Solar Outdoor Shower Info: Learn About Different Types Of Solar Showers
We all want a shower when we get out of the pool. It’s needed sometimes to remove that chlorine aroma and those of other chemicals used to keep the pool clean. A refreshing, warm shower is just the ticket. Enthusiastic gardeners and those that do yard work professionally may also prefer getting a shower outside on those hot, sticky summer days. Why not try a solar shower to clean off?
What is a Solar Shower?
Sometimes, it gets complicated when running the hot water lines to the pool area and it can be expensive too. Have you considered the more inexpensive installation of a solar outdoor shower? Depending on how many people will shower in a short period of time, these showers can hold enough water for several people to get clean. It’s all heated up for free by the sun.
All in all, solar-powered showers are installed and used more cheaply than a traditional shower in the bath house. There are several types of solar showers to fit your needs. Some are even portable. Installing an outdoor solar shower is much less expensive than taking the route of heating all your indoor water by the sun.
Solar Outdoor Shower Info
A few are DIY creations can be made as simple as you like, or for those with more experience, you could even add luxury features. Many are built using inexpensive, repurposed materials.
Solar showers can have a frame or be frameless, allowing you to build your own DIY enclosure. The size of a water storage tank determines how many showers are available. Water storage can be as simple as a reusable plastic bag, like for those you take on camping trips. More stationary creations use a plastic tank. How much water it holds depends on how many showers you can get while the water stays hot.
Several kits include everything you need for the basics of putting in an outdoor solar shower. Research these carefully before purchase to see which will best fit your needs and price range.
Solar Powered Garden Shower
Say you’ve been playing in the garden on a cool inflatable water slide only to discover somebody has been cutting the grass. This means as well as having grass stains on your knees you also have to risk the wrath of the lady of the house when you pad grass clippings through the kitchen. What you need is a shower outside and this is the coolest and hottest outdoor shower I’ve seen!
The solar garden shower is a cheap to run (though maybe not to buy) and ecologically friendly shower for the garden. Simply connect it to a normal garden hose and in 30 minutes (on a sunny day) you’ll have enough hot water for up to 5 showers.
The solar shower heats the water to 50°C which should be plenty hot enough for most people, if you fancy a cooler garden shower you can use the mixer tap to get your desired temperature.
Now if only I had the money and space for a pool I’d be adding this to my wish list. The solar garden shower unit is available from Pro-Idee in the Uk for £495 (fit bird in red swim suit not included :)).
How Portable Solar Showers Work
The typical solar shower designed for campers consists of a container that absorbs the sun's direct heat to raise the temperature of the inside water. There are systems as simple to use as a black plastic bag, which will absorb solar rays over a three-hour period to heat the water. When the bag is hung overhead, the water flows through a tube to its attached showerhead. Afterward, the bag folds up for easy transport to the next day's camping site. That's an economical piece of outdoor gear that can even be rigged by do-it-yourselfers. Higher tech camping systems utilize tubing in a reflective housing that creates a greater temperature increase in a shorter period, but these units are generally used for more permanent outdoor installations (See Reference 2, page 1 Reference 3).
Best Freestanding: Wildon Home Noah Freestanding Outdoor Shower
A freestanding outdoor shower opens up more possibilities for placement you’ll often spot this type of shower on patios, decks, or near the pool. The Noah model from Wildon Home is a great way to rinse off or relax outside, with the help of a stainless steel rain-style showerhead.
You can connect this outdoor shower to a hose for cool water rinsing or position it closer to a water supply for hot and cold water connections. The slatted duckboard is made of Eucalyptus wood, which is naturally resistant to rot and holds up to high moisture.
5 DIY Outdoor Solar Shower Ideas
Posted on Last updated: 05/14/2018 By: Author Shannon
Outdoor showers have always been popular for beach-dwellers, but they are becoming more mainstream for large, upscale houses and tiny off grid cabins alike. An outdoor shower is great for cooling down on hot summer days, but it is also useful for those who spend their days getting dirty in the garden, doing yardwork, or as a way to clean up grubby kids and pets. And if the water is heated by the sun, they are incredibly economical.
Solar showers can be purchased from a variety of places, but they are also a fairly simple project for DIYers who want to save money. Check out these solar shower ideas – from ultra fancy to super rustic – that can be built simply and on a budget.
This gorgeous outdoor shower is a pretty elaborate setup, with lots of space and a huge solar batch heater for the water. While it looks expensive, the batch heater and plumbing parts were found on Craigslist for cheap. See more pictures and information about this project on Homesteading Today.
This outdoor shower is a bit more rustic, but made from very inexpensive and repurposed materials. The walls are recycled wood pallets and a black hose serves as the water collector/heater. See the plans for this setup at DIY Pallet Furniture.
Here is another very simple DIY shower that uses all inexpensive, repurposed materials. The tank is an old water heater painted black to absorb the heat of the sun during the day, the base is a $5 garage sale find, and the walls are cut from a piece of privacy fence. via Mother Earth News
This awesome little treehouse has a space underneath for a solar shower. The black hose water collector sits on the south side of the treehouse roof and is very effective, providing very hot water to the shower. via Kids From Kanata
Here is another DIY solar shower made dirt cheap from recycled materials. The simple water tank is made from a piece of black pipe that provides enough hot water for an 8-10 minute shower. The inside is finished with beautiful cedar siding. See the full setup at Proficient Prepping.
Since the black hose method seems to be so effective for DIY outdoor showers, here is a quick video showing how to make one. This can also be used to heat an outdoor pool or sauna, or anything else you might need hot water for.
You get a shower that’s more warm than hot but has decent water pressure and a functional showerhead.
To use the Advanced Elements 5-Gallon Solar Shower, fill it with water from whatever source you have handy (you can even top it off before leaving your house). To heat the water—provided the weather’s warm—leave the bladder out in the sun for a few hours. The makers of most of these showers offer a warning that, depending on how hot it is outside, the water in the shower’s bladder can get hot enough to scald you. Though this is a reasonable caution, in practice, we found that the bigger hazard is that the water won’t get hot enough (more on that below). One note: We had originally recommended the non-PVC version of this shower, but we’ve been seeing reports of problems. We’re investigating, but in the meantime we’re comfortable recommending the PVC version, which appears to be more reliable.)
When you’re ready to use the Advanced Elements shower, attach it somewhere above your head so that the water will flow into the shower’s hose easily. To start the water, give the shower head a pull. A push in the opposite direction will shut it off. Simple.
The Advanced Elements 5-Gallon Solar Shower had an adequate run time for showering—about 7 minutes—enough time to rinse off after a dip in the ocean or hose down your kids before letting them into your tent for a nap. It provides a stream powerful enough to rinse dried dirt from a set of hiking boots, but like most camp showers, it isn’t pressurized. You’ll need gravity to make the water flow. Hanging it high enough so the 2-foot-long hose hangs down over your head is your best bet for making the water magic happen.
The Advanced Elements shower has a couple of extra features, including a mesh front pocket for carrying toiletries and an attached shaving mirror. These don’t really add much functionality, but are nice things to have.
Of course, the whole point of a camp shower is to have a hot shower. And for that, your mileage may vary according to our tests, depending on outside conditions. All camp showers heat up the same way: You fill them with water and you lay them in the sun. So you need sun, and having a warm day helps. We found that nearly all the showers got up to around 100 to 105 degrees after about three hours in direct sunlight on an 80-degree afternoon. That’s warm, not hot, and a good bit less than the 112 degrees that experts say is ideal for cleaning and coziness.
Advanced Elements makes its solar shower in a few different sizes, but we think 5 gallons is the way to go. We tested a bladder half the size, the Advanced Elements 2.5-Gallon Solar Shower. It’s easier to carry and heats a bit quicker, but it provides running water for only 2 minutes 45 seconds, which is not a lot of run time.