In the summer here in Florida the “cold” water is nice and warm. In the winter, though, it’s cold. I don’t feel like it’s good for my complexion to have a shock of cold water when I wash my face. Running the water until it finally runs warm seems wasteful. So it occurred to me I could put maybe half a cup of water in a container and heat it up in the microwave and then add enough cold water from the faucet to make it just right for washing my face with a washcloth.
Along those same lines a poster on www.ThriftyFun.com suggested a way to take a warm shower without using the water heater. Take a gallon plastic jug and make it into a sprinkler bottle by putting 7 holes in the cap using a nail heated up on the stove to poke the holes. You probably have to hold the hot nail with a tool like pliers. This needs to be the kind of cap that screws on, so it won’t fly off during the shower. Then fill it half way with cold water and then the rest of the way with water heated on the stovetop or in the microwave. Then sprinkle about 1/3 of the water from the jug over your head. You have to kind of tip the bottle to get the water to come out. Lather up with shampoo on the hair and with soap on a washcloth or puff, and wash all over. Then take the water bottle up again and sprinkle it over you to rinse off. Start with your hair and rinse downward. This is similar to the water conserving “military shower” described in my book, but bypassing the water heater. I wonder if it would work just as well without the cap on the bottle, if you were careful not to pour too much at once. Before anyone complains that this is inconvenient and extreme, remember to take what you can use and leave the rest. For someone whose water heater isn’t working, or who is living with a huge drought, or who really can’t afford a normal water bill, extreme measures can be useful.
If your electricity also isn’t working, such as after a storm, you can heat up some water by painting the plastic jug black and setting it out in the sun until the water is warmed up. If the sun isn’t shining I suppose you could take a hot water bottle or two full of cold water to bed with you and after being next to you all night it would be pretty warm by morning, enough to shower with. If you have a grill and dry fuel, you can heat water on the grill. And heat the nail to make the sprinkler bottle too.