080309 Thaikarl - Got my shower thang working
american that i am, i'm used to taking a shower where the water comes out of a pipe over head. scooping up a bowl of water from a vat and splashing it on my body is alright, that's the way most thai's and a few billion other people in the world get washed. i'm also used to hot water. we don't have running water, and of course, we don't have hot water. so i decided to work something out.
i prefer to shower outside behind the house in the open air. at night, under the stars it's just wonderful. in the morning, showering in the sun is a delight. there are a couple of big water jars back there. we keep them filled for backup water in case the well pump fails, and i use the water in the jars to wash.
we bought a submersible pump for the waterfall. it will lift water in a hose above my head. but we used that for the water fall. i bought another pump last visit, but it was smaller, and wouldn't lift the water above my waist. so we put that one in one of the big lotus flower and fish tanks in front of the house as a fountain.
we i landed in Bangkok, we went to jatucheck market, and i bought a submersible pump that was even bigger than the first one. my first installation was simply a length of plastic hose connected to the pump and strung up on some ropes over head. it worked, but it was a little sloppy. so i rebuilt it the other day.
i made an extension cord that runs from inside the house out to the jars, and hooked it over a piece of bamboo i tied to the pipe that has the TV antenna on top. then i tied some PVC pipe to the antenna pipe, with a couple of fittings. when i want to use the shower, i take the lid off the jar, pull out the short piece of hose with a stub of PVC stuck on the end, and plug it into the PVC elbow at the bottom. the water runs up thru a section of pipe, to another elbow, that extends over the jar. a piece of clear tubing hangs down from there. plug in the plump, i have running water. so i don't waste water down the train when i'm not rinsing or wetting, i move the pipe over so that the stream falls back into the jar. when i want water for wetting me, i pull on the end and direct the stream my way. works great! a bit of noise from the pump, but it works.
i even figured out how to get some hot water. so easy. totally solar. there is a long transparent 2 inch hose that runs from the pump to the back of the house. when we need water to fill the jars, we turn on the pump and drag the hose around. when the coils of the hose sit on the ground in the morning, the standing water in the hose sit in the sun, and the water heats up. if i wait until later, like around 11am, the hose has been in the sun for a few hours. i put the end of the hose in a No. 16 blue bucket and turn on the pump. when the bucket is full, that is just about the all the water that has been in the sun, what follows has been underground and is cool. so i stop the pump when the bucket is full, and i have a bucket of hot water. some days's it's so hot, i have to add cold water to it before i use it. after i've got myself all wet bowling out the hot water, the cooler water from the jar is refreshing, and not nearly as shocking to the system as using only the jar water. of course, when i shower at night, no hot water. sometimes Tok will heat up a pot of water for me on the propane stove if it's a cold night. but most nights, i just deal with it.
i have an idea to just get a bunch of 2 inch PVC pipe and string it together so it goes back and forth back and forth, and put it on top of the tin roof behind the house. if i fill it at night, it will get nice and toasty hot in the morning. might even retain some heat into the evening. but cheap as PVC pipe is, it's an extravagance that the budget doesn't permit this time. but NEXT trip, for sure.
of course, everybody else showers from the big jar in the bathroom like normal people. they wouldn't mind running water, but then we'd have to buy an automatic pump, and pay more electricity, and string pipes and all that. why spend the money? a bowl and a jar full of well water does the job.
when it rains, i prefer to channel the run-off from the roof to fill my jars with. the water from the well is very hard water. when it dries on the tiles in the bathroom there is a classic hard water scale that builds up. but it's only rained once since i've been here. there was a big rain when we were in Bangkok last month, but we missed it. dry season it is.
Improvise and rule your world! as my dad taught me.
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