This DIY outdoor solar shower is to be connected to a regular garden hose. It should be positioned so that the reservoir is exposed to the sun. The total cost of parts was about CAD $70. in July 2013 at a local hardware store (Quebec). Assembly and installation time is about one hour.
Design principles :
The control valve is placed at a convenient height for manipulation.
A garden hose is connected directly to the valve so the water pressure is not transferred to the reservoir and the rest of the system. This allows for a simpler and more durable assembly.
Incoming cold water is pushed at the base of the reservoir and upwards so the warmer water reaches the shower nozzle first.
The tank is big enough for 3 or 4 quick showers.
The time it will take for colder water to warm up depends on the ambient air temperature and exposure to the sun.
Parts (found in the plumbing section of your favorite hardware store)
Qty Description (Total CAD$)
1 X ABS cellcore tubing: 4 in. x 6 ft. black (16,99)
1 X ABS cellcore tubing: 1 ½ in. x 1 ft. black (0,70)
2 X ABS reduction coupler: 4 in. x 1 ½ in. (7,62)
1 X ABS Y 45 ° coupler: 1 ½ in. (1,09)
1 X ABS short 45° elbow coupler: 1 ½ in. (0,45)
1 X Permanent ABS cap 1 ½ po. (1,19)
2 X ABS dishwasher adaptor: 1 ½ in. M x ½ in. (1,90)
1 X PVC tubing : ½ in. X 10 ft SCH40 (4,80)
2 X PVC 90° elbow SCH40: ½ in. (1,36)
4 X PVC adaptor SCH40: ½ in. (2,24)
1 X PVC valve DRT PVC SCH40: ½ in. (5,19)
1 X Male-Male threaded coupling: ½ in. x ½ in. (0,84)
1 X Rotating hose coupling: ½ in. (4,38)
1 X Shower nozzle: female ½ in. connector (10,00)
ABS cement (1,28)
PVC cement (2,52)
Teflon tape (0,49)
Tie Wrap 24 in. pack (5,82)
Step 1 – Preparation
Cut two 2 in. sections of PVC tubing
Cut one 24 in. section of PVC tubing
Cut one 32 in. section of PVC tubing
Cut three 1 ½ in. sections of 1 ½ in. ABS tubing
Step 2 – Lower water intake assembly
Screw the hose adaptor nozzle to the top of the PVC control valve
Screw the ½ in. PVC adaptor to the bottom of the control valve
Glue the 32 in. PVC tubing to the ½ in. PVC adaptor
Glue the ½ in. PVC adaptor to the bottom part of the PVC 32 in. tubing
Screw the ½ in. PVC adaptor to the ABS Dishwasher adaptor
Glue the ABS dishwasher adaptor to the short 45° ABS elbow (Important: the open end of the elbow has to be exactly opposite to the control valve front)
Using an 1 ½ in. sections of 1 ½ in. ABS tubing as coupler, glue the ABS 45° elbow
ABS Y coupler (Important: the Y coupler has to be on the same axis as the 45° elbow)
Using an 1 ½ in. sections of 1 ½ in. ABS tubing as coupler, glue the permanent ABS cap to the base of the ABS Y coupler,
Using an 1 ½ in. sections of 1 ½ in. ABS tubing as coupler, glue the top of the ABS Y coupler, to the ABS reduction coupler: 4 in. x 1 ½ in.
Step 3 – Upper shower assembly
Glue ½ in. PVC 90° elbow to one end of the 24 in. PVC tubing
Glue ½ in. PVC 90° elbow to the other end of the 24 in. PVC tubing (Important: make sure that the two elbow are on the same axis)
Using the 2 in. sections of ½ in. PVC tubing as coupler, glue the ½ in PVC adaptors to each PVC elbow.
Screw one of the ½ in PVC adaptors to the ABS Dishwasher adaptor.
Glue the ABS dishwasher adaptor to the 4 in. x 1 ½ in. ABS reduction coupler
Screw the shower nozzle to the other ½ in PVC adaptor.
Step 4 –
Glue the lower water intake assembly to the base of the black 4 in. x 6 ft. ABS cellcore tubing.
Glue the upper shower assembly to the top of the black 4 in. x 6 ft. ABS cellcore tubing (Important: For easier access when showering, the control valve has to be aligned and with the upper shower assembly)
Step 5 – On site installation
Pick a private spot where the reservoir will be exposed to the sun.
Plan a 5 ft or 6 ft metal post in the ground; make sure at least 36 in. remain above ground; use a level to make sure it is perfectly vertical.
Position the shower assembly on the ground against the post and attach with a tie wrap next to the valve.
Connect the garden hose to the shower, turn on the water and check that waters pours through the shower nozzle properly and the all joints are watertight.
The shower is ready to use.
Operation and maintenance
Water will remain in the solar shower and keep warming up as long as the control valve is closed.
The time it will take for colder water to warm up depends on the ambient air temperature and exposure to sun.
The garden hose may be removed but it will have to be reconnected for the shower to operate.
Note that the shower has to be emptied of all water in freezing conditions.