Well, I certainly seem to be on a roll here! Just the day after completing the drainage I managed to successfully complete the gas lines and get hot water into the tiny house.
The local stores here in Tofino are just short of useless when it comes to pressure fit gas supplies. So, it did take a little bit of searching, emails and back and forth phone calls to source what I needed.
- 17 feet of 3/8″ copper pipe
- 1 x RV regulator (side vent)
- 1 x flared T fitting
- 3 x 90 degree flared elbow
- 11 x flared nuts
- 1 x 3/8″ NPT to 3/8″ flare (to connect the regulator to the system)
- 1 x 20″ pigtail (to connect the propane tank to the regulator)
- 1 x 3/8″ flare to female 3/8″ flare (to attach below item)
- 1 x 3/8″ flared plug (to cap the end where the stove will eventually go)
- Flaring tools and pipe cutter
I had previously taken a look at fitting the propane lines, but got a little scared and frustrated with it, realizing that I may need a little more time to think it through. I decided to stop and move back onto the water delivery lines, which had been my original intention in the first place. (I seem to have a bad habit of jumping from one thing to the other)
So after leaving the gas lines to simmer in my mind for a while, I had realized a few things that made the gas fitting a lot more flowing.
First of all, I had bought a bottom vent regulator, when I needed a side vent one. The difference here is the way the regulator is oriented. With a bottom vent, the regulator must run vertically as one must make sure that the vents are facing downwards to release any water vapour. This was not going to work with the configuration and space I had available to me. I am glad that I waited else I may have regretted installing something incorrectly.
So, after I had realized that I needed a side vent regulator, I was able to plan my piping route and decide on the number of fitments I might need.
Based on my limited knowledge of installing copper pipes, I over-estimated the number of elbows that I needed. It turns out that copper bends pretty well, so long as you’re very gentle and move along slowly with the bends. You can bend it by hand no problem, but need to make sure there’s no kinks in the line as you go.
Whilst every aspect of the gas line fitting is important and a lot of care must be taken at every stage, I feel that the actual ‘flaring’ process is paramount to a successful system.
I’m not gonna take on the responsibility of teaching you here, as I am not qualified, but making sure that the tube is as straight as possible near the flare and that the inside of the tubing is as smooth as possible will help you out later on. Getting the position of the flare is also important, by this I mean placing the pipe inside the flaring tool just the right distance to create the perfect flare will help with the connection.
If you are using the flared compression method then you do not need the teflon tape on the threads. You will need teflon tape on threads that do not have a flared connection.
Testing the System
As I currently do not own the propane stove, I decided to install a fitments near to where the stove will be that is flared on the pipe end and with a female flare on the open end. This way I was able to install a flared plug for the time being, allowing me to add whatever fitments I need later to connect to the stove.
Once everything was in place and tightened down good, it was time to test for leaks.
Having installed a water heater into my RV in the past, I had already used the method of soapy water with positive results, so I was confident going into this test.
I coated the joints in a high concentrate of dish soap and water and then connected the propane tank.
If there’s a leak, there will be bubbles.
There were two very faint leaks. If the leaks are fast, you can hear the bubbles too. You have to watch carefully for a little while as the leaks are not always obvious.
Once I determined the leaks, I turned off the propane and then one at a time, I removed the flare nut, cut off my existing flare and re-flared the ends of the pipe. I paid more attention to making sure the pipe was straight and that the flare was super smooth.
This time I had success and had a leak free system.
I also found this page helpful for safety tips:(http://motleyrvrepair.com/propane_safety_and_use.htm)
The last stage of the process before I could test for hot water was to electrify the water heater.
I kept it simple for this stage and simply connected the heater to the 12 volt system I had already had set up for this purpose. The heater made a little noise as it went into some kind of test. I turned on the hot water and was happy to see a little flame appear in the mini window on the front of the heater. Within seconds a the water hot!
It sure is a happy moment to discover that you have created a hot water system in your Tiny House.
Now it’s time for me to focus on finishing of the bathroom and installing the composting toilet.
I can see the finish line, it’s long way off, but I can see it. It feels great to be getting closer to moving in. March 17th 2017 marks a year since I picked up the trailer, so it sure would be nice to be done within that year. Let’s collectively will that to happen.
Thanks for following along on this journey.