Distilled water is virtually impurity-free – but distillation doesn’t remove everything.
Can you remove PFAS by distilling water? We’ve answered the question in this guide.
📌 Key Takeaways:
- Distillation is a highly effective method of removing PFAS from water.
- On average, distilled water is free from around 99% PFAS.
- PFAS have a higher boiling point than water, which means they’re left behind in the distillation chamber when water evaporates.
Table of Contents
- ⚗️ Does A Water Distiller Remove PFAS?
- 🤔 How Does A Water Distiller Work To Remove PFAS?
- 🧫 Other Contaminants Removed By Water Distillation
- 🔎 Which Contaminants CAN’T Water Distillers Remove?
- ❇️ Benefits of Water Distillers For PFAS Removal
- ⛔️ Setbacks of Water Distillers For PFAS Removal
- 📑 Alternatives to Water Distillation
- 🔎 How Do PFAS Get Into Drinking Water?
- ❔ FAQ
⚗️ Does A Water Distiller Remove PFAS?
👨🔬 Yes, a water distiller removes PFAS. The distillation process is one of the most effective water to remove this contaminant – the average distiller unit reduces more than 99% of PFAS.
You can use a water distiller to treat drinking water containing PFAS.
🤔 How Does A Water Distiller Work To Remove PFAS?
A water distiller works by boiling water until it evaporates, then sending the water vapor into a cooling corridor containing condensing coils. The vapor condenses back into water droplets, which are collected in a clean container.
The boiling process itself doesn’t remove PFAS or other contaminants. However, most impurities – including PFAS – have a higher boiling point than water. That means that they’re unable to vaporize when water does, so they’re left behind in the boiling chamber, while water vapor is carried to a separate container, where it condenses.
🧫 Other Contaminants Removed By Water Distillation
As well as PFAS, a water distiller removes the following impurities:
- Hardness minerals like magnesium and calcium
- Lead, mercury, copper, iron, and other heavy metals
- Chlorine, chloramine, herbicides, pesticides, and other dissolved chemicals
- Radioactive elements like uranium and radium
- Microorganisms like viruses, bacteria, and protozoan cysts
- Poor tastes and odors
- Nitrate, fluoride, benzene, asbestos, arsenic, and more
🔎 Which Contaminants CAN’T Water Distillers Remove?
While water distillation units remove most contaminants, there are a handful of contaminants that may be able to evaporate and condense with water particles:
- Some pesticides and solvents
- Certain volatile organic compounds
- A few other chemicals
Your countertop water distiller might come with a granular activated carbon post-filter that targets these contaminants in distilled water.
❇️ Benefits of Water Distillers For PFAS Removal
Removes Virtually All PFAS
The most obvious benefit of distillation for PFAS removal is its effectiveness.
A water distiller offers one of the most effective ways to remove PFAS. While most water filters remove around 80% -90% PFAS, distillation removes more than 99% of this impurity – even down to the parts per trillion level.
If you want to enjoy drinking water that’s as free as possible from forever chemicals, a distiller is a worthy water treatment system.
The average countertop water distiller costs between $150 and $450 – that’s about half the price of a whole home water filter system that can remove PFAS.
The major advantage of buying a water distillation unit is that it has virtually no maintenance costs. You can choose whether or not you want to buy the replacement carbon filters, which come in multipacks for a great price. You can buy 20 filters upfront for less than $20.
Complete Water Purification
Removing PFAS might be your main goal with a water distiller, but you’ll get so much more than this.
A water distiller doesn’t only target PFOA and PFOS contamination – it also removes other contaminants that have adverse health effects, like lead, chlorine, microorganisms, and other dissolved solids.
Easy To Install & Maintain
Installing a water distiller is easy and takes just a matter of minutes. The majority of water filters need to be connected to a cold water line, but water distillers don’t need to be plumbed in – they just need a nearby power outlet.
Maintaining a distiller is easy, too. You just clean the boiling chamber to get rid of the accumulated contaminants and replace the carbon filter (if you choose to use it).
An at-home distiller easily fits on a kitchen countertop. The unit can be used anywhere with an available power outlet, so you don’t have to keep it in the same place all the time.
If you like the idea of being able to remove PFAS anywhere you might be, whether that’s at home, at work, or on vacation, a water distiller should suit you ideally.
⛔️ Setbacks of Water Distillers For PFAS Removal
Water distillers remove all the bad stuff and all the good stuff from water. The result is that distilled drinking water tastes flat, due to the fact that it no longer contains traces of healthy alkaline minerals and dissolved gases.
You can use mineral drops to remineralize the water, but this costs extra and requires effort on your part.
The process of boiling water until it evaporates, then gradually condensing it into steam, is very time-consuming. The average time to distill a 1-gallon batch of water is 4-6 hours.
If you want instant results, you won’t get them with a water distiller.
Restricted Distilling Capacity
The type of water distiller you can buy for residential use can usually only distill 1 gallon of water at a time. That means you can’t switch your distiller on before you head off to work in the knowledge that it’ll distill gallons and gallons of water by the time you return home.
You’ll always have to add more water to the boiling chamber – usually once every 5 hours.
Limited Contaminant Removal
Water distillers might be one of the best forms of water treatment, but they’re not 100% perfect.
Certain contaminants, like volatile organic compounds, aren’t removed by distillation units.
📑 Alternatives to Water Distillation
Aside from distillation, there are a few other methods that also remove or reduce PFAS in a drinking water supply:
- Reverse osmosis systems, found in under-sink and countertop units, which reduce more than 90% of PFAS contaminants with membrane separation.
- Activated carbon water filters, found in whole home filters, under-sink systems, refrigerator filters, and water filter pitchers, which reduce around 73% of PFAS on average.
🔎 How Do PFAS Get Into Drinking Water?
PFAS chemicals are, for the most part, no longer used in manufacturing processes in the US – but the chemicals are known to linger in the environment – that’s why they have the nickname “forever chemicals”. They’re also still imported into the country.
PFAS get into water by rainwater runoff or soil seepage. The chemicals contaminate the water sources used to supply public drinking water. Large-scale water treatment at local facilities isn’t designed to remove PFAS.
What are the dangers of drinking water containing PFAS?
The EPA has set a health advisory level of 70 parts per trillion (PPT) for PFAS in public drinking water supplies to protect against the potential health effects of this contaminant in the human body. We also know that the EPA is working to produce a federal standard for the chemicals according to the Safe Drinking Water Act. Some of the dangers of drinking water containing PFAS include increased cholesterol levels, decreased vaccine response in children, high blood pressure in pregnant women, and changes in liver enzymes.
Does boiling water remove PFAS?
No, boiling tap water doesn’t remove PFAS. PFAS have high boiling points, so when you boil water, it just causes some of the water to evaporate, which means you have the same amount of PFAS in a smaller volume of water. The only way to remove PFAS is to separate the evaporated water particles after boiling.
Does distilling water purify it?
Yes, distilled water is about as purified as is possible with at-home water treatment. A water distiller removes chemicals, heavy metals, microorganisms, minerals, salts, and more.