Distilled Water is the King of Water Cooling

Posted: January 2, 2012 in Uncategorized

While I’m not reviewing any particular product here, the talk of fluids and additives and dyes are always a talking point.  I figured I’d just share my own personal experiences and opinions on the topic.


My first experience, I followed directions and also desired to have “color” in my fluid. I chose to use Swiftech Hydrx which is recommend by Swiftech and produces a nice UV green.  I eventually wanted more and started experimenting with other colors and dyes as well.

This is how it looked at Day 1 after changing the fluid out.  While I was happy with the looks, I noticed that this bright “UV” effect was mostly gone within about 3 weeks to a month of use and I also noticed staining of the tubes particularly with the blue and red dyes.  I went along with this for several months to a year and pretty much had a 2-3 month must flush and clean my blocks out routine.  The Hydrx didn’t have any problem with sediment dropping out but the red and blue dyes both left little chunks of blue and red in my blocks that required regular maintenance and cleaning.

Over time, the 2 weeks of color “Bling” just wasn’t worth the maintenance for me…  Looking back now I realize that most “Dyes” are actually based on a solid powder solution.  If you think back to high school chemistry, you might recall the “Centrifuge” in which tubes are rotated at a high speed to make those solids precipitate and collect in the bottom of the tube.  Well, I think your average water cooling loop is not all that different, there are twists and turns and areas where velocities are low that creates that environment where those solids stop moving and collect.  Bottom line, UV reaction is temporary and any suspended solids will eventually stop and build up somewhere. This is responsible for many “What is this GUNK in my loop forum discussions”.

Hydrx generally worked better for me than any of the dyes or other solutions, but it also did loose some UV capabilities over time and did stain the tubing a minor amount.  Fortunately at least for me, it didn’t have any issues with sedimentation or plugging up stuff.  Despite the slight staining, increased maintenance, and toxicity, I like Hydrx as a corrosion blocker.  It is very simple, economical, and produces a nice UV green without plugging stuff up.

I continued with this mix of products for a while..

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  1. artichoke says:

    Automatic moderation software? Except for the programs that look for dirty words, I’ve never seen that before! Are we beta testers? 😉

    • Martinm210 says:

      My site is built around and hosted by wordpress and this is just the standard commenting function present in all wordpress sites. It does allow me to change some settings and I do have a filter on language, but otherwise I’ve left it pretty open. So if anything is done wrong, it’s more of a user error on my part..:)

  2. Martinm210 says:

    Since there is some interest in corrosion blocker options AND because ethelyne glycol is highly toxic, I’m going to look into trying one of the non-toxic options out there for yet another long term test. It’s going to take a while, but I’d be open to trying something for the sake of reporting back some additional experiences.

  3. HybridCore says:

    IMO Mayhem’s is the best so far. I have most of Overclock.net on my side. 😀

  4. Rockworth says:

    For anyone interested in a non-toxic corrosion inhibitor, google OptiTemp’s OptiShield. I have been using it for around 6 months right now and couldn’t be happier. This particular inhibitor is made specifically for mixed-metal loops, which is exactly what I’m currently running. I am running a nickel-plated copper CPU block with an aluminum radiator. It is even available with a biocide.

    Check out http://optitemp.com/optishield.php for more info.

    And no, I do not work for OptiTemp; nor am I related to anyone who does.

    • paulkon says:

      Did you buy the 1 pint bottle of OptiShield? do you know where I could find a smaller bottle, similar to the PT Nuke bottle size? Thanks!

      • Martinm210 says:

        No, but you can buy “IandH Deadwater” from frozencpu which is basically the same thing (copper sulfate). I recently used some that came with an XSPC kit, looks the same and the little bottle should last forever at only one drop per liter.. 🙂

        • paulkon says:

          Thanks Martin! Your extensive reviews are invaluable as I prepare for my first water cooling build 🙂

  5. Tdot says:

    Hey Martin, New to watercooling definitely loving what you posted, I’m considering going to a setup of:

    EK acetal (guessing it’s acetal with copper bottom) Cpu block
    Alpha cool Nexxxos monsta 360 radiator
    EK D5 X RES 140 with pump top
    D5 Pump
    Bitspower compression fitting or maybe koolance quick disconnect (nickel?)

    going with distilled water + IandH Deadwater

    Thoughts? Anything I should watch out for? corrosion or any type of material i have to be aware of in these parts? Acetal / brass from compression fittings maybe? or… nickel plateing any of those in conjunction with distilled water + IandH deadwater

    With distilled water, are bottles from grocery store fine? Or should I worry about getting some lab grade lol?

    • Martinm210 says:

      Cheap grocery store distilled should work just fine. Nickel plated blocks I would be a little cautious, but Fittings are fine. I have seen a few examples where some plating has failed but it’s pretty rare and doesn’t usually cause any problems. As long as the blocks are bare copper, distilled plus a biocide is a great choice.

  6. Hi, i read your blog occasionally and i own a similar one and i was just wondering if you
    get a lot of spam comments? If so how do you protect against it,
    any plugin or anything you can advise? I get so much lately it’s driving me mad
    so any support is very much appreciated.

  7. lahwf says:

    Nickel plating should be fine…. Most users throw in kill coils and other crap. If you are going to use PT Nuke, get the clear one. It is safe for plating. Silver is what destroys nickel plating overtime.
    In my loop, I only use brass & copper along with some nickel plated brass/copper.

  8. I feel like an old man on his porch saying, why are breasts at their fullest and firmest when women are pregnant and lactating, when they’re effectively off the market? Why the X in games & gears Xmas? It’s freaking darts Give me a break.

  9. I’ve been running deer Park distilled (states on label safe for small appliance and is less than $1/gal) and a silver kill coil for almost 4mo and no issues with my loop at all. Glad to see distilled truly is the easiest of “coolants” to use.