How to Build a Home Water Distiller

If you’re interested in living off the grid or "greening" your home, consider building a home water still. These stills negate the need to purchase drinking water by purifying rain or tap water through solar power. If your tap water contains a lot of minerals or you live in a rainy area, a water distiller can save you hundreds of dollars a year in drinking water. In addition, these stills are very easy to make.

Distill water at home with solar energy.

Step 1

Turn your salad bowl upside down over your water cooler.  The bowl should sit easily on the rim of the water cooler without slipping down inside.

Bowls with a wide lip around the edge work best. 

Step 2

Measure around the inside edge of your bowl.  Cut a piece of rubber tubing to match this length with your utility knife.

Trim the ends to 45-degree angles.  Make sure one angle points up and one points down.

Bend the tubing into a circle; the angles should match up and create a flush joint. 

Step 3

Run a bead of silicone caulk around the inner edge of your bowl.  Press the rubber tubing into place along the bead, making sure the angled ends meet in a flush joint.

Let the caulk cure overnight. 

Step 4

Fill a mason jar with tap or rain water and set it down in the center of your water cooler.  Fit the bowl into place on top of the cooler and set the cooler in a sunny place.

The sun will evaporate the water from the mason jar.  The water will condense against the inside of the bowl and run down the inside of the water cooler.

After a few hours, the mason jar should be empty except for any impurities that are left. 

Things You Will Need

  • 5-gallon water cooler with spigot
  • Clear plastic salad bowl
  • ½-inch-thick rubber tubing
  • Utility knife
  • Silicone caulk
  • Mason jar
  • Contaminated water


  • Don’t try to distill water that has liquid chemical contaminants. The chemicals will be carried with the evaporating water into the water reservoir.

Photo Credits

  • water splash - bottle and water in a moment image by Stasys Eidiejus from Fotolia.com