Introduction: DIY Atmospheric Drinking Water Generator

Picture of DIY Atmospheric Drinking Water Generator

Atmospheric Water Generator

I can't drink the water supplied from our city,  and the atmospheric Water generators out there cost more than many can afford.  So I made one for a little over $300.  That is one sixth the price of a lowest costing unit sold online.

1 - New Dehumidifier (this brand is Kolin) $225
1 - New Extreme Water Filter system (hardware or Home shops) $125 in the US.
1 - 32" piece of clear vinyl tubing (found at Aquarium shops) $3
1 - Servo Voltage Regulator (in case of power fluctuations) $75
2 - 4"X9" 3M scrubber pads $2
1 - Zip tie 10cents

3/4 inch drill with a 1/2 inch drill bit
Philip Screwdriver

1) Remove all covers to your new dehumidifier. Rinse inside out thoroughly with garden hose don't use high pressure it will damage condenser flanges. dry completely before using.
2) Remove knock out for hose on back cover
3) Run clear vinyl tube through knock out and attach to hose connector inside the Dehumidifier (this will by pass the
internal one gallon reservoir )
4) Cut the 3M scrubber pads to fit air filter holder on front of machine for air filter (original filter does not trap a lot
of dust) attach filter holder to front panel.
5) Wash water filter Unit and filter before use. This unit has a 1 micron ceramic filter in top and a five stage filter in
the bottom.
6) Drill hole in top of filter unit and run vinyl tubing into the filter. Be sure not to crimp hose. Place top on filter
7) Plug unit into servo regulator and you are ready to make water from the air.

Turn on machine run for 6-8 hours depending on humidity levels to fill upper filter area.
Allow water to filter into the lower storage area.
Water comes out Neutral at 6.0 pH after filters it will be around 7.4-8.0 depending on what type of mineralization filters you used


Tyronealive (author)2017-10-21

can a small house have a water system that gets its source from an atompheric water generator?

chesterjohn (author)Tyronealive2017-10-21

Any home where there is electricity and medium to high humidity

chesterjohn (author)2017-09-24

If you all want to buy a unit for $800 plus shipping Ecoblue has lowered the price of the base unit. this used to cost around $2000 so they have come down a lot, it will produce only 8 gallons a day with an ambient humidity of at least 50%.

It is basically a dehumidifier with a filter system, a refrigerant cooling system and 5 gallon collection bucket.

that is just for those who can afford the $800 plus shipping for all others follow this instructable and you can have your own for less than that, store water n glass bottles not plastic and it will last longer, no spoilage or moss/algae growth.

MikeB622 (author)2017-09-17

would you mind sharing your current brand/capacity of dehumidifier? I'm thinking of the 30 pint Frigidaire (I'll be running it from a 350w solar setup). THX!!

chesterjohn (author)MikeB6222017-09-19

Any new one works just remember to use the Stephani type ceramic filter and Bereky PF-4 heavy metals filter.

chesterjohn (author)2017-09-05

People, you don't need to purchase a dehumidifier with stainless steel flanges if you plan on using a Berfky PF-4 heavy metals filter between the Stephani filter from Australia and the Berky you will keep out 99.9% of heavy metal contaminates which MAY leach off the condenser in the dehumidifier. Ollies has dehumidifiers for under $200.

BenjaminJ60 (author)2017-09-02

Dude, thank you man. serisouly, thank you... :-)

MehulP19 (author)2016-12-10

hello, is it possible you can provide me info how to make it at home for my self

thank you so much..

chesterjohn (author)MehulP192017-08-09

can you PM me your Email I could email you a copy of instructions to you if you like.

chesterjohn (author)MehulP192017-05-18

the instructable has all the instruction and supplies listed in it on how to make this in you home

TravisH79 (author)2017-08-08

I don't know, man. Luke Skywalker's aunt and uncle were moisture farmers, and look what happened to them!

chesterjohn (author)TravisH792017-08-09


BijuK5 (author)2016-09-21

can somebody show it in a drawing or post a video of how it is made. Iam from India and in my village i find people struggling to get water. I need to sponsor one machine for them. my mail is
please do let me know

chesterjohn (author)2012-10-11

Hi everyone,

I added a Solar trickle charger to an 12V battery and along with a 1500 watt inverter the machine runs great and the battery life is around 4 hours.

With a high humidity as we have been having here lately 99% it produces 6 liters. I let the batter recharge and I am ready to refill every two days.

Larger solar system will work best with a battery cell array.

I am still searching for on/off sensors. I can run it on a timer which will cut power at a set time.

jpatti (author)chesterjohn2016-09-08


Thanks for all of this! Watt is the wattage of the solar trickle charger? Have you considered using an arduino for an on/off switch?

chesterjohn (author)jpatti2016-09-08

it was some thing like 5-6 watts on the solar charger it was for the 12Volt battery and would run for four hours on the 12v car battery.

EmoryC1 (author)2016-06-27

PH is neutral at 7 not 6 or 6.5 half of a 14 point scale. Clean Rain water is not 6 or 6.5 as well, its 5.5. 5-5.5 is normal in the 4's is considered acid rain.

bugs1811 (author)2016-05-24

Just giving you an update. I finally had the time to piece everything together. Everything is going well so far.

Right now, the humidity outdoors is 51% but indoors only about 35%. The machine ran for 8 hours last night then turned it off because I didn't want to run it while I was asleep and I was unsure of how it would handle overfills. I turned it back on about 2 hours ago. So far, in the 10 hours it's ran, I've got about 6 gallons of water. Not too bad. Especially considering it takes about an hour to "warm up" the dehumidifier so that's 2 hours total on just waiting for the condenser to start doing it's job.

The only real issue I had/have is locating the 3M scrubber pads. I decided to replace it with a micro pore aquarium filter. Unfortunately, in doing so - managed to damage a couple of the condenser fins due to the filter thickness (about an inch). I plan on replacing this with a 0.5 cm (0.19 inch) thin. This definitely varies depending upon the type of dehumidifier you choose.

The Zen filter I'm using for this project takes 2 full tanks as waste tanks. So I won't be able to comment on the quality of the water or taste. I'll post another comment in a few days on that. I also have plans to send the water in for quality testing.

All in all; so far things are looking promising.

chesterjohn (author)bugs18112016-06-23

you are on the right track. Keep up the good work

JosephA45 (author)2016-06-23


i saw the fontus on indiegogo for like 350 bucks but it ended before i can buy it.... but i got the impression that this type of machine is basically a limited edition thing you can only get by crowd funding something on kickstarter or something... meanwhile not only can you buy like these types of machines in stores at any moment and they are in full mass production available in stores... but you can also use some kind of dehumidifyer to mimic this technology... which is already quite old and readily available..... FOR ME PERSONALLY I WOULD BE HAPPY IF I COULD BUILD A MACHINE THAT PRODUCES SOMEWHERE AROUND 1 GALLON PER DAY THAT WOULD BE MONUMENTALLY LIFE CHANGING... MEANWHILE IT SEEMS LIKE YOU COULD EASILY GENERATE AT LEAST 2 GALLONS

bugs1811 (author)2016-05-05

Attempting to build one of these. I'm in the USA so unfortunately the 240v units you listed won't work. Also, I'm looking to get a bit more water for daily use. Anywhere between 4 to 6 gallon should be sufficient but more is better. My relative humidity is between 45% and 90% depending upon season. What do you expect my real world harvest would be? 2 to 4 gallon?

I'm having relative success on finding a unit but I've ran into a few problems.
My requirements SEEM relatively simple; but just asking for a little more help.

Looking for:

* Decent sized unit (70 pint / 8 gallon)
* One that has a tube or even better a continuous flow drain port
* Around a $200 budget for this unit (not counting the filter, etc)
* Runs off 110v, and preferably around/under 600 watts (for solar)

What could you recommend?

Other question: I'm looking at getting the Zen water filter but I don't understand how the filters work. I saw an update where you said you're now using 2 different filters.

Will this one work?

Will these filters help with units potentially leaching aluminum from the dehumidifier? The whole point of this project is to have MUCH better quality water than what I'm getting on tap - which shouldn't be too difficult. If I drank straight mud puddle water, I'd be in better shape than the nasty stuff from the faucet.

chesterjohn (author)bugs18112016-05-05

I too am now in the States. Use a new unit. Use a colloidal silver filter like the stephani, the one linked below it is good for bacteria and metals and the Berky PF4 for heavy metal leaching. between the two of these filter you could get 99.9% of all metals out if there is any leaching. The water is great it is like rain water around 6.2-6.0 in pH. the Stephani filter is a good filter and it is micro 1 so most viruses and bacteria wont get through.

bugs1811 (author)chesterjohn2016-05-06

Perfect, thanks for all your help! I also forgot to thank you for the instructable in my last post.

One last question. Will the Stefani + Berkley filter fit the Zen water tank?
More specifically, do all water tanks use a standard so that these filters fit?

I'm just curious because if for any reason they stop selling these particular filters, I'd like to purchase alternatives instead of having to buy a whole new holding/filtering tank.

It would also be great if I could find a filter that raises the PH to around 7.0 - 7.5 in addition to all of the filtering capabilities of the Steffani Colloidal Silver ceramic Candle. Or maybe I can stack the filters somehow?

I suppose as a last resort I could lead the filtered water into an alkalizing type machine.

chesterjohn (author)bugs18112016-05-06

If it is similar to the one in my instructable, yes it will fit. You may need to cut the the threaded end a little shorter (use the nylon rubber gasket that comes with it to seal it off) and put in through the whole then tighten the Berky onto it.

The Zen I believe, if it is like mine, also comes with a mineralizer that sits in the bottom of the storage tank area and allows the water to get minerals added to it. Be careful with that because it can make the water really hard high pH. This is not distilled water it is atmospheric so it is like rain water neutral Ph about 6.2-6.0 that water is neither Acidic or Alkaline so it doesn't leach your bodies minerals.

Remember you can build you own filter system from some plastic water jugs with a little modification and imagination, be sure the bottom has a spout so you can get a glass directly from it.

I Plan on an additional instructable to this one showing how to do make you own filter system using plastic jugs and the two filters.

dehumidifiers remove about 18 gallons of water in a 24 period in any
humidity above 50%. When it is 100% wow it will make more.

bugs1811 (author)chesterjohn2016-05-06

I very much appreciate you taking the time to answer all of my questions. I seriously can't thank you enough. When this is all done, I promise I'll give you a nice tip/donation!

Okay, I lied.. I have more questions. lol. Sorry about bothering you!

What are your thoughts about the filters that comes with the Zen unit?

According to the brochure, the top filter (Micro-Ceramic Filter dome) is the first line of defense filtering out impurities, bacteria, pesticides etc. It has a pore diameter of 0.2 microns. I believe you're replacing it with the Stefani which only has a 1.5 micron filter.

Can you tell me how these two compete? Wouldn't it be better to use the filter it comes with and save myself some money?

Furthermore, the bottom filter the unit comes with is a 6 stage filter which features some pretty impressive things.

You can see the graphic here:

1 = The top candle filter

2 = Silver impregnated granulate activated carbon

3 = Ionic Exchange resin (apparently softens water and removes heavy metals)

4 = Far Inrared balls (Activates water molecules for better health?)

5 = Silica Sand (better PH, which is kind of what I was asking for in last comment)

6 = Mineral Stones (more minerals in your water is always better)

How does that compete with the Berkey filter?

On the water PH and heaviness - I know that there is serious debate about Alkaline water. That aside, my mom has cancer and she's into the higher PH water. I'm also making the assumption that more minerals in her diet would be a good thing as she's not eating hardly anything. What are your thoughts?

chesterjohn (author)bugs18112016-05-06

I used them at first and found they were not the quality I wanted. And the ceramic one would produce a slimy gel type film on the outside and would not allow the water to flow through. I had to wash it three or four times a week. Never did figure out why that was but after I changed the filter to the stephani it stopped. So I chalked it up to the material used to make the filter.

The mineral stones that sits in the bottom will quickly over mineralize the water to 8.0 so don't leave it in as long. It may be the type of stone (they claim it is Germanium? Stone) being used.

The Chinese make lots of claims about their filters but I doubt the charcoal filter has silver in it. Tough the unit sells for $120 to $170 here I bought mine in the Philippines for $15, that's right fifteen dollars.

So what could they really produce for $7 and be that effective?

The Stephani Candle is better it really does have a colloidal silver membrane and is effective not just against bacteria and viruses but metals too. I like to be over cautious when it comes to metals that is why I added the Berky PF4.

I had moss growing in the Chinese filter very quickly that is another reason I stopped using it. Even though you can by replacements I just didn't think it was a good enough filter for my purposes.

Yes alkaline water works to fight cancer it is a proven fact. The run off water from the John Ellis Living Water machine when using ground water makes an Alkaline bi product that many cancer patients use as well as the regular water. some even mix it. I had a John Ellis but it is costly to operate not to mention the system is expensive to start with.

bugs1811 (author)bugs18112016-05-05

I found this unit, but I don't see any clear pictures of the drain tube. I know the bucket is sort of pull-out style. I just don't want a direct drip type unit.. Having that tub is probably a necessity for this project.

chesterjohn (author)bugs18112016-05-05

The unit you linked to has a continuous
flow it is located in he back, you will need to knock out the port
cover in the rear and attach the hose. Run the hose to any filter system
you want but for you protection use metals filter like the Berky PF4 to
filter out heavy metals in case any leach off the dehumidifier

CraigW64 (author)2016-05-04

Would just filtering the water through a Brita Filter be ok? If not why not?

chesterjohn (author)CraigW642016-05-04

you could try it but a brita doesn't filter out any airborne pathogens, bacteria or viruses. And it does not filter out heavy metals that might leach from certain types of dehumidifier.

alberto-a7 (author)2016-01-14

I was writing a comment when the internet went down and have no idea if what I wrote got here so here goes again. I am a doctor who fabricates and works with ozone applications ambiente and with humans. Ozone is probably the most important news of the century because it is changing everything we have known about how to do life in general. Go to the net to discover it better than me writing here. Now.... for those of you who want to apply ozone to water applications. What you need to know is that those aquarium stones will never ever do the job of mixing ozone with water. Yes...I too was led to believe that this was all that was necessary until I read a Bio Chemist Physicist PHD blog on the subject of ozone and water. Here is the scoop.... and this changed my treatment results with patients. WATER HAS NO REASON TO WANT OZONE! It is filled with oxygen atoms and what is ozone??? oxygen atoms! have to change the way of getting this done. One must go micro size in ozone presentation to the water! Yup! that stone just does not cut it!!! Another thing ozone in water lasts minutes....maybe up to 8-10 max if not constantly replaced. So... one needs to create a device that reduces the size of the ozone (micro) and this I did using a 27 gauge injection needle with a special tubing that does not oxidize with 03. Hundreds of perfurations in the small tubing 1/4" got the job done. Now the ozone was circulating like cloud formation instead of droplets. With this change...everything changed. Normal engineers are not aware of this small detail and are fabricationg machines that are excessively inefficient...wasteful of 02 and electricty. My patients began smiling very quickly with this change. So...Ozone is one of the best sterilizers available without serious consequences. It neutralizes drugs...toxic chemicals....minerals etc. BE CAREFUL.... UNDERTSTAND WHAT YOU ARE DOING BEFORE PROCEEDING WITH ITS USE. Correct usage and everything can be marvelous.

chesterjohn (author)alberto-a72016-05-02

Try a John Ellis Water machine as it does create ozone in a chamber then as it cools the ozone separates into water and hydrogen peroxide. Leaving traces of both in the water product and erases the water memory markers. The down side is they are expensive and if you can afford it and can afford to run it they make great healthy water.

chesterjohn (author)alberto-a72016-01-22

the process you speak of was reproduced using the John Ellis Living water Unit. However these units are very expensive and cost a lot to operate. the Living water Distiller actually has a High Intensity UV light in the steam chamber that converts the steam to Ozone and then cools down the Ozone steam and breaks it down toH20 with traces of H2O2 hydrogen peroxide. It is good water also however as stated before it is too expensive for most and too costly to run in order to make distilled water for a person of middle or lower class.

bignail1954 (author)2016-05-02

Most dehumidifiers tend to use less than safe componets some times. did you check that out.? Aluminum fins are ok but you might just drink city water again. I will look into yours in comparison to theirs.


chesterjohn (author)bignail19542016-05-02

I chose to use a Kolin because it did not have aluminium fins but thin Stainless steel. They were designed for that area of the world where heavy salt air would ruin aluminium fins quickly. But as far as heavy metals go I am using a Berky pf-4 heavy metals filter it will remove any metal from the water up to 99% so the water could be rendered safe to drink.

LibertyPole (author)2016-04-27

What do you do in the winter when the temperature is below freezing? Do you just keep it inside where it is warm?

chesterjohn (author)LibertyPole2016-05-02

where I was using this was in South East Asia no real winter there but good water is scarce. If you are in another place like Japan, Korea or North America you may want to do your own tests. But most basements during the winter have fairly moist air you would need to watch for mold, mildew and other fungi and take steps to keep it to the minimum.

PhilC55 (author)2016-04-10

I am interested in making this. I would like to know what specific product are you currently using for the following:


Water Filter system?

Solar power system (if you did this)?

chesterjohn (author)PhilC552016-04-11

the Kolen dehumidifier is still in use, a Steffani Colloidal Silver ceramic Candle filter on top to take out bacteria and viruses to 1 micron, and a Berky PF-4 heavy metal filter on the bottom to ensure no metal leaching from the dehumidifier gets into water. The water is like rain water and is soft and ready to drink.

below you can find links to all the products I used to build it. Always use a new dehumidifier and clean it prior to use.

Have fun and enjoy great water straight from the air.

chesterjohn (author)2016-04-01

was a 2011 model that was a 18 liter a day.

Here is a link to a newer model

AntiocoM (author)2016-04-01

What model of kolin dehumidifier did you use?

bsg68 (author)2016-02-14

Do you need the servo voltage regulator also do you know how many gallons per day this produces

chesterjohn (author)bsg682016-03-31

I use a servo voltage regulator there because the electricity is what is termed dirty. Meaning it fluctuates enough to cause problems with compression unit so the regulator keeps the power steady. But the power goes off there almost daily.

AntiocoM (author)2016-03-30

How many litters in 6 hours do you get from this setup?

chesterjohn (author)AntiocoM2016-03-31

It depends our you local humidity. We had 100% at times and we could get 4.5 gallons in 6 hours.

bsg68 (author)2016-02-14

Do you need the servo voltage regulator also do you know how many gallons per day this produces

chesterjohn (author)bsg682016-03-31

Our unit would produce cloase to 18 gallons of water in 24 hours

chesterjohn (author)2016-01-01

For those of you who are biuilding one of these.

please note I replced the ceramic filter recently with a Steffani Colloidal Silver ceramic Candle

and the bottom filter with a Berky PF-4 Ceramic filter on the bottom

The reason behind this is simple.

Water made from the Atmosphere is PURE water it has no minerals or additives. But even then bacteria in the air could get into the system via the unit or just floating in the air or in the filter area, the Steffani colloidal Silver filter gets out the bacteria or virus that may have somehow been introduced. And the Berfy PF-4 is because as the water condensates it may leach some metals ions off the dehumidifying unit the PF-4 along with the Steffani filter remove any and all metals that may have leached off the unit.

The water is pure and needs no reverse osmosis. It is basically like drinking rain water. So if you like add some colloidal minerals to it if you like or drink it just as it is. Unlike distilled water it wont leach your body of minerals.

craig.bartmer (author)2015-05-01

Can you please be more specific about that two chamber water filter you are using? I can not find anything similar to that by searching online. is there a site for it? did you make that too?

cefarmer (author)craig.bartmer2015-07-09


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