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plumbing

Inline Water Filter

I’m really not a fan of the taste of hose water. Depending on the source, it may have a medley of flavors ranging from metallic to stale. But water is precious, and when we are out adventuring we get it where we can. So today I installed an inline water filter that removes bad tastes, odors, and contaminants! Cold water runs through the filter, and hot doesn’t, so filtering isn’t wasted on showers and such.

We fill our fresh water tank through a flexible cloth hose. After spending a week in the desert we realized that our hose wouldn’t fit onto all of the potable water faucets we encountered. Many of them had non-standard adapters or didn’t have threads. Combined with our new “Camco Water Bandit” and a turn key hose clamp, our options for finding usable water just opened up. The Water Bandit has a silicone end that can be stretched onto any water spigot, even ones without threads.

I’ve also started taking photographs of water faucets we find with my photo geotagging turned on. This creates an instant map / directory on my phone of places where we can fill up in the Pacific Northwest, wherever we may go!

Completed Combo Bathroom

Some pics of our tiny bathroom (shower / toilet combo). We fiberglassed by hand because of the tiny space and odd angles, then finished with marine paint. It was a very messy process, but one that we don’t regret. The teak wood bath mat was the final touch and fit the dimensions almost perfectly, just needed to cut a sliver off to fit the toilet. We’ll put up a shower curtain as a temporary solution until we can build a proper door (and frame). I can’t wait to take my first shower in there!

The kitchen sink drains through a tube into the shower, then straight down into the grey water tank. I thought that was a clever idea which made plumbing simpler.

Plumbing Test

Ok, plumbing test number one complete. It was so exciting and nerve wracking at the same time, and we have some issues to work through. First of all, the hot water heater uses batteries to ignite the propane, and since we don’t read manuals except as a last resort (!) we didn’t realize that they came capped and needed to have the caps removed. Ha. That was a simple fix. The water comes out instantaneously hot, and is so scalding it burned my hand. The pump came on and pressurized beautifully. There were some minor leaks that we fixed with a bit of tightening. But we have some major leaks in the garage where the joints are more finicky to tighten. We are worried about cracking the plastic joints that connect to the shower. So it looks like we will be working on plumbing today… And yes, we have the kitchen water run into the shower where it drains into the grey water tank. It all goes to the same place in the end. 🙂

Plumbing Fix Day

Plumbing fix day – I did some quick research and found that you can layer pipe thread compound over the top of pipe tape to help prevent against leaks. Went to the plumbing store, and a very helpful worker confirmed this fact and helped me to choose one that is Teflon based, like the tape, that will work with both brass and plastic. He said that brass fittings are notoriously leaky! So I redid all of the leaky joints and ran another water test. Presto! No leaks! I am officially a plumber now (albeit a novice one, and without the plumber’s crack).

Water Pump and Regulator Installation

Brad put together a little mounting platform for the water pump and regulator. It lives right next to the fresh water tank, which is now under the bed. Our original plan was to install it in the undercarriage of the bus. Here is the story of why the original plan is a challenge right now. True, it equals lost space for storage, but will be something that we can change out this summer. There are positives to this compromise, however. We can keep our water from freezing over, plus the floor of the bus provides structure that a heavy tank needs!

For weight distribution we are keeping both our fresh and gray water tanks on one side of the bus. As the fresh water tank empties into the grey water tank, we shouldn’t notice any weight shift.

(Math moment: one gallon of water weighs 8.34 lbs, multiplied by 26 gallons = 217 lbs. That’s heavy!)

Water pump and regulator are mounted by RV water tank
The water pump and regulator have been mounted to the frame under the bed, next to the fresh water tank.

Tankless Water Heater – Hours of Showers

Our tankless water heater arrived, and it is really big and heavy! The product photo on Amazon made it look half the size. But honestly, I’m not worried about having hot water now, this should do the job. (Ok, certainly not “hours of showers”, but long enough to suds up and rinse off.)

We added some extra support to the garage wall and did a test fit. The tankless water heater will sit just to the side of the little hobbit hatch from the main cabin, and on the other side of the wall to the right (not walled in yet) is the shower, so the lines don’t have to run far. Hooray for hot showers!

Fresh Water Tank

Our fresh water tank has arrived! It holds 26 gallons, and looks just massive. Even though it fits the dimensions in the undercarriage of the bus (perfectly), we discovered that we can’t get it under there without raising the bus. Now it’s time to think creatively. (I jokingly say we should dig a big hole like a mechanic’s pit and drive the bus over it.)

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