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giraut
# Posted: 30 Jun 2011 08:05
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Passive Solar Water Heater with Dock Float

I have a rain-catch water system at my small cabin for washing dishes and showering. I collect water from gutters in a large tank that lives under the deck. I've bought a black dock float to heat water. I have two on-demand pumps (one for cold, one for hot) and enough hose to reach my kitchen sink and outdoor shower. The system worked well for cold water last year. This year I want to make it work for hot (assuming, of course, the sun shines). Here are my questions:

1. Can I simply connect the smaller hot water tank (dock float) to the large cold water tank, place it lower and will the hot water tank fill from the cold one? I will have to put in a manual shut-off valve, I guess, so water from the cold tank isn't always pouring into the hot tank and cooling off the water. Is this a reasonable way to proceed? How much lower than the cold tank does the hot tank have to be in order for it to work?

2. Does it make sense to enclose the dock float in a wood box painted black? Will this increase the heat retention significantly?

3. The dock float only has one entry port, and of course I need two one to get the cold water in and another to attach a hose to the pump and up to the shower and sink. What is a good way to cut a hole in a hard plastic dock float and put in some kind of receptacle that I can attach a hose to? Do I use some kind of silicon sealant?

Many thanks!

Anonymous
# Posted: 1 Jul 2011 07:41
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Looking for some ideas. We have an off grid hunting cabin in southern Iowa. I have it wired up so I can use my Honda 2000 generator. We also have LP available. We want to build a shower house for hot days when bowhunting and extended stays. I'm looking for advise on burying a tank below the frost line and so we don't have to haul water. Also want some advise on how to use quick connects so we can pump water into an eco water heater and drain lines and pump when we leave to prevent freezing. Any ideas on storing water from downspouts and then using it to fill buried tank. Want to keep it from freezing.

barliboy
# Posted: 7 Jul 2011 20:41
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Hello, I have heard great things about this little Zodi on-demand propane water heater, but can not seem to find one in B.C.. I am on Cortes Isalnd,
near Campbell River. Anyone know where I can buy one? Thanks

turkeyhunter
Member
# Posted: 7 Jul 2011 21:27 - Edited by: turkeyhunter
Reply 


www.cabelas.com

direct link to Zodi shower page:
http://www.cabelas.com/catalog/search.cmd?form_state=searchForm&N=0&fsch=true&Ntk=All Products&Ntt=zodi&WTz_l=Header%3BSearch-All+Products

friendofdeer
# Posted: 17 Jul 2011 02:23
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I built a great shower at my Wisconsin main cabin and another at my guest bungalow. It is simple and effective. After building the shower base and walls (marine-varnished plywood), I mounted a 3-gallon clear plastic rectangular tank (bought from WalMart's kitchen appliance and storage section) on cross-bars a little over head-high over the center of the shower. I had drilled a 3/4 in hole in the bottom and put a threaded pipe thru, secured with threaded washers and rubber o-rings. Screwed on an on-off connection for garden hoses, the kind with a lever for opening and closing, then a yellow cap in which I had drilled several 1/8" holes. During the cold months I always have a covered pot of water on the wood stove.... mixing a gallon of that hot water with a gallon of room-temp water and putting that into the shower tank (by hand, simply by scooping it out of a metal pail with a half-gallon sized wide-mouth container and, standing a bit on tiptoes dumping it into the open-topped shower tank). Gives me a great 2-gallon shower which is plenty of water, I get wet, shut off the valve, soap up and shampoo, and rinse. Usually there is enough hot water left to luxuriate for a couple of minutes. During the summer I heat several gallon-sized recycled milk jugs, painted black, out in the sun. If I am planning a morning shower, I have a cooler-within-a-cooler setup where I can place two of these hot water jugs, cover the whole assembly with a quilt, and have perfect shower water ready for me at 7 am. If I have a cloudy day, or want to take an unplanned morning shower, I run 12 cups of water through my coffee maker (with NO coffee or filter in place), at this to 12 cups of room temp water, and viola! enough warm water to take a full shower. I also have a propane camp shower, but it's more of a hassle to use to heat shower water than the coffee maker. Of course, I have electricity here.... if I didn't, then I would use the camp shower setup to heat water in a pail (circulate it, bring the hot water back to mix with the cold in the pail, you can heat up 2 gallons pretty quickly that way). I would still then hand transfer the water to the shower tank, easier and simpler than trying to run the hot water hose through a hole in the wall and then mount the head.... and no way to turn it on and off from IN the shower!
I recently ordered an inline tankless heater from Menard's, cost $189, uses 120 volt wiring. I'll supply water from a tank I have mounted on the roof. It's a concession to my daughter who likes to take long showers and hates having to load up the shower tank. I'm installing it in the guest bungalow's bathroom, here in my cabin I prefer my tried and true "green" method of showering.

tony dean
Member
# Posted: 28 Jul 2011 12:44
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I'm in a remote spot and have a well-fed rain barrel. am thinking about the zodi system for use either inside or out. Anyone have anymore recent expereince with a Zodi? What a great site by the way.

Scienceguy
# Posted: 1 Nov 2011 18:45
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I have property on the Bay of Fundy in New Brunswick. Have camped there for many years and plan on building a cottage next summer. My solution for hot water was to buy a turkey fryer with a 30 quart stainless steel pot that has a draining spigot. The propane burner will heat 30 quarts to shower temperature in about eight minutes. I bought a 12 VDC water pump that runs on 4 D batterries from Bass Pro Shops. It comes with an 8 foot hose and shower head like those that come with a Sun Shower. A real hot shower under pressure. Because it is under pressure my wife and I get two good showers out of the 30 quart pot. When not used for showers it is used for washing dishes and occassionally steaming a few lobsters and clams. Total cost with the pump about $130.

backwoodsTim
# Posted: 8 Apr 2012 11:34
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I realize this post is kjnd of old by thought I would add to it anyway. I found a site called Bear Ridge Project that has many ideas on all aspects of living off grid etc. Bear the author built a hot tub from a farm stock tank and used a used propane turkey fryer setup to heat copper coiled tubing inside a metal can. Also used a 12 volt boat bilge pump to circulate the water from the tank thru the coils and back to the tank. I think a similar setup could be adapted to an outdoor shower setup.

akatv
# Posted: 22 Apr 2012 02:23
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It works great have one at our camp. Use it for dishes hot water and showers. We are off grid charge it whe generator Coleman instant hot water

kln75a
Member
# Posted: 15 Jul 2012 16:46
Reply 


We've used a Zodi shower at our cabin for several years (with a portable shower tent) but the pump has died. We're looking to replace it with something a little more permanent when we build a shower stall, but we carry in water from a stream nearby, we don't have water pressure. Any suggestions?

sparky1
Member
# Posted: 16 Jul 2012 07:55
Reply 


12 volt Rv style pumps
can be bought
Harbor Freight tool
or
Northern Tool.
very reasonale to pump potable water.,,won't last long pumping HOT water,

kln75a
Member
# Posted: 16 Jul 2012 08:05
Reply 


Quoting: sparky1
12 volt Rv style pumps


Do you need electricity for these, or can they run off a battery?

sparky1
Member
# Posted: 16 Jul 2012 08:27 - Edited by: sparky1
Reply 


can be run off 12 volt DC
...............................................
they also sell 115 volt AC pumps too

willnels
Member
# Posted: 31 Oct 2016 21:30
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Hi Forest Dwellers, I am trying to come up with an idea to keep about 5 Gal. of water from freezing during the winter here in WA.

I snowshoe to my cabin about once a month from Dec. to March. I would say that the average winter temp. is 30F. with average lows of 25F.

My place is off grid, but I have an 18 watt solar panel charging a 12V. battery. Unfortunately, there is not much sun and it is low in the sky this far north. I have been toying with this idea: Putting five, 1 gal. jugs in a cooler. Using a 12V LED to produce enough heat to just keep the temp. above 32 F. I am concerned that the LED will pull too much power from the battery. It's draw is .23 amps.

Does anyone have any suggestions/ideas to keep my water liquid for my occasional winter trips? Thank you. -Bill

Just
Member
# Posted: 31 Oct 2016 22:48
Reply 


under ground water tank if you can dig below frost depth

bldginsp
Member
# Posted: 31 Oct 2016 22:59
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I like the cooler idea with the LED. You could bypass the battery altogether so the LED only operates with sun.

You could put food grade propylene glycol in the water- very little goes a long way and it doesn't taste bad.

willnels
Member
# Posted: 1 Nov 2016 15:17
Reply 


I hadn't thought of bypassing the battery. Intriguing idea! Do you know if that would cause any problems with the panel or controller? Th Coleman unit is sold as a "18 Watt Solar 12 Volt Battery Charger" It includes 12 V. Controller. Thanks,

Bill

FishHog
Member
# Posted: 1 Nov 2016 15:56
Reply 


led won't put off enough heat in my mind. and an 18watt panel just isn't large enough to try anything that will give off enough heat.
Bury it below the frost line would be your best bet.
Or assuming you have heat, use a bunch of small containers that can freeze. Melt them when you arrive to give you enough drinking water.

willnels
Member
# Posted: 1 Nov 2016 17:14
Reply 


Thank you for your feedback FishHog, Your idea of keeping the water below the frost line is certainly the lowest tech. one and that is a good feature. But I might have to clear 4 feet of snow away to get to the "spider hole". That is why I am trying to come up with another way.
The LED I am thinking of using is a replacement for a car taillight and draws .23 Amps. It has an aluminum heat sink and that heats to 110F. I need to test it to see how much, if at all, it will raise the temp. inside a cooler. I just need it to keep above 32F.

hamish
Member
# Posted: 1 Nov 2016 19:29
Reply 


Just let the water freeze in to ice, for ice requires less btu's to melt versus a slurry. If you are going in the winter obviously your going to have a heat source. Melt the ice and poof you have water. Whislt traveling the arctic and other northern regions we used to make ice blocks to carry on our toboggans.

willnels
Member
# Posted: 2 Nov 2016 17:18
Reply 


The person with property near mine does just that. He has a cabin with a wood stove. I am in a small, (170 sq. ft. !) cabin which I heat with a "Little Buddy" catalyst heater and cook on a propane stove, neither of which exhaust outside. So I am trying to keep their use to a minimum if I can. Thawing some ice would lighten my load on the snowshoe trip in. Perhaps a combination of both carrying and thawing is my best option.

SE Ohio
Member
# Posted: 4 Nov 2016 10:30
Reply 


Quoting: willnels
...idea of keeping the water below the frost line is certainly the lowest tech. one and that is a good feature. But I might have to clear 4 feet of snow away to get to the "spider hole". That is why I am trying to come up with another way.
The LED I am thinking of using is a replacement for a car taillight and draws .23 Amps. It has an aluminum heat sink and that heats to 110F. I need to test it to see how much, if at all, it will raise the temp. inside a cooler. I just need it to keep above 32F.

Willnels,

Two thoughts:

1) If you use a pitcher pump (available from Tractor Supply, Lehmans, others) and the water supply is below the frost line, you can hand-pump water to a bucket despite freezing temps. The pitcher pump quickly drains dry / loses its prime so feed pipe won't freeze/split.

2) If you want to go the solar panel heating route, you might be able to experiment before you go to the cabin. The cooler with water can be placed in a freezer set at 25-30 degrees F. Try using your "heater" arrangement on for the amount of hours you expect sunlight and off for hours you don't and see if you maintain liquid water. Substitute a 12 volt battery for the solar panel.

For the second approach, you can use a resistor instead of an LED for your heat source. You're looking for heat/wattage, not light. Using resistance = voltage/amps, a resistor of ~ 50 ohms will produce the same heat/wattage. Wattage = volts * amps = ~2.8 watts. Not enough heat? Use a smaller resistor, e.g. 25 ohms for ~5.8 watts.

Make sure the resistor wattage rating is 3x or more larger than wattage being generated, and if soldering wires to the resistor, take measures to keep lead solder from contacting your water supply.

SE Ohio

willnels
Member
# Posted: 4 Nov 2016 15:48
Reply 


Hi SE Ohio,

I hadn't thought of using a pump! I pictured pulling gallon jugs up from a 3' hole with a rope. The pump makes the whole process much more "civilized". I still would like to keep the water inside my cabin and use solar, but if I can't make that work, I will be buying a pump. Thanks!

-Willnels

SE Ohio
Member
# Posted: 7 Nov 2016 07:51
Reply 


Willnels,

How far away is the water hole? Pitcher pumps can commonly lift water 25' and from a fair distance. Might place pump indoors with a sink with piping to pit? That would be true luxury... Consider a rubber "p" trap for sink and you'd be freeze friendly all around, no winterizing.

SE Ohio

willnels
Member
# Posted: 9 Nov 2016 16:26
Reply 


I have no well and the folks around me have had to go down as deep as 350 feet to reach water! I was thinking of sinking a 5 gal. container below the frost line and using a small plastic pump to lift the water above ground...I don't use that much water since I only get to my cabin about once a month for 2 days a trip during the winter. I bring dirty dishes home with me.

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