So, without wasting any time, I got right back into it and finished the water delivery lines this week. It didn’t happen without incident, read on to find out what happened.
So first of all, I paid someone to plumb in the shower prior to going on my month long break. This was necessary as I was a little overwhelmed with how it all went together. Afterwards though, I realised how simple it was and my fear of doing this myself, was down to a lack of confidence in my own abilities. After helping the plumber install the shower, I felt ready to tackle the rest on my own and I’d be happy to install a shower myself in the future.
After living in an RV for a year, I was familiar with pex pipes, crimps and also with the sharkbite fittings. I decided to go with pex over copper due to it’s flexibility, cost and ease of installation. The system has a couple of sharkbite connectors for joining the pex to the water heater (Precision Temp RV-550 NSP).
So the shower aside, I’d already ‘dry-fitted’ the water supply lines, I just needed to confirm the routing and add various valves and attach everything together permanently.
I marked up the hot lines with red electrical tape to make it easier to see at a glance and then I figured out where the holes needed to be drilled for the pipes to enter and leave the trailer. This was the hardest part as this area is home to many things, including gas lines, heater exhaust, drainage and water lines.
It is at this point where it helps to know how all the plumbing systems will be routed so that you can plan things out accordingly.
I will eventually attached the piping to some wood blocks to secure it down.
Working in a tight spot
Being a tiny house, there’s limited room to fit in a ton of plumbing. I had given myself just enough room to plumb in everything behind the water heater, but I hadn’t taken into account the size of the crimping tools.
The crimping tools are expensive, but my local hardware store rented them for $5 a day and because they are closed over the weekend, I was able to rent them on Friday and return them on Monday for just five bucks! Plenty of time to get things done!
The crimping tool takes up ALOT of room in the open position and as such I had to pre-build the piping configuration and then slot the pipes into place partially built. This worked out fine, it just needed a little forethought.
I believe you can buy smaller versions of these crimping tools should you need to operate in a small space. You could also choose to go with just the sharkbite connectors as they are very easy to work with in a tight space. It’s just the cost of these connectors is $10 vs $0.50 cent for the crimps.
Completing the system
I purchased shut off valves for each line to place just before the taps. I did this so that I could close off all lines and test them one by one, especially as I don’t have taps yet.
I also figured out a valve system on the outside of the trailer so that I could connect up a hose and also an outdoor shower.
I then methodically went through and attached all crimps and fine tuned the lengths of pex to make things workable in the future should I need to work on the pipes.
So then it was time to connect the water and test my work.
One small mistake
Ok, so it’s time to confess, I got a little wet!
Yes, when it came time to turn on the water and test it, I soon realised that I had forgotten to tighten up ONE crimp! Not fun!
I quickly turned the water off, mopped up the wetness and turned a heater on to dry it all out. That’s a mistake I won’t make again.
After rectifying my error, I tested all the water lines and we had complete success.
Water damage may not be deathly, such as working with the electrics, but it can certainly cause a lot of damage.
I disconnected the water supply and de-pressurized the system before heading home for the night. I will re-pressurize things the next time I am there, so that if any leaks appear, I am there to deal with it.
So despite a minor setback and shock to the system, I have successfully completed another milestone; water in the tiny house, YAY!
I am going to install the drainage lines next and then the gas, so that I can test out the water heater. Wish me luck!