Counter Top Distilled Water?

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by dancqu, May 6, 2009.

  1. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    My location suffers from hard water. I have tired of both
    the toting and the cost of distilled water gallon jugs. Have
    any experience with the counter top distillers? Dan
     
  2. Bob-D659

    Bob-D659 Member

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    They work ok, but the do put out a lot of heat. The ones I've seen have no heat recovery for preheating of the water, they are just a 1 gallon electric kettle attached to a fan(air) cooled condenser. I don't know what your rate for electricity is, but I think one I saw took almost 4 hours to produce a gallon of distilled water and used something like 3-4 kwh of power.

    I have an old Corning/Pyrex lab unit, it has a 220 volk 2kw heater and can generate a gallon per hour and it preheats the incoming water as it has a water cooled condenser. I don't use it in summer as I really don't need a heater on when the a/c system is cooling the house. :sad: So I just buy distilled water on sale at a dollar a gallon.
     
  3. Doremus Scudder

    Doremus Scudder Member

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    Dan,

    I don't know where you are in the Willamette Valley, but I spent years in Eugene and had no real hard water problems.... And, this is just some brainstorming, not really an answer to your question, but...

    Anyway, here in Vienna, my water is failrly hard (mixing solution B of PMK in tap water is impossible, even with twice the volume). I do use distilled water for mixing developer stock and wetting agent, however, I use tap water for all working solutions, (I adjust developer times according to tests). Stop and fix are no problem at all. The little printing I do here is all with tap water. What I'm saying here is that, except for a change in developer activity, which I compensate for, I find no problems with using hard water for processing except for mixing developer stock solutions and for the final rinse for negatives. For this I just buy 5-liter jugs of distilled water.

    In the States, I often just get the 25-cent-per-gallon drinking water from the vending machines found in hard-water areas when I need something other than tap water. It works even for mixing stock and final rinses since the mineral levels are very low.

    I'm curious as to why you feel you need large volumes of distilled water. If you are on a well with lots of possible contaminants, then cheaper drinking water or demineralized water should work for most of your needs. If you do need large quantities, maybe you should look into an RO system...

    Best,

    Doremus Scudder
    www.DoremusScudder.com
     
  4. Martin Aislabie

    Martin Aislabie Subscriber

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    Just a suggestion

    Does your local Supermarket sell Distilled or Reverse Osmosis Water?

    Thats what I used when I am out in Phoenix (where the tap water is truely dreadful)

    If you took your own container it was amazingly cheap and while not 100% pure - it was good enough to use with not real drying mark probems



    Martin
     
  5. Mike Kennedy

    Mike Kennedy Member

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    My local bottled water company delivers 4L jugs to my house.
     
  6. cinejerk

    cinejerk Member

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    Hi Dan I grew up in Dallas Ore. You probably know where that is.;-) We had such soft water that it was a complete shock to me when I moved and experienced water conditions in other locals. Where I live now the
    water has a big sodium content. Water softeners won't work with sodium. We had to install a RO system.
    I don't know anything about table top distillers but this RO system wasn't that expensive and has worked for
    many years. The water works great for photographic chemicals.
    Dennis
     
  7. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Dan;

    The small distillers are quite nice but have a heavy maintenance load due to scale build up. The hard water residue is left behind as heavy scale in the pot and must be cleaned out regularly with a special scale remover. Using ordinary cleaners is quite impossible.

    Then, the scale remover must be removed by a distillation pass that is thrown away or you get the residual crudd in the first batch of distilled water.

    Overall it is a plus and a minus.

    PE
     
  8. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Ron, if you use a small still after a de-ionising cartridge there's far less build up of scale and so low maintenance, this is the way most commercial stills are operated these days.

    For 99% of photographic uses de-ionised water is sufficient anyway and would also provide decent drinking water :D

    Ian
     
  9. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Ian;

    The cartridges have limited capacity and are not all that inexpensive. In areas of high hardness, the cartridge can be eaten up in a day or so. As for the scale, I've seen it build up even with a good set of cartridges as the water flow rate can sometimes overwhelm the capacity of the cartridge.

    Nevertheless, what you say is true in areas with low to moderate hardness and with low water flow rates.

    PE
     
  10. Anscojohn

    Anscojohn Subscriber

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    *******
    For decades, I have been collecting the condensate from my central AC unit during the humid summer months here in Northern Virginia. I store it in three five gallon stainlessI filter photochemical tanks. I have long used it in lieu of "distilled" Water.

    I have been advised on this site by PE about the potential hazards of molds in this condensate. As a result of his good counsel, I now take that water and boil it rapidly for five minutes or so in a stainless tell pot before filtering it and using it for my developer and my wetting agent rinse.

    Ye olde darkroom rats who mentored me in my callow youth would often boil and filter tap water before mixing chemistry. Claimed it "drove off the oxygen." I have done that in the past. I guess I am retrogressing by boiling my AC condensate; but if PE knows not whereof he speaks, then NOone knows.
     
  11. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Water from dehumidifiers and air conditioners should be boiled and filtered before use. This is due to the molds and spores picked up and to the dust that precipitates with the water on the condensing coils. You can actually see the molds and grunge grow in your DH "bucket" and if you use a drain hose for the bucket, that slime eventually plugs up the hose and must be reamed out. It is certainly not good for film, as many of those bugs and spores leave marks and eventually love to eat the gelatin.

    PE
     
  12. Bob Eskridge

    Bob Eskridge Member

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    The tap water in my town is relatively soft but seems to be highly treated and has somewhat of a "chemical" smell most of the time.

    I have been using a small household type distiller since around 2000 for drinking water and also for mixing developers and fixers. If I didn't already have the distiller I would be using distilled water from the supermarket for my photography chemicals.

    But having one has been convenient for me and maintenance has been minimal. Of course if the water was hard then it most likely require more maintenance.
     
  13. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    I've an A 1 or a MegaHome one gallon water distiller
    targeted for purchase. Own either one? $100 for the
    first and $125 for the second. I suspect the two
    units are one and the same. Dan
     
  14. Kirk Keyes

    Kirk Keyes Member

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    Dan - are you on a well? Try driving over to the Santiam or MacKenzie River and fill up a bunch of water jugs. Filter it for particulate and you will have water that will be the envy of every person on this forum. Best of all, it's free.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 9, 2009
  15. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    Well water just east of Salem. City water from the
    Santiam is filtered, chlorinated, and the ph, IIRC,
    adjusted to 7.8; an anti corrosion measure.
    I could lug jugs from a Salem source but
    have tired of the luging.

    I'm transitioning from very infrequent visits to the
    darkroom to actually producing prints for myself,
    for show, and for sale. The least water method
    I've evolved makes distilled water practical.
    First expense is the only hurdle and
    I can handle that. Dan
     
  16. Alessandro Serrao

    Alessandro Serrao Member

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    I'm wodering if adding 2g/l of EDTA to tap water will suffice or not...
     
  17. Kirk Keyes

    Kirk Keyes Member

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    A still seems like a lot of work to maintain and keep operating to me. Have you tried calling your local Culligan Man to see if they have an inexpensive reverse osmosis system or even some mixed DI resin beds?