Campervan plumbing – we have running water!

A splutter, trickle and finally a whoosh…and (with only one small-ish flood) we had two sinks full of water!

To install the plumbing system we used:

  • A 30 litre cold water tank
  • A Flojet Triplex Diaphragm water pump
  • A Truma 14 litre electric boiler
  • Various John Guest pipes and fittings.

We ordered everything from Caravans Plus, and were incredibly lucky that having built the cabinets in advance without any tank measurements, everything just fit with millimetres to spare. We were also pleased to come across the electric water heater, which had only just come on the market.

Most water heaters seem to run off gas, but with our gas tank on one side of the van and both sinks on the other side, it was going to be hard to lead the gas pipes across. We also didn’t want to use gas any more than necessary. The electric heater connects into the 240v system, heats the water to 70 degrees and then loses around one degree per hour. So we can be unplugged for 24 hours and still have relatively warm water.

The system was installed in two stages, with the plumbing and electrics. Here’s an overview:

Plumbing

The cold water tank is on the right, and Paul added a water level gauge, which is wired into the indicator by the door:

The photo below shows the plumbing system in more detail:

So following the circuit above:

  • A12mm pipe runs from the cold water tank to an isolation valve (blue & white tap on the right) to isolate the cold water.
  • The pipe continues into the water pump, which pumps the cold water out through the pipe on the left. The water runs through a pressure-reducing valve (see blue valve), and down to a t-junction.
  • At that point, the blue pipe runs up to service the cold taps in the kitchen and bathroom
  • The bottom pipe continues underneath the pump, through a non-return valve and to a safety drain valve (see yellow valve). This is a safety mechanism leading to a hole Paul drilled in the bottom of the van, which can be used to drain the hot water tank quickly.
  • The blue cold water pipe then runs up out of the safety drain valve into the hot water tank, which we had to raise onto its own shelf to separate it from the pump.
  • From the hot water tank, the clear pipe running down the middle is a ventilation pipe that prevents air bubbles getting trapped in the tank, and runs out through the same hole in the bottom of the van.
  • Hot water flows out of the red pipe and up to a t-junction to supply the hot taps in the kitchen and bathroom.

Electrics

The water pump connects to the 12v battery via a 15 amp fuse – the cable runs behind the fridge through the conduit in the doorway and round to the battery.

The electric heater has its own power point, which is wired into the fridge’s power point to link into the 240v system – this saves running two cables around to the 240v input socket on the other side.

So the result:

I’ll cover the input pipe and drainage in the next blog. So if, by any chance, you’re attempting your own plumbing and following these steps, don’t turn your taps on just yet!

Advertisements

6 thoughts on “Campervan plumbing – we have running water!

  1. Hi! I recently stumbled across your blog and am extremely interested in more details/instructions about your kitchen sink setup. I recently moved into an apartment in New York that has no kitchen so am attempting to set something up myself. I would really appreciate the help! Thanks!

  2. Great blog!!

    Just a thought, to prevent the water pump surging (rapidly switching on and off if you open a tap partially) it looks like there is space to install a small air chamber connected to the plumbing on the pump’s ‘out’ side. The evens out the pressure fluctuations and means even if you have a dribble from the tap the pump will only operate now and again.

    E.g. http://inspectapedia.com/water/1529s.jpg

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s