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Discussion Starter #1
Soon, I'd like to have a sink and shower in the van, and because of my mold worries, I want to keep the plumbing very, very, very simple. My plan is to have a sink with a removable five-gallon water container and an electric pump, and then have the drain just go straight through the floor -- I can stick a container to catch the wastewater outside the van if I'm in an RV park. For a shower, I'm thinking of just hooking a shower head up to the faucet and pulling out my foldable puppy-wash tub. And I'll need some kind of water heater.

So, first question: How freeze and leak proof is this likely to be? I'm worried about the pump freezing. Is there some way I can set it up so that it will drain back into the water container, so the pump will have no water in it unless it's operating?

Second question is about the water heater. My thought is that it would be wiser to avoid an installed tank, which sends my thoughts in the direction of an instant water heater. But there I have the same question -- is there a way to have it drain back when it's not in operation so that freezing isn't an issue?

I'm also wondering about the possibility of having an instant electric water heater, and just idling the engine when I shower. Something like this: [ame]https://www.amazon.com/EcoSmart-Electric-Tankless-Modulating-Technology/dp/B00529DDUI/ref=sr_1_1?s=hi&ie=UTF8&qid=1513011292&sr=1-1&keywords=ecosmart+ECO+8[/ame]. Does that sound like a practical approach? What size inverter would I need to power it?

I could, of course, do a propane-fired one, but I'm thinking it would be nice to just avoid propane and its safety issues.

TIA, everyone. I so appreciate having you all to turn to.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the pointer. Interesting info there.

I'm still pondering this issue of freeze protection. I was looking at the Whale water heater that came up on the other thread and looks really slick ([ame]https://www.amazon.com/Seaward-Products-Water-Heater-12v-S360ew/dp/B00XCIJN78[/ame]). But the user's manual says that to winterize it, you've got to drain it and then pump antifreeze through it. And if you use the magnesium anode -- which I think would be important for me, since our water is quite hard -- then you have to remove it to drain it, and the water would go all over the place. Plus, I know from experience that removing those anodes is often not an easy task. I talked to the manufacturer, and there's no way to have both a drain plug and an anode. So if I go that direction, then anytime I go on a winter trip, I've got a rather nasty chore to deal with to de-winterize and then winterize this **** tank.

Anyone have any good solutions for this?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I guess the thing to do for this would be to get an air compressor. Presumably I could get by with a pretty small one. But still, if anyone has good approaches to dealing with freezing issues, I'm all ears.
 

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I designed my water system so everything can be drained for freeze protection. Using ball valves and coin vents, If you want to avoid leaks, use pex tubing and the cinch crimpers. I have never had a leak with pex. Amazing stuff
 

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Julie, since your hot water needs are similar to ours, check out the "shower water cartridges" on my build blog. We have used this set-up several times now, and it works as well as we anticipated. Shower water heated to your ideal temperature in about 20 minutes. No plumbing, thus no freezing issues.
 

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This thread is a year old! Hopefully Julie has solved her problem.
 

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Dedicated is the word!
 

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old thread I know... but, one of the things I do for heated water in the coffee truck is this.
2.5 gallon keg, 150 watt oil pan heater stuck to the side with a neoprene keg insulator on the whole thing, very compact and very efficient for my needs. I have the 150 watt heater on a digital thermostat... it takes awhile to reheat the water but works awesome for our needs.
 

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I’m not sure why this subject is so fascinating to me, but I’m now working on a solution that uses Webasto heat, thus no extra electrons used.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I just now saw your response about your shower water cartridges, MsNomer -- very interesting. We've been doing OK with just using an electric tea kettle and pouring it into a solar shower bag, but I do continue to think about a slicker solution. One that uses Webasto heat sounds wonderful! Have you made any progress on this?
 

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I have used pex in my last 3 builds. I hang a propane instant hot water heater on the back door. I have 20 gal water and 20 gal gray tank sitting under the bed. The sinks are gravity feed to it and I have a small automatic sump pump under the shower pan that pumps to the gray tank. The toilet is a Thetford low profile that sits on a 10 gal ABS black tank with a drain hole through the floor that connects to dual dump valves for the black and gray. Water and gray tanks have drains that drain through the floor for off season and I disconnect the toilet and hot water tank lines.to make sure I get all the water out of before winter.
 
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