Recirculating Shower System(s)

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by brian eiland, Aug 5, 2013.

  1. brian eiland
    Joined: Jun 2002
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    Location: St Augustine Fl, Thailand

    brian eiland Senior Member

    As I've gotten older (and lived too long on land) I've gotten use to a nice, longesh (by boat standards), hot showers. Now that I think about a live-aboard situation again, I'm wondering about an isolated shower water system that would recirculate a good portion of the shower water for at least a few days prior to being dumped and replenished.

    Are there any such systems in existence?
    Has such an idea been discussed anywhere on this forum?

    Naturally the types of soaps that could be allowed would have to come into question, and of course NO pissing in the shower, etc, etc
    I just thought we would have the filtering systems etc, capable of doing this job these days??

    I did see this:
    2012 Invention Awards: A Recirculating Shower | Popular Science

    ....and this
    Super-Effficient Water-Saving Shower

    I guess there are more, just never looked into the subject till just recently. Any body with practical experiences with such ideas?
     
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  2. michael pierzga
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    michael pierzga Senior Member

    never heard of it in a small craft. sounds complex
     
  3. brian eiland
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    brian eiland Senior Member

    Quench system

    Did anybody bother to read this link?


     
  4. brian eiland
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    brian eiland Senior Member

    Here is another system:

    Digital And Electric Power Showers | Eco Showers And Bathroom | recyclingshower.com.au

     
  5. michael pierzga
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    michael pierzga Senior Member

    I budget 5 liters for a long hot shower. 3 showers a week. Fresh water for showers is not an issue.

    Fresh water for washing clothing is a problem. Every week I waste 150 liters or more, even with a super watersaver Miele washer.

    A system that cuts this in half would be worthwhile.
     
  6. dskira

    dskira Previous Member

    They have very good soap allowing to take sea water shower. You don't feel any difference. $5.00 a bar of soap inset of $1.75 million in development.
    Water is complex, the deposit kill any miniature system. Even small water maker are prone to big problems.
    On a yacht, we have to agree of the shortcoming on the comfort matter, if not, we will pass more time at the marina repairing and reading manual that just sailing.
    But that's me, I just love sailing:D
     
  7. brian eiland
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    brian eiland Senior Member

    Typical Shower Water Usage

    The WaterGeeks *::*Water Consumption

    I've lived on two boats in my past, and I've had lots of 'quick showers', low pressure showers, 'room temp' showers, etc. I want something better this time.

    Found this blog entry on dealing with water restrictions and suggestions we revert to FOUR minutes showers both amusing and thought provoking.

    http://galaxyofemptiness.blogspot.com/2007/04/four-minute-shower.html

    BTW, if you have an older showerhead, you may be using lots, lots more water to shower. "There are older models that run as high as 5-8 gallons a minute. That means a 10 minute shower could be using 80 gallons of water every time, plus the electricity or gas to heat it! Not all showerheads are that wasteful. They have become more conserving since the 1970s, resulting in lower flow rates in newer homes. Due to a number of factors, average flows are more likely to be near 4 gpm. But that's still 40 gallons of water for a 10 minute shower."

    Lets see 40 gals per day times 2 people....that's 80 per day. The 7 days a week, that's 560 gal per week. Do I really want tanks big enough to offer this sort of supply, and/or a watermaker operating that often to make this supply? .

    .....When I might find some ways to conserve and still get that nice high pressure soothing shower?
     
  8. michael pierzga
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    michael pierzga Senior Member

    Aww jeez. Ive lived on boats for 40 years. 560 gallons for showers in one week !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! say it aint so.

    As for a shower nozzle..skip the household junk..they waste water. Use a point and shoot, pistol type deck shower nozzle. 10 dollars and Very common at marine
    stores. Buy several, thier little O ring seal seems to fail after a season and you cant take the plastic head apart. Also reduce your FW system pressure to minimiun.

    If onboard for a cruise you have a water hog...some city type who just cant understand that fresh water is precious ...rig a 220 volt wire on a timer to the shower nozzle. The timer goes off after 2 minutes and ZAP !!..the water hog starts break dancing and launches out of the shower.

    Soon they learn
     
  9. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

    I found that taking a shower with salt water and Sunlight dish detergent worked very well. If you can afford enough water to rinse, a liter (a bit over a quart) is enough.
     
  10. El_Guero

    El_Guero Previous Member

    City folks never learn.

    You can always turn off the water as you soap up ....

    And you can still use a camping shower bucket ....
     
  11. Petros
    Joined: Oct 2007
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    Petros Senior Member

    Brian,

    This is really, really, REALLY a bad idea. In my capacity as an engineer I have designed quite a few waste water treatment systems, shower water has the same pathogens as toilet water, but in lower concentrations. If you recirculated it you will be showering in sewage, you will expose your body openings (eyes, ears, nose and mouth, plus any small cuts or soars) to E-coli, hepatitis, meningitis, influenza, polio, and a whole host of other very dangerous pathogens that are all present in shower waste water. If you store this warm water, even for short periods of time, they will multiply by feeding off the soap, dead skin, body oil and other nutrients you have introduced into the waste water by showering in it. Even recirculating "fresh" shower water is very dangerous since you will be repeatedly exposing yourself to the lower concentration of these dangerous compounds and organisms.

    Do not do it, the "recirculating" shower in the links do not have any way of effectively treating the waste water fast enough to make it safe (one was designed by an industrial design student, who clearly does not know what he is doing, nor the judges that gave him an award for it). It is almost certainly going to cause life threatening infections, possible deaths, and corresponding lawsuits.

    It might be possible to design a recirculating system that works effectively, but it will be costly to operate, complex and require a lot of maintenance, and likely be heavy and bulky. If it malfunctions, you risk serious infection. The other link to a water saving shower saves water by giving you only a few spurts of water at a time, to allow you to scrub between water doses; not quite what you had in mind for a long shower.

    Sanitation, especially when in remote places, is not something to take lightly. We live in such comfort, safety and health that it is easy to forget that most deaths in the world are caused by preventable diseases due to lack of sanitation, because in many places they draw their water from the same place they clean and discharge their sewage. You are proposing to build such a system in to your sailboat. This is extremely dangerous and foolhardy.

    A better idea might be to created a dual shower supply, use heated salt water for your long relaxing shower, and than do a short rinse off when finished with heated fresh water. It will be far safer and simpler than any other system.
     
  12. troy2000
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    troy2000 Senior Member

    Maybe I misunderstood. But I got the impression the systems don't 'store' water. They recycle your own shower water, and dump it when you're done with it. That's the logical way to go, anyway,

    You aren't going to catch polio from recirculating water that ran off your own body a minute earlier....
     
  13. Petros
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    Petros Senior Member

    yes, he did talk about storing it. all dangerous pathogens are all around us at all times in tiny amounts. A healthy immune systems usually wipes them out, but prolonged and repeated exposure, and/or allowing them to multiply is what will eventually overwhelm your immune system and make you really sick, or worse.
     
  14. michael pierzga
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    michael pierzga Senior Member

    The plumping will become contaminated. The reason you cant use a salt water shower is the same...Rotten egg shower from biological growth in the plumbing. Even the drain circuit from showers becomes contaminate, stinks, and must be cleaned out from time to time.

    Obviuosly all people are differfent and some folk like that meaty rotten egg smell,

    Perhaps if you had a big vessel you could overcome this but for a small craft I dont like the idea.

    Keep it simple. adjust your lifestyloe to that of a seaman.
     

  15. rwatson
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    rwatson Senior Member

    I like the topic a lot. Long hot showers is a great luxury ( thank you Romans )

    What about re-circulating hot seawater after the initial scrubbing down ?

    Its supposed to be therapeutic too
    "Sea water has a history of therapeutic use. Its application to the body, warmed and usually combined with massage, is referred to as Thalassotherapy, originating from the Greek word thalassa. Both the Greeks and the Romans recognised the therapeutic effects of sea water. The immediate general effects of warm sea water application (it can penetrate the skin more easily when warm, and enter into the blood) is relaxing, regenerative and stimulating."

    It also kills bacteria.

    A final rinse in fresh water would be good as suggested.

    Maybe it could work ?
     
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