Beginning a journey to live more simply…

Beginning the Plumbing.

Saturday, January 8th, 2011:

Secured the Stove-side stainless steel counter top in preparation for installing and hooking up the propane 2-burner stove. Applied a liberal amount of 100% silicone, smoothed it out with a concrete trowel, and put the counter right in place.

Next, we situated the point-of-use electric water heater where it will be to begin running copper water pipe. We had originally hoped to install a propane tankless water heater for it’s energy efficiency. We met challenges along the way concerning adequate clearance to alleviate fire dangers. After realizing that a propane tankless water heater wasn’t going to be in the cards, we explored electric tankless water heaters. We were limited here as our electrical system is 30 amp/110V, and all but a few of the electric tankless water heaters we could find were 240V. The few that were 110V were either too high in their amperage needs and would suck all of our power that we’ll need for the rest of the house, or only provided a very small rise in temperature that would make for some very cold showers… So, though not what we had originally set our hearts on, we found a great little point of use 7 gal water heater, the Ariston GL 6+ from Bosch. It only draws 12.5 amps, and will provide some really hot water for the tiny house. In the end, we are very pleased with the hot water solution we’ve found.

We have made the decision to utilize traditional copper water pipe instead of more commonly used PVC. We are making considerable efforts to use non-plastic and non-petroleum based materials in this tiny house. Copper, while it is heavier, more expensive, and a little more work to install (you have to solder each fitting instead of simply glueing), its use is keeping consistent with our plastic-free (in areas where we have a choice) efforts. We like the idea of making an effort to keep the water we’ll be drinking from running through plastic pipes in our tiny home. (We’ll just forget about the miles and miles of plastic (PVC) piping it came to the tiny house in…)

We ended up the day putting some time into the food storage pantry shelves.

Thanks go out to Colleen Shaughnessy, recently back from South Africa, who spent some time in the tiny house with us today working on the pantry shelves and sink dry fit. Thanks as well to Eric Brennan for getting us started on running the copper water pipe!

Comments on: "Beginning the Plumbing." (7)

  1. I commented on the hot water heater over on the propane post as it showed up first in my RSS reader and was subsequently the first picture I saw.

    We totally understand your desire to keep out plastics. In our bungalow we used PVC and PEX tubing as we already had those materials (read: FREE STUFF) and decided to move forward with that.

    Keep it up. I LOVE y’all Tiny House. I also love that you post frequently and y’all are so humble as to the help of others. Makes for a nice read and experience!

    • Thank you for following our adventure and for your kind feedback.

      Gabby has been the driving force behind our efforts to remain as ‘plastic-free’ as possible. Some times it has been very challenging to do so, often increasing costs and making otherwise simple things a bit more difficult. In every situation, however, it has substantially improved the quality of this project, and has really opened our eyes to some really neat aspects of this tiny house that we can be proud of (i.e. using the natural sheep’s wool insulation).

      • I hear that. When we started building or rather started researching our build we decided to build as sustainably as possible using as small a carbon-footprint as possible. While it has proven difficult at times (where is the closest source of cork flooring in Georgia???) and expensive ($50 for a bag of recycled denim insulation???) we feel increasingly good about our commitment and know that when done we will have few, if any, regrets.

        Feel free to stop by anytime.

  2. Hi guys, thanks for sharing so much on each aspect of the build. Found you at Tumbleweeds a (purchased Fencl plans awhile back). I was planning on using a propane on demand hot water heater so could you tell me why you ruled it out. (describe the clearance issue, is it possible and just didn’t fit your vision? or just plain not safe in this small of a house) My plans for every system is always open for revision until it’s built so thanks in advance for any words of wisdom. Hoping to start towards end of 2011.
    Best wishes to you both, Mike

    • Hi Mike,

      Thanks for your kind words. You bring up a good question here. We really did have our hearts set on a propane tankless water heater. That route would really align well with the other choices we’ve made along the way on this project. Alas, all of the places we had intended to place it did not allow for enough clearance top to bottom and side to side if we were to follow the recommended specs.

      This space issue was due to our having counter tops on both sides of the kitchen. If we had built more than one closet, and were prepared to give up the space, we could have had a viable option for the clearance we would need. We ultimately chose a vision of more usable kitchen space over the desire for the tankless propane water heater. (We also eventually saw the small print in many propane tankless water heater owner’s manuals that we downloaded during our research that said: “Not for Recreational Vehicle or Mobile Home Use”)

      We did look into propane RV water heaters, as many Tumbleweed Tiny House folks use. We shied away from the idea of cutting a large hole into the side of the place and were ultimately glad not to have to run any more gas line than we did. We also looked into electric tankless water heaters. This option was limited to us as we had decided to move forward with a 110V/30amp electrical system as opposed to 220V/50amp. There were only a few options that we could find at the 110V level, and those didn’t really offer much of a temperature rise.

      Once all options settled away, we went with the Bosch Ariston GL6+, a 6 to 7 gallon point-of-use electric tank water heater. It was hard to come to terms with no tankless water heater at first, but we are happy now. (The moment of truth, however, will come with the first few showers!)

      • Thank you so much. This information is very helpful and I’ll considerate it closely to make the best decision possible. Looking forward to thoroughly checking out your site. Best to you both.

  3. Hi Evan & Gabby
    I have been reading your blog, for days now, and love the amount of information and pictures you have posted. Fantastic effort. As I’ve been reading along I have been researching your choices to get an understanding of them, and with the water heater, I found a tankless gas heater designed for RV’s that might solve any clearance problems. It’s the Precision Temp RV 550 NSP (the NSP stands for No Side Penetration) – the inlet air and outlet flus are bottom mounted and exit through the floor. Fully winterised. I know you’ve already installed an electric model, but in case it doesn’t work out, and for other builders, I thought this might be a good option. It does need 12v electricity though. Clearances are 0″ top and bottom, no less than 2.5′ back, and for front no less than 10″. Here is the link to the web-page:
    Will look forward to reading how you go living in your tiny home, and any insights that you share with us.

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