20-gallon Solar Heated Hot Water Heater and Shower - Free Building Plans
Build this solar heated hot water shower for as little as $25 (if you have some spare lumber and items laying around) and save on hot water heat costs! This 20 gallon capacity shower provides enough water for a family of 4-6 to take daily showers and the design is simple. The plastic cover over the top enhances the solar heating, making this a shower that can possibly be used 6 months out of the year in even the colder northern climates. You only need the south side of a garage, house, or shed to mount the frame. The shower fills with an ordinary garden hose.
This shower works great! Tell your friends about this idea - we need to do whatever we can in these times of +4$/gallon oil and gas prices!
Check Out the NEW IMPROVED version of this solar shower! Also see my Blog Post About The $5 Solar Garden Hose Shower I Built! Also, see how I have added insulation to make this a 3 season shower!
- Old garden hose
- Hose mender, male end mender, and on/off as shown in Step 1
- (2) 32" 2x4's, (2) 35" 2x4's, (2) 33" 2x4's, (1) 39" 2x6, 39" 2x2
for box and frame shown in Steps 2 and-3
39" by 35" piece of 1/2" plywood or (2) pieces 39" by 17 1/2"
- (1) 39" 2x6 or 2x4 and 30-39" 2x2 for frame support shown in Step 4 and 5
- Small scraps of plywood for diagonal stops (Step 2) and to hold down plastic (Step 10)
- 35" long 3/4" x 1.5" board, 35" 2x2, 35" 2x4 ripped to 2 1/4" for Step 6
- 4" to5 3/4" by 39" scrap of plywood or siding for Step 6
- 5 ft by 5 ft square of relatively clear plastic
- Ordinary black 55 gallon contractors garbage bag
- 8x10 tarp for privacy curtain
- Shower head - hose sprinkler head or watering can spout works well
- 2", 3", and 3 1/2" hex-head deck screws
Step 1 - Assemble shower hose as shown below, attaching the on/off control to the threaded male hose repair piece. Then attach to about 8" of hose, and then to a hose repair coupling.
Step 2 - Build box to hold water - this consists of two 35" 2x4's attached to two 36" 2x4's as shown below, resulting in a box with outside dimensions of 35" by 39". Attach 1/2" plywood to the bottom - you can use a 35" by 39" full piece (if you have it) or two 17.5" by 39" pieces (what I did). Fasten a 39" long 2x2 support to the bottom by screwing through the plywood into the 2x2. Cut a hole out for shower hose that you built in Step 1 - it should be just big enough to pass the assembly through.
Fasten 3" by 5" diagonal stops made from pieces of plywood to the bottom of the box 24 13/16" from end as shown below - these will keep the box in place while you fasten it in Step 5, and will help secure the diagonal supports. Optional: Attach a hose support consisting of a cutout piece of plywood as pictured in the photo below - this may reduce stress on the water bag.
Step 3 - Build diagonal support as shown below. Cut off 45-degree angles off two 33" long 2x4's. Then attached these pieces to a 39" length of 2x6 using 3 long deck screws on each side.
Step 4 - Construct a frame support (shown in Step 4) by cutting off any scrap 2x4 or 2x6 to a length of 39". Fasten diagonal support with top 62" from ground and frame support with top 18 1/2" above top of diagonal support as shown below. Make sure that both supports are level! Wall should be an exterior non-shaded South-facing wall.
Step 5 - Place Box on diagonal supports and frame support - the Diagonal Stops will hold the box in place (neat huh!). Check for level and shim if needed. Fasten box to wall and fasten diagonal supports to box with long deck screws. After you level and secure the box, attach a 30-39" 2x4 (or 2x2) to the frame support under the box. Then drive in screws through the plywood box bottom into the 2x2 - your box will now be securely fastened. Take a look at the enlarged photo.
Step 6 - Build shower bag closure assembly as shown below. Fasten the 3/4" thick by 1 1/2" wide strip on the front left side with 3 or 4 screws. Then, from the 35" long 2x2, cut out an opening just big enough to secure the hose end and then fasten this piece over the top of the 3/4" strip with only 2 screws, one on each end. Fasten the 2 1/4" by 1 1/2" piece to the front right side with 3 or 4 screws. Fasten the Front Fascia board to the front so that the top matches the two sides - the fascia board can be anywhere from 4-5 3/4" wide and can consist of a piece of plywood or old siding.