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Author Topic: Distilled vs. Purified Water for batteries  (Read 10150 times)
plyonsMC9
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« on: May 24, 2006, 03:42:23 PM »

Greetings busnuts,

I've seen this topic discussed before, but usually, the discussion was distilled vs. tap water for the batteries ( coach, and/or starting batteries).

Not looking to save money here, but maybe lazy, saving a trip to the store if I am out of distilled water, and only have purified "spring" (ha ha) water.

Is there some chemical or other property of distilled that lasts better in the batteries? or prolongs their life?  Or is the purified bottled water OK as well?

Thank you - Phil

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Jerry Liebler
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« Reply #1 on: May 24, 2006, 03:58:09 PM »

Phil,
   Endure the trouble of getting and using only distilled water for the health of your battery banks.  The process of distillation results in water with almost nothing else, in other words no impurities.  Spring water, drinking water and water that has been 'purified' by any other means can have a wide variety of impurities that will poison the batteries reducing their life.
Regards
Jerry 4107 1120
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Len Silva
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« Reply #2 on: May 24, 2006, 04:02:11 PM »

I believe that "deionized" water is also acceptable for batteries.  I worked in factory maintenance many years ago and that is what was used for batteries throughout the plant.
Len Silva
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« Reply #3 on: May 24, 2006, 04:16:33 PM »

What about using soft water Huh

Cliff
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Dallas
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« Reply #4 on: May 24, 2006, 04:36:00 PM »

What about using soft water Huh

Cliff

Cliff,
Softened water contains sodium..... not the best thing for batteries.

Phil,
"Purified", "Spring Water", etc. may only be tap water.
We bought a whole load of surplus bottled water by different brand names at an auction a few months back, intending to sell it at the flea market.
While reading the back of one I noticed that the ingredients were "The finest water from the city of Knoxville, Tennessee"!
All of the others were labeled about the same.
Purified only means it has gone through a process to remove the things that aren't good for you.. just like a city water system does.
Spring water means it came from a spring at some time or another.
Hmmmm, MOST water has been in a spring at some time or another.
Distilled water means exactly that... it has been distilled to it's pure form.

IHTH
Dallas
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« Reply #5 on: May 24, 2006, 05:51:56 PM »

Yes, I agree there is a small amount of sodium. Tongue

But most soft water does not have a mineral presence which is really the problem.

Distilled would be the best though!

Cliff
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« Reply #6 on: May 24, 2006, 05:55:45 PM »

If you can't find distilled, don't know why you couldn't, but just in case, find something that has been purified with reverse osmosis and hasn't had minerals added back in for flavor.

Darren
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Dallas
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« Reply #7 on: May 24, 2006, 06:32:18 PM »

From the British Water Company:
http://www.britishwater.co.uk/html/softened_water.html

Q  Can softened water be used in car batteries and steam irons?
A   No. Only distilled or deionised waters should be used in car batteries. Many modern steam irons can use hard and/or softened water. The guidance given in the manufacturer's instructions should be followed.

From About.com:
http://experts.about.com/q/Water-Quality-2463/soft-water.htm


Expert: Douglas Logan
Date: 6/1/2004
Subject: soft water

Question
Andy, can I use the soft water that comes into the house from the water softner to fill my car battery and auto radiator? Will the sodium hurt the devices?

Answer
Hello, Sophie.
You should always follow the advice of the automobile manufacturer regarding what water is suitable for the battery and auto radiator. High sodium levels can contribute to corrosion and could effect the chemistry in the battery. Distilled water, available at many grocery stores, usually is priced at less than one dollar per gallon, making it the preferred choice for both applications.

Best Regards,

Doug Logan

Those are among just a few of the answers I got when I googled it.

There are a couple of articles that state that softened water is only good for washing, heating and filling car batteries,
however, if you think about it, the specific gravity of the electrolyte, (sulfuric acid and water) is very precise. If you have sodium mixed in with it, in any amount, you will obtain skewed readings on a hydrometer.

Just my tuppence worth.
Dallas
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« Reply #8 on: May 24, 2006, 06:42:58 PM »

My two cents worth?  Distilled ONLY (hee hee, then read on)

Tap, purified, drinking, etc water all has various degrees of mineral content that will kill a battery slowly or quickly depending on what that content is.

Distilled water is perfect

Deionized water is a bit too pure.  It has a tendency to leach metals because it is "hungry" so to speak.  While it's probably a better choice than purified drinking water, unless you've actually done the science I'd advise against using it in a battery.  It's one of those things that unless completely known, has a fairly decent potential to mess a battery up.
My experience with deionized water is in closed circuit laser cooling systems.  Unless you also put an oxygen removal filter in the loop, deionized water would eat the metals that the laser was constructed of with expensive damage as a result.  So knowing that, but not knowing the actual science of using it in a battery, would tend to make me stay away from it.... and distilled is so cheap and avaliable, every supermarket has it... so I can't see a reason to not use it.

Ok, the "hee hee" part... I'll admit, I use reverse-osmosis'd water in all my batteries.  R/O water is virtually as pure as distilled... the test is to put a cup or so in a clear glass vessel and allow it to evaporate... if you have a mineral deposit left don't use the water. R/O always passes the test, and functionally it's as good as distilled.  Now there is a chance that if you use home made R/O water your filters could be old, in that case you'll be back to fouling your battery.  So because I use it doesn't mean it's perfect... distilled always will be perfect...
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plyonsMC9
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« Reply #9 on: May 24, 2006, 08:00:42 PM »


Distilled water carries the day!  Thanks all for the very informative answers.  I shall get myself to a store and pick up a few bottles so I am no longer tempted to put in bottled water in a moment of weakness.    Cool  Cool  Cool

Kind Regards, Phil

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« Reply #10 on: May 25, 2006, 01:02:08 AM »

The house air conditioner drains into the basement sink. I stick a bottle under the drip whenever I want more distilled water.
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« Reply #11 on: May 25, 2006, 09:18:13 PM »

I use rain water off the house roof. I let it settle a couple of days and scoop the clean stuff off the top.
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« Reply #12 on: May 26, 2006, 10:43:57 PM »

Neither of these last two examples are mineral free. Roff water contains nucleating bodies and the air conditioner drain contains dust.

For what it's worth.

Tom Caffrey
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Tom Caffrey PD4106-2576
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« Reply #13 on: May 30, 2006, 07:47:13 PM »

Mr. Moose,

How often do you have to add water to the batteries?Great weekend thanks for inviting us.I have bus fever and i think Laura does too.Have been looking at web sites for buses and other things.

Thanks again

tony
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plyonsMC9
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« Reply #14 on: June 01, 2006, 09:29:56 PM »

Mr. Moose,

How often do you have to add water to the batteries?Great weekend thanks for inviting us.I have bus fever and i think Laura does too.Have been looking at web sites for buses and other things.

Thanks again

tony

Hey Tony!!!!!

Great to see you up on the board   Grin   and that Laura is getting some interest in the BUS adventure.  Happy wife == Happy bus.    Grin  Grin  Grin   We also had a FANTASTIC time camping w/you and your family as well. 

It won't be long before Laura can't wait to get started on your bus conversion.  I can feel it in my bones.   Cool 

As far as the coach batteries, I had to fill them once p/year.  But I also had to fill the cranking batteries - 2 8Ds, once last year, probably will this year again.  Then the 8Ds will be 3 yrs old.  I've heard that the 8Ds from Sams only last about 3yrs, so it looks like next year will be time to replace them.  Don't think I'll replace them with Sams' batteries this time.  Probably get a name brand from Napa.  The issue isn't the $ for distilled water, just laziness and wondering if our bottled water is OK, which it apparently isn't OK.  So, I'm going with distilled. 

Best Regards, Phil

PS - below is a picture of my very good friend Tony driving the Moose in Illinois this past Labor day weekend.



« Last Edit: June 02, 2006, 10:37:41 AM by plyonsMC9 » Logged

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« Reply #15 on: June 01, 2006, 09:36:47 PM »

As some of you know - I just got my first grandbaby a few weeks back.  The instructions that came with her is to use distilled water for her baby formula.  I would think what's good for a baby can't be bad for a bus Cheesy

Danny
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« Reply #16 on: June 01, 2006, 10:27:23 PM »

Looks like everyone is talking about what this water has in it or that water has in it.I think we're missing the point here ,distilled water doesn't have anything in it but water. If you add anything else to the batteries other than water you run the risk of causing a secondary chemical reaction in the battery that will almost certainly have negative results, ie. sulfating, calcifying or just plain lowering the Ph of the electrolyte.
  My humble opinion, spend the 1.00 or 2.00 on a gallon of distilled and make it up by buying the store brand cola or something

                          Tucson
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« Reply #17 on: June 01, 2006, 11:09:06 PM »

distilled water doesn't have anything in it but water. If you add anything else to the batteries other than water you run the risk of causing a secondary chemical reaction in the battery that will almost certainly have negative results, ie. sulfating, calcifying or just plain lowering the Ph of the electrolyte.
† Tucson

I agree with Tucson, I used to work at a plant that made deionized water for the U.S. military. They used it in their batteries. Distilled and deionized will both work. They are just two different processes that get the same end result, pure water. The last time I bought some from Wal-mart I paid $0.50 a gal. Batteries start to die the minute they are manufactured. How you take care of them determines how long or short that process will be.
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