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distilled water

  • Is Distilled Water Safe to Drink?

    Distilled water basically refers to any water that has undergone purification using the process of distillation — where water is heated to boiling point and the water vapor (steam) that forms is collected. Any contaminants such as chemicals and metals that may be present in the water remain behind. As a result, the water vapor collected is much purer than the original water.

    But is distilled water safe to drink?

    Well, yes and no. It depends on how you look at it, and what you consider safe.

    Because distillation is effective at removing most contaminants, it is usually safe to drink water that has been treated in this manner. The water produced will be purer and safer than the original water source. However, distilled water may not always be safe to drink. It depends largely on the quality of the source water being treated. For example, treating non-potable water that contains high levels of industrial contaminants may produce distilled water that still contains harmful pollutants at levels high enough to pose a risk to human health.

    Side Note: If you would like to see how a comparison of the berkey water filter vs distilled water, this article will help you.

    An example of double distillation - "Is distilled water safe to drink" An example of double distillation

    Distillation Removes Beneficial Minerals

    While the quality of distilled water will certainly be much higher than the original source water, the major drawback to drinking distilled water is that many of the essential minerals that are naturally present in water, such as magnesium and calcium, are unstable and are therefore released during the distillation process. As a result, distilled water may lack beneficial minerals typically found in spring- and mineral water, or other natural water sources. Lets look at the implications of this a little closer.

    Effect on Taste

    Because the vitamins and minerals have been stripped during the distillation process, distilled water tends to have very little taste, or worse still, if sold in plastic bottles, often tastes like plastic. This is because minerals that are normally present in drinking water help to keep the water tasting fresh. Furthermore, it may absorb harmful chemicals used to manufacture plastic such as BPA, an endocrine disrupter associated with neurological disorders, infertility, blood disorders and cancer to name a few. Some distilled water producers package their products in glass containers to avoid this.

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    Causes Mineral & Electrolyte Deficiencies in the Body

    Drinking distilled water can deprive your body of beneficial minerals that are essential for our health and wellbeing, as minerals lost, for example in perspiration, are not replenished when you drink water; you are simply rehydrating. Also, because electrolytes — which are important for waste elimination and healthy body functioning — move from your body (where they are in a high concentration) to the mineral-free water (where they are in a low concentration, or rather non-existent), your electrolyte levels will gradually decrease, eventually leading to an electrolyte imbalance.

    Increased Acidity

    Because distilled water contains no minerals, it readily assimilates other compounds. For example, when it mixes with air it can absorb carbon dioxide, which will cause the water to become more acidic. While consuming acidic water in itself is not necessarily dangerous, experts agree that alkaline water is better for us and that consistently drinking acidic water can pose several health risks, including osteoporosis and cancer.

    Changes the pH of Blood and Body Tissue

    Distilled water has a pH of 7.0, while the pH level of blood needs to be between 7.35 and 7.45. Should blood pH levels drop below that, the blood and body tissues can become excessively acidic — a condition known as acidosis. Significant imbalances in minerals, electrolyte and pH levels can result in nutrient deficiencies, muscle cramps, fluid retention, fatigue, headaches, impaired heart rate, as well as other potentially harmful health effects.

    According to the World Heath Organization (WHO), any drinking water that has been demineralized during treatment — including water treated by reverse osmosis, nano-filtration, desalination and deionization — will have the same health pitfalls as distilled water, unless that water is remineralized.

    So, while distillation is a simple, cost-effective method of purifying water, making it safe to drink in the short-term, long-term consumption is not recommended as your body will lose essential minerals and electrolytes that are important for normal healthy body functioning.

    The most effective way of removing contaminants from drinking water without stripping the water of essential minerals is filtration. Using a high-end portable home water filter, such as those in the Berkey range, you can effectively remove a wide range of harmful contaminants while still retaining the minerals and nutrients that not only give water its fresh, awesome taste, but which your body needs for good health.

    If you would like to see how a comparison of the berkey water filter vs distilled water, this article will help you.

  • Berkey Water Filters vs Distillation

    In a follow up to our article Berkey water filters versus reverse osmosis systems, we will review a comparison of the Berkey systems and distillation systems. There are some similarities in the performance results of reverse osmosis and distillation, so we recommend you read the initial comparison first as a foundation to this article.

    Beneficial Minerals in the Water

    Just like reverse osmosis systems, distillation strips out the beneficial minerals from the water making it an acidic, "hypotonic" solution. To reiterate the danger of this, the repetitive drinking of mineral free water will cause a leeching of bodily minerals as part of the body's natural mechanism to achieve homeostasis. Over time, depletion of minerals in the body will occur and can result in negative health consequences. We recommend adding a trace mineral supplement to the water post-distillation.

    The Black Berkey filters that come standard with all our Berkey water filter systems are purposefully designed to leave the beneficial minerals in the water to avoid this dangerous cycle of body demineralization.

    Power Required

    Distillation requires power for the filtration process to occur. This will have an impact on your electricity bill, but also leave you stranded in the event of a power outage.

    The Berkey water filters require no power to operate as they are gravity fed.

    Cleaning and Maintenance

    Distillation systems need to be soaked and cleaned with vinegar solution to remove the scale. The frequency of this cleaning will be determined by the mineral content of the water. This can range from cleaning the system after every other use to every other week.

    The Black Berkey water filters last 6000 gallons per set of 2 and typically 5 years or more before replacement is needed. The fluoride filter needs to be replaced every 2 years or 1000 gallons. As for maintenance, we recommend washing the lower chamber of the system with soap and water once per month.

    Cost

    Not including cleaner costs, a typical distillation system will cost 35-50 cents per gallon to operate.

    The Berkey water filter costs less than 2 cents per gallon and since it does not require electricity, there are no added energy costs.

    Taste

    Typically, the taste for distilled water is regarded as flat due to the lack of minerals in the water. This can be improved by added a trace mineral supplement to the water post-distillation.

    The taste of Berkey water is regarded as very good unless there is an abundance of ionized minerals in the source water that negatively affect it. Our customers tell us daily how much they enjoy the taste of their berkey water.

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