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Showermiser: Avoid the Blast of Cold & Conserve Water

Showermiser: Avoid the Blast of Cold & Conserve Water

Have you ever run cold shower water into a pitcher or bucket to A) conserve water and B) keep that cold water from filling up your gray tank while you’re waiting for warm shower water to run up? We have! But today we’re looking at a product called the Showermiser that puts a stop to all that.

We’ve talked about saving water before, particularly with our posts on the best RV showerheads for saving water and the ever-popular Oxygenics showerhead. Being miserly with water usage is just part of the RV boondocking experience. So today we’re talking about a whole new way to conserve fresh water and save valuable gray water tank capacity.

The Aqua View Showermiser is a feature that’s been showing up in new RVs, and we think the concept is really clever. The Showermiser makes a lot of sense for any RVer who doesn’t spend all their time at full hook-up campsites.

So, let’s talk about the Showermiser water saver — how it works, what it does, and how it’s installed.

What Is an RV Showermiser?

The Aqua View Showermiser is a fresh water reclamation system that allows you to recirculate the hot water line from your RV shower back to the fresh water tank. This allows you to ensure the water is hot (by looking at the Showermiser’s color-changing indicator) before you start showering.

This avoids wasting fresh water while you’re waiting for the shower water to run warm. It also prevents the premature filling of your gray tank with the water you’d be wasting while waiting for the hot water to arrive at the showerhead.

We’ve always recommended running shower water up into a pitcher and then keeping that pitcher of water handy for flushing the toilet. That solves the problem of filling the gray tank prematurely but still requires using fresh water.

What will you use the water in your pitcher for if you have a composting toilet? Washing the dishes? Brushing your teeth? Those don’t seem all that practical or sanitary to us.

We demonstrate our use of a pitcher (Tip #4) in this video (which includes lots of other RVing tricks we use):

The Showermiser is a way slicker solution than our pitcher, especially because it keeps the fresh water completely inside the plumbing system. That means the recirculated water can be safely used for anything, including drinking (as long as you sanitize your RV’s fresh water tank or, better yet, use a drinking water purification system).

An infographic showing how the Showermiser works

This infographic shows how the Showermiser works. (Photo source: Aqua View Showermiser)

The Showermiser diverts cold water back into the fresh water tank while you’re waiting for hot water to run up to the showerhead. So not only do you not waste that water (because it recirculates back into the fresh water tank for later use), but that water isn’t filling up your gray tank.

There’s an indicator that changes color when your hot water has arrived.

Are Any RV Manufacturers Including the Aqua View Showermiser?

Yes, they are! The Showermiser is becoming popular among RV manufacturers. As of this writing, the following RV manufacturers have factory-installed the Aqua View Showermiser in many of their rigs:

  • Berkshire Coach
  • Coachmen
  • Ember Recreational Vehicles
  • Flagstaff
  • Forest River
  • Foretravel Motorcoach
  • Jayco
  • Lance
  • New Horizons
  • Newmar
  • NOBO (No Boundaries)
  • Puma
  • Rockwood
  • Thor Motor Coach
  • Tiffin Motorhomes
  • Winnebago

You can also retrofit the Showermiser into many rigs. It’s available directly from Aqua View’s website and is also available at Camping World. (One thing to keep in mind is that a factory installation may have a cleaner, more seamless look than a retrofit).

How to Use the Aqua View Showermiser

The Showermiser connects to your shower outlet. Once installed, you simply flip a small lever, which redirects the cold water back into the fresh water tank before it even has a chance to come out of the showerhead.

An infographic showing a Showermiser installed.

This shows what the Showermiser looks like when retrofitted into an existing RV shower. (Photo source: Aqua View Showermiser)

 

A factory-installed Showermiser in a Newmar New Aire.

This is how clean the Showermiser can look in a factory install. We shot this photo on board a 2019 Newmar New Aire. (Newmar refers to the system as an “Aquamiser”.) Beneath the shower control, you can see the diverter and the blue circle that indicates when hot water has been run up.

As the water warms up, the Showermiser indicator changes color, alerting you that your hot water is now run up and ready for you. Once you see that color change, turn the diverter to send the already-warm water to the shower head. You can step into your nice warm shower without having wasted a single drop.

Can I Use the Showermiser at a Campground With Full Hookups?

Since the Showermiser directs water into the fresh tank, if you continue to use it at a campground with full hookups, your fresh tank will eventually become full. If this happens, you do one of two things:

  1. Stop using the Showermiser because the fresh water will flow onto the ground through the tank’s overflow valve. Leave the Showermiser’s control lever set so that water is sent only to your showerhead and not diverted to your fresh water tank.
  2. Turn off the city water and turn on your water pump to start using water from your fresh tank. Once you wash dishes and/or shower for a day or so, there will be room in the fresh water tank to continue using your Showermiser if you’d like.

In general, using the Showermiser isn’t needed at full hook-up campgrounds, unless you’re super obsessive about water savings. In this time of extreme droughts, that’s not a bad thing!

What Is Included With the Showermiser?

The items in the Aqua View Showermiser kit include:

  • 1 Showermiser unit
  • 1 diverter valve (in your choice of Chrome, Brushed Nickel, or Bronze)
  • 1 custom-threaded through-wall pipe
  • 1 lock nut & washer to secure the unit tightly against the shower wall

Can I Install a Showermiser In My RV as a DIY Project?

You can, but we’ll caution you in advance that many reviews we’ve read note that self-installation requires a fair amount of patience and dedication to detail.

Reviewers consistently note, however, that Aqua View’s customer service is excellent and they’re happy to answer questions and troubleshoot any issues you may have with self-installation.

Steps to Install an Aqua View Showermiser In an RV:

The Showermiser connects anywhere on the non-pressurized side of the fresh water system. For example, this could be the fresh water tank or the input side of the water pump.

Following are the Showermiser instructions for installation:

  1. Remove the shower head and attach the Showermiser unit.
  2. Line up and mark where the return line will be.
  3. Using a hole saw, drill a hole in the shower wall through to the inside wall where the rest of your shower plumbing is maintained. (Not having installed a Showermiser ourselves, we’re thinking that this step may be the primary concern a DIY RVer may have about taking on this project. Drilling a hole is pretty permanent, and shower plumbing in the wall is often not visible or accessible.)
  4. Using the provided lock nut and washer, tighten the Showermiser snugly against the wall.
  5. Using a return line with a 1/2″ female pipe thread fitting, attach the return line to the Showermiser unit.
  6. Finally, connect the other side of the return line to any convenient location on the non-pressurized side of the fresh water system.

We want to note that one reviewer who installed his own Showermiser (and loves it), offered what may be important information for self-installers. The Showermiser system is designed to use RV fittings. If your installation requires any additional connections, household/hardware store fittings may not work.

In particular, the reviewer noted that the PEX pipe swivel fittings that attach directly to the diverter valve must be RV fittings. The fittings found at hardware or home improvement stores may not be the same as the RV swivel fittings attached to the diverter valve. He learned the hard way that if you use normal hardware store fittings, the cone-shaped washer won’t seal well and will leak.

We thought we should pass that piece of information along to other self-installers, though you may not have this particular issue with your RV. (The reviewer installed his Showermiser on a 2013 Holiday Rambler Ambassador.) In addition to stating that he loves his Showermiser, he offered accolades to the Aqua View customer service team for their patient, expert assistance.

Here’s a two-minute video with an overview of the Aqua View Showermiser:

How to Winterize an RV With a Showermiser Installed

When you winterize an RV with a Showermiser installed, there are a few things to keep in mind.

Most importantly, make sure you’re not in bypass mode when winterizing because this will allow RV anti-freeze into the fresh water tank. While RV antifreeze isn’t toxic, most RVers (including us!) don’t want antifreeze in their fresh water tank.

To prevent antifreeze from getting into the freshwater tank when winterizing, Aqua View recommends taking the following steps:
  1. Close all faucets in the RV.
  2. Turn the Showermiser to the recycle position.
  3. Connect an air compressor to the city water input line.
  4. Turn on the air compressor.
  5. Leave the air compressor on until air is felt coming from the overflow vent.
  6. Turn off and disconnect the compressor.
  7. Turn the Showermiser to the regular shower mode.
  8. Continue to winterize per your RV’s factory-recommended method.

Rather than using anti-freeze, we prefer to winterize our entire plumbing system by blowing it out with compressed air. For details, see our posts on how to winterize an RV with an air compressor and blowing out RV water lines vs antifreeze.

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What Do You Think of the Showermiser?

Because we’re avid boondockers, we like anything that saves water and saves space in our gray water tank. Do you have a Showermiser on your rig? If so, what do you think of it? Let us know in the comments section below.

And if you’re interested in another way to shower when camping/RVing, check out The Geyser Portable Shower: Get Satisfyingly Clean Using 1 Gallon

While we’re on the topic of RV showers, here’s how to get yours ready to roll:

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Bernard Hoppe

Friday 29th of September 2023

In my "sticks and bricks" house that I remodeled years ago my hot water heater is in my cellar many feet away from kitchen and bathroom. I installed a special made pump that I purchased at Lowes, under the sink in both rooms, that at the flip of a switch (120v) it pumps water out of the hot water line and back down thru the cold water line until the hot water reaches 90 degrees. I have considered installing the same setup in my coach but we seldom dry camp and installing one for the shower would be a chore. No extra plumbing was required, the hoses hooked to the standard faucet hookups.

TheRVgeeks

Tuesday 3rd of October 2023

We've seen those recently, too, Bernard. We're not sure that RV plumbing is installed the same way that household plumbing is (i.e. being able to use the cold water line as a "return" to the water heater), so we'd be surprised if a pump like that would work. Plus, as you mentioned, the retrofit is likely a bit of a project! 😉

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