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How Does Plumbing Work in Tiny Homes?

Tiny Home Plumbing

Tiny Home Plumbing Solutions: The Ins and Outs of a Mobile Water System

The decision to live in a tiny house is a big one. Most likely, you’re making major lifestyle changes, and that’s probably the reason you’ve chosen tiny home living in the first place.

Living in a tiny home opens up a world of possibilities, especially when your little house is mobile. You can travel more, live wherever you’d like, and be free from most of the typical maintenance costs of owning a traditional home in a conventional neighborhood.

But tiny home living also comes with new sets of challenges, like how to create a plumbing system for a home that’s sometimes mobile, sometimes stationary. Tiny house experts agree that it’s good to have options when you consider plumbing solutions for your pint-sized dwelling.

Tiny Home Ideas for Public Water vs. An Off-Grid System

When the water supply into your tiny home comes from a city water system, you’re “on the grid,” and when you’re not connected to a public water supply, you are considered to be “off the grid.”

For both systems, the first step is getting water into your home for kitchen and bath use.

Tiny homeowners often opt for a water tank that fits inside (and is hidden by) kitchen cabinets. This is where your water is stored. You fill the tank by connecting an RV hose to a water supply (on-grid) or by carrying jugs of water (off-grid) to your tank. Once you have a water supply, the next step is heating the water for daily use such as cooking and showering.

When you’re off-grid, a tankless propane water heater is an efficient way to heat your water. You’ll also need a pump for water pressure in your sinks and shower. The pump requires a power supply, so if you’re truly off-grid, a gas or solar-powered generator will do the trick.

When you’re on-grid and connected to a public water supply, you won’t need to use a pump for water pressure, however, you may need a heated water hose in the winter so the water and spigot won’t freeze in colder outdoor temperatures.

Drainage Solutions: Where Does All the Water Go?

Another challenge you face as a tiny homeowner with a versatile plumbing system is where and how to drain your wastewater. Water from your sinks and shower is called “greywater” and water from your toilet is “blackwater.” Because sink and shower wastewater is easier to dispose of than toilet wastewater, many tiny homeowners choose composting toilets which eliminate the need blackwater disposal altogether.

When your tiny home is on-grid, or at a campground, you can connect to a public sewer or septic system with an RV sewer hose and dispose of greywater and blackwater that way.

Off-grid, greywater is easily sent through pipes from your home into a portable storage tank that you empty as needed at a designated dumping station. Alternatively, you can run the pipes into the ground to a section of the yard that irrigates a garden. When you choose this recycling plumbing solution, it is a good idea choose natural, biodegradable soaps and shampoos so the greywater won’t harm your plants.

Blackwater Tanks Instead of Composting Toilets

Discarding blackwater is a bit more complicated than greywater, especially when you’re off-grid, because blackwater contains harmful bacteria from toilet waste. As an alternative septic system, or when you do not have a composting toilet, your tiny home uses a blackwater collection tank. When the tank is full, you take it to a dumping station and dump it, or hire a professional service to take care of this unpleasant task for you.

Tiny home living combines the conveniences of owning a home with the versatility and freedom of mobile living and traveling. For a growing number of Americans, it’s an ideal way of experiencing the best of both worlds. Planning ahead for your tiny living plumbing solutions can make it an even happier adventure.

Paradise Septic has 50 years of experience answering all your residential plumbing questions, including alternative septic systems, like the ones necessary for tiny home living. Call today to speak to a knowledgeable professional.

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