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.