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Old 02-23-2009, 11:30 PM   #1 (permalink)
fishingwithdynamite
 
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water conservation and general plumbing questions

I thought that it would be common practice to flush the toilets using gray water, but almost everyone seems to be using fresh water. Why? It seems like a pretty obvious way to reduce water consumption. I know that it's BEEN DONE, but why don't all toilets and bathrooms work like that? I understand that there's junk in the gray water tank from the kitchen sink, but wouldn't that be pretty easy to strain/filter? Or you could just use two gray water tanks: one for the kitchen sink, and another one that the shower would drain into. I'm planning to use a series of smaller holding tanks that fit between the frame/box cross-members under the floor of my Deuce anyway, so that wouldn't really even make my water system any more complicated.

While I'm at it, what other water conserving ideas could I build into this rig? Maybe collecting rain water, depending on the season and location? I'm just trying to think of sensible things to incorporate into this system while I'm doing the plumbing.

One other thing I've been thinking about is the shower. The idea of having to take really short military-style showers is one of the things that I'm least excited about when it comes to living off-grid. So I've been thinking about creating a little hot-box that would be sealed off and insulated from the rest of the camper, creating something like a sauna-shower. Maybe not a sauna exactly, but some type of steam-room where I could stand/sit for a while to relax and warm up without consuming as much water as I would in a shower. I'm trying to figure out what I might want to use to create steam, and how much water it might take to fill any given space for any period of time. I don't even know if this makes sense, but it's not practical for whatever reason, I might just decide to make a portable sauna-shower room instead of building a shower into my camper.

What about any other ideas I should consider or things that I need to think about when it comes to designing the water system for an off-road motorhome that I'll be taking into remote places and living in full-time? I already know I'll need fresh water, gray water and black water tanks, as well as some type of water filtration system (haven't started that research yet), and I'm thinking about building a an incinerating toilet. I'll obviously need to deal with filling and draining all those tanks, and that seems pretty straightforward as far as transferring water between tanks and draining each of them. I've been told that I should put some type of pressure regulator into the system so that water doesn't get pumped into the tanks too fast and overflow or blow-out the hoses. One of my buddies explained that I'll also need a P-trap and a vent plumbed into each drain. I know that I'll need to insulate the tanks and plumbing because I will be traveling through (and living in) cold weather and while I'll try to avoid truely miserable conditions, I do want to create a system that's capable of functioning in cold weather without having to be winterized. I know that I should have fittings to blow-out the water lines with air so they don't freeze, but I don't want to have to depend on anything like that if it's not absolutely necessary. Same thing goes for anti-freeze. So I'm planning to put the fresh water tank, one of the gray water tanks, the water pump and the water filtration system all inside the insulated camper box (under my bed). I know I'll need to insulate the P-traps and pipes that drain into the tanks. But that's about it, right? That should give me a functional cold-weather water system, right?

I know fuck-all about plumbing, so please don't assume I know anything more than what I've written here. What else do I need to know?
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Old 02-24-2009, 04:14 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Lightbulb RV or EXPEDITION?

These days no need for water to flush toilet: Research composting toilets!

Drinking & potable water can be drawn from the moisture in the air these days so need for lots of plumbing is old school. Units have lots of filtration and heater too for hot water.
www.ecoloblue.com

Last edited by BAGDADEXPRESS; 02-24-2009 at 04:18 AM. Reason: add text
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Old 02-24-2009, 10:31 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BAGDADEXPRESS View Post
RV or EXPEDITION
Quote:
Originally Posted by JESSE_at_TLT View Post
...designing the water system for an off-road motorhome that I'll be taking into remote places and living in full-time
I'm converting the 12ft box on the back of an M109 into a camper, and I'm going to build a 16-20ft enclosed trailer out of an M353 military trailer. The plan is to haul 2-4 dirt bikes around, living and working on the road (mostly off-road) for a while. I don't need anything more than a boosted cellular or satellite connection in order to be able to work from remote locations. So, I don't know if that's an RV or and expedition. I'd call it an adventure?
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Old 02-24-2009, 10:53 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by BAGDADEXPRESS View Post
These days no need for water to flush toilet: Research composting toilets!

Drinking & potable water can be drawn from the moisture in the air these days so need for lots of plumbing is old school. Units have lots of filtration and heater too for hot water.
www.ecoloblue.com
That's pretty interesting. I just called and talked to a sales rep, who told me that the system generates 4-7 gallons of water per day if it's running all the time (pulling 100 watts).
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Old 02-25-2009, 04:00 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Consider

For now the air is free......................................
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Old 02-25-2009, 01:11 PM   #6 (permalink)
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If it were mine, I would just use W.A.G. bags instead of a flusning toilet. Yes, you gotta store them, but they don't take up a lot of room. A 38qt ice chest type box would hold a months worth for 2 people. Composting would be second on that list. I would even rather just use a cat hole over a flushing type toilet. It's just a lot of weight and nastiness floating around that you don't really need to carry.
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Old 02-25-2009, 02:19 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I would look at some Arctic Fox trailers for ideas. Best to find somebody that owns one and then check it out. Any RV will have the basic waste plumbing design you would need for an indoor toilet. I like the idea of steam bath to warm the bones. Were assuming you will have access to RV dump stations. I would do the dual plumbing if water is tight. Say you just dumped all your waste tanks, then you need fresh water to flush. But once you have some gray water you could have a second pump that pulls water from the gray tank to the toilet. Just set the pickup tube a bit off the bottom to avoid sediments. I don't put anything but water and soap down my kitchen drain. I capture all food junk with the strainer in the sink.
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