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View Full Version : Pur water filtration instead of Distilled water?



Dhuiting
23-Oct-2017, 13:03
Just curious if anyone's used one of those Pur water filtration systems that attach to the tap and found it a good way to save some $ over constantly buying distilled water for mixing developer, fix, etc. (I spend up to $30 a month sometimes just on distilled water.)

Tobias Key
23-Oct-2017, 13:33
I used a Brita water filter - that works. Also supermarket generic mineral water is often very soft and doesn't leave marks and saves you the trouble of filtering the water and having something to put it in, often its the same price as filtering it yourself.

LabRat
23-Oct-2017, 13:37
Depending how bad your tap water is, the biggest problem in particulate or algae in the supply that can leave residue as a coating or spots... A cartridge (or dual) water filter(s) are cheaper to use over a long period of time... Most of the kitchen types of filters are charcoal that help the taste of the water, while providing filtration... A reverse osmosis unit will remove most all minerals + particulates, but not needed for most photo applications, unless your source water is very bad...

If your water is very hard or soft, further treatment is needed by larger units added to the output...

If you use a cartridge filter, you should not use too fine of a filter, as heavily chlorinated water can get milky and fizzy, so just a coarser filter will remove rust and other particulates... A dual filter will help in an area with much algae, as this tends to clog up a filter faster, so it is removed by the first filter, and the second stays cleaner and captures what passes the first... Depending on the area and usage, every month or two for element changes is usually good... If the water department is doing construction in your area, or a major fire/someone hits a fire hydrant etc, you should check the inside of the filter/housing for sand/rust/dirt/algae... Open filters every few weeks at first, and check for anything more than a mild tea colored filter, or debris in the bottom, then decide how often to replace...

In my area, tap water is so-so, and during the drought, the water was crummy, so I use water from water machines (.25/gallon) for mixing chems... Distilled is way overkill and not needed for photo processes, except for film & paper final rinses here in the SW...

Steve K

Drew Wiley
23-Oct-2017, 16:58
I only use true distilled for final film rinse or really fussy development, like matched color separation negs. Our tap water here is quite good; but there are many places where I'd want serious big cartridge line filters to the darkroom.

Willie
23-Oct-2017, 17:36
Bought 1 gallon water distillers at yard sales and they work fine. Most folks I know who bought them new quickly got tired of setting them ever few nights and they ended up in yard sales. Works fine and I have steam distilled water for mixing chemistry and the last two or three rinse cycles for film.

jp
23-Oct-2017, 17:58
The math says it was no cheaper to buy and operate a steam distiller with the cost of electricity in my area and the expected life of the machine. Haven't tried any kitchen filters. I'm not about to take chances and the spoil $10-$30 in chemical concentrates to save a $1 jug of distilled water that perfectly develops many batches of expensive film many times. If your water is nasty, the kitchen filter would be a good thing for many darkroom purposes. Chlorine could probably be removed from water just by letting it sit for a while.

I mix concentrated developers like pyrocat hdc/hd and a gallon of water makes more than a year's worth of part B concentrate for that. I use tap water for the working solution. I use the most distilled water for final rinse; 1 liter will final rinse the six sheets in my 4x5 developing tank, then if I developed MF at the same time, it then goes into the patterson tank for final rinsing the 120 rolls. If you are printing with Dektol, use distilled for the "stock" and normal water for the working strength.

xkaes
23-Oct-2017, 18:05
I only use true distilled for final film rinse or really fussy development, like matched color separation negs. Our tap water here is quite good; but there are many places where I'd want serious big cartridge line filters to the darkroom.

I'm sort of the opposite. I use distilled water only for the developer. For everything else, I use inline cartridge filters -- one hot and one cold.

Jac@stafford.net
23-Oct-2017, 18:13
Bought 1 gallon water distillers at yard sales and they work fine. Most folks I know who bought them new quickly got tired of setting them ever few nights and they ended up in yard sales. Works fine and I have steam distilled water for mixing chemistry and the last two or three rinse cycles for film.

Just a minor observation: I have one of those distillers and it works very well, however it might be important to know whether the collection bottle is impervious to air invasion through the plastic. Some people might be surprised by how porous most plastics are to air, thus spoiling or corrupting the contents.

Over several months I poured distilled water into a consumer type, sealed 5 gallon water container, and over the following months it emptied due to porous evaporation. Fortunately it was only water and not chemistry

John Olsen
23-Oct-2017, 19:08
I use the reverse osmosis water from the store at .49 per gallon as refills. My film never sees tap water, but prints get it in the final rinse. So far, it works well.

In New Mexico we had well water that could pull the emulsion right off of the film. And the tap water had impossible sand in it. I'm sensitive to these issues.

Be careful but don't kill your budget.

Peter De Smidt
23-Oct-2017, 21:33
One thing to be careful about with filters is a particle release when the filters are new. I once installed a whole house filter, and I ended up with a very fine particulate on my negatives, one which I had never seen before. I bypassed the filter, and the problem immediately went away. Maybe I got a bad one.

Currently, I use RODI water for mixing chemicals and final rinse. I have a system that I use for other things, and since I have it, I might as well use it. It's worked perfectly, but it's probably overkill.

Jim Andrada
23-Oct-2017, 22:02
Tucson water is so damned hard you could pave a street with it! It ruins everything after a while. And tastes bad - particularly as they blend in more Colorado River water. We're seriously considering putting in a whole house filtration system. We have a Reverse Osmosis system in the kitchen for drinking water and that;s what I use for film processing.

And just to make it more fun the "cold" water is close to 90 degrees in the summer. I wish they made Ilford XP2 in sheets.

LabRat
23-Oct-2017, 22:39
One thing to be careful about with filters is a particle release when the filters are new. I once installed a whole house filter, and I ended up with a very fine particulate on my negatives, one which I had never seen before. I bypassed the filter, and the problem immediately went away. Maybe I got a bad one.

Currently, I use RODI water for mixing chemicals and final rinse. I have a system that I use for other things, and since I have it, I might as well use it. It's worked perfectly, but it's probably overkill.

The other thing I have seen happen is by changing the flow rate in a plumbing system, sometimes things that are caught in it can be passed out of the system into your solutions, so if possible, try to have your filter as close to the outlet...

Also, sometimes due to electrolysis (due to different electrical potentials of differing metals in system), there is an attraction to a anode which holds iron particles etc that can be released when water pressure is cut, air introduced, and flow restarted... Not too old plumbing with differing metal fittings/piping can cause release problems...

One lab I wrenched on had major problems with this, even not using the water for just a long weekend, and finally was fixed with new replacement fittings, and plastic piping between differing metal fittings...

Steve K

AtlantaTerry
23-Oct-2017, 22:53
Here in Atlanta, I only use Steam Distilled water from the grocery store for my B&W final Photo Flo rinse, all the other stages of development use tap water with no problems.

Back in the '80s, I was doing some freelance photography for a small ad agency that had their own darkroom. The firm was in an office park that was a couple years old. I discovered if I put tap water into a clear glass graduate and waited, a layer of sand (or similar) would settle out at the bottom, if I waited a while!
... and people were drinking that water! :eek:

Paul Kinzer
23-Oct-2017, 22:59
Just for clarification, as a newbie to film development: If my tap water is fine (it's a bit hard, but not bad at all, and has enough iron in it that after a few months it might start to leave deposits in the tub), is there any reason to worry about using it for mixing chemicals and washing the film?

And, man! 90 degree 'cold' water?! Yikes! Mine, at least this past weekend when I developed film for the first time, was exactly 68 degrees. Very convenient.

LabRat
23-Oct-2017, 23:28
Just for clarification, as a newbie to film development: If my tap water is fine (it's a bit hard, but not bad at all, and has enough iron in it that after a few months it might start to leave deposits in the tub), is there any reason to worry about using it for mixing chemicals and washing the film?

And, man! 90 degree 'cold' water?! Yikes! Mine, at least this past weekend when I developed film for the first time, was exactly 68 degrees. Very convenient.

Old metal plumbing is old metal plumbing... Dry down some amount of water from when you first turn on a tap in a clear or white vessel and look for black, blue, rust or sand/dirt, or get a iron test kit and test... If you do any plumbing work, look inside the fittings to spot discoloration, corrosion, pitting, run your finger inside and see if it picks up particles... Make sure that there are no different metal fittings or pipes connected directly together, but if you have to, run at least a foot of plastic pipe between to separate those potentials... Use plastic hangers and pipe grommets near valves that connect to metal sinks to make sure feed pipes do not ground directly to sink... If in doubt, replace metal pipes, fittings in the darkroom... Other parts of the system might have dissimilar metal to metal connections, and can be a release source...

Sometimes in worst case situations you might see a brass valve or copper pipe that has severely corroded or turned black on the outside, that is a loud alarm that there is a severe electrolysis problem in your system!!! They make anti-electrolysis coupling fittings for pipes, water heaters etc, but some distance plumbed in plastic works well...

Not trying to be too anal retentive, but one lab had such a collection of metals, that just turning on the water on Tuesday morning would darken a bucket of water, and it turned out that the pipes and fittings were dangerously thin inside, and leaving cloudy water...

Out here in the LA (western) drought, some of the plumbing I fixed over the last few years has suffered due to hard, bad water and seats on valves have gotten really cut up from much particulate grinding them into constant leaking... My film lab water filter had a large handful of sand and swirly dark particles in it after water main construction in my area, just after 1 week of changing the element!!! I drink this stuff!?!!

Steve K

BennehBoy
24-Oct-2017, 01:04
I also use a Brita filter.

Willie
24-Oct-2017, 06:03
The cost of distilling your own vs driving to the store and back? For me making my own costs less. 90 miles driving to get distilled water at a store.
On filters. Have a whole house filter and then a separate filter (5 micron) I screw on the spigot in the darkroom sink. That one I can easily put on and take off. General cleaning and washing the sink, it is off. All prints and negatives, it is on. Am on well water and having two filters helps a lot.
If you have a filter be aware the carbon cartridges help taste but do give off bits of carbon that can ruin negatives.
Am saying "I" because I use the darkroom. My Uncle is the one who built it and he is the main user.

xkaes
24-Oct-2017, 06:07
I guess I'm lucky having -- and drinking -- Denver water (AKA, melted snow). There are HUGE "treatment" plants all along the Missouri/Ohio/Mississippi/etc. rivers AFTER the water leaves each city. I have often wonder how the people in Louisiana can actually drink the water down there -- assuming you can actually called the repeatedly treated liquid, "water".

I would guess that one easy test to run would be to "drain" your water heater. That really only means draining a gallon or so out of it. It's recommended as good, general maintenance once a year, to remove residue that collects on the bottom, and reduces efficiency -- i.e. uses more energy. It's really simple. I've tried it a few times over the years, but never had anything come out except clear water. In many places, all kinds of crud comes out. So if you run this test, you'll clean out your water heater, and get a quick estimate of what your film is "up against"!

Tin Can
24-Oct-2017, 06:54
Snow is recycled water

Don't Eat The Yellow Snow (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TLIppgE45wM)

xkaes
24-Oct-2017, 10:27
"Recycled"? Of course -- but distilled, as well. And out here in Colorado, there just might be a little bit of gold or silver in it, by the time it gets to me!

I'll send all of you poor "down-streamers" a gift, later today.

Paul Kinzer
24-Oct-2017, 21:04
Old metal plumbing is old metal plumbing... Dry down some amount of water from when you first turn on a tap in a clear or white vessel and look for black, blue, rust or sand/dirt, or get a iron test kit and test... If you do any plumbing work, look inside the fittings to spot discoloration, corrosion, pitting, run your finger inside and see if it picks up particles... Make sure that there are no different metal fittings or pipes connected directly together, but if you have to, run at least a foot of plastic pipe between to separate those potentials... Use plastic hangers and pipe grommets near valves that connect to metal sinks to make sure feed pipes do not ground directly to sink... If in doubt, replace metal pipes, fittings in the darkroom... Other parts of the system might have dissimilar metal to metal connections, and can be a release source...

Sometimes in worst case situations you might see a brass valve or copper pipe that has severely corroded or turned black on the outside, that is a loud alarm that there is a severe electrolysis problem in your system!!! They make anti-electrolysis coupling fittings for pipes, water heaters etc, but some distance plumbed in plastic works well...

Not trying to be too anal retentive, but one lab had such a collection of metals, that just turning on the water on Tuesday morning would darken a bucket of water, and it turned out that the pipes and fittings were dangerously thin inside, and leaving cloudy water...

Out here in the LA (western) drought, some of the plumbing I fixed over the last few years has suffered due to hard, bad water and seats on valves have gotten really cut up from much particulate grinding them into constant leaking... My film lab water filter had a large handful of sand and swirly dark particles in it after water main construction in my area, just after 1 week of changing the element!!! I drink this stuff!?!!

Steve K

Fascinating! I've done plenty of repair plumbing in the several homes I've owned, and didn't know about this. I just went down the basement and found that there is still a bit of galvanized steel in our mostly-copper water lines. Maybe a total of four feet of steel and dozens of feet of copper. (Though some pipe coming off the water heater was covered in insulation and foil several years ago by a contractor, and I don't recall what it's made of.) Also, though it's hard to get close to in order to see well, there is a fitting between the copper and steel that looks like it might be a dielectric union. I've used them when installing new water heaters, but never really thought about their function. (I installed the heater that's down there right now, in fact, and it has them.) We don't seem to have any issues with deposits in our water, other than the slight iron content which our town's water is known for.

I'm curious to know just how this water issue effects film development. I will never do much of it. Probably never more than a few dozen sheets per year. Will my negatives simply not last as long? The first ones I developed do not have noticeable issues (yet!). No deposits, water marks, streaks, etc.

LabRat
24-Oct-2017, 21:38
Fascinating! I've done plenty of repair plumbing in the several homes I've owned, and didn't know about this. I just went down the basement and found that there is still a bit of galvanized steel in our mostly-copper water lines. Maybe a total of four feet of steel and dozens of feet of copper. (Though some pipe coming off the water heater was covered in insulation and foil several years ago by a contractor, and I don't recall what it's made of.) Also, though it's hard to get close to in order to see well, there is a fitting between the copper and steel that looks like it might be a dielectric union. I've used them when installing new water heaters, but never really thought about their function. (I installed the heater that's down there right now, in fact, and it has them.) We don't seem to have any issues with deposits in our water, other than the slight iron content which our town's water is known for.

I'm curious to know just how this water issue effects film development. I will never do much of it. Probably never more than a few dozen sheets per year. Will my negatives simply not last as long? The first ones I developed do not have noticeable issues (yet!). No deposits, water marks, streaks, etc.

I'm not sure, as there is usually iron in water due to old piping etc, but I suspect it shouldn't be much of an issue for chems and negs unless excessive, but it is oxidized metal when if big enough might cause spots in developing or washing, but Kodak probably published a paper about it somewhere... Try to find it and please post...

But the issue I have seen has been when using some designs of print washers, during prolonged washes that maybe a corner of a print that gets a more direct flow will sometimes leave a slight rusty discoloration near that border, corner, or edge (even with double filtration, some extremely small particles get through, and start building up over time probably)... If I washed a DWFB print for an hour, I didn't see it, but if I'm doing a prolonged session where the prints were in for an hour and a half or more with the water running, the color would start to appear, and nothing I tried later would remove it... I changed my procedure where I would stack prints back to back, belly to belly in a holding tray without water flow, and keep checking that the prints would remain completely submerged, and then wash them all together at the same time... That worked... But tried keeping dry to dry times as short as possible, and cycled washing intervals so nothing was wet too long...

But the problems I have seen in plumbing might have been because the hard water here can start acting like a battery, and that bad water lab was at the very end of the municipal water system, the farthest place away from the reservoir, and all the areas between had very old mains that were constantly breaking, so much work needed to be done daily on the system, and then there's all of those cars, trucks, construction, buildings, streets of the LA basin over it...

Steve K

Pamelageewhizz
22-Nov-2017, 23:33
I use distilled water for the developer and pre wet. Here in Sacramento the water can be a bit iffy. My biggest concern is the pesticides and associated chemicals from the farm land in the area. The farm run off goes into the rivers which is where the city water comes from. It's a bit less of a concern now since government over regulation has wiped out most of the family farms. But corporate farms are still alive and well. The other water issue here in Sac is the temp. In the summer my tap water runs between 90-100 F. I use a cooler with blue ice packs between and under the bottles and wait till the temp drops.

John Layton
23-Nov-2017, 09:51
Sorry to hijack this thread...but I'm long overdue in replacing both my hot and cold 5 micron (string wound) filters for my Leedal units (I think 9 or 10 inches long?) - and it looks like B+H might be having trouble getting ahold of these. Anyone? Thanks!

Keith Pitman
23-Nov-2017, 12:06
Sorry to hijack this thread...but I'm long overdue in replacing both my hot and cold 5 micron (string wound) filters for my Leedal units (I think 9 or 10 inches long?) - and it looks like B+H might be having trouble getting ahold of these. Anyone? Thanks!

I think Depot and Lowes both carry 5 micron filters.