Distilled water VS. Reverse Osmosis (RO)

distilled water vs reverse osmosis

It is a common thing to drink the tap water in order to stay hydrated. On the other hand, it’s true that the water in some cities contains trace amounts of various pollutants, chlorine, pesticides, herbicides and other dangerous contaminants. Drinking lead-laced water can cause damage to red blood cells, kidneys and the brain. Also, it can be dangerous for pregnant women and young children. Chemicals that are used to kill bacteria, viruses, parasites and fungus can be removed by filtering and distilling tap water. There are two advanced ways to do that by choosing distilled and reverse osmosis (RO) types of water.

What is distilled water?

Distilled water is created through the process of distillation. Distilled water is vapor from boiling water that’s been cooled and returned to the liquid state. This type of demineralised water does not contain any metals, minerals or even electrolytes. Such an electrolyte-free aquatic organism can be used passively, and it is easily removed from the body together with minerals. In other words, mentioned type of water is just a well-cooled and collected water vapor.

Distilled water is a type of purified water that is created using a specialized heating process.

Once the water completely vaporizes, that vapor is put into a clean container, where it condenses back into pure water. Distillation is a long process – it requires storage of water for long periods. During the process, recontamination occurs from the ambient air and the container, so it requires a lot of equipment to make the efficient result. It is expensive to operate such process because distillation requires large amounts of water and energy. Furthermore, a still requires regular cleaning of the boiling pot with hydrochloric acid, a sand paper and brush to remove the contaminants which occurs during the process.

Pure distilled water supposed to be neutral with a pH of 7. There are cases then it is with a pH of 5.8 because of  the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which means that it can be slightly acidic. Furthermore, high concentrations of minerals in soil result that leaves become discolored and the growth of the plants can become stunted. Watering with distilled water provides an appropriate level of minerals for the soil. Besides, distilled water has a proper amount of indoor plant fertilizer added. In addition, distilled water does not contain fluoride because of the water distillation systems that are superior at removing it. Water distillation systems remove fluoride and chlorine from the water, as well as biological contaminants (bacteria, viruses and etc.) and other organic/inorganic chemicals, such as fertilizers, hard water minerals and so on.

Check our top picks for water distillers.

What is Reverse Osmosis (RO) water?

RO water is nearly pure water with a PH slightly lower than of 7. Reverse osmosis is a water filtration method. The water is passed through special membranes which has extremely small pores. The molecules of the water are separated from contaminants and other substances. The water moves through membrane from a low concentration area to a high concentration area. The aim of the movement is to equalize the concentrations on the both sides of the membrane. The procedure is called the osmotic pressure.

The movement of water is influenced by two forces: osmotic pressure and the external pressure. Osmotic pressure is caused by the different concentrations of the solutions. When external pressure is applied the direction of the solution movement changes – therefore it is called reverse osmosis. As a result, contaminants remain on one side of the membrane and purified water flows freely through the membrane. This method of water filtration is often applied in areas such as food industry, drinking water, industrial water treatment, wastewater treatment, washing the cars, syrup production, chemical industry, hydrogen production and so on.

The removal of salts from water by reverse osmosis is based on the partitioning of the solutions. The solutions are passed through semipermeable membranes. These membranes are permeable to water and retain hydrated ions and molecules of organic compounds. Salts are removed without changing the water phase. Such permeation is induced by creating a water pressure which is higher than the osmotic pressure. The magnitude of the pressure depends on the salinity of the water.

Such chemical substances as suspended solids, iron, manganese or chlorine prevent membranes from clogging. Periodic chemical washing of membranes extends their service life. The frequency of the membrane washing ranges from three to six months. In addition, antiscalant is a great chemical solution that prevents the formation of calcium and magnesium bicarbonate deposits on membrane surfaced. Antiscalant has to be dosed continuously to keep the membrane and reverse osmosis water clean.

reverse osmosis filter

Check our top picks for countertop Reverse Osmosis systems.

Also check my article about benefits and disadvantages of RO filtration.

What are the similarities between distilled and RO water?

  • Removes 99 % or more of minerals. Such minerals as calcium and magnesium are valuable to their health – distilled and RO water do not contain that.
  • Removes dangerous substances from the the tap water (such as chlorine, pesticides, viruses etc.) Substances that are found in tap water can cause damage to red blood cells, kidneys and the brain so it is essential to remove them.
  • Distilled and RO water contains no parasites. Water parasites can cause gastrointestinal issues. For instance, such parasite as cryptosporidium, can g​​​​​et into the digestive tract and cause stomach pain. That is crucial for RO water which is considered as he type of water which is proper to drink.

What is the main difference between distilled and RO water?

  • Both types of water are made in different ways. RO water is made by using filtration methods and the distilled water is created through the process of distillation.

Distilled Water VS. Reverse Osmosis (RO) Water

Although RO water removes a lot of substances, including minerals, it is still appropriate for drinking and cooking. RO water is cleaner and fresher than a tap water. Since the water is removed of all impurities, it tastes better and is even better for cooking. RO water does not contain microbial cysts, heavy metals and dissolved salts. Reverse osmosis filters are good at filtering such substances as mercury, lead or iron. Moreover, it removes various microbial cysts which can cause severe illnesses. Such microbial cysts as giardia, cryptosporidium, and cyclospora can be extremely dangerous for the health and is usually found in the tap water. Thus, reverse osmosis filters can make them disappear. Although it is quite expensive, but these filters are able to remove a large number of impurities. On the other hand, distilled type of water is just a well-cooled and collected water vapor, which does not contain any useful substances for the body. Distilled water is the best type of water for machinery and batteries. Such type of water does not contain any heavy metals, synthetic organic contaminants, asbestos or arsenic. Even though distilled water is completely pure, it cannot remove volatile organic compounds because of  lower boiling point than water. Thus, distilled water filters can remove pollutants, but also necessary minerals.

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