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How To Install An Outdoor Shower With Hot Water

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An outdoor shower in the backyard is not only a great way to increase the value of your home but also, the invigorating feeling of showering outdoors during a hot summer afternoon is on another level.

Though you must have water to have a shower, you don’t necessarily need hot water. In fact, many people are just fine with an outdoor shower that delivers cold water only especially when used in the summer.

How To Install An Outdoor Shower With Hot Water

A case in point is the camp shower, where you may be washing “on the run,” and don’t really care if the water is hot or not.

Also, if you don’t want to heat water on a stove and carry it to your outdoor shower or if there is no sun to heat a portable solar shower, then you will have to make do with the ambient-temperature water on hand.

More so, in most tropical situations, the average ambient temperature is usually so mild that showering with only the unheated water on hand is fine.

However, if you want the option of hot water, i.e. for use in the fall or mild winter, you may consider installing an outdoor shower with hot water.

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3 Ways to Install an Outdoor Shower with Hot Water

There must be a system in place for creating and delivering this heated water to your outdoor shower.

How To Install An Outdoor Shower With Hot Water

Here are a few options for installing an outdoor shower with hot water that we recommend:

1. Use Household Tank Heaters

This is a common option that homeowners use to deliver hot water to their outdoor shower.

The cold water line splits off as the main water supply line enters a building, sending the main lead into a heater to exit as hot water, while the other line remains cold and runs parallel to the hot line throughout the building to give the hot/cold choice for all water-based appliances.

The tank-style hot water heater is a popular choice. Basically, it is a cylindrical tank with an electric or fuel-burning element underneath that heats the water to a predetermined temperature.

To ensure that at no place in the building will the water come out so hot that it burns the unaware user, an anti-scald device is usually included.

The water does have to start off hot enough, though, to remain hot when it is supplying the most distant faucet from the tank, ensure your hot water pipes are well-insulated to ensure minimal loss of heat over the course of the water’s journey from tank to tap.

If you decide to hook up your outdoor shower to your household plumbing, it can become just one more of the fixtures that draw from the household hot and cold water lines.


When the plumbing in a house goes unused for months at a time, the water sitting in a tank-style hot-water heater will become “cooked” as it builds up high levels of hydrogen sulfide, leaving your house smelling of rotten eggs.

To avoid this problem, turn off the hot-water heater if the house is going to be unused for an extended period.

Also, if the building is going to be empty at a time when temperatures typically drop below freezing, like in the winter, then the entire plumbing system should be drained and the toilets filled with antifreeze to prevent pipes from bursting.

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2. On-Demand Heaters

How To Install An Outdoor Shower With Hot Water

The traditional tank-style water heater consumes a lot of fuel because it maintains a volume of water at a high temperature continuously. This can become quite costly.

Therefore, energy-conscious homeowners can install on-demand water heaters, also known as tankless water heaters.

An on-demand heater quickly heats the water you need once the hot water faucet is opened. The rest of the time, the water is held at room temperature.

Before entering the unit, the cold line bifurcates, sending a line of water via the heater that exits as hot water for as long as the shower is on. When the shower is turned off, the heater automatically shuts down.

This is an efficient approach to water heating because extra energy is not needlessly consumed for hot water storage. Thus, it saves on energy costs.

In addition, the on-demand heaters are small compared to traditional water heaters and thus require less storage space. They also tend to require less maintenance and cost less to operate.

The Rinnai Value Series Outdoor 5.6 GPM Residential 120,000 BTU Natural Gas Tankless Water Heater is a best-selling option, perfect for both indoor and outdoor showers.

3. Solar Heaters

How To Install An Outdoor Shower With Hot Water
Courtesy: Environgenuity

A low-impact option for heating water to supply your outdoor shower is a solar-powered system.

The solar system (includes solar collectors in the form of photovoltaic panels) harnesses energy from the sun and converts it to heat and electricity that can power a water circulation pump.

This pump moves cold water through a solar heater, which collects energy from the sun to significantly raise the water’s temperature.

Once heated, the hot water is pumped into a storage tank, where it can later be accessed and mixed with cold water as necessary in the shower.

If you are building a solar-heated outdoor shower, then you need to run only a cold-water supply line out to the shower location.

At the shower location, the supply line should split, with one line entering the solar heating coils and the other feeding cold water directly into the shower.

Solar technology is viable for those people who live off the power grid and have consistent sunlight to work with.


How To Install An Outdoor Shower With Hot Water

An outdoor shower proves that it doesn’t take much to create a beautiful scene around your home. If you plan to use the hot shower option, these ways should help you install an outdoor shower with hot water.