Solar Shower

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Like most of my projects, I decided to make the shower out of durable recycled and dirt cheap materials because spending a fortune on materials would kind of defeat the purpose.

The cutoff bin at Home Depot is always on my visit list and I scored some premium grade cedar siding cutoffs for about $10.00 and used some old redwood I had lying around for the frame.

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When assembling the overlapping siding, I used a little bead of exterior adhesive along with 1” staples to secure the siding.

After much thought, I came up with an open end “Bazooka” solar heater made of a scrap 4.5” pipe, 6’ long with two legs to keep it steady. 90% of my projects are built with thrown away scraps from the local tank and service companies that work for the oil and gas industry. Note the old oil field pump house I scrounged for free to house my water well components. Putr a screen on the open end of the pipe to keep birds from nesting in it.

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On the business end, I welded a piece of scrap steel along with a valve and fittings I procured free of charge from the scrap bin at the local valve shop. If welding isn’t an option, a trip to the hardware store and some 4” black sewer pipe with a few reducers will work just as well. The shower head was from a clearance rack at WalMart. Total cost, around $15.00 and with a ¼ thick steel collector and cedar siding, it should last at least 20 years, even in our harsh environment.

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The inside looks nice and the plastic clips are to hold towels and clothes. The brand new heavy duty door hinges only cost a buck at the local Habitat for Humanity store.

You simply fill the tall end with a garden hose in the AM, and wait for it to heat up. Even as small as the collector looks, I get really nice 8-10 minute showers from it. The only down side is right after the sun goes down, it starts to “thermal” and if I wait too long the first part of the shower is chilly but the end is still warm.  If I use it in the late afternoon, it’s fantastic! The views hard to beat, and so is solar power.

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10 Responses to Solar Shower

  1. prd3806 says:

    Have you thought about using a rocket mass heater to heat the water? You would be able to have hot water almost on demand. But regardless you did a great job.

  2. prd3806 says:

    Nice job. Looks awesome. Have you thought about using a rocket mass heater for more timely heating?

  3. alette says:

    Stumble on your site. Fantastic idea. Here in South Africa it will be the ultimate with our sunny weather. Just a suggestion if you don’t mind. Use the grey water to water your garden and viola you have save a lot. Keep up the lovely work.

  4. Ben Dover says:

    Like your setup, reminds me of the outdoor shower we used to have on the rock patch while us kids were growing up. Ours was more low-tech though, we’d had an old 5 gallon grease bucket with a shower head attached to the bottom. We tied a rope to the bail and ran it through a pulley that was hung from a branch on the old apple tree out back of the house. Usually we only got about 3 gallon each to use so you wouldn’t waste it. Didn’t have no shower curtain back then either!

  5. Dr Green says:

    This is a very helpful article for people who would like to create their own solar heating showers. It also goes on to show how small things from your house can be recycled and used for this.

  6. mh says:

    I appreciate how you leave behind a bit of, “you can do this at home with whatever you have” type inspiration! Creativity is a great thing to impart. Empowering! Thanks for sharing, will do the same.

  7. JAMES says:

    Sounds like a cool idea!!
    TY for posting this…gives me all kinds of ideas. : )
    Q:
    in my area(N.Central Indiana) there are a lot of farmers….
    as they age, they have a tendency to want to get rid of things….(IE: Water tanks)
    why couldn’t a water tank(be it metal, plastic, or some other material) be used to hold more water, & thus be able to take a longer shower?

    I’m thinking a 50 gallon tank or bigger….
    Install a solar powered pump, or a regular pump powered by solar panels, & not only do you get a longer shower, but you get more water pressure….\
    Just ideas floating through my head… 8 )

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