Outdoor Solar Shower

How to build an outdoor solar shower – there are a number of ways to build a solar shower, this is how one man did it to wash his five kids!

Today people are trying to cut back on expenses in the home and one such way is to build an outdoor solar shower. Let us take a look at this ingenious man, Edward Schultz. He has five active little boys, and it became very expensive for him to heat hot water to wash them. Therefore, his solution was to make an outdoor shower in his garden; so his first task was to find out how to build an outdoor solar shower?

As he researched on the Internet for info on the subject of outdoor showers; he soon learned that most eco solar showers were designed for a quick shower by campers; not really practical for a family. Therefore, he decided to design one to fit the needs of his family. He decided to just use whatever he found around his home; which in his case was a farm. For those of us who do not live on a farm, you may have to purchase some of the materials.

Still if you are really thrifty you still can find bargains if you know where to look, for instance, most lumber yards sell damaged or warped lumber for next to nothing just to get the damaged timber off their hands. However, this man had a lot of the needed materials laying around his farm, gathered from years of projects. He had the idea that he wanted that rustic look for his outdoor shower. This is how he went about building an outdoor solar shower for his family. The frame, floor and upper deck were made from with 4X4 treated landscaping timbers; all of which he found on his property, so the wood had that look he was going for. Furthermore, for the cross braces, he used the branches he found lying around his property.

Therefore, this is how he went about building an outdoor solar shower

The hardware like screws he found in the barn. One of the great things about building your own outdoor solar shower is that you really don’t need to be a carpenter just someone with imagination and the basic tools. His design for the water reservoir tank was a couple of old unused metal garbage cans, these were positioned in direct sunlight, so they actually became the solar collector heating system. He painted one black which increased the collectors efficiency and made the water hotter. He did not use rain water (probably a step to far and would mean a shower once a month for the family) but plumbed it in from the mains water.

The simple plumbing he did consist of “3/4 inch CPVC threaded adaptor, two locking nuts, two large washers and two pieces of rubber” from an inner tube;this allowed for the water to be brought up from the bottom of the cans. He even used an old watering can for the shower head, he then hung the cans horizontally from a couple of branches.

For the flooring he did have to install culled wood from a lumber yard. Which as stated before if you buy the damaged wood from a lumber yard, you can get it for next to nothing. In the end his outdoor solar shower had a “capacity of 50 plus gallons” and gives about twenty minutes of shower time.

To give an idea of the temperature of the water the solar heater could produce, when it is 90 degrees or higher outside, the water was hot, like taking an indoor shower. Where as if the temperature was around  80 degrees, the heated water was comfortable and refreshing. However, If the temperatures were getting into the 70′s or lower, the water was like getting into an unheated pool. You get the idea, as the outside temperatures drop so does the water temperatures.
A project like this always has room to make improvements, like hanging a curtain for some privacy!

Reference: http://www.countrysidemag.com/issues/90/90-6/Edward_Shultz.html

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