I found some very good ideas for a DIY solar water distiller on the video linked below. The problem is the bulk of the video turned into a long political rant and so I’m not posting the video here. Instead, I’ll summarize the key ideas: 1. You can get glass topped patio coffee tables for free or very cheap on Craig’s List (and at yard sales). The glass is used on top of the distiller, and the table serves as a base.
2. He recommends a double tilt design that slopes to the south and west to maximize production in the heat of the day. (Estimated 20% gain.) 3. Seal the unit carefully so water can’t evaporate. 4. The actual value of the solar water distiller is higher than one might initially think unless you consider the capitalization rate. That’s it.
“After purchasing a glass top patio set on Craig’s List, I discovered a way to make it pay for itself, many times each year, as a solar water distiller. It sits in the yard, seldom used, but if I use it every day, then the money spent is well worth what I paid!
If I ever need to use it as a table, I can take the glass top off the solar distiller and set the table, eat and then return it to it’s regular task of producing a little over one gallon of distilled water, each day, a value of about $350 each year and that makes the unit worth $3,500 at a 10% capitalization rate!
You may have seen a solar water distiller before, but my designs are different. I design them and if I build them, I learn what’s wrong with the design. It is highly recommended that you begin making solar water distillers and make friends with others who also build them, so you can learn from each other. The public wants these, but they don’t want glass top tables, so exploit the opportunities here and create a little value at your house!”
What’s your favorite solar water distiller design? A quick look through google turned up dozens of options. I think if you spent a day or so studying the various designs you could make a very efficient solar water distiller. You probably don’t even need a book if you have basic building skills and some tools.