How to Make a Zeer Pot

zeer pot


UPDATE: As out commenter JM Johnson, and several commenters at Lifehacker, have noted, a zeer pot needs dry conditions to work – if the humidity’s over 75%, don’t try this at home…

Those of you who have been around for a while know that I’m a big fan of appropriate technology: it’s hard to get more sustainable that using readily available materials to meet basic human needs. So when I came across Emily Cummins‘ variation on the zeer pot, a simple device that uses evaporative cooling to provide refrigeration, I thought “Hey, it’s time to do that zeer pot post.” There were plenty of variations on the rocket stove and chicken tractor, so that’s probably the case with pot-in-pot refrigerators, too… right?

Well, no… the zeer pot is so simple that there’s not a whole lot of room for design changes. I still think this is an awfully cool innovation, so thought I’d pull together some of the better DIY information I’ve found… these things would be great for keeping a six-pack cool while grilling this Summer, for instance.

The basic zeer pot

There are lots of tutorials and instructional videos out there for making a zeer pot: I liked this one from MixCat.com just because it’s so thorough:

A couple of variations

That doesn’t mean there are no variations on the basic zeer pot; there just aren’t many. Cummins’ Sustainable Refrigerator may be the best known of the bunch, but no DIY instructions. James Patrick has created two variations of Cummins’ invention, and provided instructions for both at Instructables. The Solar Cooler in a Can is designed to hold chunks of meat and cheese; the Dew Bucket works with drink bottles and cans. Both require a few more materials than the normal zeer pot, but nothing particularly unusual: you’ve probably got a number of them already in your basement or garage.

If I’ve missed other DIY evaporative cooling projects, feel free to take me to the woodshed in the comments (but, of course, share the projects I missed, too!).

Image credit: debra solomon via photo pin cc

  1. Chris Danner

    Hint: If you make sure the sand is completely dry before you begin – open the bag and maybe spread out the sand in a tray or something for several days – it’ll pour through the funnel and be easier to fill the space between the 2 pots.

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