The Water Distillation Process: How Does It Work?

A water distillation system is designed to purify water cheaply, quickly and effectively. To distill water, all you really need is a heat source and a condenser. Since water has a lower boiling point than contaminants and minerals like salt, bacteria, heavy metals, calcium and phosphorus, when you boil untreated water, the water turns into vapor and leaves everything else behind. The heat should not be much higher than the minimum temperature required to boil the water throughout the process because a higher temperature may cause undesirable elements in the water to also vaporize. The water vapor is routed through the condensing coil where reverts back to liquid form while the undesirable elements stay in the boiling tank.

Have You Ever Distilled Water?

You’ve probably distilled water in your own kitchen without even realizing it at some point or another. For example, if you have ever accidentally left a pot of water boiling on the stove long enough that all the water has evaporated, and there are water droplets on the fan over the stove, you’ve distilled water. In nature, the basic distillation process occurs all the time; water evaporates from oceans, lakes and streams and re-condenses to become rain or dew.

Brief History of Modern Water Distillation

The water distillation process has been used by humans since at least 200 CE. Throughout history, the water distillation process was commonly used to distill seawater into freshwater; when the water was heated, it would evaporate and leave the salt behind. However, distilling seawater took a lot of time and money, and it didn’t become efficient and cheap until the Kleinschmidt Still was invented during World War II. Today, seawater is distilled into freshwater through the use of flash-type evaporators.

Using Water Distillers

The most common water distillers used in households today are small enough to be placed on a counter or in the corner of the kitchen. The most common type is a batch distiller where you have to manually pour water into it. The other kind of household distiller is a plumbed distiller that is hooked up directly to the water supply and automatically fills the water distiller.