Solar Shower Project

Discussion in 'Alternative Energy' started by Corral Creek, Aug 24, 2009.

  1. Corral Creek

    Corral Creek Member

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    Here's some pics of a solar shower project I just completed out by our garden. Seems to work great, and as long as the sun shines we'll have some free hot water!

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  2. Corral Creek

    Corral Creek Member

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    Continuation of Photos

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  3. Corral Creek

    Corral Creek Member

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  4. Windy in Kansas

    Windy in Kansas In Remembrance

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    Great job. Looks fantastic and should serve you well.

    If you installed some sort of thermometer inside of your heating box would you mind giving us a reading from time to time. Would you also give a reading on how hot the water gets.

    Thanks. Again, great work.
     
  5. wy_white_wolf

    wy_white_wolf Just howling at the moon

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    NICE!!

    Hopefully SolarGary Will contact you about doing a write-up on it for www.builditsolar.com. I for 1 would be very interested in reading more about it's construction and performance. Lots of pics of the shower area could we get a few more details on the batch heater?

    Thanks for posting.
     
  6. Corral Creek

    Corral Creek Member

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    Hello and thanks. When I was working on the box I looked into putting a thermometer in it but plastic ones melted and I kind of blew it off. I figured the proof is in the putting and it seems to work fine although it is August. I was going to build my own batch heater but found this old one on Craigslist for cheap and modified it. I need to put on thermal pane glass eventually as this will help hold the heat in better over the clear roofing. I try to do everything on the cheap and am looking for two used 30" glass sliding doors I can fit to the top. To keep the cost down I used cedar only in the flooring and walls, cement foundation blocks given to me, free bricks, Walmart fixtures, etc.
     
  7. Corral Creek

    Corral Creek Member

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    The batch heater is an old verticle design I believe from the University of Oregon years ago. I was going to build a horizontal batch heater but found this one used on Craigslist for 100 bucks which put me a little further along as the basic box, insulation, tank, and plumbing was all there. I lined the box in Reflectex reflective insulation and since the glass was missing, put on some UV resistant poly-type clear roofing. The decorative cedar siding (cheapest cedar fencing I could find) also serves as a bit more insulation. Dual pane thermal glass will definitely hold the heat alot better and I'm on the lookout for some used glass that will work. The angle is a bit steeper than most I've seen but it optimized for lower sun angle in the spring and fall. Seems theres plenty of sun in the summer! Anoher thing that worked out well are the cheap Walmart solar lights adapted for night use of the shower. I've gone out at midnight to shower and all six lights are still bright and the water still very warm, if not scalding hot as in the day. Free light, free hot water, and it all just sits there waiting for a body! Even my sceptical friends and family are doing double takes on it now....
     
  8. partndn

    partndn free leonard peltier Supporter

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    Looks real nice! I don't know where you're located. I wondered if you are/will insulate the waterline for weather. It would be froze up at some point, here in NC.
     
  9. Corral Creek

    Corral Creek Member

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    We're in eastern Washington state, the dry sunny side, actually a desert country irrigated by the Yakima and Columbia rivers to produce green life. It's a relatively mild climate but this is definitely a three season shower as we get the first frost in November and the last frost usually in March. I'll just blow out the shower system when I blow out the irrigation system. I could winterize it but I think the ambient air temperature in the winter would neutralize the water tank temperature. The old farm house is shaded with large trees and I had to place this out a ways for full sun. Consequently, the plumbing is far from the house and not practical for year round use anyway.
     
  10. Windy in Kansas

    Windy in Kansas In Remembrance

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    With the light blocking properties of patio doors to keep fading down, etc. I have to wonder if you aren't better off to keep the roofing panels and perhaps add a framework over it covered with the shrink plastic storm door kit which is similar to these window kits. http://foxyurl.com/stM I do have to wonder if the added held heat would deteriorate the roofing panels however. Can they withstand the higher temp?
     
  11. wy_white_wolf

    wy_white_wolf Just howling at the moon

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    If I was to try window shrink plastic, I think I would put it under the poly roof panels. It would still create a second layer and be protected from the elements. Going that way I don't see any overheating of the roof panels as the insulation would be a 2-way street.
     
  12. Windy in Kansas

    Windy in Kansas In Remembrance

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    I tend to agree but I'm not sure just how much heating the heat shrink plastic can withstand? Sure does a nice wonderful job over a storm door window I have. Generally last 2-3 years. The last one however only lasted one. Think it might have been a 3M plastic.

    One factor might be how well the box is insulated beyond the reflective bubble stuff, and how much cold water is added each day. I've always thought a batch heater would work well and at night a person could close insulated doors over the top to help keep the heat in.
     
  13. Corral Creek

    Corral Creek Member

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    Not sure about the shrink wrap idea- we get alot of wind here at times. The box is insulated with fiberglass batting under the concave plywood backing under the water tank and Reflectix on top of the plywood, so the I think the box is about as good as it's gonna get insulation wise. I like the folding door idea for night. I'm still thinking some cheap thermal pane clear glass windows from some old sliders on top would let through maximum light and hold maximum heat, and then close the doors as the sun goes down. Good ideas out there!
     
  14. Windy in Kansas

    Windy in Kansas In Remembrance

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    The plastic isn't the shrink wrap per se but is made for storm window use. It withstands wind exceptionally well. Especially well when you get it placed correctly and shrunk until tight. Clear like glass and you can hardly tell it isn't.

    Glad to hear that the batch unit is insulated I really couldn't tell from the photo.

    Don't you wish that you had a software program, and a batch of thermocouples hooked up to a computer to keep track of the various temperatures at various times?

    Wish I had them for basement, ½ story, attic, several ground floor rooms, water, soil outside, etc. for my house.
     
  15. mightybooboo

    mightybooboo Well-Known Member

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    Beautiful craftsmanship,well done!!!
     
  16. SolarGary

    SolarGary Well-Known Member

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    Hi,
    Beautiful job on the shower!

    If you would like to put it up as a project on BuildItSolar.com, just drop me an email or PM.

    Gary
     
  17. gwest

    gwest Well-Known Member Supporter

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    It is a great looking project. You can get thermometers with the metal casing and stick in there. Or you can let us know the water temp (hot) next time you post an update. I want to know if you get in it this winter :) :)
    Greg
     
  18. StaceyS

    StaceyS Well-Known Member

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  19. Corral Creek

    Corral Creek Member

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    Thanks for the compliments, I have it winterized right now but am looking forward to using it again in the spring.
     
  20. Mid Tn Mama

    Mid Tn Mama Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Very beautiful. I remember someone posting that they had rigged a shower by putting a 55 gallon barrel painted-black plastic container on the outside of their shop. The passive solar effect from the sun was enough to have plenty hot showers. I guess they pumped water to the barrel.

    I'm guessing you aren't using the greywater in the garden. That would be nice too....Maybe in the meantime, you can shower with a 5 gallon bucket next to you to catch some water...