How to Build a Solar Heated Outdoor Shower

What You'll Need
Large cooler
Fireplace matte finish black paint
Waterproof Sealant
Wood pallet
Four wood blocks
Hammer and nails
2 solar 5-gallon portable showers with spray nozzles
PVC T-connector
Hand-held shower head with hose
Hanging hook

Building a solar heated outdoor shower can be very helpful not only in the summer months but year around as well. There are several benefits to having a solar heated outdoor shower including ease of use, affordability, and a decreased amount of dirt in the house. Outdoor solar showers are very easy to assemble and best of all can be made from recycled and re-purposed materials to cut costs even more.

Step 1 – Build the Solar Enclosure

Even though the portable solar showers will retain heat on their own the cooler acts as a protective case for the portable units. To grasp and retain the solar heat the cooler will need to be painted, on the inside and outside, with the fireplace paint. Allow the paint to dry and re-apply at least four times for full coverage and effectiveness.

Step 2 - Place the Water Containers in the Enclosure

Remove the spray nozzle from each portable shower. Set them aside. Connect the hoses from the portable containers to a T-connector. It would be a good idea to use a waterproof sealant around the hose connections to prevent leaking. Place the open end of the T-connector at the mouth of the drainage tap. Remove the drainage tap on the side of the cooler and in its place attach the hand-held shower head and hose. Run the hose into the hole and connect it to the open end of the T-connector. Seal with the waterproof sealant.

Step 3 – Build the Shower Platform

This shower is powered by two natural substances, solar power and gravity. For the water to flow properly from the solar unit you will need to build a small platform for the system. For this you'll need a wood pallet and four wood blocks of equal size. The pallet will be angled downward so on the top of the pallet you will need to attach the wood blocks in two layers so they are stacked and providing an inclined length. Flip the pallet over and place on a secure fixture. This could be a roof, stand, or outdoor enclosure that you have already built for your shower.

Step 4 – Secure the Shower Platform and Attach the Solar Heating System

Make sure that your shower platform is secure and can support the weight of the cooler and ten gallons of water. Place the converted cooler onto the platform with the hose facing downward into the shower area. If the shower head is hanging to low then you can attach an optional hook to run the hose through and adjust the height of the shower head as needed. Fill the water containers, close the lid on the cooler, and allow the solar power to heat the water. This should take around 6 hours. When the water is heated to the desired temperature your shower is ready for use.