Browsing "Plumbing"
Apr 10, 2013 -

Hot Water Problems… Because I’m a Moron

Ah, FHU! They are wonderful. They mean I can keep my fresh water tank filled, use my hot water heater, and take showers at home! I should be a content RVer this week.

Well, except that the hot water has been tepid at best. I’ve still had to heat water on the stove to do dishes. Dang, why can’t things work?! I’ve already replaced the circuit board on my water heater. What more does it want?!

I was very warm last night, so I decided that a tepid shower at home would suit me just fine. I went to turn on the water only to discover that both knobs were fully open.

Yup, I did what so many people warned me about, ‘turned off’ my shower using the cut off in my new shower head rather than using the knobs! This meant the hot water was getting sent to the wrong location!

There is absolutely nothing wrong with my water heater and I am going to look for a waterproof, “Hey, idiot! I know you had a nice massage, but have you REALLY turned off the water?!” sign for my shower door. 😀

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Appliances, Indoor Shower, Plumbing, Technical, Water Heater    6 Comments
Mar 19, 2013 -

A Different Sort of Boondocking

Today, I start boondocking in HOT weather. Thankfully, there is a nice breeze, so with the cross ventilation and roof hatches open, the rig is comfortable. The cats are fine and I put an ice cube in their water, which Neelix in particular appreciates (lick, lick, lick, lick).

It was a busy morning. I got up late (8:00), so by the time coffee and morning tasks were done, it was almost 9:00. I cleaned out the shoe cupboard, a task I didn’t feel capable of taking on yesterday. Then, I hauled out the crazy long garden hose and the tank wand washer to clean out the black tank. Then, I recleaned the toilet room. Note to self, hose down the tank BEFORE cleaning the toilet room! By the time all that was done and the rig was packed, it was about 11:30, so I headed up the hill where Teri was already waiting for me.

Here’s the rig in the FHU pull-thru spot:

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You exit by driving over the grass. The spots are level!

I keep forgetting to show a repair I did to Miranda while on the beach. During my summer in Lethbridge (yes, almost two years ago already!) I broke the catch for the wet bay door.

One of the reasons I was so slow to replace it is that I knew I’d need putty to do it. When I picked up putty for the new window frame, I got a two-pack of catches at the same time.

So to recap, I broke the catch in 2011, bought a replacement a full year later in 2012, and replaced it about nine months after that in 2013. I tend not to do projects until they become pressing. 🙂

It was actually a difficult repair since I couldn’t reuse the existing screw holes but still had to position the catch to hold the door without impeding its opening all the while covering the existing screw holes. I also had to psych myself into making holes into the shell, even if they are well sealed. I used way more putty than necessary!

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Now here’s the rig in the dry camping spot on the edge of a HUGE open field:

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Teri was great about making sure I was happy with my spot. My requirements were full sun for the solar panel, nosing in so that my view in the back is the field, and a clear view from the office window. The spot she originally planned for me met none of those criteria.

The downside to this spot is that I had to put the passenger side on levelers and if it rains more than 1/2 inch, I have to move to a different location as this area will get very mushy. I was not put at the other location because it’s right by a busy road and the pads are super not level. I’m thus far happy with the spot, but suspect that I may need to back up a little to keep the solar panel happy.

For $5, I can use the laundry facilities ($1.50 to wash, $1.00 to dry; very reasonable) and the garbage dumpster. I am also allowed to run the engine if I need to (quiet generators are also okay). I have paid for 10 nights up front, so I’m definitely here till at least the 28th at noon.

I don’t know yet when I’ll be going into San Antonio. I have a social engagement Thursday and will likely be busy  tomorrow, so perhaps Friday. I can’t wait to see the Alamo!

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Black Tank, Boondocking/Dry camping, Campgrounds, Cats, Personal, Plumbing, Technical, Texas, Travel, USA, Weather    6 Comments
Mar 17, 2013 -

54 Days of Boondocking

I am just under a week shy of completing one solid month of boondocking! I’m doing one night on FHU and then it’s back off the grid I go.

Boondocking for so long didn’t seem realistic when I first started as I had so many troubles with my electrical setup. But I persevered in my troubleshooting and have been rewarded with a 12V system I now only need to monitor as it is adequate and functioning well for my needs.

That said, I’m not sure I would still be here on the beach had I not been able to borrow that generator at the beginning of February or if L and B hadn’t installed a new continuous duty solenoid in the motorhome engine compartment. It really does take the proverbial village…

I’ve got my power usage down to a routine now. I charge my computer in the morning and leave it plugged in for the entire afternoon. It still consumes a few amps at full charge, but it’s a fraction of what it needs to charge, so I’m able to charge the house batteries fully by dinner time, and I have a fully charged computer for the evening.

I don’t leave the computer plugged in in the evening because of the enormous voltage drop due to undersized wiring that I still need to correct. If I leave it plugged in, I don’t have enough voltage to even run an LED light without it flickering.

Now that I know that the wiring is undersized, I can manage my 12V use so that the system doesn’t get over loaded and the DC charger doesn’t get hot, so there are no fire concerns. I am eager to beef up the wiring, but it’s going to be a costly job and there are other upgrades in line first.

If it’s sunny out, I can use 120V items, like the printer and vacuum cleaner without a second thought. If like yesterday, it is overcast, then I need to shut some things down (usually unplugging the computer is enough) or run the engine to get the added voltage boost.

As for plumbing, the holding tanks haven’t been a problem. I could likely go a couple more weeks.

I am sorely missing having water in my on board tank, but have conceded that my 10-gallon water heater means that having instant hot water while boondocking is a wasteful luxury. Having a navy shower is no better than bathing in a basin. So, really, hauling and heating water is always going to be in my boondocking future when I am not somewhere that I can fill up regularly.

I do so desperately miss my long hot evening showers as they were my transition time to bedtime. I need to find access to showers the next time I’m off the grid this long. When I had my house and the plumbing was off in the dead of winter, I’d just go to the gym. I need to find an equally suitable setup on the road. The RV park where I am going does have showers, but I’d have to pay an extra $5 per day to access them. Much as I love my showers, they are not worth that much!

When I started reading about RVing back in 2008, I thought of all the things I would have to give up, and the first that came to mind was my daily shower. I can’t even remember the rest, but the showers hold true. That’s really the only concession I make when off the grid. Otherwise, I am living a more electrically-mindful version of my normal routine and I don’t feel deprived in the least.

Finally, boondocking is infinitely superior to staying in an RV park with all its restrictions!

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Batteries, Battery Monitor, Black Tank, Boondocking/Dry camping, Communications & Electronics, Computer, Electricity, Fresh Water Tank, Generator, Grey Tank, Indoor Shower, Inverter, Plumbing, Solar Panels, Technical, Toilet, Travel    6 Comments
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