Best for: all dissolved ions - positive or
negative, including those which cause hardness, alkalinity, acidity, also lead
and other toxic heavy metals
May help with: sediment, turbidity
Not for: organic chemicals
Distillation is the brute-force way to remove impurities
from water. A distiller boils water,
then cools the steam until it condenses.
The resulting distillate drips into a jug. Salts, sediments, metal ions, anything that doesn’t boil off or
evaporate, stays behind in the boiling pot.
A broad group of chemicals known as “volatile organics”, which
contaminate some groundwater, include chloroform and benzene which pass through
distillers and end up in the product water.
Distillers are designed to work on a countertop. Most stills do an excellent job removing
high concentrations of minerals, from ones as harmless as calcium to those as
toxic as lead.
Time and Money
Distillation is a slow process. 110 volt stills require about 5 hours to make a gallon of
distilled water. Also, considerable
energy is expended converting a gallon of water into steam. At the current national average electricity
rate of 7.75 cents per kilowatt-hour, distillers use about 24 cents worth of
electricity to distill a gallon of water.
You might welcome the heat from a distiller in the
wintertime. In the summer, though, the
heat will make your air conditioner work longer - each gallon of water distilled will add 6 cents to the cost of
running an air-conditioner.
A distiller makes the most sense if your water supply is
brackish or polluted only with heavy metals.
A distiller removes salt very well, and it’s better than a reverse
osmosis system for removing heavy metals.
A distiller won't eliminate organics such as pesticides - use a carbon
filter or a reverse-osmosis system instead.
To remove high levels of calcium and magnesium, use a water softener,
not a still.