How do you like to shower? Are you the kind of person to run the hot water until it's gone or do you like it quick and cold? Perhaps you prefer a hot bath with bubbles and a good book. Do you shower once a day? Once a week? Once a month? However you like to do it, you probably don't have to worry about being seen in your birthday suit, worry about running out of water, or risk breaking your neck because your shower floor has frozen solid.
The 32x32 slab of slate that makes up our shower floor
An indoor shower was in our original plans when designing the bus. However, as the layout was finalized, we realized that it was more of a fantasy than a reality. Aside from the issue of space, it was outside of our budget to build a waterproof box that not only housed a shower, but also had a built in slide-out toilet for dual functionality.
We would have put the shower where the toilet is sitting. You can see how much that would have limited our available space. The toilet would have slid out on rollers from under the bed into the shower itself.
Hannah had always been opposed to an indoor shower, making claims that it was too much work, it would take up too much space, it was too much work, we'd have to worry about humidity, it was too much work, it was gonna cost too much, it was too much work... so I finally caved in and agreed to the idea of an outdoor shower. But I was still reluctant. For one thing, if we built an outdoor shower it would need to be freeze proof (something that the shower companies don't consider). For another, it was outside, enough said. I didn't want to worry about being seen by passerby's and what about winter? My tolerance for cold air is reasonable... when my skin is dry and I have clothes on that is.
Hannah's method for a sub 40 degree shower. This was before we had a stationary shower head and when our shower floor was a slippery piece of plywood.
However, Hannah had stopped listening to my complaints pretty early on in the planning process so I really didn't have much choice in the matter. I just had to do it.
How to avoid frozen pipes: Step 1. Turn the round knobs clockwise to shut the water off to the outside. Step 2. Open one of the spigots all the way (not really sure why I installed two?). Step 3. Move the orange lever to the open position. Step 4. Watch the water drain out!
The design is pretty simple. I used the same faucets you see on the outside of houses for your garden hose for our hot/cold water. They shut off about 8 inches inside the bus where it's nice and warm. Any water that's left in the line drains out, eliminating the risk of the shower pipes freezing. Once I had established the faucets, the rest of the shower is like what you'd have in your home, just the plumbing is exposed. And aside from the extra step of making sure the water drains out, when there is risk of freezing, it functions exactly like a regular shower. And our electric heater provides us with steaming hot water!
Feat. our propane tank and gray water line
We've been showering outdoors now for almost a year. In hot weather it's wonderful to get a shower outside. We have total privacy where we live and it's delightful to bath out in the warm sun. And believe it or not, I was surprised to find that although it's uncomfortable to shower when it's below freezing, it is empowering and invigorating to get yourself clean before your hair freezes.
It makes you feel alive.