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Tiny House Plumbing: DIY Ideas

By taufiqhaque

The tiny home lifestyle’s versatility, simplicity, and convenience are enticing delights for many Americans. Tiny houses are becoming increasingly prominent. One plausible cause is that more than 50 percent of tiny homeowners save more than the average American. Money saved can be put toward considerable improvements in one’s quality of life. Of course, residing in a tiny place comes with its own set of difficulties. There are numerous excellent tiny house plumbing alternatives available- time for you to give them a go!

To begin with, determining how to design and maintain a proper plumbing system. At first, plumbing in a tiny house may look difficult. Thankfully, it is way simpler than it appears at first look. 

It is undeniable that one of the innovations that laid the framework for our current society is indoor plumbing. It is also one of the most common concerns people have when thinking about residing in a tiny house.

Tiny House Plumbing: DIY Ideas 

Tiny House Plumbing: DIY Ideas 

Now, once you have made the decision to move into a tiny house, it is indeed critical to plan ahead of time for your plumbing needs so that you may enjoy your living with a consistent, safe, and sustainable water system.

There are numerous excellent tiny house plumbing alternatives available, including on-grid and off-grid options that are simple to install and maintain. Our useful guide will cover all that you need to learn about tiny house plumbing, including grid-connected and off-grid plumbing procedures.

Grid-Connected Tiny House Plumbing

Most tiny home builders choose to be grid-connected, particularly when building ADUs on single city lots or in some communal environments. You can employ regular plumbing systems if you construct a tiny house that is exclusively grid-connected. This process will include complete water pressure interconnections to municipal resources as well as sewer or septic tank wastewater disposal. If we put it in a simpler way, in a regular plumbing situation, the effluent is disposed of through the city sewer system. It may also be a septic system, according to your location.

Fixed connections that are plumbed straight into the grid system could be used in grid-connected plumbing. Permanent connections that are plumbed right into the system are easily accessible. This is only applicable to tiny houses that are constructed on foundations. 

However, in cities where tiny transportable houses are allowed as ADUs, they must have public sewer hookups. And, you will have to set up a tiny house on wheels (THOW) like an RV or a completely alternative and off-grid house if you are building one.

Off-Grid Options for Tiny House Plumbing

If you want to carry your tiny house with you on the road, you will definitely require an off-grid water system. So, if you want to build a tiny house on wheels (THOW, also known as a tiny moveable house), the safest alternative is to design the plumbing system after an RV. You can design in the flexibility to swap to a flush toilet for easy city sewer hookup to future-proof your THOW.

An off-grid water system provides the most flexibility. The system is made up of four parts, which we will go through in detail below:

  • Water Pump
  • Water Storage Tanks
  • Hot Water Heater
  • Toilet

Water Tanks for Tiny House Plumbing

Water tanks will be necessary for any compact home you wish to move to. In RVs and tiny houses, there are three types of water tanks:

  • Freshwater
  • Greywater
  • Blackwater

Freshwater Tanks

The water you will consume and use for cleanings, such as dishwashing and bathing, will be stored in these storage tanks. Every day, Americans consume 80 to 100 gallons of water on average. If you live in a tiny house, that number will need to be reduced to between 5 and 15 gallons.

Low-flow showerheads and faucets will greatly aid water conservation. Furthermore, It is time to break wasteful behaviors like brushing your teeth while the faucet is running. Furthermore, eliminating a flush toilet helps to achieve this goal as a breeze. 

Finding an RV water storage tank with storage of roughly 60 gallons of water is the best option. If you are alone, such a barrel will provide you with around a week’s worth of water. The tank will help keep you hydrated for a good period of time if you have more than one person.

Remember to buy a separate freshwater line for filling up the tank. You would not want to pollute it by utilizing a hose that is not clean or potable.

Greywater Tanks

Depending on your toilet, you will require two tanks to contain wastewater. One of them will be used to store greywater. Shower water, dishwater, and other wastewater that do not include human waste are greywater.

When looking for a grey water tank, you have the option of buying a regular freshwater tank or a black wastewater tank. It is because greywater contains no pathogens; thus, any tank will suffice. It can be installed beneath your little house; school bus conversions do this all the time. Portable tanks are also accessible and may be kept under your tiny house when parked. Allowing greywater to return to the environment is possible if you bathe or clean with biodegradable materials.

For your tiny home, consider a modest greywater system. Greywater licenses are also available in a number of cities and states. Putting greywater into an RV sewer, which is usually accessible in RV parks and tiny house communities, is another alternative for disposal. Dump stations or having it flushed out like RV blackwater tanks are some other alternatives.

Blackwater Tanks

Sewage is stored in a blackwater tank. The container is usually opaque and made of high-density material to prevent leaks or damage. It is only required if you choose a flush toilet in your RV. Because only a tiny portion of the water you consume during the day will be flushed, the tank does not need to be as large as the clean water tank.

Filling and emptying the water tanks in tiny houses

Filling the freshwater tanks is a quick and simple process. Easily plug a hose to a pressurized entry point if your THOWs are placed at an RV park or otherwise linked to municipal water.

When you are on the go or living off the grid, simply pour water into a regular RV gravity refill water intake a gravity water inlet. A word of caution, however: lugging water gets tiresome quickly. The weight of a gallon of water is 8.34 pounds. You are dealing with nearly 300 kg of water if you are moving 40 gallons.

It is a lot less enjoyable to empty your tanks. If you are staying at an RV park, you might be able to get full hookups. This gives you electricity, water, and immediate greywater and blackwater drainage. You will need to find a disposal station if you are boondocking it. RV parks, bus stops, and many national and state parks have them.

You can drain your greywater and blackwater for a minimum expense. And,  I am surely not sugarcoating it: cleaning a blackwater tank of raw sewage is straight-up nasty. Everyone will make a mistake at some point of emptying it, and when they do make a mistake, it just gets horrible. This is something I can’t stress enough – Before and after you empty the tank, double- and triple-check all of your fittings and seals.

Greywater should not contain any pathogens; thus, it can be poured into any storm sewer, drain, or even directly into the ground. To be safe, always crosscheck the local rules and regulations first, as many localities have restrictions on what you can or can not do.

Water Pumps

After double-checking your water storage, it’s time to choose the best water pump fit for your tiny home. If you want to have conventional showers/faucets in your tiny home on wheels, you will require a water pump.

The water pump will indeed be connected to your electrical and water systems, and it will circulate water throughout your home. A pump may be quickly switched off if linked to pressurized water and works properly with off-grid connectors, enabling you to live comfortably. The finest water pumps for tiny homes, such as those meant for RVs and boats, make the least amount of noise.

Hot Water Heaters for Tiny Houses

After a long day, a relaxing hot shower is exactly what you would require. You can choose between a regular water heater and a tankless water heater when are considering water heaters for tiny residences. A typical water heater heats the water in the tank and keeps it at a consistent temperature indefinitely. For traditional homes, these water heaters are particularly popular. They are, however, inadequate for most tiny houses on wheels due to their large size.

A tankless water heater provides On-demand water heating. It does not take up a lot of space and may be powered by either electricity or gas.

Suppose you plan to spend most of your time in your THOW in RV parks or other grid-connected sites. In that case, a tankless electric water heater is the ideal option because the heater will be significantly less expensive to operate. 

A tankless water heater has always been one of the greatest tiny house plumbing alternatives for a tiny house inhabitant who desires hot water jetting. A portable tankless water heater is the ideal off-grid choice. The ventless models can be installed indoors, reducing freezing problems and winterizing requirements.

Toilets for Tiny Houses

Don’t forget to think about the type of toilet you want for your tiny house when planning your sewer system.

In general, there are six common variations to pick from:

  • Toilets with a Traditional Flush (only for on-grid, long-term parking situations)
  • Toilets that compost
  • Gravity Flush Toilets Cassette Toilets
  • Toilets That Macerate
  • Toilets that are incinerated

Each of these types has its own set of advantages. Composting toilets, for example, may easily break down waste without the use of chemicals or water, and they are also simple to maintain. The use of a urine diverter to separate solids and liquids is crucial to their performance. It really is just a honey-bucket or “lovable loo” without it.

On the other hand, a gravity or macerating toilet functions similarly to a flush toilet but requires the use of a black holding tank. Incinerating toilets totally burn garbage, so you will not have to cope with it, though you may notice some unpleasant scents outside your little home, which isn’t ideal for your next-door neighbors.

Pipes for Tiny Houses

PEX tubing is the finest alternative for a little house. PEX tubing is an adaptable building material that is often used in plumbing applications. PEX stands for cross-linked polyethylene.

It is lighter than copper pipes, easier to handle for a DIY builder, can withstand freezing temperatures considerably better, and can be removed and mended fast and easily. 

PEX tubing is significantly less expensive than metal pipes and is essential for tiny house inhabitants on a budget.

Maintaining the Plumbing in Your Tiny House

Plumbing alternatives for RVs and tiny houses have come a long way in recent decades, but they still require more maintenance than regular plumbing. You should drain, flush, and disinfect your system on a regular basis, as well as inspect the physical components for signs of deterioration. 

At least once a month, you should empty all of your tanks and run clean water through them. It takes only a few minutes and can be done while you’re emptying the greywater and blackwater tanks.

To reduce algae and other infestations, you should disinfect your sewer system, septic tank, and other lines every six months. It’s as simple as mixing a quarter cup of bleaching powder or any other effective disinfectants with 15 gallons of volume and emptying it through all of the taps and tanks.

Final Words

Though building the plumbing system of your tiny home seems pretty daunting at first, once you get into the process, it gets a lot easier. So, tell us, how did you like our DIY ideas for your tiny homes? Are you interested in getting your hands on the DIYs? Let us know!

You can also read: Tiny House Plumbing

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