Distillation is a process of filtering and purifying water, resulting in pure, pH-balanced of h2o water. The process consists of:
- Boiling/evaporating the water,
- Collecting the water vapor,
- Cooling it to allow it to condense back into liquid, and then
- Collecting the liquid.
The boiling causes the pure water molecules to evaporate, leaving all impurities behind in the boiling pot. Impurities that distilling will remove include bacteria, viruses, heavy metals, salts, chemicals, and particulates. In short, it is a very effective method of creating safe water to drink.
How Can I Make Distillation At Home?
You can distill water at home On Stove, You’ll need:
- A stove
- A large pot (5+ gallons ideally) with a convex (curving out) lid.
- A smaller bowl that fits into the pot
How to make distilled water with a kettle by filling the pot about halfway with the water you’d like to distill. Place the pot on a stove element and turn it to a temperature that will slowly boil the water. Place your bowl in the center of the pot, so it’s floating on the water. Place the lid of the pot upside down so it curved inwards; place ice cubes on top of the lid.
The water will turn into steam and collect on the lid. Because the lid is cold, the steam will condense, and because the lid curves inward, it will run down to the lowest point and drip into your bowl. Keep the process going until your bowl fills or gets too close to the bottom of the pan that your collected water begins to boil.
Another adaption you can make is using glass bottles instead of a bowl to collect your water. In this instance, fill one bottle with the water you wish to distill. Connect the two bottles at the top, and place the bottle with water into the water-filled pot.
The water in the bottle will evaporate and flow into the other bottle. Place the second bottle in ice to cool the steam down and convert it into liquid. Ensure the second bottle is at an angle where the water will collect and not flow back into the first bottle.
Atmospheric Water Generators:
The Atmospheric Water Generator extracts humidity from the air and converts it into potable water. The process is similar to how a humidifier works, except that they also supply you with clean drinking water.
How Do You Distill Water In The Wild?
Using Bottles to Distill Water
If you have two bottles available to you and warm sunny weather, you can distill water. Fill on the bottle with the water you wish to distill, and then connect the two bottles at their openings. Place the bottle filled with water in the sun and the second bottle in a cooler space.
Over time, the water will evaporate from the first bottle and collect in the second. Again, make sure that the second bottle is angled to collect and doesn’t flow back into the first.
Use Solar to Distill Water
A solar still collects water from an area that contains moisture, such as soil or plants. A large plastic sheet collects evaporated moisture and channels it into a collection tub.
Use Distilled Rain Water
Mother Nature naturally distills water. When water evaporates from the earth, it leaves its impurities behind. It then condenses in the clouds and falls back to earth. Rainwater is perfectly distilled, and if you collect it, it can be used for drinking.
Have a large, clean container to collect rainwater. When the rain stops, cover the top and let it sit for 2 days to allow the minerals to settle. It can then be used for drinking.
Is Distilled Water Safe to Drink Everyday?
Distilled water is very safe in the short term, as it has had all of its impurities removed. It is water in its purest form. Over the long term, however, there are some concerns with it.
The problem is, it’s missing a lot of minerals found naturally in water sources, and it’s not clear the effect this will have on a person long term. So don’t rely on distilled water as your only water source unless you are also taking a mineral supplement as well.
Fundamentals of Water Filtration & Purification for Emergency Survival
Water filtration is when a contaminated water supply is prepared and made safe for human consumption. There are several methods of water filtration that can be used. Still, the main aim is to render the water fit for use by removing or killing bacteria, microbes, and other contaminants. The type of water filter that one can use depends mainly on the contaminants’ nature present in a particular water supply.
Purpose of Water Filtration
The main purpose of water filtration is to remove impurities from water. The designing of water filters is done so that they can facilitate cleaner water from existing sources reliably and as quickly as possible. These filters provide safer water, improving the taste, and removing bacteria that could otherwise cause infection or sickness if ingested.
Types of Water Filtration
As mentioned, there are several different forms of water filtration used. These include reverse osmosis, which condenses the water before forcing it through a semi-permeable membrane at high pressure. It then removes large particles such as bacteria. Besides, sand filters work similarly, though on a larger scale. They remove bacteria and large particle contaminants.
Another type is ultraviolet filters that bathe the water in radiation, thus killing bacteria. Activated carbon filtration reacts to the pollutants with carbon and removes them from the water, while distillation boils off the water, leaving pollutants behind.
Benefits of Water Filtration
Many benefits come from the water filtration process. Among these are the improvements to health. Research shows that filtering out chlorine from any drinking water reduces the risk of some cancers, such as colon and rectal cancer. Simultaneously, by removing bacteria and other microbes from the water, the risk of disease is significantly reduced.
This is particularly important for both children and the elderly, whose immune systems are not as strong, especially during emergencies. Water filters should be replaced regularly to prevent a buildup of microbes and other contaminants. If this is not done, pollutants will build up. Once they reach a critical level, they can easily overflow into the water supply, making it more contaminated than before filtering took place. This should be considered, especially during an extended period of a disaster.
Emergency Water Filtration Techniques
In any emergency water treatment, you should always filter water as a first step. If municipal water supplies falter or electrical power fails, you can turn to unusual sources. Serious illness can result from drinking water without filtering or treating available water from plumbing reservoirs, waterways, and swimming pools. In most cases, homemade filters or commercial filters do help to avoid these problems. There are different filters used, which are discussed below:
One of the real defenses against water-borne diseases is by boiling or chemically treating water. Filtration helps by removing many water contaminants. When the water is cloudy, it should be left to settle and then filtered through clean cloth layers. Some experts recommend boiling water for ten minutes. Besides, five to eight drops of chlorine bleach per gallon of water kill harmful viruses and bacteria, but crude filters only remove obvious debris in the water.
Ceramic water filters effectively remove harmful organisms, providing immediate drinkable water. They remove particles down to one micron in diameter. Not all filters in the market meet these standards. You should therefore check with the manufacturer to find out if additional steps may be needed. In emergencies, filters that depend on a pressurized water system to operate will not be of great help.
The Homemade water filters built in stages do filter water in large amounts, though not perfectly. These filter stages should run from coarse to fine, where first stages screen out large pieces of debris, and later stages remove finer particles from water. In the last stage, the water could look clean if there is a deep layer of activated charcoal. It should be disinfected with chemical treatments or boiling before drinking it. Homemade filters are not considered enough to guarantee potable water, though they can be used in a crisis.
Small backpacking water filters are a great idea for the home emergency kit, although their total output can go as low as 200 gallons per filter. They are combined with simple cloth filters to remove coarse debris, producing drinkable water from emergency sources such as water heaters or even from toilets’ reservoirs.
Emergencies indeed happen in the cities and a wilderness situation when clean water runs short. An emergency filter pit can be dug in the bank of a creek or even the shore of a lake in such situations. The ground itself is used as a primitive filter. Before filling a container, one should wait for the hole to fill and the water to clear. At this point, stage filters with found materials such as dry grass or clean sand can be rigged from spare clothing to serve the purpose
What Is The Difference Between Water Filtration And Purification?
When it comes to having water in an emergency, the best defense is a good offense (or is it vice versa? To be honest, the metaphor is pretty convoluted here). The best thing is to know how to purify stored water for emergency water supply before the stuff hits the fan. For more info on that, check out our article on emergency water supply per person.
Let’s say you are caught unprepared, or your initial supply has run out. What then? The answer, my friend, is to find a natural water source to filter and purify.
We do that by going out and finding a well, stream, river, lake, whatever. Start with the cleanest salt-free water available, and go with cold and running over warm and stagnant if possible.
But wait- you don’t want to drink it just yet! That water is likely contaminated with things that could make you really sick, and we need to remove those if we’re planning on drinking it.
What are the Dangers of Contaminated Water?
There are 2 types of possible contaminants we need to worry about: pathogens and pollutants.
The largest type of pathogen is protozoa (the largest of microorganisms), ranging from 1-16 microns (a micron is 1/1000 millimeters). Some of the protozoa we need to worry about are parasites such as Giardia Lamblia and cryptosporidium.
Bacteria are medium-sized pathogens, which range from 0.2-10 microns. Some of the bacteria we need to worry about are Ecoli, cholera, and salmonella.
Viruses are the smallest pathogens, ranging from 0.02-0.1 micros. Some of the viruses we need to worry about are Hepatitis A, Norwalk, and Polio.
Pollution is pretty straight forward- any human-made substance that is harmful to the human body. Chemicals, fuels, and sewage all fall into this category.
Drinking contaminated water can lead to fever, fatigue, cramps, dehydration, nausea, diarrhea, and can even prove fatal to those with weakened immune systems. Not something you want to have to deal with in an already stressful survival situation.
To eliminate these contaminants, we need to engage in a 2 step process- We’ll want to filter the water and then purify it.
Best Practices for Water Purification and Disinfection
This step is about filtering impurities from a source of water. The larger the particles are, the easier it is to filter, and the smaller they are, the harder to filter. Filtering methods will remove free-floating particles and some microorganisms but won’t remove some chemicals, odors, or pollutants.
For larger particles and debris, strain with a paper towel, clean cloth, or coffee filter. That’s the easy part. For the smaller contaminants, we need to get more creative.
Some Common Substances Used For Filters:
- Ceramic: the best but most expensive filtering method. It has the smallest pore size (0.1-0.5 microns). Used by the Red Cross and the World Health Organization.
- Glass fiber or compressed surgical paper: next best (.2-1.0-micron pore size), much cheaper.
- Hard-block carbon: larger pores (0.4-2 microns), not as good at filtering particles or microorganisms, but has the added benefit of absorbing some chemicals, odors, and pollutants. Not effective on its own, but great as a 2nd or 3rd stage filter.
After filtering, we’ll want to purify the water to get rid of the really tiny contaminants.
Purification Methods of Drinking Water
These methods will kill most, if not all, microorganisms. They generally won’t remove pollutants and odors.
Boiling: boiling water for 10+ minutes will kill all pathogens, and it’s cheap and easy. There are downsides to it, though- it requires fuel and electricity that may be unavailable, some of the water will be lost as steam, it requires a long cool downtime, and it’s impractical for purifying anything other than small amounts of water.
Iodine: A disinfectant, very good at killing most pathogens, and inexpensive. Dosages will vary, and pregnant women should avoid water purified with iodine. Also, it’s not recommended for long term use. Use the common 2% iodine solution; use 3 drops per quart of clear water and 6 drops per quart of cloudy water. Stir and allow to sit for 30 minutes before using/filtering again.
Chlorine: Another disinfectant option. Chlorine is very poisonous, so make sure to use the correct amounts to choose to use it. Use regular household bleach with 5.25% sodium hypochlorite. Avoid anything scented or with added cleaners. Add 8 drops of bleach for every gallon of water, stir and let sit for 30 minutes. The water should have a slight bleach odor. The water will clear, and dirt and particles will settle on the bottom.
Ultraviolet: There are UV lamps available that can kill pathogens pretty effectively. The UV sterilizes the microorganisms, and if they can’t reproduce, they can’t make you sick. It won’t eliminate debris, chemicals, or pollutants, so it makes a great 2nd or 3rd stage of purification but isn’t effective on its own. And it requires electricity to run, which may not be available in an emergency.
Solar Still: the idea is to wrap a clear, plastic sheet or some kind over a source (seawater, plants, the ground). Solar energy passes through the sheet and warms the source. Water evaporates and collects on the sheet and runs down the plastic into a container for storage. Solar stills are cheap to make and are very effective at distilling pure water. The process is prolonged, though, and only small amounts of water can be collected per day.
After filtering and purifying the water, it should be safe to drink.
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