Our Off The Grid Shower
The folks here at Tiny House Listings wanted me to share a little about my shower. Not just how to build it but why we use it.
We chose not to plumb our tiny house. Instead, we get all of our water from a spring on the land that we purify using a Berkey water filtration system. This works very well for us and it also means we don’t use anywhere near the amount of water that a conventional household uses.
Over the years we tried several camping shower systems. We used a pump that heated the water. We used a gravity shower bag. All of these were fine, but they weren’t exactly right for us. Then Matt went out to New Mexico to meet with some people about the project we started in South Africa last year. There he met a guy who lived on a boat and he told Matt about using a garden sprayer as a shower and Matt got inspired.
Compression garden sprayers work by using a hand pump to create air pressure in the tank which then forces the contents, usually chemicals such as weed killers, out through a hose. Because it relies on the pressure in the tank, the hose typically has an on/off switch. The guy on the boat just used the garden sprayer with its little nozzle for his showers, but Matt was certain he could improve the design. So we were off to the home improvement store to find the parts.
We started with a 2 gallon garden sprayer. Whatever you do, don’t use one that has already been used with chemicals. This seems obvious, but I want to make sure I say it.
The product we chose had a spray nozzle that could be unscrewed from the rest of the unit. So we bopped over to the bath department to see if we could find a shower attachment that would fit. Matt originally had in mind to use the type of sprayer you might have on your kitchen sink with the on off button, but we ended up with a hand held shower sprayer that based on the packaging is used to attach to your shower and wash your dog.
However, the sprayer wasn’t a perfect fit for the shower nozzle, so we wandered over to the plumbing to find a connector that would work.
Once we put it all together, we had a pressurized shower system.
To use it we fill it up with a gallon of air temperature water. Then we boil a kettle full of water which measures out to about a half-gallon. The boiling water quickly heats the rest of the water and we are left with a very comfortable shower.
So, is there anything that we would do differently?
Our shower seems to have a lot of extra hose. This is because of the original hose from the sprayer and the hose from the hand held shower nozzle. The hose is a little excessive and occasionally unwieldy. We might reconsider the kitchen sprayer idea for the next time we build one. Another change might be to paint the sprayer black so it can be used as a solar shower.
Laura is a contributing writer for Tiny House Listings and she walks the walk. Her and her husband live in a 120 square foot cabin in Asheville, NC that her and her husband Matt built themselves. You can learn more about Laura and Matt at their website 120squarefeet.com.
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