I admit that the idea of plumbing has never sent me into a spiral of excitement.
To be fair it probably doesn’t send many people into a ‘spiral of excitement’, but it truly has been one of the aspects of the Tiny House that I’ve least been looking forward to.
Little did I know that plumbing, at least Tiny House plumbing, is actually pretty neat, completely straightforward and, dare I say, really, truly exciting. In fact, I’m now that darn keen on plumbing, that I recommenced this blog just so I could talk about it.
Now, I should probably note, the levels of excitement radiating from this post may suggest I actually have hard and fast knowledge to share, I don’t. So if it’s good solid information you seek, I would propose saving yourself some time and maybe skipping this one. However, if you are a plumbing newbie like myself and just seek a small assurance that plumbing is not all bad, you may find some comfort.
I will add that there are some brilliant resources specifically related to Tiny Homes and as I go, I shall be listing the sites and videos that I have found the most helpful. That said because I didn’t have an understanding of even the basics of plumbing, on first viewing I found these somewhat overwhelming and confusing.
[Heck, I didn’t even know that water just constantly fills the pipes in your house, only held back by the faucet handles being in an ‘off’ position! Here I was imagining the water waiting patiently at the mains connection, then only directing to the tap in use; I was so confused as to how the water knew which pipes to flow through!] So really the point of this post, and the next few to follow, is to share the rudimentary information that I found helpful in making perfect sense of these brilliant resources.
What better place to start then with the humble tap.
Different kinds of taps and how they work:
I knew a traditional tap had a washer in it…. but that was about it.
In my youth, Dad showed my sister and I how to change these when the tap was dripping, but to how they worked I never really paid attention. Turns out it’s very simple. The handle is connected to a packing nut, which screws up and down as you turn the tap. When turned to an off position it presses the washer tightly down against the ‘faucet seat’ creating a watertight seal.
But this is only one kind of tap- the modern day mixer is far more mysterious and to be honest, my understanding of how this works is a little less clear. I do know that there are single-handed taps with a ‘ball valve’ that swirl to let water through. Then others that have ceramic disk faucets, which mix hot and cold water in a pressure balance cartridge… whatever that is. This post by The Spruce, identifies the different faucets types you may come across, and what’s more, details how to fix them should they begin to leak, providing a sneak peek at each taps inner workings.
Now it goes without saying that each style has their own pros and cons- the washers in double-handed taps wear out easily but the taps themselves are cheaper. The ceramic disks in single-handed faucets are highly reliable, but Samantha and Robert from Shedsistence mention in their exceptional ebook (which I really recommend) that single-handed mixing valves reduce the flow rate of water, which at times can prevent the water heater from triggering, making it difficult to achieve warm water. (Be assured they explain this far better than I.)
All in all, I really think this is a decision that will mainly come down to personal preference. I for one, think I’d prefer double handed taps in the shower simply because I find them easier to get a good temperature. Which brings us to water heaters!
And a place of pause.
The last thing I want to do is overwhelm you. If there is one thing that will send me running off to another site, is an incredibly long, graphic-less post, which this one is threatening to become.
So take a break, check out the above links and check back soon for part two.
(There is still so much to cover, isn’t it thrilling! Pipes, drainage, water tanks, water filters, water heating. Then the things I haven’t even looked into myself yet, like the all-important pump!)