Archive for September, 2008

The New 3-Season Improved Solar Shower!

In order to extend the number of days in the year for which my homemade solar shower can be used, I added some insulation to allow the water to heat up on even 50 degree or cooler sunny days.
Improved Solar Shower
The insulation consists of the following:

  • Two inch dense foam along the back side of the heating chamber so heat will not be drawn away by the metal building. In the photo above, this is the pink foam at the back under the plastic.
  • An extra sheet of clear plastic spaced approximately 2" above the bottom sheet. If you notice in the photo, 2×2 wood spacers have been added. This 2" air space will provide insulation on the top and sides.

In addition, I doubled up the black plastic bag so the inside bag would be shielded from the sun. In my first attempt, the top of the black bag became extremely brittle after several months. The bottom of the bag I used in my first attempt was not compromised however.  With this setup, I anticipate that I can get a full year of use before the bags need to be replaced.

I look forward to giving this new shower a try on a cold day! Today, it was raining, so I don’t think the water will be too warm. The 100 yard commute will certainly prove to be refreshing if the outside temps are under 50 degrees. So far, the coldest temperature I have used this shower was about 49 degrees – but in that case the daytime highs were in the low 70′s.  With this new setup, I anticipate that the shower will be usable on far colder, but sunny, days.

I will post again after trying this out on a cold fall day.

Solar Shower Attacked!

Something seems to have attacked my solar shower? Squirrel perhaps, or maybe a bird? I noticed water dripping from the frame and upon closer inspection, the top clear plastic was ripped in two, and the black bag was ripped up at the top! Some squirrel decided to have a drink of lukewarm plastic flavored water? Or maybe a bird?

At any rate, the black plastic bag is in need of replacement anyway. It is very brittle from the sun beating on it and tears apart almost like paper. The 55 gallon trash bag has been in place for a little over two months now. I will replace with two bags rather than one so perhaps the inner one will last a bit longer, provided there are no attacks. With this replacement, I will also add some insulation to help this shower function even in colder weather.  I will place 2" foam along the back and an additional clear plastic cover. Hopefully, the water will heat up even in temps below 60, provided it is sunny. I will post again when this is completed.