How Can You Survive Without a Hot Water Heater (And Hot Water)?

Whether you finally chose to live off the grid or your water heater broke down and you don’t see yourself fixing it soon, there are still numerous ways to cope without hot water.

The climate of your locality can make it a lot easier or harder to get alternative sources of warm water.

Your ability to improvise can keep you going to a point you even forget your heater broke down.

How Can You Survive Without A Water Heater?

Try these six methods:

1. Bucket Bath

Anyone with experience in upcountry life has taken a cold bucket bath at some point in their life.

In some areas of the world like India, bathing with cold water straight from the bucket is almost standard.

It is far from bad as anyone may think – cold baths straight from the bucket are more refreshing especially if you feel hot and sticky after a busy day.

You will be surprised with the relaxing feeling you will feel thereafter.

The sudden fall in temperatures will shock your weary body into vasoconstriction, causing the blood vessels to shrink and constrict. This will force the blood from your legs and arms and into your body core.

There are more benefits to cold baths:

Cold showers are good for your skin if you didn’t know.

The problem with hot water is its tendency to dry your skin by stripping off all the healthy natural oils you have accumulated. This rarely occurs with cold water.

There’s a bonus to it – cold water helps “tighten” the pores, preventing dirt from clogging them.

These benefits extend to your body hair as well, with cold water having been proven to be a flattening agent of hair follicles.

Basically, cold water increases the grip the hair has on your scalp resulting in stronger, healthier, and shinier-looking hair.

A cold shower is just the right thing to take if you want to speed up muscle recovery as well as reduce soreness.

If you have never been privileged to take a cold bath from a bucket, here are some useful tips:

Warm The Water

Just so you don’t catch awful pneumonia from the ice-cold water, try to remove the chill before splashing it on your body.

You can leave the uncovered bucket full of water in the sun or near a bonfire (if the bucket is metallic) for a few hours.

Even better, you can heat a few cups or jars of hot water over a rocket stove. You will be surprised with how pleasant the entire experience will turn out.

Keep the shower bucket clean

Never use it for your construction projects or household cleaning. You will regret you did it.

Obtain A Small Cup

Have a small cup or scoop that you can use to pour water out of the bucket. With it, you won’t need to pour the whole bucket to rinse the soap or scum.

Clean The Bucket, Afterwards

Rinse off the bucket, soap it up, then rinse it off again after use

Related: Can You Take A Bath If The Water Heater Is Broken?

2. Make A “Prison Water Heater”

This is an ingenious way to obtain hot water if you have access to a working electrical socket.

You need these items:

  • A long cable with a working plug at one end
  • a rubber band/string/electrical tape
  • 2 razor blades
  • and 2 popsicle sticks or matches, etc.

Do this:

  • Strip one end of the power cable
  • Connect the bare wires to 2 razor blades (simply twist the wire on them)
  • Place two matches somewhere between the blades, bind them tightly with a firm rubber band.
  • Proceed to connect to the power outlet on the wall. Drop end with 2 razor blades into the water.
  • Done – wait for your hot water. Simplest water heater out there!

3. Plastic Under the Sun

If your home is situated in the hot and sunny tropics, you will never run out of smart ways to prepare hot water.

For example, have you ever tried the “plastic under the sun” technique? It is quite common.

  • Get yourself midsize (the longer the better) coil of super black plastic tubing.
  • You can bend it at several points to corrugate the surface – this is meant to make the pipe compact.
  • Proceed to fill the tubing will water and leave it on the rooftop under the hot sun for several hours.
  • It should work flawlessly with zero risks of bursting.

Black water pipes can be run on any flat surface and generate a lot of hot water. If the sun is hot enough, you may wait for just 15 seconds for hot water.

This technology also works quite well in temperate climates.


4. Kettle Bath

One of the easiest ways to avoid braving an ice-cold bath is going the kettle bath way.

Start by filling your bath or bathing vessel with several inches of water.

Proceed to top it with a kettleful of boiling water. This serves to remove the cold out of it.

Of course, you may choose to keep boiling more kettlefuls of water (or use your pan instead) but the objective here isn’t to top your bath high up as you would usually.

Before you even step inside the vessel, remember to confirm the temperature to avoid scalding yourself.

You will also need a small plastic bowl or beaker from the kitchen to use to rinse your hair in case you plan to apply shampoo.

If case you are concerned the level of water isn’t high enough, remember that your body will displace a significant amount of water from the water.

Also, be cautious with how you handle the boiling water, especially when carrying your kettle downstairs or upstairs.


5. Staged Cold Shower

Why not take your cold shower in several stages instead of one?

If your water heater is dysfunctional and the kettle bath method won’t work for you – then these tips below should help you get through an excoriating cold shower with very little discomfort.

First off, get yourself a warm fluffy towel, either by putting it on your towel heater or simply by passing through the tumble dryer.

With a tumble dryer, ensure you set the timer so that you find your towel nice and toasty when you finish the shower.

Next thing is to make sure the shower is adjusted to high pressure (highest pressure possible) to help you rinse your body and hair as fast as possible.

When you are ready, start by submerging your head to wet it and apply the shampoo then step out from the shower quickly.

Remember to shampoo your hair fast enough to minimize the time taken to soak your hair in cold water.

Now pop your head under the shower again and rinse off the remaining shampoo.

Once you are done, step out of the water, apply your conditioner (this is optional), and then proceed to body wash.

Lastly, step back under the shower again, turn your body quickly while “turning” your hair to rinse it and the rest of the body clear of suds.

Once you are done with this, step out of your shower slowly and carefully (chances are you’re shocked with cold or you just feel numb) and grab the warm towel!

6. Light A Fire

If you don’t have access to hot water, then you definitely need to have access to a place.

Unfortunately, not every home out there has one – until now! Whether you choose to set up a simple lit pile of firewood or an electric fireplace or a wood stove, the ultimate goal is to get warmth after bathing under an ice-cold shower.

The cozy environment created by a fireplace offers an unbeatable retreat zone for anyone who hates cold baths.

There are many ways to spice it up: TV console, mantle, and bowlfuls of snacks.

If the fireplace is electric, there is no dirty wood to chop now and then, also no ash to clean!

In a nutshell

How can you survive without a water heater (and hot water)?

It is easy – embrace bathing cold water from the bucket.

Anyone with experience in upcountry life has taken a cold bucket bath at some point in their life. Don’t fret, you will get numerous benefits from the cold water than you might think.

The sudden fall in temperatures will shock your weary body into vasoconstriction, causing the blood vessels to shrink and constrict.

This will force the blood from your legs and arms and into your body core. Cold water is good for your skin and heals soreness faster.

If your home is situated in the hot and sunny tropics, you can improvise black pipes by filling them with water and leaving them under the sun to get you some hot water by evening.

If you don’t have access to hot water, then you definitely need to have access to a place.

Unfortunately, not every home out there has one – until now!

Whether you choose to set up a simple lit pile of firewood or an electric fireplace, the ultimate goal is to get warmth after bathing under an ice-cold shower.

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