DIY Water Distiller - For Purification and Desalination


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Categories: DIY

Purchasing a water distiller from the store or online can be pricey. But, made correctly, a homemade water distiller is just as dependable as a store-bought one. Build your own with a good set of instructions and a few easy-to-find materials.

Learn how to make this DIY water distiller. When it comes to survival in the event of a major natural disaster, it will be imperative that you find a source of drinking water that is safe for you and your family. Even if your household water comes from a well, you will need to have a way of purifying it in the in case of a major flood contaminates the well. This DIY Water Distiller will work equally well for cleaning and removing the salt from the water if that is all you have around.


This Do It Yourself project came from the writers at Survival Resources and was created to make it easy for most anyone to build an emergency water purification system. The system is extremely portable and can be easily set up to remove most any contaminants that may have entered the well on your property. It also can be used as part of your emergency survival gear and help you to remove salt or other nasty stuff in the water before you can use it for your family to drink.

The process of distilling water is called Thermo-Distillation, which means by heat. It removes the broadest range of contaminates of any water purifier, to include viruses, bacteria, cysts, and heavy metals. Real handy in an area like New Orleans, Louisiana, when they had their water badly contaminated. It is also my understanding that distillation can remove some radioactive materials (radionuclides), but not all. However, my thought is that even though you have removed some from the water, they do not disappear. Instead, they accumulate in the distiller and you will have to deal with them, and they are now in a concentrated form. How do you handle what is basically radioactive waste? I'm not sure, but this was not my reason for building a water distiller. 

The concept of the Themo-Distillation is pretty simple. You place contaminated or salt water in a pressure cooking device. As the water boils, it creates steam. The steam travels through a tube to a coil that is placed in cold water. As the steam enters the coils, it condenses back to water that is now pure distilled water. Maybe an over simplification, but that's how it works.

"I have seen various types of home-brew distillers in various articles and videos, but I had a few prerequisites for the distiller I wanted to build. I wanted it to be built as cheaply as possible using available materials and a little shop skill. I wanted it to be sturdy so it could be moved around and stored and not have it break apart. I wanted to be able to set it up easily for use, and then taken down easily for storage. Lastly, I wanted the pieces stack-able so it could be easily stored." He writes

He follows by saying "I have seen various types of home-brew distillers in various articles and videos, but I had a few prerequisites for the distiller I wanted to build. I wanted it to be built as cheaply as possible using available materials and a little shop skill. I wanted it to be sturdy so it could be moved around and stored and not have it break apart. I wanted to be able to set it up easily for use, and then taken down easily for storage. Lastly, I wanted the pieces stack-able so it could be easily stored."

He chose 3/8" O.D. Copper Coil for refrigeration because it was in a coil, which would make it easier to reconfigure the coils into a smaller coil when the time came. The coil provided him with twenty feet in length, which was felt should be more than adequate.

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