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  1. #1

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    Counter Top Distilled Water?

    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. #2

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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. So I just buy distilled water on sale at a dollar a gallon.

  3. #3

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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. #4
    Martin Aislabie's Avatar
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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. #5

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

  6. #6
    cinejerk's Avatar
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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. #7
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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. #8
    Ian Grant's Avatar
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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

    Ian

  9. #9
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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. #10
    Anscojohn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dancqu View Post
    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
    *******
    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.
    John, Mount Vernon, Virginia USA

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