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Author Topic: Low cost outdoor showers. heating, construction and grey water disposal.  (Read 8700 times)
TheBrick2
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« on: November 05, 2019, 06:44:13 PM »

Hi all, I am hoping the collective mind maybe to help on this subject. Loosely green building as o would like the solution to be free.

We have a little space that we would like to be able to offer one or two glamping pitches and mma limited number of camping spots next summer season.  Our problem is how to setup some showers. We want to provide a couple of shower units for people. We can knock up a basic structure to hold a couple of showers or reuse an old garden shed but heating the water and disposal of grey water seems to be a problem. Budget will be pretty small as we are testing the water so to speak plus don't have lots of free cash for a pv array.

There are cheap log outdoor water heaters in eBay, but that's not very eco. Solar thermal will be expensive and need electric backup

Re grey water I was hoping to use some form of sokeaway but it seems that building regs will not allow for this. I thought it was only black water but it seems grey has to be sent via treatment now. ( We have a septic tank but piping to that would be very alkward and a lot of work and have to cross the garden)
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regen
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« Reply #1 on: November 05, 2019, 08:20:48 PM »

planning? change of use? insurance? building regs?
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« Reply #2 on: November 05, 2019, 08:28:07 PM »

Hi, in theory  solar thermal should operate with out electric or pump.  If the solar panel is used to make 1 wall of the shower, build a platform over (higher up) and put the indirect tank up on the platform.  Pipe from panel up to tank in copper and natural circulation will take hot from the top of the solar panel and move it up to the coil in the indirect tank thus heating the secondary water.  The hot water in the tank can be blended with cold to ensure safe showering by setting the temp to 41'C gravity will then provide the shower water.  You will need a header tank and drain down valves for winter etc but the basic circuit should work.

Grey water is a grey area.  Canal boats are regularly seen dumping sink water straight into "The Cut" and they are licensed!! And I believe that grey water can be used for irrigation purposes.  If you are low key and off the grid I'd use the grey water to irrigate the garden.  Or run it into a settlement tank to remove soap scum and then on into a small reed bed.  Prince Charles has reed bed sewage system at Highbury House, so if it's OK for his nibs it's OK for us peasants.

I'd not ask any body who wears a peaked cap but that's just me.

Andy
« Last Edit: November 05, 2019, 08:54:54 PM by offthegridandy » Logged

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gravyminer
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« Reply #3 on: November 05, 2019, 10:38:12 PM »

Your campers ( especially if you are selling it as glamorous camping ) will have an expectation of a reliable hot shower and they will tend to all want this at around the same time, ie breakfast time and bed time.  In the end the 6 litre per minute propane water heaters do the job and anything else is likely to need to be pretty oversized to meet the likely demand. This will require a high level hot water tank a lot of insulation, with any unused hot water effectively going to waste. And you need to be sure it gets heated to 60 C ,at least, in order to kill legionella bacteria.

An easy way to do the soakaways is to use cleaned out 40 gallon drums with lots of holes, buried in the ground and surrounded with gravel.
The void space is capable of meeting short term demand and the soakaway aspect able to work continuously.

If it doesnt work too well, just connect in more 40 gallon drums till it does work.

And as Andy says, best you dont discuss it with those who would control. 
If challenged, the grey water goes into the existing system for the property, which according to Anne Expert has more than enough capacity



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TheBrick2
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« Reply #4 on: November 06, 2019, 06:53:49 AM »

Thanks for the thoughts people. To remove scum should any holes be po laced or sized specifically?
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billi
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« Reply #5 on: November 06, 2019, 07:53:04 AM »

Quote
There are cheap log outdoor water heaters in eBay, but that's not very eco. Solar thermal will be expensive and need electric backup

well ,   nuthing cheaper than  solar thermal  in my opinion  and  as a back up  a instanious  gas water heater that is designed to work with solar thermal pre heated water

Navitron used to sell those solar panels with tank ontop  (worth while to ask  if still there ) ....  and i lived with   with that setup  very comfy

dirt cheap to get but  the right design is important

Nowadays i would use PV  and a small heatpump (like  Ochsner Europa mini )  , cause  surplus is  used as electricity and thats by far  a better return


Billi
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MR GUS
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« Reply #6 on: November 06, 2019, 08:46:41 AM »

You are going to need electricity, so bearing in mind the budgetary restrictions?? are you digging in electricity cable or putting in "some" solar?

Lighting, air extraction etc?

(thank goodness for led bulb availability these days tp offset the load without compromising on light quality which folk expect as a modern convenience).

For plastic panelling to simplify waterproofing of inner walls of the shower area look for "vlad the clad" / the cladding warehouse on google, as you'll be maintaining this aspect of paramount comfort you may as well get it done in a simple "sealed" form, there is no reasoning with some peoples misuse of water in terms of excess & building abuse.

my old favourite is cement board (Hardiebacker).
for walls  insulate it well with PIR foil / foam / foil board, tape off the seams. overlay with the hardiebacker & PVC cladding sheets.

Floor walls, ceiling, make it a "comfort zone" not a hard done by gripe.

Yes plastic isn't nice, but it is durable, can be very easy to clean with minimal chemical nasties & harsh abrasives, bearing in mind it's in an outdoors indoors setting & heating is minimal, been used successfully for american bathrooms for decades.

You could even pressure wash the place with the right stuff  in terms of cleaning, compared to cheap (till labour is involved) tiling!

Cladding warehouse has multiple thicknesses, "glittery" / coloured / plain sheeting & can advise you as to project builds, get the waterproofing right as its a high wet zone of many fronts. #BuildOnce inside & out.

There's also some good "artificial" barn type tiles in terracotta plastic these days for effect that can be banged up in sectional form to reduce time for diy / tradesmen ..its all about keeping it as watertight as possible in the simplest low key form by the sounds of things as its "bottom of the garden" unofficial & under the radar, likely some of which you can achieve yourself with a decent foam insulation saw & some basic DIY skills / equipment.
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gravyminer
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« Reply #7 on: November 06, 2019, 12:03:37 PM »

To remove scum should any holes be placed or sized specifically?
Not really. If you are using old metal drums use the pointy end of a pickaxe to make the holes on an approximate 4" grid, then wrap with some geotextile so the gravel can be smaller than the holes.
If using a plastic container you can spend the time drilling lots of holes smaller than your gravel.
You can leave the lid off and have the hole facing downwards if its that sort of barrel / drum. Its main feature is that it needs to be strong enough to withstand the ground pressure and deep enough to get rid of the water without it breaking the surface.

Any 'scum' from the shower water will either be dissolved into the water and disappear into the ground or will form a thin layer in the void space.
Billi's idea of solar preheat for the propane heaters is good but will need some driving head, either pumping or if the storage tank can take a couple of Bar of pressure, regulated mains pressure could drive the circuit.

I have set up a few 6 litre / minute propane water heaters for outdoor events and they really will meet any demand as long as the water and the gas supply can be maintained.
I allow the mains feed pressure to continue through the water heater to a simple pivot tap -
https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Compression-Lever-Arm-Ball-Valve-15-22-or-28mm-RED-Handle-Isolation-Tap-on-off/233205545766?hash=item364c223b26:m:mdIZyPJ2-clDBNJMtbrafhQ
which feeds a regular shower head on a bar. If you want it hotter you slow the flow ( the heater does have a thermostat though) if you want it cool, open the tap wide.

By setting up the on/off tap in the shower cubicle after the water heater, you dont have to put the heater in the cubicle, thus avouding any venting requirements for gas burners in confined spaces.

And Ive used corrugated galvanised roof sheets to form shower cubicle walls, which some folk considered to be rather trendy ......

For lighting I used solar that charged through the day and lit up for long enough for evening showers. Cheap and cheerful.


« Last Edit: November 06, 2019, 12:24:39 PM by gravyminer » Logged

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TheBrick2
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« Reply #8 on: November 06, 2019, 01:12:07 PM »

gravyminer has the right idea. I like the flow control in the cubical idea as if I went gas I definitely wanted the boiler outside. Like the 40 gallon drum idea with geotextile.

This is a boot strap project and a high season only test the water job. ( popularity, general hassle, effect on neighbours (none very close but noise carries a long way). I agree about plastic wall sheets for easy clean etc. This initially is going to be more temporary building or recycled old shed or I was thinking like gravyminer possible corrugated sheets cubical.

For electric I was thinking 12v DC -> LED. Cheap and easy, no running loads of SWA + tape + markings  etc to a site that may then move. Longer term we plan to build a barn and could put some showers and plan to put PV on that, some of which may be used for electric water heating.

billi I have seen load of those gravity fed evacuated tube units when working in hot countries, they look ideal and potentially good future possibility.
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TT
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« Reply #9 on: November 06, 2019, 04:08:25 PM »

It's maybe helpful to advise what sort of budget is available to spend as solutions seem to be from one extreme to the other.

One persons opinion of expensive is different to other!
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TheBrick2
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« Reply #10 on: November 06, 2019, 04:57:14 PM »

Good point TT, for some people anything under 10k is low cost! I don't have a specific budget but we are talking hundreds rather than thousands. If it is over 1000 no problem but I would not be going to 2k for instance. I am pretty good at reusing and adapting items once I know my plan and what I my solution is so I think this should defiantly be doable.

I think the barrel with filtering sounds good drainage issue. I think the most expensive bit will be a small PV set up with a charger to a deep cycle battery to power lights but this should be stuff that if the experiment doesn't work can easily be reused for other projects.
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MR GUS
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« Reply #11 on: November 06, 2019, 06:08:37 PM »

Don't forget that "wet" will rot out the building from the inside out if not controlled (sealed, ventilated) & may hasten premature death of unit if not properly sealed, thats why I emphasise build it once, or else labour & material costs spiral.

Ebay ends,
seconds PIR insulation. seconds / ends panelling.

Depending on how far / long you are prepared to look / travel ..offers up different results on costs.

I'd not be wanting a cold shower room experience, been there done that. & my regular shower room go's as low as 7c

If the type to choose "glamping" weren't choosey it would still be called "camping"  whistlie

What is your "core" building for the 3 S's (or whatever) & are they in the 1k top end figure? ..if not then a small second hand defunct chiller room might be viable, insulated to heck, modular, big old hole for venting / pipework, metal / UPVC lined inside... which would then give license to use a bit more cheaply to partition with & control spillage. ..you'd have to tidy up (skin / frame) the exterior & improve on the doorway fittings. but it has design potential imho
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Austroflamm stove & lot's of Lowe alpine fleeces, A "finger" of Solar Sad
Noli Timere Messorem
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Leaf Owner (1st gen)
+a shed full of solar panels
TT
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« Reply #12 on: November 06, 2019, 08:22:50 PM »

I couldn't imagine a showering experience at the budget you have.


Electrics
Plumbing
Drainage
Heating
Structure
Decoration

Best look out for some portacabins to adapt!



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billi
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« Reply #13 on: November 06, 2019, 08:37:08 PM »

well , investment   is attached to costs  but  noone can make  water into wine , so .....
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« Reply #14 on: November 06, 2019, 10:16:39 PM »

I'll bite, matt black painted watering can, about 2 gallon. Sorted.
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