Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Plumbing update

It has been a long time posting because, well, Willow and I have just been enjoying living. Exiting yet another long and very cold winter, the house has stayed snug despite a cat door that has decided to stick in the open position during subzero evenings. This year I estimate that I used less than a cord of wood for heating, and found that temperatures rarely dropped below 60 degrees, even first thing in the morning. 

I have received a few requests for more information on the plumbing so here you go.  As of yet, the shower is still not hooked up, so it is sponge bathing using a pitcher and water heated in a kettle on the stove and then mixed into a two gallon bucket of cold water. Laundry is done in small batches in a 5 gallon bucket with a plunger. 

These two 'piglets' hold about 70 gallons combined. An insulated plywood box then covers the sand filled area. The tanks did not seem to freeze at all, although twice I had to thaw out the intake pipe due to my own negligence in draining it properly when refilling the the indoor tanks.
The overflow for the tanks with a makeshift guard against critters.

Rainwater collection filter at base of downspout. During the winter I did have to clear ice out of it a few times. 

Half round gutters to the downspout.

This is the left side of the shower area with an overflow valve. On the top of the picture you can see part of an old style laundry rack that can open up above the tub.

The overflow valve can swivel out over the tub when filling the tanks. I just used a sharkbite elbow, and it has been holding thus far.

On the right is the tub faucet, which is also able to swivel.

I turned the bison pump and added a quick release, which allows me to fill a bucket directly if needed, and helps with draining in super cold weather. There is a check valve near the tanks at the top.

To fit the space best there are two 15 gallon tanks linked together in the middle there. Had to remember to add a pinhole on the tank on the right to allow air to escape just a bit. The left one has the overflow hole. These 30 gallons can last me almost two weeks if I don't overload on the laundry.

Closeup of the center area reveals the drain for the tub faucet in the back, which is on one line shared with the Berkey filter line and the sink faucet. The sink runs in a small stream, which I decided not to fix since  it keeps me from overusing the water. I just fill large kitchen pots from the tub faucet when needed.

This spout has been added in the kitchen so that the Berkey water filter can be filled directly from the indoor storage tanks.

Two sidelite windows make for some stellar mini french doors. 

Hope that answers some of the winter living and plumbing questions that have flown this way. If not, let me know and I'll try and add some more detailed info.

Enjoy this glorious change in the weather!