Grit Blogs > Another Kind of Drew

Outdoor Solar Shower: Nothing Between Me and the Sun but a Smile, Part 2

postAs with any project the first step is to literally break ground. No gold coated shovels here. In this part of the country we break ground with a good ol' pair of post hole diggers, and when you are talking about Georgia red clay, they had better be reinforced diggers or the only that will break will be your handles!frame

The size had been determined. The shower stall would be roughly 4' x 4' while the dressing "room" would be roughly the same. This allowed for few cuts as we already had a couple of our corrugated metal sheets at that width. The framework was to be simple connecting 2' x 4' to 2' x 4' in a skeletal pattern. Framework 101, I call it. The only difference was the 4 main posts (the corners) were salt-treated lumber in order to withstand weather and constant moisture. I unfortunately had to buy those which was already half of our budget. After working up the frame (including the door way) we decided on a concrete shower floor that would have a center drain with attached PVC leading into the garden so as to use runoff water for deep root irrigation. In order to support such weight though we had to build a separate framing system within the shower stall. Not an issue though as we simply ripped more 2' x 4' from wood salvaged at a construction site elsewhere in the county.

quikreteThe concrete floor was a standard build using 2' x 4' scraps for the batter boards and 1/4" - Grade 40 rebar for reinforcement. The 4' x 4' size required 8 bags of 80 lbs. Quikrete which with a little math proved to be right at 640 lbs. We were definitely going to need help moving it in when the time came.

Once I had poured the 'rete and floated it we had gotten about as far as we wanted for Day 1. This project was going to hold until the cement was ready.

What should have been about 48 hours turned in to about 1 week and Day 2 didn't come until 10 days later. The framing was in place. The concrete was dry. It was time to start laying some PVC for the water source and figure out how we would get water up to the black polypipe and back down to the shower head.

... More of that tomorrow ... but first, some more pictures ...

s.m.r. saia
6/16/2010 1:24:43 PM

Idle Acres indeed! This would be right handy when bringing the kid in after a digging spree in the garden.....Can't wait to see the finished product.


anotherkindofdrew
6/16/2010 5:22:27 AM

Well Dave, I have to keep busy doing something. Otherwise, I am likely to get in trouble. hahahahah. To be honest, yes, I am in the process of thinking, planning, and doing at all times....probably to a fault even. The soil does drain well, yes, but we have gone two weeks now without a drop of water so this just reinforces the maximum use of all water we consume. And I agree with you. I can see water becoming a commodity and not something we take for granted any longer. While I like the modern conveniences you speak of I also know that we have to educate ourselves better in areas of conservation or else those modernities will likely disappear. I can't wait to hear how you harness all that rain water you are getting. Challenge yourself. You might be surprised at what you are up for!


nebraska dave
6/15/2010 8:43:40 PM

Drew, I go away for a couple days and you build a solar heated shower. Sheesh, I’m always amazed at the energy that you display in your blogs. You must be in the process of thinking, planning, or doing at all times. This is quite an amazing shower. I take it the soil doesn’t drain to well on Odem’s Idle Acres. Gray water irrigating puts the shower water to good use. I believe that conservation of water will become one of the greatest issues in the future. We need to learn how to recycle and use water for more than just one thing. I like a hot shower, clean clothes that aren’t pounded clean on a rock, and flush toilets. At the same time we as a society need to be concerned about what we do with our water supply. It’s one of our least thought about resources. You are doing a great thing by using the water from the shower to water the garden. Once I get my watering system up and running, I will investigate the integration of rain water from my roof into the system. I ran the math and each section of my roof, which I have four, would net me about 60 gallons from a one inch rain. That would be a total of 240 gallons total. We have had about 8 inches of rain so far this month. That would have been 1940 gallons of water. That’s a lot of water for the garden. Each of my raised beds takes about 25 gallons to water one inch of water over the bed. I hope you can have many hot showers from the solar heated shower.