While the vast majority will welcome a cold, dry winter with open arms, those suffering from asthma or allergies might not feel so lucky. For some, this means lugging humidifiers around and paying exorbitant prices for distilled water. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Today, making distilled water is easy, quick, and inexpensive. You don’t need to be in a chemistry lab or possess fancy equipment; you can do it right in your kitchen using everyday household items. Here’s how to make distilled water for a humidifier.
Place a glass bowl inside a pot filled halfway with water ensuring it floats. Heat the pot over medium-high heat until it starts to boil. Cover the pot with a glass lid in an upside-down position as soon as the water starts producing steam. Put ice cubes on the glass lid. Steam will rise, condense and collect into the bowl below.
In today’s post, I’ll delve into three ways to make distilled water for a humidifier. I’ll also explain what distilled water is, why it’s vital in humidifiers, and how it differs from boiled water.
Ready? Let’s get started!
What is Distilled Water?
Distilled water is essentially water that has undergone an intensive boiling process to remove any minerals and impurities. It is then condensed into a liquid state in a separate container, leaving it clean and pure.
I’ve heard some people use the terms distilled water and purified water interchangeably, but there is a subtle difference between the two. Although both have had contaminants and impurities removed, purified water still contains trace amounts of minerals like calcium and magnesium, whereas distilled water does not.
But hold on! Aren’t minerals essential for our bodies? Yes, they are. That’s why distilled water isn’t recommended for drinking or cooking because these trace minerals benefit your health. Plus the taste? Bland, flat, and unpalatable.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t reap the benefits of distilled water in other ways. In fact, distilled water is ideal for humidifiers, steam irons, and coffee machines. The fact that it’s free of minerals and impurities means it leaves no calcium deposits when used in these items.
Why is Distilled Water Necessary for Humidifiers?
Distilled water is devoid of minerals and other impurities that inhibit a humidifier’s ability to moisturize the air. It also lacks bacteria and fungi spores, typical in tap water.
Remember, humidifiers are delicate tools that, if not handled properly, can break or malfunction. I usually associate them with my car’s engine, which runs smoother on premium gasoline than on regular. Similarly, humidifiers operate more efficiently when using distilled water.
Regular tap water contains minerals like calcium, magnesium and other impurities. These substances react with the humidifier’s filter and other parts, accumulating deposits that clog and impede airflow, making it difficult for your unit to function optimally. In extreme cases, they may corrode metal components and completely ruin your machine.
I’m sure you’ve also heard of respiratory problems like asthma and bronchitis exacerbated by high levels of mineral content in the air. Again, tap water is the root of the problem. However, with distilled water, these problems don’t exist. You get to enjoy all the benefits of clean and pure indoor air without the side effects.
Is Boiled Water the Same as Distilled Water?
Boiling water is a popular method for making distilled water but does not result in distillation. Although it kills microorganisms such as bacteria and viruses, it does not remove minerals from the water.
To understand the difference between these two processes, let’s go back to the basics.
For starters, what is distillation?
Distillation involves boiling water and collecting the steam in a separate container. When the vapour cools, it turns back into a liquid. The impurities are left behind since they have lower boiling points than pure water. Once the vapour condenses, all that remains is pure H2O.
In contrast, boiling is turning water into vapour through heat. As previously stated, this removes impurities but leaves some minerals behind. Water has a boiling point of 212 degrees Fahrenheit (100 ° C), which ensures microorganisms’ removal. However, when boiled water cools, it becomes just old tap water.
As a result, boiling water does little to extract minerals, which is why distilled water is recommended for humidifiers.
How to Make Distilled Water for a Humidifier
Making distilled water at home is not as difficult as it sounds. I know what you’re thinking: I don’t have the necessary skill set or equipment. Trust me, all you need are a few simple household items and some patience.
Here are three of my favourite methods:
1. The Glass Bowl/Floating Bowl Method
The method requires little more than an empty glass bowl, ice cubes, an aluminium pot with a glass lid, tap water and a heat source.
- Pick your aluminium pot and fill about half full with tap water.
- Place the glass bowl inside the pot, ensuring it does not touch the bottom or walls. If you have trouble floating the bowl, I suggest using a rack to hold the bowl above the boiling water.
Simply remove the glass bowl from the pot, set a rack on the bottom (I usually use one from a cookie sheet), and then place the glass bowl back into the pot.
- Put the pot on the stove over medium-high heat and bring the water to a boil. As soon as steam starts rising, cover the pot with the glass lid upside-down.
You might be wondering, why an upside-down lid? Well, you want the glass lid to cave inward so that the condensed water vapour collects on the inside wall of the glass rather than drip back into the pot.
- Put some ice cubes on top of the inverted glass lid. The ice cubes will enhance the condensation process creating a hot/cold barrier.
- As the water boils, steam will rise to hit the underside of the cold inverted glass lid. Slowly, water droplets will collect on the surface of the glass lid, dripping into the glass bowl below. Continue this process until you’ve collected enough distilled water for your humidifier.
- Once you’ve collected enough, remove the pot from the stove and take off the lid. If preferred, let the water cool, then remove the bowl from the pot.
And there you have it, distilled water for your humidifier.
2. Glass Bottle Method
Unlike the first method, this one requires some equipment that you may not have on hand. I’m referring to a curved-necked bottle to prevent distilled water from dripping back into the other bottle.
Other items you’ll need include an aluminium pot, ice cubes, duct tape and another necked glass bottle.
- Fill the straight-necked glass bottle about 5 inches from the top with tap water. You want to ensure the water won’t spill when you tilt the bottle later.
- Attach the curved-necked bottle to the mouth of the straight-necked bottle. Secure the bottles tightly together with duct tape to prevent any leaks.
- Fill your aluminium pot about 3/4 full with tap water or just enough to cover the straight-necked bottle.
- Carefully place your makeshift double-bottle system into the aluminium pot with the straight-necked bottle inside while the curved-necked bottle remains outside.
Tilt the bottles at a 30-degree angle so that the curve-necked bottle leans towards the pot’s rim. This will allow the distilled water to trickle into the curved-necked bottle easily.
- Place ice cubes on top of the rounded part of the angled-necked bottle to enhance the condensation process.
- Turn on the stove to bring the water to a boil. Once the water starts boiling, steam will rise through the straight-necked bottle and condense, dripping into the curved-necked bottle. Allow this process to continue until you’ve collected enough distilled water for your humidifier.
3. Rainwater Method
It is the least of my favourite methods. Rainfall can easily become contaminated by dust particles, pathogens and other impurities. Worse, these are elements you have no control over. But if collected in the right way and later distilled, rainwater will work just fine.
- Set a large container outside to collect rainfall. I recommend placing it on a raised surface, such as a table or stand, to prevent dirt, leaves, or bugs from falling into the water.
- Leave the collected water outside for 48 hours to allow the sediments to settle.
- Boil it to kill microorganisms. However, you don’t have to collect condensed water vapour as we did in the first and second methods. This is because rainwater is water that has evaporated, condensed, and collected through precipitation. So, by boiling it, you’re merely killing microorganisms collected from the atmosphere.
Benefits of Making Your Distilled Water
Although humidifiers perform extra when it comes to ensuring that you get quality air circulation, they are delegate devices. Poor maintenance or care of the device can lead to a major issue, and it can cost you a fortune.
One is sure of the quality
When you buy distilled water from local vendors, the only assurance that the water is distilled is trusting the vendor. However, in case the water you get is not distilled, your device could be at great risk.
No mineral deposits
When you refill the tanks with mineral water, you could create deposits in your humidifier. This, in return, will promote bacterial growth inside the humidifier.
No dust on house surfaces
In return, this will affect the type of air you breathe as the moisture released by the humidifier will be contaminated. The minerals, when released in the air, often appear as white dust, and they can be seen resting on your furniture.
Few respiratory problems
However, when the humidifier realizes the white dust particles in the air, you may not see them with your naked eyes. Therefore, this may expose you to respiratory disorder in case you breathe in the particles without your knowledge.
Additionally, if you have other conditions as allergens or asthma, breathing air with minerals from a humidifier could accelerate your condition.
However, when you distill your water at home, gauge its quality becomes easy for you. It ensures that you minimize all the chances of mineral passing through the humidifier and expose you to unimaginable risks.
Faqs On How to Make Distilled Water for a Humidifier
1. Do you have to use distilled water in a humidifier?
No, you don’t necessarily have to use distilled water in your humidifier. However, it is your best and safest option because it contains no impurities or minerals, eliminating the possibility of calcium deposits inside your humidifier. Furthermore, it inhibits bacteria and mould growth, leading to foul odours or illness.
2. Can I use filtered water instead of distilled water in my humidifier?
While you technically can use filtered water in your humidifier, it’s not recommended. That’s because filtered water still contains minerals and other impurities that can accumulate in your humidifier over time. Plus, filtration is ineffective at removing microscopic organisms such as bacteria and viruses.
3. Can I use bottled water for the humidifier?
Bottled water may contain dissolved minerals and other impurities that can clog your humidifier. As a result, it’s not recommended for use in humidifiers.
4. What can I substitute for distilled water?
While distilled water is the best option for your humidifier, you can also try the following alternatives:
- Demineralized water: Water that has undergone an ion-exchange process.
- Reverse osmosis treated water: Tap water passes through a membrane under pressure, trapping minerals on one side and allowing clean water to pass through on the other.
5. How long does it take to distil water?
The time it takes to distil water depends on the quantity of water and the equipment used. On average, 1 gallon of distilled water takes about 5-6 hours to produce using improvised equipment. However, a large capacity industrial distiller can drastically reduce this time.
6. Can bacteria grow in distilled water?
Yes, bacteria can grow in distilled water, but not as fast as in tap water. Tap water has more organic matter than distilled water and is more likely to provide the nutrients necessary for bacteria growth.
Making distilled water is easy and requires only a few items that you most likely have at home. As mentioned, there are three methods of making distilled water.
The first involves a glass bowl floating in a pot of boiling water. The second method utilizes two necked bottles, one curved and one straight, joined by their necks. The third method takes advantage of Mother Nature’s distiller-the clouds.
With a few simple items and patience, you can have distilled water for your humidifier at home anytime at a fraction of the cost.