All water contains traces, small or big, of minerals, bacteria, pesticides, and other contaminants. This, for a fact, regardless of whether it came from a natural spring, artesian well, or regular tap. This is where distillation comes into place. Basically, distilled water is steam, which came from boiling water, that is eventually cooled and transformed back into its liquid state. In this process, distillation eliminates the impurities present in the water. In fact, it is claimed that distillation can remove up to 99.9% of the minerals dissolved in water. Therefore, many people go for distilled water as their primary choice of drinking water because they believe it is the purest water you can drink.
For a very long time, communities have depended on the municipal water supply as the primary source of drinking water. But, these water supplies for the community are contaminated with harmful agents and unknown sediments that result in turbidity in the water. Since then, it has been advised to purify water before drinking to remove these pathogens.
Some pathogens that cause illnesses such as cholera and typhoid can be inhibited. People used to do back then to boil water until these pathogens were killed, and sediments present in the water were filtered out. It is through this that distillation became a well-known process to clean water.
In retrospect, distillation is one process for water purification. However, despite the good benefits of distilled water, there are many negative claims about its effect on human health in general. Now, we can't help but ponder, whether is distilled water safe to drink or as favorable for you as the different sorts of water. The appropriate response relies upon a few various factors.
In this article, we will talk all about distilled water —its brief history, its various processes, its applications, as well as the various types of distillation units, and ways to maintain it. Furthermore, we will talk about factors to consider when buying your own distillation unit. Finally, let's ask the million-dollar question, is distilled water really safe to drink? To answer that question, let's enumerate the different effects and benefits that distilled water can provide for our body and differentiate it from other water processes such as purification and filtration to give a valid point of comparison.
What is Distilled Water?
Distillation had been long used ever since World War I. Though ancient philosophers had long discovered it, distillation wasn't used as much before compared to today. When World War I began, the military had to find a way to keep their men hydrated during the war.
Since nobody can drink water directly from the sea, they found a way to provide clean water. They used seawater as the main source, and that is by using the distillation process. Since then, water distillation has been popularly used.
Distilled water can be found in stores and labs. Here's a clarification of what purified water is and how it's made.
Distilled water is any water that has been filtered utilizing distillation. There are numerous distillations, yet all rely upon isolating parts of a mixture from the different boiling points.
More or less, water is heated to its boiling point. The water is purified by boiling the water and gathering steam. Chemicals found in the water that boils at low temperatures are gathered and disposed of. Likewise, any substances that remain after the water evaporates are also disposed of. The water collected in this way is much cleaner than the first liquid. The distillation process expels most polluting contaminants, so it is a reasonable method for water treatment.
Brief History of Water Distillation
Distilled water is water that has been boiled in a container and condensed once again in the liquid state. Then, it is poured into a separate container. Impurities available in the original water that has not boiled will remain in the raw water.
Since at least around AD 200, drinking water has been distilled, and it is from seawater. This process was first introduced and described by Alexander of Aphrodisias. In Aristotle's Meteorologica, they referred to this process as the distillation of water. Meanwhile, Captain Israel told in his journal how he improvised water distillation in 1797.
In World War II, distilling seawater to produce fresh water was expensive and time-consuming. After the war, Dr. R. V. Kleinschmidt created a compression still to convert seawater into freshwater. This equipment has become a standard among the trailer mounts and Allied ships for the armies during the war. This method was used in portable water units and ships during the latter half of the century. Today, modern ships use flash-type evaporators to boil the seawater. They heat it around 70 to 90 degrees Celsius, and they evaporate the water through a vacuum. Then, they collect the water via condensation before storing it.
The Process of Water Distillation
The distilling machine can put the tap water to boiling point. After that, it can eliminate viruses and bacteria. The unit will create steam that goes up and leaves the impurities. The steam will go inside the condensing coils until it cools down and gets back into its liquid state.
The produced distilled water will now enter into a storage container. Indeed, the distillation process can produce pure water without any chemical treatment. The water produced is free of salts and minerals. As such, you can experience a flat taste because of the removed minerals.
The distillation process can remove up to 99.9% of dissolved minerals in the water. However, semi-volatile and volatile compounds might not be eliminated through distillation. Whenever the boiling point of the said materials is close to the boiling point of water, it can be difficult to separate it via distillation. They must be removed before distillation if the contaminants are still present in the water. If not removed, they can be carried in the steam to the condensed water and contaminate the purified water.
In biological and chemical laboratories, deionized water is preferred more than distilled water. But they still use distilled water, especially if the alternatives are not pure enough. If the laboratory requires high-purity water, then they use double-distilled water.
If the water is non-purified, it can cause chemical reactions in the experiment. Furthermore, it can leave mineral deposits in the water. But through distillation, can remove impurities in the water and other liquid.
For example, ions found in tap water can reduce the lifespan of lead-acid batteries in trucks and cars. These ions are not accepted in the vehicle's cooling systems because they can erode the internal engine parts. Moreover, it can deplete the anti-corrosion or antifreeze additives on it.
Various Types of Distilling Unit
Today, there are various types of distillers. There are round or small units that can distill less than one quart of water for each hour. Moreover, larger units can distill one-half gallon of drinking water every hour.
Since the distillation units can only produce a small amount of water, they are usually installed in the kitchen faucets. They are not installed to treat all of the water sources inside the house.
Before installing a distillation system, make sure that the unit you are buying has been tested and certified by a third party.
Meanwhile, you have to note that the distillers can be filled with water through a connection or manually. Permanently installed units have a drain opening that can eradicate the contaminated water. The faucets can facilitate the draining of the countertop water units.
You can store the distilled water in storage containers. In some models, glass jars are connected to the unit. On the other hand, some units have a metal tank wherein the condensed steam can drip. Finally, you can also store the distilled water in a plastic bottle.
The containers you choose must be able to hold one to fifteen gallons of water. In general, all types of containers are suitable for storing distilled water. But make sure that it is suitable and ask the manufacturer how to maintain it.
Some of the automatic features of the distillation unit include timers and reset switches. With this, automatic operation can become possible. You can opt to have these features when you use distilled water continuously.
No matter how high-tech your equipment is, it will not perform at its best unless you have maintained it according to the manufacturer's recommendations. Make sure to keep a logbook to note the maintenance and repairs you have done in the past.
In the distillation unit, the boiling chamber can accumulate minerals over the years. As such, you have to clean this regularly. The frequency of cleaning will depend on the minerals accumulated plus the amount of water used.
In some units, the mineral buildup can be dissolved by using pure water. Meanwhile, you have to dilute acid cleaners in a heated condition to dissolve the mineral buildup in other cases. In sum, you have to follow the cleaning recommendation of the manufacturer.
Other Things to Consider
You have to make sure that the system you installed is operated according to the instruction of the manufacturer—retest both the treated and raw water after installation. You can ask a certified laboratory to test to ensure that everything works fine and removes the contaminants.
Continue testing the raw and treated water quality per year to see if there are still contaminants in the raw water. With frequent testing, you can determine how well your system works. Also, you can determine if replacing some parts is needed with this.
Questions to Consider Before Buying a Unit
Before you buy a water distilling unit, make sure that you test your water at a laboratory certified by the state. With this, you can determine what types of contaminants are present in the water. Moreover, this will help you decide if indeed distillation is the best treatment method at your home.
Can You Drink Distilled Water?
Commonly, the answer to this question is yes, and you can drink distilled water. When drinking water is purified using distillation, the next water would be cleaner and purer than the previous one. The water is then safe to drink. The disadvantage of drinking this water is that a greater part of the essential minerals in the water would no longer exist.
Minerals are unstable, so they are freed when the water boils off. Distilled water may be viewed as lesser than mineral water or spring water whenever these minerals are wanted (e.g., calcium, magnesium, press). Then again, if the source water contained traces of some amounts of harmful toxic organic compounds or heavy metals, you might need to drink distilled water instead of the source water.
In most cases, distilled water you find at a supermarket was produced using drinking water, so it is fine to drink. Still, distilled water from different sources may not be safe to drink. For instance, if you take non-potable water from an industrial source and then distill it, the distilled water may contain enough pollutants that are hazardous for human usage.
Another instance that could pollute distilled water comes from using contaminated equipment. Contaminants could be acquired from dish sets or tubings any time of the distillation process, permitting undesirable chemicals. This isn't a case for the commercial distillation of drinking water, yet it could apply to home distillation. Additionally, there might be unwanted chemicals in the container used to gather the water. Plastic monomers or filtering from glass are materials for any type of bottled water.
Furthermore, water distillation dates back to the generation of Aristotle.
It has been utilized to desalinate ocean water since no less than 200 AD, as laid out by Alexander of Aphrodisias. In drinking water, one must consider distilling the water twice (double distilled) to guarantee high purity. A few scientists are concerned that the water may cause medical issues since it doesn't contain essential minerals and particles present in drinking water.
Effects of Drinking Distilled Water on the Body
You would believe that drinking water that meets Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requirements would be healthy and safe, yet it's one of your most significant health risks. Indeed "safe" water may contain "adequate" measures of lead, arsenic, mercury, radioactive particles, and an insignificant review of different toxic substances. To outline this point:
More than 75,000 chemical compounds are utilized by industry and agriculture, with thousands more included every year—numerous are uncontrolled.
- 80% of these chemicals have never been tried for an extended period, with constant poisonous quality.
- It evaluated that 20 billion tons of chemicals, radioactive waste, and poisons are brought into the water every year, and the view is that a large portion of these poisonous chemicals, in the end, reach our water supply.
- In the United States, the EPA has assessed and set measures for just a little level of more than 700 chemicals found in drinking water supplies.
Before looking at the different side effects of drinking distilled water, one must understand other types of water sources or processes. This is to develop a wider knowledge of the subject to be seen when comparing them. Knowing different kinds of processes might help you choose what is best for you and your loved ones. Mainly, when dealing with and securing your and your loved ones' health, one should take this a closer look.
Distillation VS Rainwater VS Purification VS Filtration
Distillation is purifying water through evaporation and condensation, just like how clouds produce rainwater. But unlike rainwater, distilled water isn't beneficial at all.
Rainwater, naturally soft water, is rich in natural minerals that are essential to the body. It is not recommended for drinking but for other uses like garden watering, car washing, or other household use. On the other hand, distilled water is clean water that quenches your thirst and keeps you hydrated.
The process of distillation is not that hard to understand. As water evaporates and turns into gas, usually with heat, it creates moisture and condenses into clean water. Though it is clean and drinkable, it isn't beneficial to the body.
As seawater evaporates during the distillation process, the minerals naturally present in seawater just remain. This comes from the water source, as evaporation and condensation occur and produce clean water.
Unlike filtration and purification, pathogens and sediments are being filtered out and removed from the water. Afterward, it is purified using different methods, depending on the public water facilities protocol.
Yes, distilled water keeps you hydrated, but what happens to your body when you drink distilled water? Due to the demineralization done during the evaporation process, distilled water increases urine output when consumed. Furthermore, it eliminates essential electrolytes such as potassium, which is critical in making the muscles function effectively.
Since essential minerals such as calcium, magnesium, sodium, and fluoride are naturally present in water, these can aid the body in doing our daily chores. With proper techniques in water purification, these minerals can be conserved in drinking water.
Benefits of Drinking Distilled Water
That being stated, there are still a significant number of reasons why people drink distilled water. One of the advantages of choosing distilled water is the following:
It Helps Prevent Water-Borne Diseases
Unclean water can bear microorganisms and parasites, which can start their life cycle in your body at the time of consumption. The best way to keep this from happening is to drink distilled water. Drinking unclean water can also cause other issues in your immunity. By drinking distilled water, you can avoid water-borne illnesses.
It is a Natural Purifying Method
The hydrological or water cycle is in charge of how water is carried and reused around the Earth. Distillation is a method for purification which is fundamentally the same as the water cycle. This procedure heats the water first and converts it to steam while leaving undesirable minerals and chemicals behind. The steam is then changed over back to its liquid form utilizing condensation.
Contaminants are Safely Removed
Fluoride, a substance generally used as a swimming pool component, is utilized to process tap water. For the most part, municipalities use this technique to treat water before they are distributed to homes. Thus, tap water can damage your body when consumed. Distilled water, then again, contains no such chemicals, heavy metals, pesticides, or radioactive contaminants.
Aids Prevention of Diseases Caused by Unclean Water
Nitrate contamination in tap water is considered a great supporter of childbirth defects, for example, missing limbs or cleft palate. Municipal water also typically contains Barium, which adds to heart issues. It has also been associated with hypertension. Another substance in drinking water – Copper – may trigger Alzheimer's disease. Indeed, even other nations expect water to pass the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) standard, and some districts limit safe drinking water. Distilled water is a decent deal when you can't consume tap water as it doesn't cause any illnesses.
You Obtain Most of the Required Minerals from Food
It is right that the consistent share of minerals that your body needs originate from the food you eat. Even though distilled water does not give extra minerals that other common drinking water gives, they can be substituted by different sources. Along these lines, you can keep away from the dangerous effects of contaminants in various types of water while enjoying a balanced eating regimen and decent health.
Other Uses of Distilled Water
First of all, distilled water is commonly used in medical tools and procedures. Healthcare institutions are very particular with the cleanliness of the water that they will use in washing tools and performing various operations. This, in essence, is to prevent contamination and infections that may further put the patient in danger. For example, kidney dialysis machines use distilled water to filter waste from the blood.
In connection with the first one, distilled water is also used in performing various lab tests. This is because water quality can alter or has the ability to affect the accuracy of a lab experiment. So, professionals use ultra-pure water to guarantee the results.
The next thing would be the creation and production of cosmetic procedures. Rest assured that the one used in your moisturizer, deodorant, shampoo, or lotion is most often than not, distilled water.
Lastly, the manufacturing of automobiles also uses distilled water. Due to the lack of minerals in distilled water, it won't have the capacity to corrode metal engine parts or interfere with batteries.
At home, distilled water is commonly used and mixed with infant formula to avoid the risks of infection and diseases.
Another one is the Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine. Basically, distilled water is poured into the water chamber of the CPAP humidifier, which people mostly use for sleep apnea. In fact, the manufacturers of CPAP machines recommend distilled water to increase the longevity of the humidifier, saving you money in the long run.
In another example, distilled water is also used with a neti pot to clear sinuses, or at least, lessen their symptoms. Likewise, distilled water is also used in your clothes iron to eliminate scale buildup.
Dangers of Drinking Distilled Water
Despite some claims that distilled water is healthy, there are a few disadvantages to drinking it. Here are a few things you might consider before totally changing to distilled water.
It May Not Protect Your Teeth from Decay Despite Claims
Dentists have found out that most children who are drinking bottled water are prone to tooth cavities. This is because distilled water does not contain fluoride, which is responsible for strengthening teeth.
However, other studies have shown that non-fluoridated water is not the main reason for tooth decay because consuming sugary foods and unhygienic is. Still, fluoride in water can be a great factor in protecting the teeth. This is why most water supplies in the US fluoridate their water.
It Has Very Little Taste
Because distilled water has no vitamins or minerals, it also has almost no taste. This can be due to the taste of its container, usually a plastic bottle. Minerals in ordinary drinking water typically help in preserving the water's fresh taste. Some distilled water sellers have begun presenting their products in glass containers because of this reason.
Mineral Reduction of the Body
Our body stores natural nutrients that ensure a strong and healthy body. But, drinking distilled water can deprive the body of those essential nutrients. The common reason is that the water itself does not contain any source of nutrients or minerals. In particular, distilled water electrolytes like potassium and other minerals are essential for your body's daily processes. As a result, your body might get deprived of these micronutrients —which, in turn, may result in health complications such as fainting, migraine, and nutrient deficiency.
As a matter of fact, there are various studies that have proven that drinking water low in these nutrients may result in tiredness, muscle cramps, weakness, and even heart disease. Furthermore, distilled water may not be the best hydrating option for you and your body. Furthermore, it does not do any good in breaking down food or the digestion process.
It May Increase Body Acidity
Since distilled water consists of no minerals, it assimilates different components effortlessly. Therefore, it takes in carbon monoxide when it interacts with the air. This will raise the acidity of the water, the opposite of drinking distilled water. Acidic water isn't hazardous, yet Dr. Rona and others guarantee that water should be alkaline and that acidic water can only give numerous health dangers, including cancer and osteoporosis.
Distilled water takes away all minerals and nutrients due to the process of distillation. Therefore, your body is forced to give mineral and nutrient-free water electrolytes. With this, your electrolyte level will slowly decrease and eventually cause electrolyte imbalance in your body. One important thing to note, electrolytes are important for the body because it helps you eliminate waste and function properly.
To sum up, if you drink distilled water consistently, you are putting your health at risk. It has insufficient minerals and nutrients that can protect your body against diseases and illnesses. Second, it can potentially lead to certain health problems such as bone deformities, digestive tract disorders, and even blood-related sickness.
This is due to the chemicals it obtains as stored in plastic bottles for a long period. Studies have shown that Bisphenol A (BPA) is an endocrine disruptor that is proven to be linked with cancer, neurological diseases, and some women-related conditions such as early puberty, infertility, premature labor, etc. Lastly, as it is exposed to air, it attracts and traps carbon dioxide, significantly affecting the body's acidity.
Changing pH Balance of Blood and Tissues
The distilled water's pH level is 7.0, and the blood's pH level must remain between 7.35 and 7.45. If the level drops lower than that, acidosis may happen- the excessive acid condition of the blood or tissues. Significant changes to the pH, electrolyte, and mineral balance may lead to nutrient deficiencies, fatigue, fluid retention, muscle cramps, impaired heart rate, headache, and other severe health conditions.
The World Health Organization (WHO) found out that the waters demineralized through the same methods have the same health effects as the process used by distilled water (unless they are remineralized). This includes desalination, reverse osmosis, nano-filtered, and deionization.
The Difference in the Water You Drink
Distillation is an easy and inexpensive way to acquire clean water. The downside of distilled water is that it's not that helpful to the body since it's losing the needed electrolytes.
Since filtration is the only way to conserve these essential minerals in the water, it is the best option to use as a source of drinking water. Everyone knows that water is a necessity. Thus, different types of water are treated in other ways then produced and supplied in bottles. Distributed by pharmacies and stores, drinking water is made to be alkaline, distilled, rich in minerals, and even tastes like spring water.
The only benefit of distilled water, aside from being inexpensive, is it doesn't use any additives in purifying water. Since some public water facilities use chemicals to purify water, others use ionization and oxidation to remove microscopic substances from the water.
With the advancing technology today, there are a lot of portable water filters available on the market. These water filters help in purifying drinking water in the comfort of your home. However, some water filters purify water and remove essential elements—a few water filters aid in conserving essential minerals in drinking water.
Things to Consider Before Drinking Distilled Water
When choosing drinking water, you may want to consider the following factors:
- taste preference
- cost point
- the quality of the local tap water
- quality of vitamins and minerals in the diet
- availability of other drinking water
Taking Advantage of Water
Now that you are aware of the benefits found in water, wouldn't you want to take advantage of that? All this time, the minerals such as calcium, magnesium, sodium, and fluoride are just lurking there waiting to be consumed. How does distilled water provide these beneficial elements? How can you filter water without the use of any chemicals and other tricky methods?
There are a lot of water filters available in stores. You just need to make sure that you purchase the one that gives you the quality of drinking water you've been looking for. Your water filter of choice must give you the satisfaction you need. And that it can both conserve the minerals in your drinking water and keep it free from harmful pathogens.
It will be hard to make pure and clean drinking water by conserving minerals and purifying your drinking water. How can you get satisfaction and the promising quality from all the water filters nowadays?
Only a few people achieve assurance. There are many choices in the market, but they cannot ever be enough.
One of the best water filters you can find is the Berkey Water Filter. It filters out different kinds of contaminants. It can filter out pathogens like parasites, bacteria, and viruses. It can also remove dangerous chemicals such as pesticides, fluorine, chlorine, lead, mercury, and other heavy metal contaminants. These toxic materials are removed from the water and their sediments and turbidity. This is done while still keeping the essential minerals found in water.
Laboratory test results of the Berkey Water Filter show the various contaminants with the corresponding percentage. The State and EPA-accredited laboratories tested and approved it to effectively remove 99.9% of bacteria and viruses. It even exceeded the NSF/ANSI Standard 53.
It is scientifically tested and proven. Its filter has microfilaments that can filter out the sediments and clean the turbidity, caused by disease-causing microorganisms and chemicals. Other than that, its retained minerals make the water tastes good. It doesn't need electricity and can be a complete standalone water filter system. Very convenient and easy to use with a single switch, you can have the guarantee that you're getting the benefits of drinking water.