Before we begin, depending on where you are on the planet, this shower will not likely work during the cooler months. We are in central Portugal and experience 40+ degree C summers, and 10 to 15 degree winter days. During summer we had scorching hot water every day, warm water on cloudy days, but it seemed that over the course of a week from summer to Autumn we lost our hot water and it wasn’t coming back for another 6 months. As such, this is should only be used as a summer solution and if you want hot showers all year round then you need to incorporate a stand-by system, or try a pallet compost water heater (I will write about this when we have built one).
But for a summer shower this is perfect. Even on the very hot days it was nice to have a warm shower after a hard days work.
So lets build one
First up, calculate how much water your pipe can hold per metre. Figure out how much you need per day, and try to achieve that pipe length in your coil. We kept ours short as it is only a temporary shower and we didn’t bury the pipe that leads to the shower, as such the water in the pipe coming from our tank was heated too.
Then turn the pallet upside down, remove the centre section and use it to make a box shape, as shown below
Paint the inside black and if you like, fill in the pieces of wood in the base so there isn’t holes (photo below has holes, it is so hot here we don’t need the extra insulation). Start to secure your tube in place with nails being careful not to damage the hose. Leave half a metre or so at either end of the hose so you can make the connections easily afterwards
Secure your hose as follows
Mount the solar water heater on top of your shower and connect to your water supply
We used a garden hose with a water sprinkler as our shower head to save water. We also had to link in a cold water tap as the hot is way to hot in summer
And there you have it. This solution created our hot water with no burning of fossil fuels so you can take a hot shower with no guilt. When the ambient temperature dipped below a daily average of about 20 degrees C though it was not longer a pleasure to use! We experienced cold winter showers, outside whilst we built our shower in our new home…
When we have built our shower inside though we will be using a compost water heater system which uses the same principle of a coil of black tube being heated by an external source, but this time the external source is organic matter composting, and the by-product is black compost for you to use on your garden.