Distilled Water Question.

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Keith Tapscott., Apr 18, 2007.

  1. Keith Tapscott.

    Keith Tapscott. Member

    Messages:
    1,416
    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2005
    Location:
    Plymouth. UK
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
  2. Pinholemaster

    Pinholemaster Member

    Messages:
    1,504
    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2005
    Location:
    Westminster,
    Shooter:
    8x10 Format
    Is your water particularly bad? I never found it to be worth the effort. The manufacturers of photographic chemistry assume you'll use tap water.
     
  3. Keith Tapscott.

    Keith Tapscott. Member

    Messages:
    1,416
    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2005
    Location:
    Plymouth. UK
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Not really, although it comes out a bit cloudy at times probably due to a lot of air etc. I usually use a Paterson filter on the tap. I am a bit of a fussy though.
     
  4. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

    Messages:
    5,134
    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2005
    Location:
    Live Free or
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    In most places tap water is just fine for the chemicals. I use some distilled to avoid problems with grit until I can get more filtration in place. The price of the unit is (very) roughly worth 1200 litres of distilled at the price I pay (.99/gal USD). For me that would be a few years worth if I did the math right.
    The ability to make my own distilled is appealing, but I would probably choose to spend the money on other ways for improving the water, like filtration or reverse osmosis.
     
  5. Sean

    Sean Admin Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,990
    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2002
    Location:
    New Zealand
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Not a direct answer but since all of our house water comes from roof collected rainwater we use a decent sized polarbear water distiller to distill our drinking water. The bonus is I get distilled water for my chems. I also do a quick 2 bath soak on my sheet film in distilled water before hanging it to dry and it always dries spotless..
     
  6. Mike Wilde

    Mike Wilde Member

    Messages:
    2,936
    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2006
    Location:
    Misissauaga
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Consider reverse osmosis units as well

    I found (honest, in an authorized trash picking period) a used reverse osmosis unit on the curb a few years ago. I guess someone moved in from a well in the country, and liked the city water enough to not install it again.

    I replaced the pre-filter, thin membrane main element, and carbon polishing element for about $140Cdn. Every year I replace the pre filter(cheap) every second year the carbon filter ( a bit more) and am just coming up on year three, when I might replace the main filter.

    It now provides better than the 'bottled water' product in terms of taste, from a small faucet at the kitchen sink, and also there is a small valve and hose that is routed into the darkroom over the sink, for final rinsing,etc.

    I also gather it a gallon at a time and boil it vigorously with the pot covered, then once it has cooled, I store the de-aerater and thus de-oxygenated water in gallon glass jugs. This supply is tapped when I mix developers. I find that it makes even low sulfite colour developers last for many days longer than straight tap water.

    The upside is that there is no longer a need to lug distilled water home.
     
  7. jim appleyard

    jim appleyard Member

    Messages:
    2,128
    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2004
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Distilled is nice, and by-the-book, you probably should use it, but tap water works fine for me. My water is municipal, filtered at a filtering plant, lightly chlorinated (so they say) and then pumped thru leaky old cast iron pipes to my house. It's not bad water tho!

    I do use distilled for my pyro formulas or any others that specifically say I should.

    I've heard of people doing reverse osmosis, but I don't know much about it. Some folks also use a Brita filter.

    If you look at the bottom of this page, you may notice 3 ads for water distillers. Check them out?
     
  8. Daniel_OB

    Daniel_OB Member

    Messages:
    420
    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2006
    Location:
    Mississauga,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Chemical composition and PH factor of tap water is different than of destiled water. Even chem. manufacturers today add some component in the developer to neutralize (more or less) "bad" chemicals from tap water still difference will come out.
    For film developing, if you tested your films with destiled water or even with tap water from different area, it is the best to retest films on developing time. The difference can be significient. For paper matter I think no visible difference.

    www.Leica-R.com
     
  9. Neal

    Neal Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,565
    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2004
    Location:
    Chicago, Wes
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    Dear Keith,

    I use distilled water to mix chemicals (my tap water is less than ideal for such applications) and I find that purchasing distilled water is more cost effective than a distiller. Locally, distilled water is a bit over (assuming my conversions are accurate) 1 Pound for 7 liters. I use Jobo tanks so that minimizes the volume I need, but I'm sure it would take me several years to break even. Convenience, however, is not a factor to be overlooked.

    Neal Wydra
     
  10. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

    Messages:
    5,219
    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2004
    Location:
    Toronto-Onta
    Shooter:
    Med. Format RF
    We do use Distilled water to mix all our devs for film, and it is used with the final photlow before going in the dryer.
    You can purchase the large plastic drums from the grocery store , making sure you are getting distilled and not mineral water.
    Not to expensive and seems to work very well for us.
    I think the reasoning is the distilled water allows the dev to flow onto the film much faster with no resistance than that of tap water.
    We use Jobo Rotary and this has been a factor for us.
    Each city has its own problems with tap water and usually not consistant day in day out .The distilled with dev provides some level of consistancy.
     
  11. ilya1963

    ilya1963 Subscriber

    Messages:
    676
    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2004
    Shooter:
    8x10 Format
    distilled water

    yes you should use it for a stock solution , working solution gould be filtered water

    If you have walmart close by, they sell distilled water for about a dollar a gallon , and most of your stock solutions you mix a litter at a time , so unless you are doing it in huge volume , no need for anything more...
    Regards. ILYA
     
  12. Monophoto

    Monophoto Member

    Messages:
    1,691
    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2004
    Location:
    Saratoga Spr
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I don't think the cost of a dedicated distillation unit is justifiable.

    If the tap water is so bad that it is not useable for photographic applications, then it is probably also not drinkable, and you have a much larger problem to deal with.

    In our former home, we had a very damp basement and had to run a dehumidifier continuously during warm weather. I viewed the dehumidifier as a poor-man's distillation unit and used filtered water from it to rinse negatives. All other chemical processes used ordinary tap water. Since our town water supply was pretty hard, we had a water softener.

    When we built our new home a few years ago, we made a decision to again have a water softener and to add a reverse osmosis drinking water filtration system. I use softened tap water for the vast majority of photographic applications, but I do use water from the RO system to dilute PhotoFlo for the final rinse step with negatives. The basement is dry so we don't have a dehumidifier.

    I keep a jug of distilled water for use in mixing chemicals for alternative processes (Pt/Pd, etc), but the total volume of that water that I use during the course of a year is so small that its far cheaper to just buy a gallon at the supermarket.
     
  13. RobertP

    RobertP Member

    Messages:
    1,130
    Joined:
    May 11, 2006
    Shooter:
    ULarge Format
    I installed a RO system for the darkroom. It is a Kinetico GX deluxe. The ppm meter tests the same as distilled water and that's 0 ppm. I use it for everything except when mixing metal salts and then I use distilled. I have city water that tests at about 200 ppm so the water is pretty good to start with. The reason I use distilled for the metal salts is I've heard that even with a RO system it can leave minute amounts of chlorine in the water. I have a faucet mounted right to the darkroom sink and it saves a lot of time, money, and energy from lugging jugs of distilled. I shoot and print ULF so I go through a lot of water. It has a 20 gal holding tank and recovery is a gal/hr. I could probably use it just as well for mixing palladium but I haven't risked doing it considering the price of pd. But just a few hundred ml of distilled is not a lot to keep on hand.
     
  14. Sponsored Ad
  15. RobertP

    RobertP Member

    Messages:
    1,130
    Joined:
    May 11, 2006
    Shooter:
    ULarge Format
    When buying distilled water you will want to make sure you read the label. Some are RO distilled instead of heat distilled.
     
  16. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

    Messages:
    4,679
    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2004
    Location:
    Italia
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I only use distilled water for final rinse of film and stock colour solutions that get kept. Anything one shot I don't bother.
     
  17. GeorgesGiralt

    GeorgesGiralt Member

    Messages:
    527
    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2004
    Location:
    Toulouse, Fr
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    Hello !
    When I was young I was told to do B&W lab work at a camera club.
    The old timer's prepared the D76 stock solution for us rockies to use. They had a big kettle into which they boiled municipal water in order to remove calcium salts by deposition, and coagulate all the living parts the water has gathered in all the pipes from the plant to the club tap. This way, the stock solution keep for month and nothing was wasted.
    On the other hand, the WHO specifies what is a drinkable water. IMHO, if it is fine to be drunk by a baby, it will be fine for the chemicals.....So save our planet, conserve energy as much as you can !
    Today I only boil water for the 5 liters pack of Xtol for wich I need more than a year storage life. All other stuff is mixed with my plain tap municipal water.
    Hope this helps
     
  18. RobertP

    RobertP Member

    Messages:
    1,130
    Joined:
    May 11, 2006
    Shooter:
    ULarge Format
    You can also run multiple faucets from the Kinetico. I have one upstairs on the kitchen sink for drinking water and another line run to the ice maker. I also installed a small sink in the garage with another faucet for mixing wet plate chemicals such as potassium cyanide. These are chemicals I want to use separate from the living quarters just as a safety precaution. This is convenient as I have an explosion proof fridge out there where I store collodion and ether also.
     
  19. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

    Messages:
    25,102
    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2005
    Location:
    Rochester, N
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Water filtered through one of the units with carbon and resin do a fine job as long as you keep the cartridge fresh as indicated in the instructions.

    But if your water is not too hard, DW or filtered water are not needed. I have moderate water here and don't use DW to mix B&W or color, but I do have a plain particle filter.

    PE
     
  20. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

    Messages:
    17,523
    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2004
    Location:
    West Midland
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Like Ron (PE) suggests I use a small domestic water filter system, this de-ionises and filters the water. This is perfectly sufficient and far more economic than using de-ionised water.

    Ian
     
  21. percepts

    percepts Member

    Messages:
    263
    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2005
    Location:
    Sceptred Isl
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    There always seem to be an assumption with threads on "distilled water" that distilled water is pure. It isn't. Distilling won't remove many of the disolved materials since they get carried up with the steam.

    Deionised is usually better unless you have distilled water which has been distilled several times which makes it expensive.

    go here and fit one of these to your inlet system and have high quality water on tap at any time.

    They are cheap and easy to fit and will give you consistent water quality which is plenty good enough for photographic work.
     
  22. Lowell Huff

    Lowell Huff Inactive

    Messages:
    170
    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2003
    Location:
    Los Angeles,
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Contact your local water supplier for a "Mineral and Flaura Quality Report". Iron in the water is the bad guy for photo chemistry.
     
  23. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

    Messages:
    25,102
    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2005
    Location:
    Rochester, N
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Our local hardware supplier has those, which are similar to the ones Ian and I are talking about. They are just larger than the spigot or decanter sized systems.

    I bought an el cheapo system and buy the plain filter cartridges to remove the particulate matter, but the heavy duty carbon+resin filters will supply you with DI water.

    Distilled water can carry the chlorine and volatile organics over during distillation, and they are sometimes contaminated with Iron or its salts from a corroding distiller. This happens with poor maintenance.

    PE
     
  24. Snapshot

    Snapshot Member

    Messages:
    914
    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2007
    Location:
    Toronto, Ont
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I've been using tap water for most of my work but I have used filtered water. When I compared my results for my negatives and prints, there was no discernible difference to my eye.
     
  25. percepts

    percepts Member

    Messages:
    263
    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2005
    Location:
    Sceptred Isl
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    the problem with tap water is that it may or may not be consistent in quality from day to day or month to month. Generally its fine but if you are mixing developer stock I would use water of known quality and always use filtered water for final rinse of negatives to negate the possibilty of drying marks caused by sediments.
    One the deionising units as I gave the link to, whilst not stictly necessary for most people, it does remove the possiblity of inconsistent water supply quality which is certainly a concern for some people.
     
  26. gphoto120

    gphoto120 Subscriber

    Messages:
    202
    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2005
    Location:
    Louisville,
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    PE,
    What levels are considered too hard for mixing chemicals ? Our local water has a ph of 8.2, and a calcium content of 145 mg/l. I was planning on just using a Brita filter. However, I do have an RO unit left over from my aquarium hobby but hate to use it as it has a 3 to 1 rejection rate.
    gphoto120