Something I like to do after a swim is have a nice warm shower. Now wouldn’t it be even nicer if that shower was outside, and the water was heated by the sun? An Outdoor Solar Shower maybe?
Well look no further, my green friends. That is exactly what we have done, with a little bit of upcycling on the side.
It all started when at the start of October last year, Kim requested a place to wash her hair after swimming. She had been using the hose up until then, and continued to do so throughout the summer, mainly because I couldn’t find a permanent and somewhat greenish solution.
Initially, I made her a shower deck for materials that I had lying around. This was back in January. All I had to buy was the decking screws, as I had all the other gear.
Teddy certainly liked it, and we put it in place before landscaping the pool area with stone.
So with the shower base in place, we had to find a solar shower. I did look at some designs on the net, but I couldn’t really find anything that would suit the area.
Kim was the one who found it, but initially I balked at the price. However, once I did the maths, it worked out cheaper than if I sourced all of the materials myself. So we purchased the unit from this online store, for A$119.
Also as chance would have it, a couple of days before we installed the shower, we had a delivery of flat pack furniture. The wardrobe components were loaded on a hardwood pallet, that was too good to burn. So we decided that with a coat of natural oil, it would make a mighty fine privacy screen and soap holder.
We bolted it to the wall and one of the arbour support posts.
The shower itself was very easy to construct. Nothing to describe really, just screw the top pipe into the bottom pipe and screw on the shower head. A little bit of plumbers tape to make sure everything is water-tight and it is done.
The flick mixer works well. Turned to the left you get piping hot water, in the middle; lukewarm and to the right cold from the tap.
The bottom pipe must be bolted into concrete or a solid structure. In this case, bolted it to the small deck that I made, with some reinforcing behind it so if someone leaned on the shower, it would not fall over or come loose.
I got a plumber to connect it permanently, with proper fittings, because the alternative as suggested by the instructions that came with the shower was to connect the hose with a normal clip on fitting. I wanted it to be a fixture and not have to wind the hose up every time we used it.
It has a tap on the wall on the other side of the gate as you enter the pool area.
Easy to flick on as you proceed into the shower. I figure that during the summer the water was about 50°C, and in winter it is about 20°C. Not a lot of sunlight shines on the shower unit in the winters, which is okay because we don’t have a heated pool. As the angle of the sun gets higher as the seasons march towards summer, the entire black pipe is heated for most of the day. Because hot water rises, most of the top pipe near the shower head is very warm, and you have to temper the water with the flick mixer.
As the cold water floods in from the mains it slowly replaces the hot water, beginning the process anew.
The runoff water runs under the gate into the garden area, so there was no need to add in a drain.
So for about $200 including the plumbing, I would say that it was a fairly cheap job for this sort of set up. I know where I will be showering in the summer. In my very own outdoor solar shower.
It is a good backup for our indoor showers should the solar and gas heating fail, and I can run it from my rainwater tanks and small pump if necessary.
I am very pleased with it, and even I like it even better that there are no heating costs! Free hot water for the whole family.