Sunday, July 14, 2013

Low-flow showers

The March/April 2013 issue of Sierra (the club magazine) says wind is now
cheaper than any other form of electrical energy generation, at $48-95/MWH, vs
$61-89 for a natural gas combined cycle plant with 60% efficiency or coal at
$62-141 or $200-231 for an industrial gas turbine (eg Capstone?), IF we remove
all subsidies for all forms of generation. But conservation and energy
efficiency are still cheaper, at $0-50/MWH.

I use a fully-enclosed shower with a continuous 1/4 gpm brass nozzle head and
swivel fitting from McMaster-Carr in parallel with occasional 1 gpm sprays from a hose
with a hand valve...\
Drilling a hole
through the plastic disk shutoff valve in the sprayer T will keep the 1/4 gpm
shower head going when you are using the sprayer to wash off soap. describes the benefits of a fully-enclosed shower.

This $9.17 nozzle uses 0.2 gpm at 40 psi with a 60 degree spray cone...
Here's a $15.60 swivel fitting...

This uses about 5 times less water than a 1.5 gpm "low-flow" shower head...\

McGill U's "Water Conservation and the Mist Experience" pamphlet suggests using a garden sprayer, eg this $8.57 1-gallon sprayer...

Bucky Fuller's Dymaxion pressure mist shower used 1 pint per hour, ie 0.002 gpm, ie 2 milligpm, 750 times less than a "low-flow showerhead."



  1. sweet!
    I'd suggest a thermostatic pressure-balanced shower mixer too. They're so wonderful, and far better than thermostatic or pressure balancing alone:


  2. Looks expensive. A 2'x5'x6' shower enclosure with 2x2x5+2(2+5)6 = 104 ft^2 of surface consisting of a 5'x5' R2 access door and 79 ft^2 of R10 fixed walls with a 25/2+79/10 = 20.4 Btu/h-F thermal conductance could stay 105 F in a 70 F room with (105-70)20.4 = 714 Btu/h of heat.

    If a person supplies 300 Btu/h, the rest could come from 414/(110-105)/60/8.33 = 0.166 gpm of 110 F shower water cooling to 105 before leaving the drain, at a cost of about (110-60)0.166x60x8.33 = 4140 Btu/h.

    Alternatively, a $49 digital thermostat with a 16 amp relay could run Aldi's $9.99 1500 watt 1.8 quart Crofton electric teakettle with a steam tube into a dry shower enclosure to keep it 105 F to make a steam room with about 414 Btu/h.

    If the shower tub is filled with water and the steam tube enters below the water level, it could keep the tub water 105 F for about 1.8x2/0.414 = 8.7 hours (a long soak) with a single teakettle full of water.


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