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#118 - 09/01/12 08:13 PM A Better Shower
Muniac Administrator Offline

Registered: 11/12/08
Posts: 247
Loc: Livingston, Texas
I think it is a good idea to conserve fresh water. Especially if you are stretching your fresh water tank supply. The goal is to use innovation to improve functionality without sacrificing performance and/or enjoyment. Presented here is an idea that some may find interesting and useful.

The mixer in our shower doesn't allow any flow control. You can adjust the temperature with the handle but that's it. Whatever the pressure and plumbing system delivers is what comes out the sprayer. Sometimes you don't need to run water constantly for the entire length of a shower. You could save gallons by turning the water off while soaping up, for example. This would allow more showers to be taken on limited water. A possible advantage for those running from their fresh water tank. A conservation measure for those wishing to be efficient with fresh water resources.

This mixer doesn't allow flow control and this wastes water.

The heart of this system is a pilot controlled solenoid valve positioned between the output of the mixer and the fitting that feeds the shower spray head. You'll need to use a normally open valve since the valve will remain open most of the time. This saves energy. A pilot control closes the valve slowly to avoid mass head acceleration (known as water hammer). This reduces stress on the plumbing system.

Solenoid valve installed behind shower enclosure.

To avoid drilling any holes in the fiberglass I used proximity switches located for control when standing and sitting. Magnets simply need to be passed over these locations to turn water on/off. The magnetic field easily passes through the fiberglass. The switches are connected in parallel meaning either one can close the circuit and stop water flow.

Sliding a magnet over the proximity switch stops flow.

Lower control for sitting position.

As mentioned, I installed two proximity switches. One for standing and one for sitting. The photos above show how these are setup. For the top control, pretty much any magnet enclosed in soft plastic will do to avoid scratches on the fiberglass. For the lower control I made a simple swing arm that pivots on a suction cup. The magnet is held within this and can easily swing over and away from the proximity switch. This approach avoided drilling any holes and dealing with water tight switches and/or leaks. You can easily secure the proximity switches behind the fiberglass with silicone caulk or industrial tape. Make sure the switches are rated to handle the solenoid's coil amperage. Cheap light duty switches will soon weld together and keep the water off. Frustrating if this happens in the middle of a nice hot shower. This system doesn't require you to use less water or interrupt a shower. It simply provides flow control if and when you need it.

I added a few more water saving goodies for cleaning just your feet or washing your hair. A suction cup mounted holder comes in handy to reposition the spray for dedicated cleaning tasks. This can be stuck anywhere in the shower. It is nothing more than a plastic plate with three suction cups added. Top it off with an inexpensive generic spray holder of your choice. Get the one that has an adhesive peel and stick pad on the back.

Another mounting for the shower spray. Comes in handy.

Lastly here are a couple of other things I've found handy. One is using a stainless steel filter screen in the drain to block hair and other junk from entering the grey water tank. The ones shown were purchased at Bed, Bath and Beyond. They wipe out in seconds with a tissue. Use two so you always have a clean spare.

Using a stainless steel drain screen helps avoid plumbing clogs.

A shower squeegee comes in handy to remove water.

Two is having a shower squeegee handy on a suction cup hook mount. Local hardware stores have these things. We always remove water from inside the shower then dry it completely with a towel. This helps avoid water stains, mold and mildew from building up. Hope you found these ideas helpful.

Complete slide show HERE. (7 frames)
Evolve and simplify!
Scott Bridgman, Why not join and post your own comments??
scott@muniac.com (email me)

#162 - 11/02/12 04:26 PM Re: A Better Shower [Re: Muniac]
Gil B Offline

Registered: 03/13/12
Posts: 4
Loc: Nevada, USA
Hi Scott:

How do you remove the drain cover? Mine looks like it was glued in place?
Gil B
'05 Country Coach Inspire DaVinci, Cat C-9, Air Force One, Blue OX Aventa LX
'01 Toyota Tundra Limited 4X4

#163 - 11/03/12 06:44 AM Re: A Better Shower [Re: Gil B]
Muniac Administrator Offline

Registered: 11/12/08
Posts: 247
Loc: Livingston, Texas
Gil - Mine has two tangs on it that fit inside the cup. It simply pulls out and pushes back in. Yours maybe stuck. If not that, it may be permanently installed which means you're SOL as they say. You may still be able to use a strainer screen if you can find a larger one and set it in over the drain upside down. These screens really help remove debris.
Evolve and simplify!
Scott Bridgman, Why not join and post your own comments??
scott@muniac.com (email me)


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