How to Build a Homemade Chlorine Generator

Written by thomas edward
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How to Build a Homemade Chlorine Generator
Disinfect Water with a homemade chlorine generator. (water image by chrisharvey from

Homemade chlorine generators are based on the industrial "chlor-alkali process" for making chlorine. It is an electrolysis of salt water producing hydrogen gas at the cathode and chlorine gas at the anode. This reacts with the hydroxide to form sodium hypochlorite, the active ingredient in household bleach. You can build a chlorine generator on a small scale and use it to disinfect drinking water. It is inexpensive except for the electrodes and the 12-volt power supply. Swimming pools use chlorine directly or use a larger salt water chlorine system. Chlorine can cause skin irritation and salt water can attack pool construction materials. New non-chemical pool shock systems are being used to eliminate problems.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Salt
  • Water
  • 12V DC power supply
  • Power cable set with clips on one end and eye-washers on the other end
  • 2 stainless steel 1/8-inch-by-1/4-inch nuts and bolts
  • PVC 2-inch cap threaded
  • PVC 2-inch pipe by 4 inches long threaded
  • PVC 2-inch pipe spacer by 1/8 inch long
  • PVC 2-inch-by-3-inch pipe cut in half lengthwise
  • PVC 3-inch to 2-inch reducer
  • 3 Viton gaskets
  • Wire mesh filter 2-inch diameter (optional)
  • Titanium mesh electrodes (Platinum will work or check with the builder or websites for chlorine electrode alternatives) These electrodes should be about 2-inches on separate Viton rings and extend out the sawn slits in side of PVC cap with tabs Their shape is round on the Viton rings and elliptical on the other end protruding out cap slits.
  • PVC pipe glue
  • Saw
  • Screwdriver set
  • Pliers
  • Electric drill and bit set

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  1. 1

    Saw two slits a half-inch long on the cap side. One is located one-eighth inch above the other and side by side in the PVC cap. Insert the one-eighth-inch spacer in the bottom of the cap. Next add a Viton ring on top of the spacer inside the cap, the first electrode with a tab extended out of the cap, a second Viton ring on top of the first electrode inside the cap, the second electrode with tab extending from the cap, and a third Viton ring on top of the second electrode inside the cap. Screw threaded 4-inch PVC pipe into cap and snug entire assembly sandwiching together.

  2. 2

    Drill a one-eighth-inch hole in each electrode at the centre of the protruding mesh tabs on the PVC cap and connect the power cable eye-washers to them with stainless steel screws and nuts. Tighten with a screwdriver and common pliers. Glue PVC 2-inch-by-3-inch pipe cut lengthwise to the side of the cylinder to cover the mesh electrode connections.

  3. 3

    Glue a 3-inch-to-2-inch PVC reducer to the top of the 2-inch-by-4-inch threaded-in pipe section. Let it dry thoroughly. Drill one-fourth-inch hole in the bottom the PVC cap. Clean hole from cuttings with reamer until smooth.

  4. 4

    Mix one-fourth cup of salt in a 473ml bottle (This is equivalent to using 60ml of salt to 500ml of water). Turn the power on and run the solution through the generator. This should only take a few seconds as the solution will drain by gravity though the hole in the bottom of the cap. It will take 5 to 6 passes to make the hypochlorite solution. It will bubble, produce an odour, and warm up. Disconnect the generator from the power source when you are finished. Run clear water through the generator to clean it. Keep battery connections out of the way to avoid corrosion. The solution you have made will disinfect water. Add about 10 drops to a gallon. Shake and wait one hour for full disinfection. Also taste and odour will be reduced in the treated water during the period.

Tips and warnings

  • Buy a small chlorine test kit for disinfecting larger quantities of water. Normally, 1 litre of prepared generator solution will disinfect 1,500 gallons of water.
  • Generator solution should be used fresh and made as needed. Sodium hypochlorite will in time reduce its level and potency.
  • Stay away from the gases formed during the chlorine generator's operation. Operate the unit in an open space and avoid smoking or other sources of ignition in the immediate area.

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