Hot water

Solar showers are high on our wish list as part of the new kitchen and bathroom area in the encampment. In order to try some preliminary tests with solar hot water we temporarily repurposed one of the composting toilets as a test shower. To do this we connected four sections of 50′ black garden hose together, then we connected that to a shower-head, last we added in mixers to control the hot/cold ratio of the water – and walla… a shower!


Reports from our lone resident were that the shower was warm in the mild November weather –but not long lasting and hot.  I’m not sure if a long hot shower is even possible with a solar shower in November (average temps are in the low 50’s in the day), but it would be good to know if using the black hose is a better or worse strategy then using a black water tank.  Anyone out there have any good answers for this?




4 Comments On “Hot water”

  1. This isn’t about water….I am curious about crochet and I was wondering if you could point me in some simple direction in order to learn how to crochet. I really want to make a vest but I have no idea where to begin. I love your uniforms!

  2. I pitched your question to a friend of mine who’s an architect in Portland, OR. Here’s what he said:

    “The easiest way to heat water with that configuration, it seems to me, is to either add
    more black pipe to the line or, better, to add a black-painted water tank that is wide to
    the southern exposure, maybe a 1 to 6 proportion or thinner.

    It’s kind of like a solar hot water panel. If you needed to use a simple barrel you could paint it black, but that would be a lot of volume to heat with less proportional surface.

    You could enclose the thing in glass and have it be like a fat solar panel in a green house.
    Then you could insulate the shaded sides and increase the efficiency of the passive gain.

    Dang, you could even just add a few solar shower bags to the line.”

    My two cents: Build a portable greenhouse over your hot water tank for the winters and remove it in the summers.

  3. Rubber hose will get hot in the sun, but is not as efficient as copper and metal. Combine this with the fact you are drawing well water that is usually very cold and you have a heating problem. A couple radiators painted black in a box covered with plastic would be far more efficient at moving the heat to the shower lines.


Leave a Reply