Making Water For a Humidifier

Q. I love your newsletter and was wondering if anyone knew of a way to make "homemade" distilled water from tap water.  Possibly boil, then strain through a coffee filter?  We have hard water and must use distilled in our humidifier.  Any hints will be appreciated!  Thanks, LCR

LCR needs water that has the dissolved minerals removed.  While it might be possible to set up a still on her stove, the cost of the fuel used would probably be greater than buying the same amount of  demineralized water in a store.  (If her family uses a stove for heating, a still would not increase the cost appreciably.)

If they have a reverse osmosis water purifying unit for drinking water. That water should be OK for a humidifier.  Otherwise, I would recommend buying demineralized water.  In our area this costs $0.35 a gallon if you bring your own container to the store. Allen – Decatur, IL

If you live in a humid climate and use a dehumidifier in the summer, the water that is pulled out of the air is distilled.  I live in Massachusetts and if I bottled all of the water I collected in the 3 months I use the dehumidifier, I would probably have enough to drink for an entire year!  Running it through a coffee filter won’t do anything, distilling is "reverse osmosis" (don’t ask me to explain that, it’s the only think I remember from HS Chemistry!).  Love the newsletter! Leslie


Well, first you can just use regular water in the humidifier and periodically descale it by filling with vinegar and leaving it to sit over night. Rinse before you refill the humidifier. (Reuse the vinegar in a marked jug, or use for cleaning only). My parents did this for years and have the softest humifier drum "sponges" and cleanest ultrasonic humidifiers you ever saw.  But if you want distilled water, it is easy to make too.

Distilled water is regular water that has been turned to steam and recondensed. Particles do not turn to water vapor and so are left out in the bottom of the boiling vats.  It would likely cost a fair bit to boil away the teakettle into a slanted receptacle….would warm and humidify the house of course.

MUCH CHEAPER – FREE after you build it – and MUCH SAFER are SOLAR POWERED WATER PURIFIERS. Even a klutz like me, with substandard house tools, can make one in less than an afternoon using plans available FREE on line at places like kids science/survivalist sites. Their basic design is simply a shallow trough (or even a kiddy pool) with angled or A-frame glass or even heavy mil plastic over them. The heat of the sun evaporates the water and it condenses on the glass. The glass is angled so that when the water condenses on it  and builds into droplets gravity runs it over to the lower side into a clean gathering area (another trough, a jug set under under a drainhole or whatever). You can use any type of water for this, because the impurities are left on the dirty side. If all you are using is regular tap water, you can just periodically clean out the source side. The same principles are now used in some developing countries for potable water. You can even use these in the winter. The water will go straight from frozen to vapor, and it will all be liquid in a surprisingly short time after the sun starts hitting it in the morning. (Even in Saskatchewan Canada, which has a Siberian climate). — Cathy, in Texas now.