How To Clean A Durastill Water Distiller
Learn exactly how to clean a Durastill water distiller in 3 easy steps! Plus learn how to extend the life of your distiller up to 30 years with our maintenance tips and tricks! One of the most frequently asked questions is: "How do I clean my Durastill water distiller?"
You can download the Ultimate Cleaning & Maintenance Guide for Durastill Water Distillers PDF 1-Page Cheat Sheet below (coming soon). It is designed have everything you need printed on 1 page. Print it out and hang it by your water distiller as a quick and easy reference guide. This give you a "hands-free" physical guide to look at while cleaning your distiller, then you don't risk getting your phone dirty or getting water on it with an electronic guide.
HOW TO Clean A Durastill Water Distiller in 3 Easy Steps
EASYCLEAN Step #1: Clean the distiller boiling chamber
EASYCLEAN Step #2: Clean the water storage tank
EASYCLEAN Step #3: Replace the filters
Note: You will find everything that we use in this video and guide in our Durastill Maintenance Kit.
CAUTION: Before you service or clean your water distiller system ALWAYS UNPLUG your distiller from the electrical outlet as a safety precaution and make sure your distiller is COOLED DOWN and not hot. Never open the lid to the distiller while it is operating. Hot steam may cause severe burns.
Step #1: Clean The Distiller Boiling Chamber
How to clean distiller boiling chamber?
- Remove the boiling chamber lid and keep it off the entire time while you are cleaning the boiling chamber. You don't want any citric acid or any other vapors during boiling chamber cleaning to go down the condenser coil because it will stick to the cooling condenser coil and change the taste and quality of the distilled water (if your lid is on then it will force the citric acid vapors down the condenser coil and that is bad, just leave the lid off).
- Drain your boiling chamber using the side drain faucet. Look inside the boiling chamber and remove any large pieces or chunks of scale. Now you can drain out some of the smaller particles. Sometimes there is so much filth and buildup in the boiling chamber that the side drain will clog or plug up when you try to drain it. Usually the filth, scale and deposits in my distiller boiling chamber looks actually kind of like white sand (that is the best way I can describe it, but the most common colors are white, brown and black depending on your source water). Your goal here is to just remove any large chunks and drain out what you can. If it starts to drain and then gets plugged up don't worry. Just get out what you can and then don't forget to close the side drain.
- Fill up the boiling chamber so it is ¼ inch above the water fill line. This is easy to see because there is usually a mineral or scale line that goes around the boiling chamber. It kind of looks like a soap scum line in a bathtub. Or a mineral deposit line around a sink. We want the Durastill Still Clean to clean off this scale and build up, that is why we want to fill it above this water line level. Basically the Still Clean will clean everything below the water level. Make sure you don't fill up the boiling chamber completely because you don't want the filthy water and still clean to go into condenser coil tube at the top of the boiling chamber. I like to just use a pitcher of tap water and manually fill up the boiling chamber until I get the water line 1/4 inch above the fill line.
- Add ¼ cup of Durastill Still Clean to the boiling chamber. Durastill Still Clean is made especially for cleaning Durastill Water Distillers! Still Clean has one simple ingredient: citric acid (found in lemons, limes and other citrus fruit). This food grade citric acid is used to clean inside the stainless steel boiling chamber and all of the components therein (heating element, float, etc) . Still Clean is the safest, fastest, easiest and most effective cleaner for Durastill Water Distillers! It does an excellent job of dissolving minerals, water scale and other boiling chamber residue.
- Plug in the Distiller and bring the water to a boil to "activate" the Still Clean. I timed my distiller and it took about 20 minutes to bring the water to a boil (it takes longer than normal to boil because the lid is off). As soon as it starts to boil, TURN OFF the distiller by unplugging it. We just want to heat the water up to help "activate" the Still Clean and improve the descaling and cleaning process.
- Let the still clean sit in the boiling chamber for 8 hours. Don’t forget to leave the LID OFF this entire time you are cleaning the boiling chamber of your distiller, even while the distiller is sitting and cooling down. After being turned off and sitting for this long, your distiller will be nice and cool for you to work on it. I like to clean the boiling chamber in the evening and then just let it sit over night to maximize the cleaning power of the Still Clean. That way the Still Clean will keep cleaning and descaling for the next 8 hours over night. Then I finish cleaning the boiling chamber the next morning.
- Drain the scale, residue, debris, and dirty water from the boiling chamber out the side drain. Now you will see the scale and buildup that was on the walls of the boiling chamber in the water (some of it floats on top of the water and some of it sinks to the bottom of the boiling chamber). Depending on the chemicals in your water this may look different in your distiller, but mine is brown or white colored and has a fine "sand like texture". Now we are going to drain the boiling chamber and clean it out. If the boiling chamber has not been cleaned in a long time or if you just have a lot of scale, buildup and junk in your distiller, you may find that the drain gets clogged. If that is the case, then I will just take a spoon and scoop out the junk through the lid hole on top of the distiller. Be careful with the spoon so you don't bend or damage the float, float rod or heating element. Just be patient and take your time. NOTE: If the boiling chamber is not as clean as you want it, then repeat the above cleaning process again (REPEAT STEPS 3-7). Ultimate TIP: As a good rule of thumb, if the scale on the heating element and boiling chamber walls are still the thickness of a credit card then clean it again!
- After it's clean fill-up the boiling chamber and flush it out. Close the side drain faucet and fill up the boiling chamber with water again (up to fill line). Then open the drain valve and drain all the water out to flush out and empty the boiling chamber (I usually fill it up and drain it twice, just to flush out anything I missed when I scooped it out).
- Fill up boiling chamber and add 1 teaspoon of Durastill Still Sweet. You must fill up the boiling chamber with water so you can steam-clean the water storage tank in STEP #2 below. I just manually fill it with a water pitcher. Why add still sweet? Adding 1 teaspoon of Still Sweet is optional (but highly recommended). Still-Sweet keeps the minerals and scale soft and "putty like" and prevents it from sticking to the heating element and boiling chamber. Still Sweet is basically a food grade water softener made of salts. Still Clean will make it easier to clean and drain your boiling chamber the next time you clean it. Don't worry it DOES NOT distill across and it says in the boiling chamber. You always want Still Sweet in your boiling chamber. Ultimate TIP: Still Clean is one of the secrets to extend the life of your Durastill Distiller up to 30 years!
- Tighten down the distiller lid to seal the boiling chamber. Congratulations you just cleaned your boiling chamber! Now it's time to clean your tank.
Step #2: Clean the water storage tank
How to clean stainless steel water distiller tank?
We are actually going to “steam clean” or “autoclave” the stainless steel water storage tank to clean and sterilize the tank at the same time.
Remove the Durastill Post Filter and the line. You will need to loosen the C-clamp and remove the tube from the bottom of the condenser coil (this is where the water comes out of the bottom of your distiller). TIP: you will be connecting the steamer tube into the same hole that the post filter connects to on the tank. WARNING: You never run steam through your post carbon filter because that will ruin the filter, only run steam through the steamer tube!
- Connect the “steamer tube”. There are 2 types of steamer tubes depending on the size of your storage tank: Short and Long. Connect the "short steamer tube" directly from the end of the condenser coil to the tank (if you have the 4 or 10 gallon tank). Connect the "long steamer tube" directly from the end of the condenser coil to the tank (if you have the 25 gallon tank). You just attach the vinyl tube to the metal steamer tube, since the opening is at the front of the tank. Make sure you have a good enough seal so to prevent steam from escaping.
- Plug in the water distiller system. You will hear the fan turn on and that is an easy way to tell if the distiller it on.
- TURN OFF THE FAN SWITCH. Why turn the fan off? When the fan is on, it cools down the steam into water. When the fan switch is OFF the steam does not cool down. The hot steam goes directly into the water storage tank through the steamer tube and steam cleans or autoclaves the tank. This will sterilize your stainless steel Durastill Water Storage Tank. TIP: It will take about 20 minutes before the water will start boiling and build up enough pressure to force steam into the water storage tank.
- Steam Clean the tank for 20 minutes. After you see steam coming out of the VOC vent on the top of the distiller start your timer. WARNING: the stainless steel water storage tank will become very hot during this sterilization process. Do not touch the tank or you could get burned!
- After 20 minutes UNPLUG the distiller to turn everything OFF. Let the whole system cool completely before you continue (that includes the water distiller head and the storage tank). I would recommend you wait at least 1 hour. Congratulations you just cleaned your stainless steel water distiller storage tank! You're almost done.
Step #3: Replace The Filters
Our last step is to replace the Durastill Pre-Filter and the Durastill Post-Filter. Everyone will need to at least replace the post-filter. Some of you may have a manual fill Durastill Water Distiller or you may have your automatic water distiller system in “manual mode” and the water line is not hooked up. In other words you are not using the inline Durastill Pre-Filter, so you will skip this first step.
- Unscrew the Durastill Pre-Filter and replace it. Don’t forget to turn off your water line from your pressurized source of water or you will make water mess. (skip this step if you have no Pre-Filter)
- Unscrew the Durastill Post-Filter and replace it. Then reconnect the new post filter and line to the water storage tank. You can re-use the 90 degree elbows that screw into the post filter for many years.
- TURN ON the fan switch. With the fan switch turned ON you will be making distilled water again because the fan will cool the steam back into water.
- PLUG IN your distiller and let it distill at least 1 gallon of water (this should take 2-3 hours depending on your distiller model).
- Then drain the water storage tank and discard this water.
You just learned how to clean your Durastill Water Distiller!
How do you extend the life of your Durastill Water Distiller up to 30 years?
Here are the Ultimate Cleaning & Maintenance Guide TIPS to extend the life of your Durastill Water System up to 30 years?
You must keep your distiller clean to maximize the life of your water distiller.
- You should drain you boiling chamber and then add Durastill Still Sweet to your boiling chamber at least once every month. Even better...Dave the Durastill Lead Engineer recommends draining your boiling chamber once per week and then add Still Sweet!
- You should look inside of your boiling chamber once per month
- You should clean your water distiller and replace your filters every 6 months (12 months maximum).
- You should inspect and clean the condenser coil every 6 months (it is easy to use an air compressor and just blow it off to clean in-between the coils fins).
- You should inspect and clean the fan (blades and motor) every 6 months (you can wipe off the fan blades and vacuum out any dust in the motor coils or you can blow it out with an air compressor).
- You should inspect and clean the boiling chamber lid, seal and rim every 6 months (look for any scale buildup and use white distilled vinegar to remove it).
- You should replace the "Float Gasket Set" and "Heating Element Seal Kit". These rubber gaskets wear out over time and should be replaced about every 5 years.
- Good ventilation will ensure the most efficient operation.
- For best performance, we suggest a room temperature between 40 degrees and 85 degrees Fahrenheit (4.4-29.4 Celsius).
How To Clean Water Distiller Exterior?
Frequently Asked Cleaning & Maintenance Questions
Why do I need to drain my boiling chamber (AKA evaporator tank)?
During the distillation process, raw source water enters the boiling chamber. The water is boiled and turned to steam which will become the distilled water. Impurities, chemicals, dissolved minerals, and dead bacteria, are left behind in the boiling water. Over time the concentration of these impurities will build up and cause foaming. If the foaming is severe enough, it will rise and spill into your distilled water reducing its quality. Draining the boiling chamber minimizes foaming and maintains the best purity of your distilled water.
How often should I drain the boiling chamber (aka evaporator tank)?
David the Durastill Engineer said, "Starting out, you should drain your evaporator tank once a week for average usage and water conditions. If your distiller is running all day or if you have a high amount of impurities in your water or you have other special needs you should drain more often if not daily."
The Durastill owners manual actually recommends draining your boiling chamber after every 20 gallons of water you distill. To maximize the life of your distiller we recommend you drain the boiling chamber once a week. But for most people it might not be practical to drain the boiling chamber every week, so we recommend you drain it at least once a month.
How do I know when to clean my distiller?
You should take the lid off and inspect the boiling chamber once a month. You may notice a build up of scale and deposit forming on the walls and heating element. These deposits are the impurities the distiller has removed from your drinking water. If they are allowed to build up, the efficiency of the heating elements is reduced and the corrosion resistance of the stainless steel is diminished. Ultimate TIP: A good rule of thumb is when the scale is about the thickness of a credit card it is time to clean your distiller!
Why should I use Still Sweet?
Durastill Still Sweet is made especially for Durastill Water Distillers! Still Sweet makes flushing or draining your boiling chamber easier because the mineral deposits and scale remains soft (kind of like putty instead of like sand). The tagline is "Keeps Minerals In Solution to Minimize Scaling." It prevents minerals and scale from becoming hard like a rock and sticking to the inside of the boiling chamber including the walls, heating element, float and other components. This is NOT A CLEANER. Still Sweet is basically a food grade water softener made of salts that stays in your boiling chamber while it operates.
Still Sweet is made with two simple ingredients (these are 2 types of salts): Sodium Hexametaphosphate, Sodium Tripolyphosphate. It does NOT distill across with the water. The Still Sweet remains in the boiling chamber until it is drained out (hopefully every month when you drain it). Don't forget to add a new scoop of Still Sweet to the first new batch of water added after you drain the boiling chamber. This product makes draining your boiling chamber easy and extends the life of your distiller! For optimal performance we recommend using factory supplied Still Sweet for Durastill Water Distillers.
How do you clean the outside of your Durastill Water Distiller?
Do you recommend cleaning a water distiller with vinegar?
Instead of using Durastill Still-Clean you can use Distilled White Vinegar. Costco has a great deal on white vinegar. I have cleaned my distiller with both white distilled vinegar and Still-Clean, but Still Clean works much better at dissolving and descaling the minerals and build-up. Now I only use still clean, but vinegar is an option if you prefer it.
What is included in the Maintenance Package?
-1 pound bottle of Still Clean to clean your boiling chamber (this should last about 3-5 years depending on how dirty your source water is)
- 1 pound bottle of Still Sweet to soften the water in your boiling chamber (this salt keeps scale and minerals in a puddy like state, makes it really easy to drain your boiling tank every month)
- 1 Pre-Filter
- 1 Post-Filter
What do I need to do after I buy the maintenance package?
Your still clean and still sweet should last several years. Now you just need to buy new filters about every 6-12 months
Note: Everybody's water is different. These are general guidelines to help you get started to drinking the best possible water. After you are familiar with the operation of the distiller and your source water conditions, you can make adjustments to the procedures.