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Old 08-04-2013, 12:52 PM   #1
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Recirculating Shower Water 'System'

As I've gotten older (and lived to long on land) I've gotten use to a nice, longest (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 certain periods of time.

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 peeing in the shower, etc, etc

I just thought we would have the filtrations capable of doing this job these days??

I did see this:
http://www.popsci.com/diy/article/2012-05/2012-invention-awards-recirculating-shower

....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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Old 08-04-2013, 12:56 PM   #2
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We have a 30 gallon water heater, and have no problem with hot water usage- even with guests onboard.
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Old 08-04-2013, 01:01 PM   #3
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Hot water availability is not what I'm really asking. I want to take a long shower without huge water tanks needed to supply all that water I using only once.
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Old 08-04-2013, 01:39 PM   #4
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Hot water availability is not what I'm really asking. I want to take a long shower without huge water tanks needed to supply all that water I using only once.
I have no link to share as it is on my work computer but I use Cuno single pass UV filters in several applications. One of them inline with the drain pump would do the trick for assuring death to bacteria without impeding flow. Latent heat is applied to the water but at higher flow rates it is barely noticeable.

Restricting flow rates to less than 1/4 GPM is surprisingly easy and not that difficult to get used to with modern shower head nozzle design. However particle filtration must be considered. Element filters diminish flow rates and induce strain on pumps, Y strainers however do an excellent job of removing particulate matter while minimizing pump strain.

I've considered similar systems for a non marine application of what you propose here for years now. Water projects that bring basic sanitation to third world nations are near to my heart and a cause I actively support.
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Old 08-04-2013, 08:28 PM   #5
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Interesting concept, Craig. Is power consumption an issue with a system like this?

I have often thought gray water and captured rain water could be easily cleaned and reused, but never really looked into it beyond non-potable home uses like lawn watering.
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Old 08-04-2013, 08:42 PM   #6
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It`s tough enough having an onboard sewerage system, a grey water re-purification plant would be another major system. Could even combine the two?
There have been plans here, in dryer parts, to purify sewerage water to drinking water standards. The "yuk" factor is a brake on the concept, but we already return treated water to rivers which get used for water.
An onboard desal plant might better facilitate those long hot showers.
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Old 08-04-2013, 09:18 PM   #7
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Interesting concept, Craig. Is power consumption an issue with a system like this?

I have often thought gray water and captured rain water could be easily cleaned and reused, but never really looked into it beyond non-potable home uses like lawn watering.
Power consumption is the pump and UV filter only. The basic system I outlined in thumbnail fashion above would do nothing for turbidity.

Grey water systems for irrigation purposes are far more common in rural areas than cities. As Bruce calls the "yuk factor" is the only thing keeping full blown black sewage re utilization systems out of use in developed countries. Current waste water discharge standards are actually higher than potable water supply standards.

Some cities are now installing irrigation systems in purple pipe that is recycled sewage however the cost is prohibitive from an infrastructure standpoint.
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Old 08-05-2013, 01:10 AM   #8
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If you wanted to keep it simple and cheap, and a have a separate shower bilge pump, you could manifold your bilge pump outlet into your cold water shower inlet.
You'd need a low pressure shower head. (which aren't very water efficient but it won't matter)
You'd need less hot water as well.
It might get a little soapy as time went on, but you could just switch back to fresh water for a final rinse.
Total parts required would be 3 ball valves, a bit of hose, a tee, and maybe a new shower head.
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Old 08-05-2013, 05:18 AM   #9
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Quench system

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Did anybody bother to read this link?

Quote:
So how does the Quench shower save so much water and energy?

The Quench shower is a complete modular shower enclosure with a built-in water recirculation system. Quench actually operates in two modes. When you first enter the shower, you quickly attend to cleaning needs, using as little water as necessary. In this mode, operation of the Quench shower is no different from any other conventional shower. This is why, for maximum efficiency, the manufacturers recommend washing and rinsing as quickly as possible. Nonetheless, with its low-flow showerhead, a 7 minute shower can use just 25 liters (6.6 gallons); less than 1 gallon per minute.
The efficiency of the Quench shower comes with what its manufacturers call the “hydrotherapy experience.”
“There is more to showering than simply ‘washing’. A lot of time is spent in the shower enjoying the hydrotherapy experience well after the washing process has been completed.
The hot flowing water – with its unique splashing sound – is hard to compare with any other therapeutic experience that is ‘so readily available’ to us all.”

After washing, the occupant switches showering modes from the conventional shower to its internal recirculating tank. Rather than running more water to enjoy a longer shower experience, the water is recirculated. The recirculation tank capacity is just 4 liters. This not only saves water, but, since the recirculated water is already heated, it requires very little additional energy to keep the water at the desired temperature. Furthermore, since it relies on the internal system pumping the water, once it is in recirculation mode, it provides good shower pressure even in areas where the local water pressure is low. The recirculation tank also includes a sanitizing system which is activated automatically after each shower, to maintain a clean water system
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Old 08-05-2013, 05:42 AM   #10
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Here is another system:

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

By recirculating shower water in real time we can provide far more water at the showerhead than the shower actually consumes. Our shower gives you 9.0 litres per minute at the showerhead but only uses 2.7 litres per minute to do this, giving water savings of 70%. In addition to the water saving, energy savings of 70% are also achieved because the recirculated is already warm and therefore requires much less heating.

The recirculated water is filtered 3 times and heat pasteurised in less than 25 seconds and then immediately reused. No water is stored in the shower and no water is ever shared between users.
This means we give you a shower that is high on performance, high on efficiency but low on cost with no compromises.
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Old 08-05-2013, 07:40 AM   #11
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Quote:
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If you wanted to keep it simple and cheap, and a have a separate shower bilge pump, you could manifold your bilge pump outlet into your cold water shower inlet.
You'd need a low pressure shower head. (which aren't very water efficient but it won't matter)
You'd need less hot water as well.
It might get a little soapy as time went on, but you could just switch back to fresh water for a final rinse.
Total parts required would be 3 ball valves, a bit of hose, a tee, and maybe a new shower head.
Wait till the "you can't plumb any old toilet to your fresh water system germaphobes" read this!!!!

Not that it's a bad idea..and I might try something like that as I don't drink directly from my water system without further "filtration"...

So I'll sit back a wait to see who says what...some of the entertainment doesn't seem to be around anymore but I still am interested what improvements or bashing of you idea will come.
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Old 08-05-2013, 09:20 AM   #12
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[QUOTE=psneeld;171741]...some of the entertainment doesn't seem to be around anymore but I still am interested what improvements or bashing ... QUOTE]

Techically, it can be done right now. The hardware is available off the shelf.

Dockwalk Magazine April 2009 "Waste Not Want Not"

http://viewer.zmags.com/publication/...ad#/2e65b8ad/1

But, except for manned spacecraft or remote military or desert outposts it is far from cost effective. It might be nice for green bragging rights but given the complexity of a practical system and the difficulty people have just keeping an engine cooling system or fuel supply functioning, it would be a gold mine for the supplier's technicians and a nightmare for the average owner.

There are systems installed on large yachts today that produce water from waste that is of high enough quality to drink but, like someone else mentioned, the yuk factor wins every time. The plumbing and volume required to store "technical water" makes it hardly worth the effort.

Even shower water is a lot blacker than gray if you want to be honest about it and people who won't even drink tapwater sure as heck aren't going to be too thrilled about a faceful of recycled buttwater no matter how high tech the source.
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Old 08-05-2013, 10:04 AM   #13
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NO MIXING OF 3 systems

You fellows seem to be reading me wrong. I am not talking about mixing our water around on the vessel. I am talking 3 independent systems.
1) Drinking Water Supply
2) Shower Water Loop System with discharge
3) Waste Water System

I'm NOT talking about 'reconditioning' of ANY shower water, nor waste water, for ANY drinking purposes.

The only 'mixing' of the systems might be to supply the waste water system with extra water from the shower water loop that will be disposed of at various intervals.

Since the shower on a live-aboard vessel (or for that matter a home based shower) can be the most substantial user of water, the goal would be to cut the requirement for 'new supply' down a few notches. Maybe even eliminate the need for a watermaker?
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Old 08-05-2013, 10:25 AM   #14
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I think all of us got it right, you want to recirculate your shower water and spray the stuff all over your face and body.

Unless you wear a diving helmet, I don't see how you can avoid getting shower water in your eyes, nose, and mouth.

It can be done, all it takes is money and volume for the pumps, filters, piping, and tanks.

Why is the only remaining question.
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Old 08-05-2013, 10:27 AM   #15
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shower recycling sounds like allot of challenges only to take a suboptimal shower.

If you're worried about the amount of water used, how about a watermaker?

That forever solves the water problem, making your boat independent of clean fresh water availibillity.
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Old 08-05-2013, 11:27 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brian eiland View Post
As I've gotten older (and lived to long on land) I've gotten use to a nice, longest (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 certain periods of time.

Are there any such systems in existence?
Has such an idea been discussed anywhere on this forum?
I've contemplated this same issue for quite a while. I've had a few higher priority things to experiement with, so have never actually moved on any of the ideas. I have a child with a skin condition that requires a fair amount of soaking time to aid in removing excess skin layers, so long showers/baths are a need, not just a want.

Some things I have contemplated are:
--Heat recovery from the waste water
--Shower drain sump running through a diatomaceous earth pool filter, with a small heater keeping the recycled water warm, with a secondary shower head for the recycled stream.
--Sump would need some method of overflow protection and post shower cleaning and draining.
--How well would a whirlpool tub work for a sump, with a reduced flow pump redirected to a showhead?
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Old 08-05-2013, 11:41 AM   #17
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You fellows seem to be reading me wrong. I am not talking about mixing our water around on the vessel. I am talking 3 independent systems.
1) Drinking Water Supply
Ok, so this must remain 100% unconaminated, correct?
2) Shower Water Loop System with discharge
Loop system? you mean one that goes from the drain in your shower and then gets pumped back into your existing hot water heater or a different hot water heater?
3) Waste Water System- so you will have two drains now in your shower each with a shut off somewhere ? or just one that has some sort of funky valve under neath a hatch that diverts the water to you gray water tank/overboard or to the pump that goes to you second water heater.


The only 'mixing' of the systems might be to supply the waste water system with extra water from the shower water loop that will be disposed of at various intervals.

So you want a separate batch of water that you continuously pump in a loop and reheat during that process. How will you manage temperature control without mixing cool fresh clean water back into it? Or do you want two systems for teh water loop? a cold one and a hot one. Ok, so we have just doubled the amount of equipment you need plus additional controls

Since the shower on a live-aboard vessel (or for that matter a home based shower) can be the most substantial user of water, the goal would be to cut the requirement for 'new supply' down a few notches. Maybe even eliminate the need for a watermaker?
Im not saying it cant be done, but at what expense? If you think you can do it cheaper than say a water maker or an additional water storage tank, you cant. I suppose this is a good excercise to go through here on the forums, but it is hardly practical in real life.

What about installing a hot tub somewhere, or even a seawater hot tub that you can soak in?
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Old 08-05-2013, 12:00 PM   #18
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If you wanted to keep it simple and cheap, and a have a separate shower bilge pump, you could manifold your bilge pump outlet into your cold water shower inlet.
So what about the existing shower drain? would that get abanonded or have some shutoff on it as well??
You'd need a low pressure shower head. (which aren't very water efficient but it won't matter)
You'd need less hot water as well.
What about cold water to mix through teh shower valve?
It might get a little soapy as time went on, but you could just switch back to fresh water for a final rinse.
With just cold water right? because at this point your water heater is now filled with nasty sopay shower water that has been in there from the last 10 showers you took.
Total parts required would be 3 ball valves, a bit of hose, a tee, and maybe a new shower head.
Haha. and then some more equipment, dont forget the 'sump puimp' you mentioned earlier.And dont forget that during your shower you have to run around (wet and naked) throwing these ball valaves open and closed in order to get the recycled water or fresh water.
PS auscan, I really like your boat BTW.
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Old 08-05-2013, 01:39 PM   #19
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At this moment Bligh I can only recommend you look thru those two references I provided. They don't appear that complicated.

And perhaps look for a few more such systems as I will likely do when I get a bit more time.

You have to understand that I have never liked having BIG fluid tanks on a vessel. Its carrying around a lot of excess weight, and often contributes to extra rolling motions.

Watermakers come with their own set of maintenance problems, particularly if utilized intermittently.

Second you must understand that I have a Thai wife. The Thai people are VERY clean people. There is NO WAY I would put a system onboard that wasn't a clean system.

I'm in the 'investigation mode' on this subject, and I am not so hard-headed to accepting new ideas.
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Old 08-05-2013, 03:09 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AusCan View Post
If you wanted to keep it simple and cheap, and a have a separate shower bilge pump, you could manifold your bilge pump outlet into your cold water shower inlet.
You'd need a low pressure shower head. (which aren't very water efficient but it won't matter)
You'd need less hot water as well.
It might get a little soapy as time went on, but you could just switch back to fresh water for a final rinse.
Total parts required would be 3 ball valves, a bit of hose, a tee, and maybe a new shower head.
Quote:
Originally Posted by brian eiland View Post
At this moment Bligh I can only recommend you look thru those two references I provided. They don't appear that complicated.

And perhaps look for a few more such systems as I will likely do when I get a bit more time.

You have to understand that I have never liked having BIG fluid tanks on a vessel. Its carrying around a lot of excess weight, and often contributes to extra rolling motions.

Watermakers come with their own set of maintenance problems, particularly if utilized intermittently.

Second you must understand that I have a Thai wife. The Thai people are VERY clean people. There is NO WAY I would put a system onboard that wasn't a clean system.

I'm in the 'investigation mode' on this subject, and I am not so hard-headed to accepting new ideas.
Brian,
I apologize if I came off hard-headed. But plumbing and water quality is my business and I deal not only with land based equipment similar to what you are proposing but also with questions like yours on a daily basis.
I did check out your links. One is still in development and not available to the public yet.
I cannot tell if the other one is available yet, and the cost of it is unknown (at least via google), but they did allude to the fact that it is expensive and the price of it needs to be amortized over the life of the home. i would also be concerned about the power consumption of such units. I know current electric tankless water heaters will use about 50 amps at 240V to give a 30 degree rise in temperature at 3gpm. Do you have that kind of power to spare on your vessel?

Brian. Yes, you can do it- assuming you put aside industry water quality standards, but how much money are you willing to spend on it? What is the maximum number of dollars you you have in mind for your system? The answer to this question is ultimately what will determine whether or not it is possible in your circumstance.
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