Saturday, June 06, 2009

Sunset Showers

I like taking showers before sunset, though explaining why requires a bit of a long tale.

My electric water heater has 4 settings, low, medium, high, and off, and as it often is with factory settings, my preferred setting lies somewhere in between the factory ones. In this case, the low setting gives water that is just a bit cooler than I'll like, while the medium setting is warm but the higher temperature tends to dehydrate the skin. The best things are always in between.

Now, here's the part about the sunset showers. As it is, I live in a high rise apartment, and at a level that is almost near the top floor. For all high rise apartments, water from the piped supply will be pumped and stored in a water tank at the rooftop. This water will subsequently rerouted to the apartments by gravity.

By coincidence, I learnt that the sun has a great effect on the temperature of the water in the tank; in effect, the water tank is acting as a solar tank, albeit one that only raises the water temperature by a few degrees. And fortuitously, the extra few degrees bumps the water temperature (with the electric heater set to low) to my optimal comfort zone.

Thinking back, this was not the first time I've encountered this solar heating effect. A few years back, when I was still an army recruit serving BMT (basic military training), I found that if I managed to rush into the showers first when the sun was still up, the water would be reasonably warm (or at least, not unheated, as it would have been otherwise). Of course, there weren't many opportunities to capitalize on the knowledge, for training usually ending in the late evenings.

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