Plumbing started…

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This weekend, my neighbor began the task of running pipes through the walls. Though I worked on more wall paneling and wasn’t much at all involved, it’s a very exciting step to Little Yellow’s housedom and is making a good dent in the list of things about this project that scare the pants off me.

I don’t really know the specifics, but the procedure included an RV water entry, a water filter, a 50 ft roll of semi flexible pipe stuff called pex and a bunch of other plumbing related things that I should probably know the names of. And of course there is the most important part which is my shiny new water heater.

It a tankless model (requiring a 12v connection and propane) called an RV500 from Precision Temp. I’m still not sure how it all works but I believe the 12v DC tells the thing to start working and the propane heats the water as it runs through the pipes. It only runs when a hot tap is turned on so it is supposedly very efficient, and is considerably more compact and lighter than having a 10 gallon tank on board. A review that helped my decision can be found here: http://www.rvdoctor.com/2010/03/product-spotlight-precision-temp-rv-500.html

I looked religiously for a less expensive alternative, but most everything else I found was either not intended for moving structures or not intended for indoor use. I also researched a cheaper competitor by Girard, but heard too many negative comments to be convinced. I spoke with the company I got my heater from before buying it, and they said they had stopped carrying the Girard because of numerous complications. So, I coughed up the funds and bought my very own RV500. It looks pretty mental to me, but my neighbour seems to find it straightforward enough so hopefully it’ll get up and running soonish.

Monday brought a confused little snow storm that has been hovering around the last few days, intermittently dumping down bouts of promising flakes between constant sputters of tiny slushy bits. Basically it’s too soggy for spending extended periods of time outside, so my dad and I have been working in the big house by the fire on my window seat bench. It was finicky and used a shit ton of clamps, but it looks half way decent. I’m looking forward to the sitting part.

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14 responses »

  1. I’ve been following your progress on building Little Yellow Door for a few weeks now. Recently, I finished reading the About section detailing your arrival at deciding to build a small home. I must
    say, I think your story and determination are extraordinary. It is truely inspiring to read about each of the steps and see this tiny house take form. You write very well and I really enjoy your sence of humor. Thank you for posting your progress so all may benefit from your hard work.

  2. Cool! This will be helpful when I get to this stage in the process. I decided a while ago that I would definitely go with the RV500. Are you planning on having a water tank at all, or just be hooked up to water at all times?

  3. Cheers & Great progress on your build! I’m wondering though why choose an rv product for your home? I see that you specified it will run on 12v power, do you plan on creating a 12v system as well as a 120v? I’ll admit to not having read the posts all the way back, so apologies if you’ve already answered..

    • I went with an RV water heater because that is essentially what my house is. Although I don’t think I’ll be moving it too often, I wanted to go with something that is intended to withstand the bumps of road travel so I don’t have to worry. I considered an ‘in home’ type but none of them have warranties that would be at all favourable to this kind of abuse.

      As far as I know, we’re running a dedicated 12v cable from the circut breaker straight to the connection, so I don’t think it’s a new system…I might be talking nonsense here though, electricity and plumbing are not really my strong suits, sorry!

      • If it’s 12 volt it’s Dc you will need an rv deep cycle battery to run it or an AC to Dc converter. It could also be 3 way or a combination water heater: propane,, ac, or dc like my suburban (or atwood) Campers have a 30 AC hookup and 12v DC battery hookup that goes to a converter/switcher, that will convert 120 volt Ac to 12volt DC as well as sense if no 120v AC hookup is present to use the battery.

        If you want it simple go 120v AC and converter. If you want more versitility cuz you are travelling you should have both systems- go to a camper dealer and have them explain it to you, you can get all the parts to set up your unit there ,too. Your sister’s husband can help you with this if he does the electrical for his muscle car. Battery will run radio, 12v flourescent lites, water pump to a water barrel can feed your hot water tank as well as your cold water to a small sink. You mentioned PV panels some day this will keep your battery charged. I have found the above 12v DC stuff run better than PV to Battery to inverter (makes 120v AC) to Ac appliances for small house situations.

        Empower yourself to learn more (before you close up the walls) about 12v, PV and deep cycle battery system for your wee house on wheels. Order a Sunelco catalog it’ll get you started.

        Suzanne and Jeff

  4. Hey Ella,

    I did the same research you did and the RV500 is definitely the best alternative other than that it is more expensive. It’s awesome how compact it is and all the utilities in my tiny house fit right under the kitchen sink. So cool! I’ve been following your progress off and on as you are at about the same point in your project as I am, though I have been building since May 2011–I work full time. I don’t have an awesome blog like you do, but if you are interested in seeing some of the progress on my project you can friend me on Facebook. I just post photos there. Here’s to more happy haywire building adventures!

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