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Sustainably LONG showers

 
Christian Huble
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Hello,

This question is concerning one of, in my opinion, the most precious of western privileges: a LONG, hot shower.

Now, admittedly, I rarely shower. I take one based on how much I can physically stand smelling myself and feeling gross. I love to shower, but it's not convenient, (that horrible word), living in the woods, so more often than not I pass.

However, when I do take a shower, I take LONG, scolding hot showers. I'm talking an hour + of clean, pruney goodness!

My personal routine aside, I do not think that an enjoyably long shower should be one of the sacrifices we make as a more sustainably conscious community. I believe there is, or could be the technology that recycles and heats water so thoroughly that shower duration should not matter.

We've accomplished far greater feats, in my opinion!

Any thoughts, permies?
 
Michael Cox
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Location: Kent, UK - Zone 8
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There are heat reclaiming shower bases that can recover a lot of heat, but not all.

The best ones pre-heat the cold water supply before it reaches the mixer unit. The mixer unit ensures that you get constant temperature.
 
Alex Veidel
Posts: 123
Location: Elgin, IL
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Sounds like you need a hot tub
 
Rhys Firth
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Well, after the first 10 minutes or so you should be fairly clean... it shouldn't be too difficult to make a diverter that after 10 minutes with soap, you can rinse off and activate the diverter so instead of flushing water into the greywater system the cleanish used water goes into a sump and the water system starts pumping that up to the shower head, only adding enough new fresh hot water to keep the temperature up. then when you're ready to get out of the shower, flick it back to new water, which would empty the sump and rinse off for a minute in the new clean water before getting out.

Personally I would use a tub, I love LONG hot soaks in a tub... the japanese do to, first step is to get clean with a shower or scrub, the next step is to soak your cares away. Very civilised system that way.

http://www.kiwitub.com/home.htm
 
allen lumley
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Location: Northern New York Zone4-5 the OUTER 'RONDACs percip 36''
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- one more vote for getting clean then recycling the last part of the shower - Research a french drain, with its use you should arrive at a clean state
about the time your drain overflows into a recycling basin that allows you to enjoy a long 'soak' in (nearly) pristine Bath/shower water !

Your Absolute Final rinse can be ether hot or cold, mentally preparing you to leave Your "bath house'' and return to the outside world !

For purposes of easily cleaning your facility - use a large diameter and short pipe to channel this flow to a large water collection point where the
heat energy trapped in your waste (Grey ) water can be trapped and re-cycled !

For the Crafts ! Big AL
 
Michael Cox
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Location: Kent, UK - Zone 8
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I don't like the sound of recycling grey water in the shower. It sounds like a potential legionella nightmare. Your system needs some kind of collector right, so that the water can be pumped back up again. How do you get that collector scrupulously clean and DRY between uses so that it doesn't become a bacterial breeding pit? You have also just introduced another pump and moving parts to go wrong.

The heat reclaim units have no moving parts and keep the clean and grey water physically separate. You still have the question of water use, so I can't. Imagine this going well in an arid/drought region, but the energy savings are substantial.
 
Jj Grey
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Location: NORTH Great plains (spit wrong and hit Canada)
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Christian Huble wrote:Hello,

This question is concerning one of, in my opinion, the most precious of western privileges: a LONG, hot shower.
...

Any thoughts, permies?


I totally agree the long hot shower (or tub soak requiring multi-refills) is a luxury, I, for one do not want to abandon. Plus the hygiene benefits (physical and mental) are significant.
A large solar hot water heater system with a batch storage and on demand (propane) supplement is probably the best we will ever get.
I have been considering some way of using the potable solar hot water to warm the floors and mass of the house I have on the drawing boards, and possibly also providing storage for the water for a long soak, with radiant in floor heating (pex tubing?).
I have also entertained the idea of using the heat from the wood stove and some coils of copper pipe to feed the batch storage during the winter.
These are all thoughts not yet written into the plans hard and fast... yet.
 
Brett Andrzejewski
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Location: Buffalo, NY
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Bath tub/ hot tub on top of a rocket mass heater

How does that sound?
 
Tristan Vitali
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Location: south-central ME, USA - zone 5a/4b
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solar hot water is the answer to the heating energy issue - nice long black hose (spray painted black works fine) in a coil, sitting in the sun, will heat that water up nicely. You'll need decent head for a gravity feed system, or water pressure from a well pump or the like, but you'll get free heating this way. And during the summer, it can get downright scolding hot. I've used this method in Florida and New Mexico successfully, passing it through a propane water heater before showering in it during the colder months. Adding a layer of clear plastic sheeting will help retain more of the heat if you've got good sun angle but cooler temps.

If you're in a northern clime, winter freeze up would be an issue, but winter is a time for a long hot soak rather than a long hot spray anyway
 
Christian Huble
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Thanks for all the ideas!! I'm the only stubborn one in the household who prefers the long shower to the bath..

We're setting up residence off-grid in south-central CO, near the New Mexico border. So winter is definitely an issue. I want to avoid things like propane because it is not sustainable, plus propane delivery out where we are in the middle of nowhere is an expense I would rather avoid. But we get great sun, and wind.
 
Will Meginley
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Location: Concord, New Hampshire
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What you need, then, is a sauna.

Runs on wood. Multiple people can utilize the same heat. Great way to heat a greenhouse in the winter.
 
Dan Huisjen
Posts: 51
Location: Acadia Region, Maine.
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I'm at 44° 40' north. I've got about 800' of 1.25" black poly water line in a coil in the back yard, connected to the garden hose. It's in a 14' circle covered with a layer or two of greenhouse plastic. I've got a 70 gallon rubbermaid stock tank that I can tip over to drain and leave to dry upside down. The other day I got 150°F water out of that system. Tempered with cold water, you can have quite a bath that way.

Time will tell how long into the fall I can do this. One upgrade I'm going to explore is a timer valve that will open at 1:00 PM and close 10 minutes later. That will fill the tub. If I put the tub in a somewhat insulated box, that hot water should last a long time. If I rig this system to an insulated storage tank in the house, it could provide me with all my hot water pretty cheaply on sunny days.

My girlfriend would fit in there with me better if we had the 100 gallon tank.
 
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