Taking a Hot Shower When the Power is Out: Should You Do it?
It’s a nightmare scenario. A disaster strikes - whether it’s a blizzard, a hurricane or just a bad storm - and the power goes out. Assuming it’s a bad outage, a day or two goes by, and before you know it, you’ve been days without taking a legitimate shower. You’re starting to stink, and let’s be honest, that’s bad for you and everyone in your household. At this point, or maybe even from the get-go, you’ve probably been wondering: is it safe for me to take a hot shower in a power outage?
Well, it’s a legitimate question. If you do research on Google, you’ll find mixed answers.
Some sources will say that taking a cold shower is completely safe. There are some arguments for that, but really, is it a shower if it’s cold?
On the contrary, the general consensus is that taking a hot shower during a power outage is dangerous and wasteful. There’s a few solid reasons for this, and they are convincing enough that if you value your life and your resources during an outage, you will see that it is definitely not a good idea, no matter how much you’re craving that steamy shower experience.
Reasons Not To Take a Hot Shower During a Power Outage
- Risk of Electric Shock: Is a hot shower worth risking your life over? Probably not. So the main reason that you shouldn’t take a shower during a power outage is that there is a legitimate risk of electric shock. If the power outage is caused by a problem with the electrical grid, you can be shocked by using any electrical appliance in your house, including a shower. Also, if there is a problem with your house's wiring, you are at a legitimate risk of being electrocuted in the shower - especially because you are covered in water.
- Hot Water Availability: The majority of water heaters run on electricity, so when the power is out you’re probably going to run out of hot water very quickly. So if you need hot water for any other reason, a hot shower is going to waste that precious heated water very quickly.
- Issues with Water Pressure: Power outages can affect nearby water treatment plants and pumping stations, and as a result, you may experience issues with water pressure. There’s nothing worse than a weak shower, and at a certain point it won’t even really clean you. So if the power’s out, you may not be able to have enough water flowing to properly rinse off, or it may stop flowing entirely.
- Waste of Precious Power: If you are using a generator or are relying on some other source of backup power, taking a hot shower can use up a ton of that precious resource. It takes a TON of energy to heat water, so if you need power for any other reason, using it to take a hot shower is really going to pull from your available resources.
So you can see there’s some pretty powerful (no pun intended) reasons not to take a hot shower during a power outage. It can endanger your life, it can waste your resources, and more.
So what are your alternative options if you desperately need a hot shower during a power outage? Well, there aren’t a ton of alternatives available, but there are a few that can serve as a sufficient substitute for your normal hot shower. Let’s go over those.
Alternatives to a Hot Shower During a Power Outage
- Heat water on your gas cooker: The easiest way to heat up water during a power outage is to use a gas cooker to heat water on your stove, if you have one. You can bring it to a boil or simply heat it up and then either put it in a milk jug or some other dispensing container. Just make sure it’s not too hot - you don’t want to burn yourself.
- Use your camp stove: For those that don’t have a gas stove in your home, if you have a camp stove lying around, you’re in luck. You can use that to heat up water in a pot just like the point above, and once it’s hot you can put it in a dispensing container that you take in the shower with you.
- Use a fire: If you have a fireplace, you can always hang a pot over it or on a grill to heat the water. If it’s a cold winter storm that knocked your power out that’s obviously the best option as the fire will provide you some warmth as well.
- Use a solar heater: If you have a solar heater, you can use it to heat up water as long as there is sunlight. To use a solar heater, fill a black plastic container with water and place it in an area where it will receive direct sunlight. The water will absorb the heat from the sun and warm up.
- A Portable Shower with Heater: Probably the best alternative to all the above is a portable shower with a heater accessory. A good portable shower will make it so you have actual water pressure when showering - making the most out of the limited water you have available. Depending on the heating method, some portable showers can also provide hot water almost instantly, or alternatively can heat the water off a portable power source like your car’s 12 volt plug.
The type of portable shower you choose is very important. There are some “portable showers” that are basically the equivalent of pouring a water jug on your head, and there are some that are battery pressurized such that you can take a high pressure shower anywhere. So if you’re looking for a portable shower as a backup to your normal shower during a power outage, you should consider the following factors when doing your research:
What to Consider When Researching Portable Showers
- Capacity: Unless you want to take a 30 second quick rinse off, you will want to consider capacity when researching portable showers. The more water, the better, especially if you’re a person that loves long showers. The average shower uses 2.5 gallons of water per minute, so if you want a substantial shower, you’ll want to look at portable showers with at least 3 gallons of capacity.
- Portability: If you’re going to use the portable shower in or around your home during a power outage, you’ll want to make sure that it’s easy to move around, and carry up and down stairs if needed. The size, shape and weight of the portable shower should be considered then, taking these potential uses into account.
- Ease of Use: Some portable showers can be a little complicated to set up. If your power is out and you don’t have light, or if you don’t want to have to put in too much work to get it to function, you will want to consider ease of use when doing your research.
- Pressurization Method: The difference between a portable shower and simple jug of water is that true portable showers provide a way to control the water and provide some degree of pressurization. For example, some portable showers rely on gravity, some rely on a pump, etc. So depending on how much pressure you want and how much work you want to put into pressurizing, you should make sure you know what you’re getting when you buy your portable shower.
- Heating Options: Heating water is tough. Without flame, heating up water takes a ton of energy, as we have already discussed. So whenever you’re choosing your portable shower, you need to be clear on how it heats up water. If it’s electric, you’ll want to make sure that you’ll have enough power in a portable power source to feed the heater. If it runs on propane, you need to make sure that you’ll be able to use it outside, as you cannot have propane running inside.
So you can see there are a number of factors to consider when choosing your portable shower. If you do your research, you’ll find that there aren’t many options available that check all the boxes to be considered a legitimate backup portable shower - that provides sufficient pressure and hot water. One option that does meet all these criteria is the RinseKit PRO combined with RinseKit’s heater accessories. Let’s look at these products to see how they can serve as the ultimate backup shower during a power outage.
Why the RinseKit PRO + Heater Accessories
- High Capacity - The RinseKit PRO is 3.5 gallons, so it is much higher capacity than most other portable showers out there. With the design of the pump system and nozzle, the 3.5 gallon capacity comes out to around 5 minutes of shower time rather than the standard 1.5 minutes. So in a power outage, that’s plenty of time to wash up and get clean.
- Battery-Pressurized: The RinseKit PRO is battery-pressurized, meaning there is no pumping or filling from a pressure source required. The battery pressurization means that the pressurization is consistent and strong, and won’t get weaker as it’s used. It also makes it very easy to use, as all you have to do is press the power button, and it’s instantly pressurized.
- Super Easy to Use: As we discussed, due to the battery-powered pressurization, the RinseKit is extremely easy to use. You can simply fill it up from any water source, press the power button and bam - it’s good to go. You can also fill it up with preheated hot water, so you can always heat up water on your stove and the pour it in the PRO.
- Super Portable: Unlike other similar-sized portable showers, the RinseKit PRO is an all-in-one solution, as in, the water tank, battery and hose are all contained within the unit. It’s also a convenient shape, like a small cooler, so it’s very easy to transport and can fit in small / tight spaces.
- Multiple Heating Options: The RinseKit PRO has two heating options available. There’s the propane powered HyperHeater, which can heat up water in less than 30 seconds via cycling water out of the PRO through a propane heater. It needs to be used outside as it emits propane fumes, but you can simply cycle the hot water back into the PRO and then bring the PRO back inside if you don’t want to shower out in the open.
You can also use the Immersion Heater with the PRO. It is an electric heating element that screws into the PRO and, when connected to a power source either via a 12 volt or trailer hitch plug, can heat the water up about 24 degrees an hour.
So in conclusion, taking a hot shower during a power outage is both wasteful and potentially dangerous. There are different alternatives to using a shower and potentially getting shocked, but a portable shower is probably the best one. If you’re going to get a portable shower, we highly encourage you to consider the RinseKit PRO and accompanying heater accessories if you’re looking for a high pressure, high capacity and hot portable shower. Even if you haven’t been without power for an extended period of time, you never know when disaster will strike, and when it doesn’t - you will be very happy when you have a hot, high-pressure shower at your disposal while your neighbors are freezing and stinky.