Hot Ideas Make Best Of A Cold Lot

The Age

Wednesday September 30, 1998


It is said that adversity brings out the best in Australians, that when pressed we can mend a space rocket with fencing wire.

Victorians are pressed now and the gas crisis is bringing out some novel solutions from people who regard a hot running shower as a national birthright.

Since filling in the garden fish pond of the Laverton home two years ago, union official Mr Trevor Campbell wondered what to do with the pond pump that had cost $140, but was now gathering dust.

When the hot water started to fade after the gas was cut off, he found the answer.

A garden hose spray was attached to the shower rose in his bathroom which was connected by the hose to a large volume bucket in the bath. The submersible electric pump was connected to the hose and when the bucket was filled with warm water - bingo, a hot shower.

Mr Campbell said his family now heated water on the backyard LPG barbecue and carted it into the bathroom, but he had a second generation model on the drawing board should the LPG become hard to get. He has a 55-litre drum in the back yard which he could half fill with water and light a fire under. The pump would then take it to the shower.

``I decided to do this on Sunday afternoon after waiting in line at Ray's Tent City for two hours trying to buy one of those camp showers."

Others have taken to a local version of the Japanese bath - sitting on a chair next to a bucket filled with warm water and scooping it over oneself with a dipper.

Another solution suggested is a plastic two-litre drink bottle with holes punched in the bottom and a larger hole cut in the top. By having a bucket of warm water nearby this can be filled and then held over the head as a simple shower.

Some of the ideas are wild and wonderful and probably should not be attempted by anyone without the appropriate qualifications, such as the proposal to use a dishwasher to heat water and then piping it to the shower.

Solar energy consultant Mr Chris Stork said one family had built their own simple solar hot water system, using 40 metres of black plastic hose and a 20-litre clear plastic drum on the roof of their veranda.

© 1998 The Age

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