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Old 06-05-2013, 03:54 PM   #1
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Batteries and distilled water....

I just was reading a post where everyone was saying to add distilled water to the batteries to top off the electrolyte. Rarely if ever have I added distilled water. I have a RO system and just use it.

Any reason not to continue using RO water?

I know in the old days before consumer RO units were available distilled was the way to go.
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Old 06-05-2013, 04:03 PM   #2
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I just was reading a post where everyone was saying to add distilled water to the batteries to top off the electrolyte. Rarely if ever have I added distilled water. I have a RO system and just use it.

Any reason not to continue using RO water?

I know in the old days before consumer RO units were available distilled was the way to go.
The reason for using Distilled Water is so you do not add any minerals to the cells which will result in shortened battery life. Use whatever you are comfortable with. A gallon of Distilled Water will last me probably two years or more, and the cost? Cheap...
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Old 06-05-2013, 04:24 PM   #3
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Your RO system probably removes a large amount of the impurities that might harm a battery. Distilled is even better, since there are no metal ions at all, but RO is pretty darn good too. And distilled water is lot more widely available than RO, so the common advice will likely remain distilled rather than RO. Not may flks would go buy an RO system just to top up batteries, but a gallon of distilled is cheap and easy to get.
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Old 06-05-2013, 04:31 PM   #4
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Any reason not to continue using RO water?
Do you have a TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) meter to test your RO water and tell you when it's time to change the filters and membrane? If you do and your TDS is really low, like near zero, I'd use RO.

If you don't have one, your RO system will likely remove about 90% of the solids in the water. This is pretty good, but if you start off with water that has a high degree of dissolved solids (like our well water) then we're just getting the water down to a "normal" range.

In my experience most residential water supplies have TDS in the 150-300 range.

Note, the amount of solids will be impacted by TDS "creep" if you have a pressure tank. That is, the membrane isn't as efficient when the pressure tank gets near incoming pressure. Another way to say it is if you drain your pressure tank and take the low-volume RO water, that water will be much more TDS free.

I have RO water available and don't use it... Our TDS is really high pre-RO... Like near 1000.
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Old 06-05-2013, 04:45 PM   #5
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I do have a TDS meter and it averages about 11. This is a small unit for drinking water only supplied by city water.

So good quality RO water is available everyday while distilled is just another thing to buy and store.

I couldnt think of any compelling reason not to use RO water. Just threw the question to the group to see if I'd missed something.

Agreed distilled is best but good RO is darn close
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Old 06-05-2013, 09:35 PM   #6
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Most use distilled water because it is so readily available. The best choice is de-ionized water. That is what owners of electric fork trucks use in their $4,000 batteries.
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Old 06-06-2013, 08:58 AM   #7
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I look at it like this . . . My car would run on discarded oil I got for free from someone that changed their oil, and gave me the used oil, which of course, had contaminates in it, but again, my car would run fine on it.

So, while it works, the longevity of the car would be greatly compromised.

The same is true of using non zero TDS quality water, available for about a buck a gallon everywhere.


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Old 06-06-2013, 09:53 AM   #8
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11 is a pretty low TDS. It's still not as good as distilled, but it's low enough that I'm sure it'll work just fine.

Our post-RO water has a TDS of about 100... So you can't just have a blanket rule here... :-)
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Old 06-06-2013, 10:37 AM   #9
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As most have suggested, distilled water, available @ WallyWorld cheap. JMHO, good luck, just check them monthly.
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Old 06-06-2013, 01:08 PM   #10
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Might as well toss this back into the discussion...
Mineral oil in batteries.
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Old 06-06-2013, 01:31 PM   #11
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Might as well toss this back into the discussion...
Mineral oil in batteries.
I put 4 oz of mineral oil in each cell of our Interstate U-2200's in 2004, here are two pictures I took of them in 2007. They had never been cleaned during that time. They lasted one month short of 10 years and actually were still in pretty good shape but we were headed out on a trip and I didn't want trouble on the road.
For the worry warts: the red "gas" can to the right is what I carry distilled water in.
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