Sunday, June 30, 2013

All Systems are Go in the Little RV

The last few days were spent getting settled in and getting our electric and waste management systems working. 
50 amp electric connection

Before we got back to town my dad came over and set up a 50 amp outlet for us.  Thank goodness he did because it's getting HOT here and we have no shade to keep the tin can cooler.  We are able to run both of our air conditioning units now. 
 Fresh water connection

We ended having to purchase a longer drinking water safe hose but we are in business.

Gray and Black tank dump

Here's where we were facing a challenge.  We did not want to have to take the Little RV out to a dump station every few days so we opted to purchase a macerator.  We purchased a portable unit rather than a permanently installed one.  I was able to find a Flojet Portable Waste Pump online for $219 and with free shipping.  We actually got it the day after we ordered.  
Having absolutely no experience with such equipment I suppose an onlooker would feel a bit like they were watching a bad comedy.  But, I was armed with a fierce need to do laundry and Rob was armed with a fierce need to stop hearing about my need to do the laundry.

We knew we had the option of pumping our waste into the nearest toilet (about 50' away) or into the clean-out for our septic system (about 100' away). For the first round we choose to use the toilet as it took much less advance preparation.  Rob and I agreed that I would be running the pump and he would be monitoring the end nearest the toilet.  I just wasn't sure I could deal. 

The pump needs a power source.  It can be run by battery or wired in to the RVs 12 volt system.  Rob purchased a battery with ample oomph to run the pump and he wired clips to connect the pump to the battery.  

Next we needed a waste hose to attach to the pump.  The manual suggested a 3/4" hose up to 100 feet.  We purchased a 50", 3/4" rubber hose which is appropriately brown in color.  Keep in mind this is our system to dump our gray and our black tanks.  

We set about hooking the whole mess up late Friday morning.  The pump was attached to the waste outlet on the RV, the discharge (brown) hose was attached to the pump and run to the nearest toilet, the rinse water hose was run into the back-flush port on the pump, the battery wiring was attached to the battery, and the push button control for the pump was connected.  

Armed with our trusty walki talkies, we crossed our fingers tuned the water supply on and I pushed the start button.  I let it run for about a minute and shut it off so I could call Rob and ask if everything was "going" ok in there.  I wasn't keen on having a nasty mess to clean up.  He said it looked like it was working fine and over the next ten minutes or so we pumped and rinsed, pumped and rinsed and cleaned out the black tank and both gray tanks.  After all that we still had to clean up and put away the equipment.  I think we spent about 3 hours in all getting the whole thing set up, cleaned up and taken down. 

All in all it went fairly smoothly but we both agreed that it was much more labor intensive than the normal way of dumping the tanks.  

But, I still had about 6 loads of laundry waiting for my attention in the Little RV.  I can do two before the gray tank for the washer and dryer gets full and has to be dumped.  Clearly this was not the best solution. I needed a way to drain the gray tanks directly into the septic system clean out.  I was hot and tired and Rob was hurting so we both showered and he went to lay down.  

Mom had some fresh strawberries for me and I wanted to talk to my dad about the best way to secure a hose to the septic clean out so I drove over for a visit.   Dad gave me a list of items we would need to make a cap with a hose fitting for the clean out and I went to the hardware store. 

 When I came back with the parts he assembled them and sent me home.  Basically he added some brass hardware to a 4" PVC end cap and it works like a charm!

I also had to purchase another hose.  The only 3/4" hose I have been able to find are 75 feet long.  I now had 150" of hose for the water to drain through.  Once the sun warmed up the hose I was able to lay it out flat with sweeping curves which has helped the water flow much better.  Our lot here is completely level so I was hopeful that for the gray water it would be fine and for the most part it has been.  I'm not using the pump for the gray water but it seems to be draining fairly well.  

We added a cap to the sewer output on the RV that has a hose fitting for the garden hose.  Notice the feet of my handsome assistant in the photo?

Next time we have to flush the black tank we'll find out if the pump can push the flow 150' to the septic clean out. 

What did this little endeavor cost us?

$220  Flojet Waste Pump
$90    Two 3/4" hoses
$13    Clean out cap and hardware
$79    Battery
$5      Battery clamps

Empty tanks and clean laundry = priceless!

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