considerations:  

Distillation is the process of boiling and condensing water.  The amount of electrical energy you use to operate the unit depends on it's size and whether you have been diligent in it's maintenance.  Efficient distillers use about 3 KWH of electricity for each gallon of water that is distilled. You can calculate the approximate cost per gallon by multiplying 3 times the KWH rate in your area.  Consider energy consumption.

The heat generated by the unit spills into your home.  A medium size distillation unit is like having a kettle boiling in your kitchen, ...all the time.  When sizing an air conditioner for your home the HVAC experts use tables to determine heat load.  A 10 cup coffee maker requires an additional 1/2 ton of air conditioning.  Consider heat load.

The process of distilling water will leave a residue of inorganic compounds such as calcium and magnesium which will coat the area where the water was boiled-off.  This scale eventually needs to be removed, usually by hand scrubbing or by an application of acid. Regular maintenance by scrubbing and chemicals or vinegar is required. Un-evaporated pollutants remaining in the boiling chamber need to be regularly flushed.  Consider maintenance.

Distillation does not remove all harmful organic compounds and may need to be supplemented with carbon filtration for this purpose.  Some contaminants carry over with the steam in the distillation process.  Some contaminants have lower boiling points than that of water which is why distillers are equipped with a volatile gas vent, a design feature which removes most of these contaminants. For even further protection, each distiller is also equipped with a carbon post-filter to provide you with the highest quality distilled water with a 99% or higher removal rate of contaminants.

The process of distillation is not fast. Water is first brought to a boil then the vapour is condensed back to water. Distillation is slow. Typically, 2 gallons of input water yield about 1 gallon of distilled water after 4 to 6 hours. Large counter top distillers can distill up to a gallon of water per hour. Small units produce less than 1 quart of water per hour.  You do not want to store Distilled water longer than a day as the tank of processed water is vented and open to the air.  Distilled water like RO water is very soft and relatively pure.  Pure water is frequently termed as the universal solvent because it "wants" to pick up or dissolve many of the things it comes in contact with. Consider the amount of purified water you need.

Efficiency, many smaller, slower units and less expensive counter top units are more effective at removing organic matter from the water because they heat the water more slowly.  Quickly heating water can allow compounds to be tossed from the water into the steam allowing these compounds to either coat the walls of the distillation coils or be transported into the distilled water.  Consider efficiency.

Both Distilled Water RO water have been implicated in the leaching of nutrients from the body.  Our investigation of this while definitely not as thorough as the reseach done by the WQA on this topic has not found scientific proof of this. 

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Last modified: November 13, 2018