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.
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.