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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi All,

As you likely know, you should only use distilled water to top up the coolant level in the radiator ... or if you are doing a full system flush, only use distilled water to mix with your preferred coolant.

So, I had an experience in my garage that I think many will find interesting ...

I had purchased a few gallons of distilled water at the grocery store some time back and was storing the bottles on a shelf in the garage. I noticed a large puddle of water on the floor a few days ago and discovered that one of the distilled water bottles had developed a crack in the thin plastic bottle. Water had leaked out. OK, no big deal. But then I notice three other bottles had developed similar cracks but the crack was higher up on the bottle so they were not leaking. My hypothesis is that storing the bottles in the garage, hot summer days, cool winter evenings ... over a the several months the bottles were in the garage they were subject to variance in atmospheric pressure. I just guessing here, but perhaps the pressure variance subjected the very thin plastic bottle to a small bit of flexing ... the bottle cap was sealed. Perhaps this flexing weakened the plastic. As I am saying ... just guessing here. So, I cracked the cap a bit to equalize the pressure inside the bottle to outside. I am going to watch closely to see if the water bottles hold up.

Of course, I could have transferred the distilled water to a more robust container ... but then I would have to buy the container.

My tip to pass on ... if you have distilled water in any of those flimsy plastic gallon bottles, there is no harm of cracking the cap to equalize the pressure.

Steve
 

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Was this over a period of months or years, Steve? Bottled water shouldn't be kept longer than a year or consumed past its expiration date.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Was this over a period of months or years, Steve? Bottled water shouldn't be kept longer than a year or consumed past its expiration date.
something like 18 months or so I certainly never intended to consume it I was only keeping it around to top up the radiators on the cars should it be necessary. I don’t think there’s any problem with shelflife of distilled water if all you intend to do is top off the coolant in the radiator.

Steve
 

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Was this over a period of months or years, Steve? Bottled water shouldn't be kept longer than a year or consumed past its expiration date.
For coolant use I don’t see why you can’t keep your water almost indefinitely. The reason for distilled water is to use water without salts and I don’t see how the water can be contaminated while being on the shelf. Expiration dates for drinking water is related to bacterial growth which have no effect for coolant use.
 

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I had purchased a few gallons of distilled water at the grocery store some time back and was storing the bottles on a shelf in the garage. I noticed a large puddle of water on the floor a few days ago and discovered that one of the distilled water bottles had developed a crack in the thin plastic bottle. Water had leaked out. OK, no big deal.
The same thing happened to me years ago. I spoke to my wife about it (she's a chemical engineer that used to work in distillation processes in biopharmaceutical manufacturing) and she told me distilled water is actually quite corrosive and should not be used as drinking water. It is acidic and because it doesn't have any dissolved minerals in it therefore it will dissolve things it comes into contact with.

Every since then I have just bought it as needed and not tried to keep it on the shelf.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Distilled water is the best solution and is very inexpensive. You can pick up a gallon of distilled water at your local grocery store. Typically, the water comes in flimsy plastic "milk" jug style plastic bottles and that is what I found after it was sitting on the shelf for while began to leak. Maybe it was not variance in atmospheric pressure flexing plastic ... maybe it was.

Anyway ... bottled water if properly packaged under sanitary conditions, does not have an expiration date. The USFDA does not require a shelf life and many people get bottled water for tornado shelters and what not ... it will last indefinitely. Certainly, distilled water falls into that category.

I think it is safe to say that if you are storing purified water for consumption, you want to ensure that the container does not allow air in, and does not leach chemical contaminants into the water. I would think you could keep that water for emergency use for years. Many years ... and be safe. If the water is being stored to top up batteries or cooling systems, you do not have to worry as much about the container itself.

In thinking about this, my thought is to store the distilled water in empty bleach containers. They are made of sturdier plastic and are very unlikely to spring a leak. That is my plan now.

Steve
 

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ever noticed when mixing distilled water and coolant that the mixture feels warm to touch ?

similar to mixing pool acid with water, the bucket goes warm



i have had a bottle for at least a couple of years and had no problem ... could be just the brand and cheap plastic used
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
ever noticed when mixing distilled water and coolant that the mixture feels warm to touch ?

similar to mixing pool acid with water, the bucket goes warm



i have had a bottle for at least a couple of years and had no problem ... could be just the brand and cheap plastic used
I never have noticed that. But, I would bet the same might happen if you mixed tap water instead of distilled water.

But, I agree with you that it is more likely the cheap plastic bottle that the water came in. It is curious why no leaks for several months and then it springs one. Some one suggested to me that if I re-use a heavier duty plastic bottle, e.g., a bleach bottle, the problem is solved.

Steve
 

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I never have noticed that. But, I would bet the same might happen if you mixed tap water instead of distilled water.
thats one bet you would probably win LoL

didnt think that its most probably the coolant that is the reactive chemical
 

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What caused your plastic bottles to crack was sunlight, not the water or change in pressure. Sunlight degrades all plastics over time. How fast depends on the intensity of the light, the type of plastic and the amount of protective additives it has. Because the water packagers are trying to save as much money as possible with their low-margin product they use the thinnest, cheapest plastic possible with very little light-protective additives such as titanium dioxide. If you had kept those bottles in the dark they probably would have been fine for years. And I see you live in Arizona, another clue for light degradation.

Unless kept in the dark even those bleach bottles will become brittle in time, although it will take longer.
 

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An interesting article on antifreeze.
In it, Chrysler states that it uses "highly purified water in every OEM coolant fill".
 

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I only use San Pelligrino in mine.....
 
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
What caused your plastic bottles to crack was sunlight, not the water or change in pressure. Sunlight degrades all plastics over time. How fast depends on the intensity of the light, the type of plastic and the amount of protective additives it has. Because the water packagers are trying to save as much money as possible with their low-margin product they use the thinnest, cheapest plastic possible with very little light-protective additives such as titanium dioxide. If you had kept those bottles in the dark they probably would have been fine for years. And I see you live in Arizona, another clue for light degradation.

Unless kept in the dark even those bleach bottles will become brittle in time, although it will take longer.
Good point. I should have thought of that.

Steve
 

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An interesting article on antifreeze.
In it, Chrysler states that it uses "highly purified water in every OEM coolant fill".
Ah, that's interesting. There is a big difference between purified water and distilled water.
Did I miss a link to the article?

Should we be curious about the purity of the water consumed at FCA HQ?
 

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Did I miss a link to the article?

Should we be curious about the purity of the water consumed at FCA HQ?
Lol, no. I didn't see a link either. I was just going by "Chrysler states that it uses..."
Frankly I think this is one of those hair-splitting issues. The coolant system can't possibly be as sensitive as all that when topped up. As long as the minerals have been removed distilled or purified should be fine. Filtered water on the other hand does not usually remove minerals.

"Purified" is a fuzzy term though, and can mean a lot of different things. I think what to look for is de-mineralized water, however that is done.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I'm going to go with wingler's suggestion and use only San Pellegrino water ... for everything. Washing the car and especially rinsing. It is a little known fact that Italian motor cars have paint which is water soluble except with San Pellegrino water. Hence, the reluctance of knowledgeable owners of Italian cars to drive in the rain. Washing and rinsing with this bubbly water will prevent the paint from rinsing away (with time). And ... never ever substitute Perrier water as it comes from France and it will cause irreparable harm to the paint.

Within the cooling system ... the engineers at Alfa have specifically designed the cooling system to be optimal when filled with a 50/50 mixture of San Pellegrino and Limoncello. Besides enhancing the performance of the cooling system, it also makes a refreshing warm beverage on those cold winter evenings when you are fighting a cold.

Steve
 

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Lol, no. I didn't see a link either. I was just going by "Chrysler states that it uses..."
Frankly I think this is one of those hair-splitting issues. The coolant system can't possibly be as sensitive as all that when topped up. As long as the minerals have been removed distilled or purified should be fine. Filtered water on the other hand does not usually remove minerals.

"Purified" is a fuzzy term though, and can mean a lot of different things. I think what to look for is de-mineralized water, however that is done.
De-mineralized water is also a fuzzy term. Is softened water (calcifying minerals removed) good enough? Is reverse osmosis water good enough (all minerals and other contaminants reduced by a factor of 50 or so)? Is single pass flash distilled water good enough (somewhat worse than R.O. water)? Is fractionating column distilled water necessary? What are you getting when you buy distilled water anyway? (FYI: flash distilled water "splashes" allowing some contaminated water to get through--but it is a fast, inexpensive process; fractionating column distillation extracts only stuff with the boiling temp of water, so volatile contamination is removed)

There is even mono-crystalline freeze water (when water freezes into a single crystal it expels minerals), but I'm not sure it is commercially available. Similar in purity and energy cost to R.O. water according to lab analysis.

Oh, there is also "ultra pure" water, which is used by the electronics industry which has nothing but H2O in it for practical purposes.

To be meaningful and useful some kind of spec such as less than X PPB Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) content and or less than Y PPB of some specific contaminant type is needed.
 
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