Fig 3.1: Thermosiphoning shower
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Authors David Lopez Jr.
Instance of Solar hot water system
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The idea of a hot shower outside on a cool summer night is very appealing. CCAT developed just the thing for the occasion! Several versions of solar showers are available to build or purchase. Also, several reasons exist as to why one might chose this alternative form of energy for heating water for bathing purposes.

"Turn your face to the sun and the shadows fall behind you". -- Maori Proverb

Why use a solar heater[edit | edit source]

First, we will examine the question of why one might choose solar energy over other forms to heat water. Solar energy is accessible almost anywhere. It is easily used for heating up water in a shower system. The cost of a solar shower system verses a gas heated or electrically heated system is far less. Looking at the Energy Star website provided by the EPA, one observes that water heating is typically the third largest energy expense in your home (after space heating and cooling). Water heating typically accounts for about 14% of your utility bill. One way to reduce water-heating costs would be to replace your old water heater with an alternative form of water heating such as solar energy.

What a solar water heater is[edit | edit source]

A solar water heater includes collectors{solar heating panels} mounted on the roof or in a clear area of the yard, a separate storage tank near the conventional heater in the home, connecting pipe, and a controller. Solar water heaters reduce the annual fuel cost of supplying hot water to your home by more than half. Throughout the year, the solar system preheats the water before it reaches the conventional water heater. During the summer, it may provide all the required heat.

Versions[edit | edit source]

Several versions of solar showers are illustrated in photos from websites cited at the end of this document. The first photo (figure 1.1) is an esthetically pleasing pool and spa type shower for outdoor patio use. This solar model is stationary and can be used in the hot summer months for those days in the garden or out by the pool. It is said to work well and is totally sun reliant for energy. You may visit the web page listed for one site on which you can purchase the shower or gain more information on it. This type of shower goes for around $265. The second photo (figure 2.1) is of the more familiar camping types portable solar showers. Most models found through research show a gain from 60 degrees to 110 degrees Fahrenheit in about three hours when in the sun. These showers consist of various types of black or silver bags and tubing. They tend to run about $10 in price.

CCAT Version[edit | edit source]

Finally, we have the CCAT version of the solar shower (figure 3.1). This shower can heat and store water for about 24 hours on sunny summer days. The bathing area is private and stationary. The water tank is a standard size tank holding 50 gallons of water. The drawing gives one an idea of the operation of the system and how water heats and flows upward into the tank. The configuration of CCAT quotes solar shower is simple and based on thermosiphoning, which embodies thermocirculation. This method involves the convective circulation of a fluid{water} that occurs when warm water rises and is replaced by cooler denser water in the system. The CCAT shower is hottest from late afternoon to about 10AM the following day on summer days. The only drawback is due to cool air the shower is not used during the winter months.

Existing research[edit | edit source]

Much research is available on solar energy and its uses. The idea of a solar shower for the outdoors during summer months is quite appealing and I recommend checking out the benefits and savings of choosing this method. Look at the web sites used for research here and keep an open mind for advances in appropriate technology for our future.

Useful links[edit | edit source]

Related projects[edit | edit source]

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Keywords sanitation, showers, solar heater, solar shower
SDG SDG06 Clean water and sanitation, SDG07 Affordable and clean energy
Authors David Lopez Jr.
License CC-BY-SA-3.0
Organizations Campus Center for Appropriate Technology (CCAT), Cal Poly Humboldt
Language English (en)
Translations Bulgarian
Related 1 subpages, 16 pages link here
Impact 2,559 page views
Created March 2, 2008 by David Lopez Jr.
Modified January 29, 2024 by Felipe Schenone
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