Beginning a journey to live more simply…

Monday, May 9th, 2011:

For such a small space, this has been a big project! The choice to avoid PVC and pursue copper piping in our water supply lines proved to be a great learning opportunity. Many thanks to Eric Brennan and Dave Jones for teaching us how to sweat pipe! A bit of extra work, but a fantastic skill to now have.

Our potable water service consists of two systems: one that hooks directly up to a faucet for city water pressure at a campground or friend’s home, as well as one that allows us to fill a 30 gal. storage tank that utilizes a 110V RV pump for water pressure. The combined system is valve controlled, has pressure regulating capabilities, check valves, strainers, and provides water filtering.

The cold water line feeds the kitchen bar sink, the shower, the future washer/dryer combo unit, and the 7 gal. electric water heater. The hot water line then leaves the water heater and serves the kitchen sink and shower.

Next steps to complete the plumbing will be to hook the RV pump up to the water storage tank and copper piping system, hook up the shower controls (after we get the shower installed -big project!), and complete the gray-water drainage system.

We had a special treat! A good friend who currently resides in Norway stopped in for a brief visit, a tour of the Tiny House, and to lend a quick hand. Many thanks to Josh Sheehan, he’s been a HUGE supporter of this project from the very beginning.

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Comments on: "Completion of the water supply lines." (4)

  1. Steve Hackney said:

    Hello Evan and Gabby,
    Why did you choose to go with the 7-gal hot water heater rather than the tankless, ‘instant’ type of hot water heater?

    Thanks for your time and expecially thanks for the updates with photos.

    Also, besides the desire to stay away from plastics, are there other good reasons for going with copper pipe over PVC?

    • Hi Steve,

      Good questions. First, we went with the tank water heater as a last resort. We were absolutely set on a tankless propane water heater. It completely agreed with the spirit of our project and went hand-in-hand with other choices we’d made for our build.

      When it came down to it, however, we discovered we just didn’t have enough room! The tankless propane water heaters we were looking at all required a good deal of space above and below for heat reasons. Frankly, we simply did not have enough space to spare! We also noticed the fine-print in a lot of the owners manuals of the models we were looking at that specifically said “not for use in RVs or Mobile Homes” due to vibration concerns.

      Next we looked at electric tankless water heaters. To our dismay, they were mostly 220V units. We are working with a 110V system in our tiny house. The only 110V electric tankless water heaters that we could find didn’t offer much of a temperature rise.

      So, in the end, we had to go for the next best thing: a small, electric point-of-use unit. We are happy with it now that it is in. We’ll see how far the 7 gallons really go, though!

      You know, our main motivation for the copper piping was to avoid plastic in our drinking water supply as much as realistically possible. I would imagine that there are other pro’s to the copper piping as well… Any thoughts?

      Thanks for your inquiry,
      Evan & Gabby

  2. Steve Hackney said:

    Just thought of one other question. Where did you find the storage tank for the fresh water, and the waste tank? I went to an RV supply store – they were unable to help unless I could supply the make and model of the RV! They were not even able to look up dimensions of the tanks they could order.

    Thank you.

    • We had to blaze our own trail here… Had our potable water storage tank custom made by a tank builder out of Sand Point, ID.

      We were able to find several plastic water storage tanks with a quick on-line search, but really nothing out there in terms of stainless steel. For a while we were even kicking around the idea of using empty beer kegs! Finally, after much searching, we found the tank company that would make a small tank that would fit our needs…

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