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Can Yurts Have Bathrooms & Showers? (Plumbing)

The most common question I got from my friends while living in a yurt was if it had a bathroom and shower. While I didn’t have either of those in the yurt I was staying in, I knew lots of people that installed bathrooms in their yurts. So, I decided to come up with this guide on how to install a bathroom in your yurt. Here’s what I found.

Traditional yurts use separate outhouses, while modern yurts often have indoor bathrooms and showers. A bathroom can be integrated into a yurt if it is large enough. Indoor bathrooms typically cost an average of $3,300, while outhouses with composting toilets and outdoor showers range from $500 to $1,000.

Let’s get into exactly how you can put a bathroom in your yurt, or alongside it.

Yurt in the forest in Alaska

Plumbing in a Yurt

Water Supply

For water supply, you could either connect to a public water supply or use an off-grid water system.

If your yurt is located near a municipal water supply, connecting directly to the public system provides a reliable source of clean water and is usually the most convenient choice. Just call a licensed plumber and they can easily put plumbing pipes in the yurt floor.

However, if your yurt is located off-grid or you prefer a more self-sufficient water source, alternatives like well water, rainwater collection, or water hauling can be considered.

Drilling a well or collecting rainwater can provide a reliable source of water, but each option has its own set of challenges and expenses, such as water treatment or storage capacity.

Waste Disposal

When dealing with waste disposal in a yurt, there are three main options: connecting to a public sewer system, installing a septic tank, or using a composting toilet.

Connecting to a public sewer system is the most convenient choice if available, but this may not be possible for off-grid yurts or in areas with strict regulations.

A septic system is suitable for yurts in rural or off-grid locations but requires regular maintenance and adherence to local regulations.

On the other hand, a composting toilet is an eco-friendly option that requires little to no water, making them ideal for off-grid yurts or situations where water conservation is a priority.

Hot Water

Some may want hot water for comfortable living, and there are several options for heating water in a yurt.

Tankless water heaters are compact, energy-efficient units that heat water on demand and can be powered by electricity, propane, or natural gas.

Solar water heaters use solar energy to heat water, making them an environmentally friendly choice, but their effectiveness depends on the availability of sunlight in your location.

Traditional water heaters store and heat a large volume of water in a tank and can also be powered by electricity, propane, or natural gas, but they tend to be less energy-efficient than other options.

Can Yurts Have Showers? (4 Options)

Outdoor shower

When it comes to installing a shower in a yurt, there are several options to consider, each with its advantages and drawbacks. Let’s explore these options in greater detail, the first one being a traditional shower inside the yurt.

1. Traditional Shower

If you’re looking for a shower experience similar to what you’d find in a conventional home, a traditional shower with hot and cold running water can be installed in your yurt. You can install a shower yourself, or you can call a contractor.

This setup requires a proper plumbing system that includes water supply and drainage, as well as a water heater for hot water. While this option offers the most comfort and convenience, it can also be more expensive.

2. Solar Shower

For those who prioritize eco-friendliness, a solar shower is a good option.

A solar shower system typically includes a solar collector that absorbs sunlight and heats the water stored inside. The heated water is then fed to a shower head, either by gravity or with the help of a small pump.

Solar showers are relatively easy to install, and their energy source is free and renewable. However, their performance depends on the availability of sunlight, which can be a limitation in certain climates or during extended periods of cloudy weather.

3. Portable Camping Shower

A portable camping shower is an affordable and easy-to-install solution. These showers usually consist of a water container with a handheld shower head and a hose.

The water container can be heated using various methods, such as placing it in the sun or heating it over a stove. To use the shower, you can hang the container at a suitable height and let gravity do the work, or you can use a battery-operated pump to generate water pressure.

While portable camping showers are most definitely a budget-friendly option, they don’t provide the same level of comfort as a traditional shower.

4. Outdoor Shower

If you’re living in a yurt in a location with a suitable climate and a good level of privacy, an outdoor shower might be an appealing option.

Outdoor showers can be as simple or as elaborate as you’d like, ranging from a basic solar or portable shower setup to a fully plumbed shower with hot and cold water.

More on outdoor showers later.

Cost To Install a Bathroom in a Yurt

Yurt in the snow
ItemCost Range
Toilet$100 – $500
Shower$100 – $1,000
Sink$50 – $300
Plumbing materials$500 – $2,000
Labor (if applicable)$500 – $3,000

Another cost when adding a bathroom to your yurt might include electricity which can cost between $500 and $2,000. Alternatively, if you choose to generate electricity using solar panels or a wind turbine, the initial setup costs can range from $1,000 to $10,000, depending on the size and capacity of the system.

Now let’s get into how to actually make electricity happen.

Electricity in the Yurt’s Bathroom

Outlets are always a great thing to have in bathrooms. Contacting an electrician is always an option.

If your yurt is located in an area with access to the electrical grid, connecting to it can be the most straightforward option for powering your bathroom. However, it might not be the most eco-friendly choice. Additionally, connecting to the grid can involve permits, wiring, and labor costs, which can range from $500 to $2,000 or more.

A generator can be a practical solution for providing electricity to your yurt bathroom if grid access is not available or if you prefer a more portable option. While generators can be relatively affordable and easy to set up and produce emissions.

Solar panels are another popular choice for providing electricity to yurt bathrooms, as they offer a renewable, eco-friendly energy source.

A solar panel system can be installed on the ground or on your yurt’s roof, depending on the available space and sunlight exposure. The initial cost of solar panels can range from $1,000 to $10,000 or more, depending on the system’s size and capacity.

For different methods of getting electricity in your yurt, check out my post Do Yurts Have Electricity? (4 Ways To Get It).

Alternatives To Yurt Bathrooms

Outhouse in the snow

The more common alternative to building an actual restroom in your yurt include an outhouse with a composting toilet and an outdoor shower.

To build a composting toilet that does not smell, you’ll need to choose the right materials, design for more ventilation, use the right composting medium, empty the toilet regularly, and maintain proper moisture levels.

Non-porous materials should be used for the toilet seat and base to prevent moisture buildup and odor. Proper ventilation is key to preventing odor buildup, so ensure your toilet has enough airflow for proper drying and composting of waste.

Use the right composting medium that is high in carbon and low in nitrogen to help prevent odor.

Once you have the toilet taken care of, you can start think about installing the shower.

Building an eco-friendly outdoor shower can be done by following a few simple steps.

It’s common to use sustainable materials such as bamboo, reclaimed wood, or recycled plastic for the shower enclosure.

You can then install a low-flow shower head to reduce water usage. Consider using a greywater system to capture and reuse water for gardening or other outdoor uses.

Make sure to position the shower in a location that receives natural sunlight to help warm the water naturally.

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