How to Make a Solar Still

Make your own distilled water and other liquids using these DIY solar still plans.

| September 17, 2012

With high energy costs and a warming planet that needs cleaner fuel sources, the time has never been better to get involved with solar energy. DIY Solar Projects (Creative Publishing International, 2011) by Eric Smith contains how-to instructions for many achievable, clever projects you can make and install in order to create your own solar lifestyle. Hundreds of people are doing it, and you can too. The following excerpt is taken from the chapter, “Solar Still.” 

You can purchase this book from the MOTHER EARTH NEWS store: DIY Solar Projects.

Make Your Own Distilled Water

Make your own distilled water from stream or lake water, salt water, or even brackish, dirty water, using these DIY Solar Still Plans. With just a few basic building materials, a sheet of glass and some sunshine, you can purify your own water at no cost and with minimal effort.

Distilled water is not just for drinking, and it’s always worth keeping a few gallons of it on hand. Clean water free of chemicals and minerals has a number of valuable uses:

• Always refill the lead-acid batteries used for solar energy systems or automobiles with distilled water

• Water delicate plants like orchids with distilled water; minerals and additives like fluoride or chlorine that are present in most tap water can harm plants

11/26/2016 5:11:06 PM

Great read! Thanks for sharing. I love how detailed and clear the instructions are. I'd just like to highlight though that there are quite a few things that people should bear in mind when using solar distillers in general as there might be some benefits to it, there's also some downside to this device. My article on solar water distillation will explore more on that point. I'd love to share it to anyone interested in trying this one out. You can check it out here:

4/4/2016 8:37:28 PM

I was curious as to how much distilled water these devices can practically produce? Does anybody have any examples of how much their system produces how big the device was and where they live or how much sunlight they receive at their location?

10/27/2015 7:18:40 AM

Is this just for desalination? I feel really like a nube here--but I must ask: Does this purify the water from antigens, bacteria, viruses, or parasites? Or are these not specific problems with salt water? So, to be clear: With salt water, the only problem is too much salt, and the antigens, bacteria, viruses, and parasites are not a problem in this situation?

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