Sean: the muck you are getting is deposits of the magnesium and calcium salts and other nastys dissolved in the tap water. Because they are dissolved, filtration will not remove them. Heating the water to boiling will cause most of the salts to precipitate which is why you always have the muck in the distiller(s). The only way to insure removal is by ion exchange. I used this technique in my r&d work with success. It is somewhat expensive but available in most places of the world. You should have a means of dropping and regulating the pressure to aid in flow control. I had two columns in series, one rough and the second fine. Water came out 90 megOhms by conductivity measure, which is pretty good. The columns I used were of transparent plastic which allowed visual tracking as the exchange resin was used.Originally Posted by Sean
Or you could just boil the water in a kettle first and decant it into your still. OBTW, I did filter the incoming water but this was probably unnecessary given the efficiency of the ion exchange process.
One caveat: there is or was a company selling a device claimed to remove hardness by wrapping a coil if wire around the incoming pipe and hooking it to their "secret square wave" generator. Fraud! I don't know how they do get by with these things.