I used my new outside shower for the first time yesterday at 8pm. Water was the perfect temperature and the hot water lasted for the whole shower! I’ve been wanting an outdoor shower since I moved in. The first hurdle was deciding where it should go.
I picked this corner of the backyard:
The first step was to sink a post and put up the screen a friend gave me. (Thanks Geo!)
Of course I had to clear out all that stuff that was lying around.
Then I installed the Homewerks Shower Kit.I got it on Amazon for under $50. Very nice, heavy duty chrome finish.
Then came the difficult part of planning the plumbing. I have been satisfied in the past with using a black hose as a “solar hot water heater” so I thought I would use some design that was similar. I know from experience that hoses will “explode” if kept under pressure in the Phoenix heat (even hoses that are “guaranteed” to handle pressure) so I was thinking about a PVC pipe design.
The first thing I learned was that PVC is actually not rated to withstand temperatures above 100 degrees. (So why do they even sell it in Phoenix?). What I needed was something called CPVC that is more expensive and is typically used for interior hot water plumbing. It is an alternative to copper.
I got lucky. Ten foot sections of 1 inch CPVC usually sell for about $12 each – I found them on clearance at Lowes for less than 50 cents each. I bought the last bunch of 1 inch CPVC in the county. All the fittings I had to special order as well.
The design was simple. I teed off the main PVC line with 1/2 CPVC. I took that up to the utility room roof and used elbows to a create a looped line of 1 inch CPVC. I estimated that the loop system holds about 2 gallons of water. Not much, but in the summer there is no such thing as cold water in Phoenix anyway. I figured if I used the shower when the sun is hitting the piping the water will be scalding hot. Two gallons of scalding water is more than adequate for a shower once mixed with the “cold” water.
The finished plumbing looks like this:
I added a second output valve on the bottom in case I want to connect the system to a hose or sink.
Over the course of the last few months two of my stove burners stopped working. I am currently running a successful airbnb rental and while I can get along with two burners, I am looking to keep my home as functional as possible for my guests. Besides, with the income I’m getting I can afford to fix the stove. It crossed my mind to just get a new stove, or to get my mother a new stove and use her old one, but scraping an old stove is outside of my values. I decided to repair the stove instead.
I called TLC Appliances. TLC (Transitional Living Communities) is a 30 year old program for people transitioning off drugs and alcohol. I worked there in 2013 as their massage therapist. I also ran a mindful gardening program, a mindful relapse prevention program and trauma healing groups for them. They not only have about 600 halfway house beds in the Phoenix area, they run an outpatient treatment program, TLC yard maintenance, TLC towing and recovery, and TLC appliance.
I called David at TLC Appliances (480-809-8356) to get the stove fixed. If you need anything repaired from AC to stove and refrigerators, he is the man. TLC will also take your donation of used appliances and you might be able to pick up a reconditioned used appliance from them if you are in need. They are the ones that gave me my swamp cooler.
One of the first things he told me was, “if the computer is bad, I can get you a new one, but it will cost about the same as buying a new stove.” I already knew that. It is something called planned obsolescence. Watch one of my favorite videos on this: The Story of Stuff:
As it turned out, the wiring to the two burners had melted. I probably could have gotten by with about a $50 repair, but for $109 he fixed the faulty wires and replaced all four burners and their drip trays. This was a blessing, since a few of the burners just wouldn’t sit right; they weren’t level. Here is my beauty now: