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Great place, still in the city but near some woods, quiet, peaceful, close to perfect. As they say, "There always that one thing..." that keeps something from being that much closer to perfect. To quote another well-used adage, quite appropriately I say: "Don't drink the water." Pleasant and as beautiful as my new home is, the water stinks - literally. WHY A DISTILLER? I called upon one of my grade school science experiments. I learned that by boiling water in perfect conditions, all chemicals, bugs, solids and other nasties were left behind (SEE PICTURE 5) as the water turned to steam gas. By condensing the steam, you will get virtually the cleanest water on the planet: distilled water. COAL WASTE - AMONG OTHER POLLUTION With the Midwest ranking among the heaviest water-borne polluters in the western hemisphere (primarily from coal waste), this comes as no surprise. The water coming from my faucet smells like rotten fish. After several weeks the smell had infested most of my dishes, and it completely ruined the new charcoal-based water filter I had bought for my home - a ZeroWater system from Zero Technologies -which AC writer LadyLioness recommends as Healthy Living Tip #1. DISTILLER DESIGN
After giving it some thought, I had designed a steam distiller in my head. Here's how I thought it would work. * I would use my old pressure cooker to boil water into steam. * The steam, liberated of its nasty chemicals, would travel through a tube to a small radiator over which a small electric fan was blowing. * The fan would cool the radiator off and the steam inside would condense into pure water, which would then drain out of the radiator into a dish. During the heating process any chemicals in the water that would readily turn to a gas (such as chlorine) and vent off through the radiator exit pipe. The water left in the dish would be pure distilled water. Or so I hoped. Turned out I was right. HOW WELL DID MY DISTILLER WORK? After assembling and using my distiller, I pulled out my electronic water tester (SEE PICTURE 3) which indicates in the parts-per-million (PPM) the amount of solid contents (crap, poison, bugs, etc.) residing in your drinking water. I tested the water coming out of my kitchen tap. My tester indicated my tap water almost qualified as "hard water" - really nasty stuff. Then I tested the water coming out of my brand spankin' new faucet filter. Here are the results: Before Distillation: 221 After Distillation: 12 !!!!!!! My home-made water distiller reduced the solid contaminants content of my tap water by 95%! COST? Assuming you already have a small electric fan for the office or desk and a mixing bowl for general cooking, here is my estimate of parts: $20 - pressure cooker $5 - brass fitting, washers, nut and Teflon tape
$7 - 10 feet of tubing $70 - small transmission oil radiator $102 - TOTAL This is a far cry from the $200 to $2000 dollars you would otherwise spend on a retailer. Some of the assembly materials you may already have in your garage or kitchen. And... when you get done making your distiller, you will have pride in a creation made from your own hands. EFFICIENT WATER RECAPTURE? YES! I don't know how much water gets recaptured by a commercial water distiller. I measured 4 liters of water I started with on my distiller. After processing, I measured almost exactly 4 liters again. Perhaps I lost perhaps only 1-2% of the original volume. PRO & CONS? * PRO: A home water distiller costs little to manufacture, requires little maintenance. * PRO: A home water distiller like mine requires no filters. Many of the other guys' machines still force you to buy charcoal filters. This on-going expense was part of the original "turn-off" to me. I didn't want to keep buying into the continuous vicious consumer cycle. * PRO: A home water distiller like mine takes much less time to process water than a small electric distiller. It distiller chugs through about a gallon of water in about 1 hour, versus the 5 or so hours that the other guys do. * CON: A home water distiller takes up a larger space in my kitchen than a conventionally bought water distiller. * CON: A home-made water distiller requires continuous attendance for safety reasons. I suppose I could design a mechanism that detects when the water in the pressure cooker is gone, but this would drive up costs. * CON? - Not sure how much expensive this home water distiller is to operate. This depends on whether one would be using gas or electricity to provide heat. GATHER THE PARTS
I gathered my tools and parts about me, and began to putting the components of my stove-top home water distiller together. What I gathered were: * A roll of Teflon tape * An old pressure cooker with a good rubber washer * 1/4" clear plastic high-heat tubing (preferably food grade). NOTE: The kind of tube I used was a high-pressure / high-heat braided plastic tubing like the kind used in soda machine dispensers. CAUTION: DO NOT use rubber hose. This kind of hose may burst or melt under pressure, and have been known to "sweat" thus producing toxic chemicals which may contaminate your water. * 1/4" jag end brass fitting * Two matching washers and a nut that match the fitting's threads * A large dish or water tray * TOOLS: Wrenches and/or channel-lock pliers, and an electric drill, and some drill bits (I used a stepped drill bit for fast large-hole drilling). * OPTIONAL BUT HELPFUL: Small hand pump, such as the disposable kind used to pump transmission oil into transmission cases OR a small electric water fountain pump. * A brand-new automotive transmission oil cooler (). NOTE: I bought an automotive add-on radiator made by Hayden, Inc. This was a RapidCool Model #679. This little finned beauty of a radiator (SEE the black thing in PICTURES 1 and 2) is perfectly sized for re-condensing steam heated by my electric stove-top burner. If you cook with gas, you'll probably want to go with a larger radiator. Perhaps even a small car water radiator. Also, be sure to buy a new radiator from the store. Don't use a used one - takes too long to clean out all the nasty oil and other contaminants. PREP WORK Because your transmission oil radiator was made in an industrial kind of place, it will most likely have some oil inside. My Hayden radiator did. This oil tastes pretty badly, and may lend a bad smell to your first few batches of purified water.
To reduce this oil content, I suggest you first wash out the oil radiator before using it for water distillation. Washing is best done using the small hand pump or electric pump mentioned above. To do this: * Affix a length of the plastic tube to the radiator inlet pipe. * At the other end of the tube plug in the small water pump mentioned above. * Immerse the pump into a large mixing bowl or tub filled with clean warm soapy water. * Affix another length of tubing to the outlet end of the radiator and route it back into the mixing bowl or tub. * Turn on the pump and let it run for an hour or so. * Disconnect everything and rinse out with tap water. * Then, swap out the tubes from each outlet pipe and run a fresh batch of soapy water the other way through the radiator for another hour. NOTE: If you don't have an electric pump, then the hand pump I mentioned in the parts list above will do. If you don't have a hand pump, then run the soapy water through the radiator by attaching a funnel to the inlet end of the tube and running it that way. Run it through manytimes - perhaps for an hour. The time spent doing this will be worth it. Basically you are flushing soapy water through your radiator to dissolve any trace oil left over from manufacturing. * When finished, flush out with regular tap water. If done correctly all or most trace oils should be removed. There is a chance some soap may left behind, but this is better than industrial oil. The soapy taste and smell will soon be gone after your home water distiller has been through its first few cycles. ASSEMBLE THE WATER DISTILLER Having prepped and gathered everything, I got busy putting everything together. Steps for assembly: * Block off the steam release valve in the steam cooker. I used a splinter of wood. NOTE: If your steam cooker has an over-heat safety plug (usually a rivet-sized plug made of a light metal suspended in a hi-heat rubber grommet located in the cooker cap),
leave this in. This puppy usually pops up when steam pressure develops, and it seals off the cooker from pressure loss. If your steam cooker over-pressurizes for any reason, it is designed to pop out completely to relieve pressure from within. * Drill a hole in the top center of the steam cooker (using a stepped drill bit can make this step go quickly). The hole you drill must be barely big enough for the brass fitting threads to fit through. * Insert a washer over the threads of the brass fitting. * Insert the fitting and washer from the outside end of the cooker cover through the hole you just drilled. Make sure the jag end is facing outward (upward) from the top of the pressure cooker lid. * Holding the brass fitting firmly in place with your hand, turn the cooker lid over and place it onto a large flat surface so that the threads of the brass fitting stays firmly in place within the hole you drilled. The threads should be protruding beyond the hole with enough thread-length for you to apply the other washer and the nut. the inside of the * Apply a long length of Teflon tape to the threads exposed on the inside of the cooker cover. NOTE: Make sure you wrap a wad of the tape around the thread at least 1/16" thick (or thicker) around the brass fitting threads. This will provide a seal so steam will not escape from around the fitting. * Place another washer onto the brass fitting threads. * Place the nut onto the threads and tighten it down first by hand, and then by wrench or pliers. Result is shown on PICTURE 3. NOTE: If done right, the Teflon tape will squash around into the edges of the hole you drilled, thus creating a seal so no steam will escape. * Suspend you radiator in a conveniently elevated position above your workspace (such as a kitchen countertop). NOTE: See in PICTURE 2 how I used zip ties to suspend my radiator over my kitchen counter. Make sure that the radiator is oriented so that the radiator inlet pipe is above the outlet pipe. * Position a small electric fan directly in front of the radiator grill. When turned on, this fan must blow air continuously and directly through the radiator grill.
* Making sure the rubber seal is properly in place, secure the cooker lid onto the cooker. If in doubt, check with the pressure cooker's instructions. * Place the cooker onto the stove burner you are going to be regularly using for the distillation process. CAUTION: Whoa, Bucko! DO NOT turn on the gas or electric heat yet! * Attach one end of the plastic tube to the brass jag protruding from the top of the cooker. Preferably there should be no difficulty getting the tube onto the barbed jag, and little to moderate trouble removing it. If the connection seems loose, then secure it with a hose clamp. * Cut the other end of this tube leaving sufficient length to reach from the cooker jag to the top radiator inlet pipe. NOTE: if there is going to be a distance of, say, three feet or more between the cooker and the radiator, you may wish to consider using hooks or other means of suspension to secure the tube. When steam starts chugging through the tube, it may soften and sag, which may move your radiator into a bad position, or tug at your pressure cooker. * Connect the end you just cut to the radiator top inlet pipe. If necessary, secure this connection with a hose clamp. CAUTION: Make sure the steam inlet tube connects to the TOP inlet pipe of the radiator. Otherwise, the radiator will not function correctly. Routing the pipe to the bottom of the radiator grill may cause a hazardous situation during operation. NOTE: The basic idea is to have the steam enter into the top of the grill, condense as it travels downward through the grill, and have it be fully condensed as it hits the bottom of the grill. This condensed water will then exit the bottom of the grill through the outlet pipe. * Connect a short length of plastic tubing to the bottom (exit) pipe of the radiator. If necessary, secure this connection with a hose clamp. * Route this exit tubing to a large collector tray or mixing bowl which will be used to catch the freshly distilled water. USING THE DISTILLER CAUTION: Be sure to read and understand these directions before firing up, or Mamma's gonna spank you! OK, get ready to fire up!
* Disconnect the plastic tube from the top jag fitting of the pressure cooker. * Wash the pressure cooker pan and lid thoroughly. * Fill your pressure cooker pan with hot water from the tap until it's about 1" inch from the bottom (almost empty). * Place the lid onto the cooker. Lift up the pan with the lid attached and make a mental note of how heavy the pan is now with this little bit of water and the top in place. Note and remember how it feels with this little bit of water swishing around. Next... * Remove the lid and proceed to fill up the cooker. Leave 1-1/2 to 2" from the top of the pan. Some cookers have a "fill line". Do not exceed this line. NOTE: The reason for starting with hot water is because your hot water heater has done some of your work for you: it killed off some bugs in advance - if there are any in your water. * Making sure the rubber seal is properly in place, resecure the lid to the cooker. When in doubt, check with the pressure cooker's instructions. * Fire up your gas or electric stove. * Put the cooker onto the heat. * Get a small thick dishrag or hand towel and wet it down with cold water. Wring it out. Keep it handy. * Wait until the water within the cooker starts boiling. You will know this when steam starts coming out the hole in the brass fitting at the top of the cooker. CAUTION: Keep yourself and others at a safe distance in case any hot water spatters through the brass fitting. If water does spatter, throw the wet dishrag / towel over the hole in the cooker and turn off the heat. After everything settles down, remove the rag and start up the heat again, but this time at a much lower setting. If all goes well from here, then proceed... * Turn down the heat until you see some steam. A healthy amount of steam, but not as much as when you had the heat turned up all the way. Make a mental note of how much steam is now exiting. * Connect the plastic tube to the top jag of the brass fitting. The next step is important. It involves checking to see that everything is working okay.
* Observe: In a few moments steam should be going through the plastic pipe and traveling into the top (not bottom!) inlet pipe of the radiator. Usually you will see steam condensing inside the tubes. This is normal. Within a minute or less you should see steam freely exiting from the bottom outlet tube attached to radiator outlet pipe. The key words here are freely exiting. Make sure about the same amount of steam is freely exiting from the outlet pipe as when you made your mental note. If you see this much steam exiting from the outlet pipe, then... Congratulations! Your system appears to have no blockages, and you may proceed. Now... CAUTION: If there is no steam flowing freely from the outlet pipe, then there is a blockage of some kind. Immediately turn off the heat and disconnect the tube from the top of the cooker. Be careful not to get burned by steam. Allow the system to cool, disconnect all tubes, check for and clear any blockages. Reassemble the system and start over. If trouble persists, change out all parts and start over again. If all is going well at this point, then... * Make sure the electric fan is positioned so that it will blow directly through the radiator's fins. Be careful, the tubing and radiator are very hot! * Turn the fan on to high setting. NOTE: Almost immediately you will see all or most of the steam stop coming out of the outlet pipe. This is normal. This means your radiator is doing its job. After a few moments, in the place of the steam you will see a trickle of water. Congratulations! That trickle of water is your freshly purified water! DISTILL YOUR WATER! * Proceed with the distillation, checking the weight of the pressure cooker by feel. * When the cooker feels about the same weight of when you made a mental note of it earlier (when it had about only 1" of water in it), then shut off the heat. * Allow the system to cool a few minutes. * Disconnect the plastic tube from the top of the cooker.
* Remove the lid from the top of the cooker. * Swish the water carefully around in the pan and then pour it out of the pan down the drain. NOTE: You will see that the water looks cloudy and/or that some rimey chalk-like yucch has accumulated on the ides of your cooker pan. This is proof that your home water distiller is working properly. This yucch is all that crap you would otherwise be drinking. ADJUSTING FOR PERFORMANCE If you are like me, you like to make the fuel for your car and hot-rod it with hydrogen power. The whole idea is to make your creation run well, efficiently. This same logic applies to your home water distiller. Pretty much the only performance detail to really watch for is the temperature of that trickle of water when it comes out of your little radiator. You want it to be at room temp or perhaps just slightly on the warm side. Let the water trickle run over your fingers. If your output water is cool, then your radiator (with the help of the fan) is doing a great job converting the input steam into purified water. The other good news: you can turn up the heat and produce more water faster. If the output trickle is indeed cool to the touch, then turn up the heat. A few moments after doing so, you will notice the trickle comes out faster. This is great. By all means you will get through your purification cycle faster. Keep turning up the heat until the output water becomes tepid. This means your radiator output efficiency had reached its limit. Don't keep turning up the heat from here. If you do, your radiator will start losing some of that steam, and it will be lost to the atmosphere. TIPS FOR USE * Keep an eye on output water temperature: Use the steps above to monitor this. You will find that your radiator's efficiency will fluctuate, and rightly so. If the ambient air in the room you are cooking in is high, the radiator will not work so well. Likewise, if you open the windows during winter and allow the fan to blow this cold air over the radiator, it will convert steam to water in an instant. * Water Tester: Use a water tester like the kind I have described above. Test your output water upon completion of each batch to make sure your distillery system is working
properly. My input water bears 221 PPM, and my distiller puts out clean water with only around 12 PPM. * Use gravity: When using your distiller, tip the oil radiator slightly toward the bottom outlet side so that the water condensation will flow out of the radiator quickly. * Reduce Evaporation: Keep the collector bowl or tray away from the fan to reduce evaporation of your freshly distilled water. * Protect your Heat Source: Keep the fan from blowing air over or near your burner or electric element you use to heat your water. By doing this, you protect the efficiency of your heat source. * Storing Purified Water: When storing your purified water while leaving the cap or cover partially off, try not to allow too much exposure - lest dust, lint and microbes may enter the water. Too much exposure will allow your stored water to evaporate. * Noticeable odors or flavor: I have found that odors and flavor generally come from two sources: 1) the water itself and/or 2) the radiator. Try both methods below to address these. Method 1: Try "fluffing" or aerating your freshly distilled water. Despite being well purified, some water may still have odors or flavor left-over in the form of suspended gases. These gases may not necessarily show up as contaminants on your water tester. You can sometimes dissipate these left-overs by splashing the water around in its container or pouring it from one container to another. The idea is to expose the water to the air and provide a chance for extraneous gases to evaporate. If the odor or flavor persists, be patient and give your water a few hours until the problem clears out.I find that storing the water in a clean room in a container with a partially-open cover for one entire day lets most odors escape. Detailed Instructions Using Common Home and Hardware Supplies Method 2: Despite doing a great job cleaning our your radiator, there is a chance that odors from leftover manufacturing oil - or even the soap used to clean out this oil - may produce bad taste or odors in your finished water. Do not despair! Try running your steam distiller without the fan for several hours (watch that water level!). I found that after about 10 hours of continuous use, the steam drove out any trace of the radiator's factory oil and the soap I used to clean it out. If the odor or flavor persists, be patient and run the system a few days until the problem clears out. SAFETY Not to say using this apparatus is particularly dangerous, a home water distiller is an unconventional piece of machinery.
While I believe it's basically no more dangerous to use that a regular cook-pot, it's still a good idea to use caution when using your home water distiller. With safety in mind, observe some common rules: * Know where your fire extinguisher is. All households should have at least one. If you don't have one, get one or two. * Keep kids and critters away while distilling. Those parts are hot! * Never leave your water distiller unattended while the heat is running * Check the amount of boiling water in the cooker frequently. CAUTION: Never run the cooker until its dry. Always leave some water in there when stopping the distiller or changing out to a process a fresh batch of water. * Hot parts! Be careful touching this stuff. The only thing a that should not be hot is the condensed water coming out of your distiller. * Assemble and use this equipment at your own risk. MAINTENANCE You will find after some use, some maintenance will be necessary. * Replace the plastic tubing with fresh stock whenever it becomes cracked, damaged, corroded or "looks funny". * Decontaminate the entire system regularly. To do this, flush out your radiator with steam on occasion. This means letting the distiller run without the fan on. Shoot the output steam into your water collector while it's empty. This will kill all the bugs in your distiller system. * Every few distillation cycles, scrape out all that crappy residue (SEE left side of PICTURE 5) accumulating in your cooker pan. All that stuff is the poison the water company expected you to drink. ALTERNATIVE RADIATOR COOLING A friend mentioned that instead of using an electric fan, one can also run cool tap water over the radiator. Or cool stream water. These will work great also. Just make sure the steam in the radiator can condense and quickly exit. Otherwise, backpressure may develop, which means you will be working with a high pressure system: dangerous! Make sure the steam in the radiator can condense and quickly exit
AND NOW... LIVE IN GOOD HEALTH By drinking good clean water, you are encouraging your body to dump out toxins that may have accumulated for years in your body. You may notice your urine may become somewhat darker after drinking purified water. This may be evidence of this purifying effect distilled water has on your body! While other factors may play into effecting good health, drinking clean water is an essential start at helping yourself become healthier, and healthier faster. By making and using you own water distiller, you have empowered yourself, too! Self-empowerment to better health! Live well and... Have fun! - John To subscribe to these articles, email me by clicking here To read other cool articles:click here For RSS feed:http://www.associatedcontent.com/rss/user_76423.xml Legal stuff: Disclaimer & Safety Notice: Author does not warrant or assume any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, safety, completeness, or usefulness of any information, apparatus, product, or process disclosed or referred to. Information is provided for informational purposes only. Any actions or assumptions taken on the reader's part as a result of any information disclosed by Author are taken entirely at the reader's own risk. Author shall not be liable for any errors in the content, nor for any actions taken in reliance thereon. Furthermore, Author shall not be liable for any loss of profits, contracts, opportunities or any direct, indirect, consequential loss of any kind (including death and/or injury), business interruption or loss of property arising out of or in connection with the use of the information herein. News items, opinions, and/or statements posed by author may be unsubstantiated and should be considered also as such. Unless where expressly stated, Author claims no express or understood association with any person, entity, or third party mentioned. "Cibola International" is a service mark (SM) and trade mark (™ ®) belonging expressly to John Melendez with all rights reserved worldwide. © 2008 John Melendez - All rights reserved worldwide. Duplication in part or in full is prohibited. Violators will be prosecuted.
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