Do It Yourself Solar Evaporators, Solar Desalinators, Purifiers and Stills

Do It Yourself DIY solar desalination or purification system

Household greywater and brackish well water purification

Plans available

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Before you start a large water purifier project, make a small solar still and collect at least a one liter of water. Get your water tested before you proceed and see what standard your water is. Most areas have university extension departments and county water districts these people will help you determine your recovered water quality.

Once you have completed the water quality analysis and determined the problems with your household water, search Water for a water filter that purifies your water. There are many water filters available that remove or reduce chlorine taste and odor, mercury, zinc, lead, particulate's, sediment, herbicides, and pesticides. Our goal is to make your water safe to drink, cook with, bathe in, and play in.


Test your water before you produce water for your family.

How Homeowners on Well Water Use Calcite (Crushed Marble) to Neutralize Corrosive Well Water
This will work with distilled water and makes the water taste better.


Crushed marble, also known generically as calcite, is a naturally occurring calcium carbonate media that is crushed and screened. It can be used inexpensively to neutralize acidic or low pH waters to a neutral, less corrosive condition. View Article go to Clean Water Store 


calcite filter media

Odors and Gasses

Most water contains some gas and has odor. Gas and odors are easy to reduce simply by spraying the water. If the water is warm more gasses and orders will be released.

Vented gas tanks: a tank that preheated feed water is sprayed into and is vented to reduce odors and gases from water. This should be done prior to evaporation.



Two Basic Designs of Solar Evaporators, for the Purification and Desalination of Water

Both designs rely on heat from the sun to heat a mass of water. The heated water releases water vapor, which condensates on the glass or plastic cover and runs into a trough or collection pan. This type of solar still makes pure water and is not vary expensive.


The Problem:

No manufacture of solar evaporators that I can find has NSF certifications, tested for purity and conformity to existing US (EPA) standards for drinking water quality. These certifications are expensive, and the current design and operational methods for solar evaporators has low production as to quantities of distilled water produced under any sun conditions. This low production of the box evaporator has kept this technology from becoming popular.


A solution:

For home use, or in remote areas to increase water production from your box evaporator, use hose water heating to preheat the water to be evaporated: feed water as the water is known. Feed water heats in a hose much faster than the mass of water in the evaporator. Feed water can be recirculated through the evaporator and the agitation of the evaporator water increases the release of water vapor.

A 50 ft. hose holds about a gallon of water. Fortunately hose is inexpensive and readily available.

How Hot, How Clear?

Solar Survey Water Still Use

Temperatures above 85 degrees F and clear sunny skies are the lower temperatures that this type of system work well in. Black hose is best to preheat feed water although in extreme circumstances; any garden hose or PVC pipe will work. You should make a solar box for your hose if possible; this will increase the hose heat. The more hose the better; the volume of hottest water generates the greatest amount of water vapor and purified water.


For there to be noticeable improvement in output production of distilled water from a box evaporator a minimum feed water temperature of 150 degrees F is required. With a constant 200 degrees F moving water you will evaporate at least 70% of your evaporative water. Our lab test of 203 - 206 degree water constantly moving actually evaporated 82% of the evaporator water. Ideally 180-190 degrees is preferable for the best quality of water.

Building a box evaporator is easy; it can be made from a variety of materials. Plywood and plastic food grade polyethylene sheeting are readily available and inexpensive. Polyethylene is polyethylene, plastic is food grade polyethylene is polyethylene. Glass may be used if you are making a flat cover box evaporator. Curved or dome shaped covers offer more surface for condensation a advantage with the preheated method.

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are emitted as gases from certain solids or liquids. VOCs include a variety of chemicals, some of which may have short- and long-term adverse health effects.Volatile organic compounds may have a variety of harmful health effects. At high levels of exposure, many VOCs can cause central nervous system depression (drowsiness, stupor). All can be irritating upon contact with the skin, or to the mucous membranes if inhaled.

The most effective method for preventing VOC contamination is to ensure that these compounds are not used or disposed of near wells or surface water supplies. Protecting your water source is the most effective method to eliminate exposure to these chemicals. Be sure that your well is constructed properly and is protected to prevent surface water from moving down the well casing into your drinking water supply.

Vented gas tanks: a tank that preheated feed water is sprayed into and is vented to remove odors and gases from water. This should be done prior to evaporation.

Carbon filtration can be used too remove VOC's; water should be filtered after evaporation.

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Solar hot water heaters from cans and bottles:




According to the Internet, this Chinese farmer is getting hot shower water from this roof of beer bottles and plastic tubing. This version of the story was seen on Ananova (sent in by reader Arnaud Betremieux). The account says: "I invented this for my mother. I wanted her to shower comfortably," says Ma Yanjun, of Qiqiao village, Shaanxi province. Ma's invention features 66 beer bottles attached to a board. The bottles are connected to each other [with plastic tubing] so that water flows through them. Sunlight heats the water as is passes slowly through the bottles before flowing into the bathroom as hot water, reports China Economy Network. Ma says it provides enough hot water for all three members of his family to have a shower every day.And more than 10 families in the village have already followed suit and installed their own versions of Ma's invention."