Farm hour: heating water with a compost pile
There are a few videos on YouTube that will show you how to make your own outdoor hot water shower using the heat from a compost pile. The one above is the first one I saw using the Jean Pain method. I was surprised to learn not only how hot the pile can get and for how long, but that you can actually exchange the heat to water for other uses.
Heat is a natural byproduct of all the biomass interactions breaking down the pile. A hot pile can be around 160 degrees for a few days.
Our compost thermometer arrived today, so I checked the piles and found despite the recent freezing temperatures, the garden compost pile is at a toasty 97 degrees. The orchard pile is not doing so hot, but we’re about to add more fuel (leaves, manure, grass clippings and water) later this evening.
We do have plans for an outdoor shower, but we may use more readily available solar heat until we really need something like this.