Just a small word of caution on distilled vs. tap water in your steamer:
Some of the new steamers (the non-boiler type, instant steam - like the
Steam Dragon) REQUIRE distilled water. The minerals in tap water can
damage internal components on these units pretty quickly.
But for standard boiler type steamers (like our Reimers G260 JR Steamer)
tap water is recommended by the manufacturer. Here’s why.
For safety reasons, ASME Code mandates the use of a “low water cut-off” in
boiler type steamers. This low water cut-off is a probe that extends
inside the boiler tank. It sends a small electrical charge through the
water that goes to the casing and back to ground. In the event that the
water level drops below the heating element, the probe will shut the
Distilled water is very pure and has high resistivity. Current from the
low water cut-off probe will not travel through distilled water very well
– if at all. As a result, the steamer may not be able to turn on because
the probe thinks there is no water in the tank.
The minerals in tap water allow the current to pass through the water.
All you need to do to prevent unwanted calcium/mineral buildup is to “blow
down” (clean out) the steamer once a week or at least once a month.
If you live in an area with particularly hard water, you might want to try
using spring water instead of distilled water. Hard water is usually
localized and the spring water you buy in the store is most likely from
out of state and will have less calcium and minerals than your local
If your steamer does not have a low water cut-off it is probably an older
unit, or it is not an ASME certified unit which means it can be red-tagged
by any fire marshalls who happen to check. As we are all aware, both OSHA
and fire marshalls are beginning to target the jewelry industry. If you
are in the market for a new steamer, be sure it is fully compliant with
ASME safety codes before you buy.
GESSWEIN CO INC USA
Tech Support: 1-800-544-2043, ext 287 (for me)