Mountain Home Biological

Pellet Lab lab supplies

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Steam Distillation Instructions Text

 Congratulations on your purchase of the new Mountain Home Biological essential oil steam distiller! This is the perfect, affordable distillation apparatus for the home scientist.


Steam distillation

When water boils it turns into water vapor (steam). The water vapor then passes through the biomass & picks up the oils of the material (also in vapor form). Then as the vapor passes into the condenser it is quickly cooled & changed back into a liquid. Oils are hydrophobic, & will remain separate from the water (hydrosol).


All plants are not created equal

Keep in mind that different plant material will yield different results. As a general rule, it takes a lot of plant material to make a little oil. Some of the more delicate materials will not yield any oil at all during steam distillation. In this case the oil molecules are destroyed by the heat of the steam.

Some of the more commonly distilled materials include: lavender, allspice, orange, eucalyptus, clove, peppermint, lemon, spearmint, sandalwood, arnica, nutmeg, & cedar.


Assembly of your new distiller

1. Slide the 10” piece of thick wall white tubing onto the bottom of the glass funnel (below the stopper).

2. Insert stopper into 2000ml steam vessel.

3. Insert second stopper into material vessel.

4. Using the piece of thin wall white tubing, connect the steam outlet stem to the material inlet stem (long glass stem). Just slide the tubing over the stem until snug.

5. Assemble support stand & attach the burette clamp to the vertical rod.

6. Mount the condenser into the clamp.

7. Attach the 12” thick wall white tubing to the material outlet stem & the glass stem of the condenser stopper. Insert condenser stopper assembly into the condenser.

8. Arrange the condenser so it is at a 45 degree downward angle, & place the catch vessel below the condenser outlet.

9. Cut to length 2 pieces of rubber water supply hose. Attach each to the inlet & outlet fittings of the condenser. The lower fitting should be inlet & upper outlet.

10. Attach the dual thread adapter to your kitchen sink (may have to remove the aerator).

11. Attach the swivel connector to the adapter. If you need more distance, you can use a garden hose between the 2. Slide the water inlet hose onto the swivel connector.

12. The water outlet hose needs to be able to drain continuously.




Keep the boiling vessel between 1/3 & 3/4 filled with fresh water at all times.

Fill the material vessel with your biomass. Cut up, whole, dry, fresh will all work. Be very careful when handling the material or you may lose precious oil.  Make sure when you insert the stopper that the bottom of the steam stem is not obstructed, or the system will back up through the water introduction funnel.

Start your water flow into the condenser. A low flow is sufficient as long as the water being released is cool. If it is warm, increase the flow slightly.

Turn on your heat source.

As the process occurs, you will get a combination of oil & water in the catch vessel. This is your precious essential oil! Most oil production occurs in the first 20-30 minutes, but can continue for 3-4 hours.

The oil will either sit on top or bottom of the water. Then you just separate the 2 & enjoy your product. It is a good idea (but not necessary) to purchase the optional separatory funnel.


 Item list

1 Graham Condensor

1 Glass Funnel 65mm

1 Support Stand

1 Burette Clamp

2 Erlenmeyer Flask, 2000ml (steam, material vessels)

10’ Condensor Water Supply Rubber Tubing, 3/8 in.

1 Steam Outlet Stem(bent) 10mm glass tubing

1 Product Inlet Stem 10mm glass tubing

1 Product Outlet Stem 10mm glass tubing

1 Steam Water Inlet Tube  Food Grade thick wall 9in.

1 Steam Outlet Tube  Food Grade thin wall 15 in.

1 Product Outlet Tube  Food Grade thin wall 15in.

1 Condenser Stopper Assembly

1 Dual Thread Adaptor

1 3/8 x GHT Swivel Female Insert

1 Steam Stopper #10 2-hole

1 Product Stopper #10 2-hole

1 Catch Basin 600ml Beaker