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Plumbing questions

Discussion in 'Off Grid Living' started by MattiMatt, Jul 4, 2015.

  1. MattiMatt

    MattiMatt Neophyte Monkey

    Hey there, first post btw

    I recently decided that I wanted to take on the task of building a home for my family. My father built our house, his father built his house and so on, so its a bit of a family pride thing/keeping our living costs and habits minimum thing. My wife is not into it at all. We have looked at houses, can’t agree. Anything I design she hates. I’m beginning to think its one of those situations where if it cost a million, it should have been 2 million, if it is 1000 sq ft, it should have been 2000. Her wants have been my biggest obstacle in my design work and today I finally decided I’m going to design the house I want, that I feel will best serve my family and shut out all the negativity.

    I do renovation and remodeling for a living so I’m pretty on par with everything. I know my house will be 12×48, small, yet I will keep nearly all of the aspects of a typical home. However I have stepped into a realm of plumbing I am unfamiliar with and would like some input from others more experienced. I’m considering a composting toilet (something I have been stoutly against, so sell me) and a gray water system.

    First the gray water. I intend for the bathroom sink and shower, kitchen sink, and washer/dryer to be on the same wall (2×6 framing). What I had envisioned in my design was 1.5 piping with P traps for each fixture and then to tie with sanitary Ts into basically a 3in soil stack that flows into a tank with 3in pipe leading out into a leach field. I’m thinking of putting an easy access filter before the tank to catch large debris like lint. My question is, would it be necessary to run the vent of the stack out of the roof? I would think venting the stack like a typical plumbing configuration would be a good idea to encourage proper draining, but is it necessary to put a hole in my roof as there will be no sewer gas to flow back? This is all new to me so please evaluate my idea and give some pointers. Also, suggestions for gray water friendly products would be welcome

    2nd question regards the toilet. I’ve done a lot of research on compost toilets and have not been impressed by what I’ve read, however I’m thinking most of the bad experiences I’ve seen in reviews are coming from improper installs and maintenance. What is my overall best option for reliable operation and sanitation? Can I put the toilet in a traditional bathroom setup or should I build a separate area for it? As I previously stated, I’ve been very leery about compost toilets and my wife is ABSOLUTELY against it. Recently at the dump I saw several fairly new Sun Mars sitting there and I hope that is not any indication of customer satisfaction.

    Any input would be greatly appreciated
  2. jimLE

    jimLE Monkey+

    12×48, is small.but if that size works for yall..more power to yall..im thinking water tower.have it above all faucets.that way it'll be gravity fed where ever you have a faucet..maybe a water tower similar to this one.and have the roof where it'll direct the water into the tower it self..

  3. techsar

    techsar Monkey+++

    Not sure on regs regarding the vent on a non-septic system, but since you are running the kitchen into a tank, do you have a grease trap included in the plan? Might save you some headaches down the road...
  4. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    For the p-traps to work, they have to be vented, (preferably outside, just in case odors develop.) And yes, if all the gray water sources are manifolded, a grease trap will be really nice to have. What are the intended uses for gray water?
    Tully Mars likes this.
  5. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    Also, Big Issues if your area has Winter Freezing.... Both for Domestic Water, AND Gray Water...... Can't have the domestic Water freeze up on you for a week at a time in the middle of winter, and it isn't going to make the "Little Woman" very happy if the Gray Water System freezes SOLID for a week or so during a Cold Snap.... Just pointing out a few things that need to be considered.....
    Tully Mars likes this.
  6. HK_User

    HK_User A Productive Monkey is a Happy Monkey

    The p-traps to work can be vented without roof penetration by the use of the spring loaded vacuum internal vents. Install is still the same as you must allow one vent at each drain line and of course above the p-traps drain level. I did add a stand alone vent with odor filter for the septic system. Odor free and 10 feet above ground level securely attached outside to a protected exterior wall.

    I choose those because of my experience in Hurricane country as well as high winds. Roof Vents are one of the first things to leak from winds and rain.

    I have had mine in place for 14 years with no problems and no odors. I would hope that all municipalities would now have them on the approved list, not that I need to worry about that.

    Best because a smooth roof means less wind problems.
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2015
    kellory and Tully Mars like this.
  7. Airtime

    Airtime Monkey+++

    Vents can be through the side of the house provided they are far enough away from windows (6 feet comes to mind but check your codes) and not below any window. I put the vents for my addition in the eve overhang near the roof peak. The perforated vinyl eve panels hide them and they vent just fine.
    Tully Mars likes this.
  8. NotSoSneaky

    NotSoSneaky former supporter

    I'll be honest with you:
    Dead man walking [OO] is my first impression and here's why; 576 sqft is a very small living space. Plumbing type, size and configuration will be dependent upon your local building codes (If you have them). As for the sanitary facilities, when any woman states she is "ABSOLUTLEY" against something, you are playing with fire.

    What I say next I intend the best intentions possible but there is no easy way to say this.
    You quite possibly have made the wrong decision in choosing a life partner and need to seriously re evaluate your relationship. I've witnessed maybe 75% of all my friends make similar bad decisions and lose dang near everything they worked hard for.
    But what do I know ? I'm just some guy on the interwebz. [seeno][hearno][sayno]
    Best wishes and good luck, you're gonna need it.[tongue]
  9. vonslob

    vonslob Monkey++

    If your roof vents are leaking then you have an improper install but I do not live in hurricane country. In the wall vents are usually used only in mobile homes in my area.
    You can install a composting toilet in a traditional bathroom setting.
    An 1.5 inch pipe is small for a waste line.
    I live in a high wind area and have never heard of wind problems with properly install roof venting, it is not like it is sticking 10 feet into the air.
    IF you are going to have a gray water system and a composting toilet why do you need septic? You did not mention this but what type of pipe are you going to use for your supply (water) line, stay away from pvc, code in my area does not allow for supply line to be pvc inside a house. I would suggest pex, it is code everywhere, it expands when frozen so it is hard to burst and is easy to install. The only down side to pex is that you need to buy an expander tool. I work for a plumbing company, we mainly do gas work but I do have experience with waste and supply so pm me if you have any questions. If I can not answer it I would be happy to ask my boss.
    Really think about your install, plan it right because improper plumbing installs can be a pain to fix later. Good luck bro and don't forget to pm me if you have a question. Btw welcome the survival monkey, lots of good and knowledgeable folks here.

    Edit: one more thing be sure to add cleanouts to your waste lines, if and when you do have a drain issue cleanouts make life so much easier
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2015
  10. HK_User

    HK_User A Productive Monkey is a Happy Monkey

    Roof vents are the first to leak, 100+ mph winds and then the reversal as the storm passes over you will do amazing things.
    VisuTrac likes this.
  11. RightHand

    RightHand Been There, Done That Moderator Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    576 sq ft is plenty of room if you live efficiently. Modern trends waste far too much space on living area that is never really used. I'm a definite subscriber of the Tiny House movement.
    VisuTrac and BTPost like this.
  12. Airtime

    Airtime Monkey+++

    Ya know, I had some similar reaction (hesitated to respond with that) but the first thought that I had is what's the point of making a unilateral decision to just build the house you think your family needs to quite probably never live in it with your family? If the wife is absolutely opposed one of two things will quite likely happen:
    a. You build the house but never move into it (she refuses) and then sell it, or
    b. You move into it alone and potentially because you are single. (Is it possible that deep down maybe that is expected or being planned for?)

    There may be more significant challenges than vents that should be a focus of attention first.

  13. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    576 sq ft, as measured out to out, is OK for a single or very tolerant more. Take the bit out of your teeth and listen to wifey, or single is how it will be. Even then, the walls will close in on you and make you wish you had some space to work on projects other than the dining area table. (Believe this, lad; I have reason to know.)
  14. DarkLight

    DarkLight Live Long and Prosper - On Hiatus Site Supporter

    I won't say my wife and I have this same problem, but this may very well stem from the same place.

    My wife's point of view is that "the world has not yet come to an end". There's a difference between living well within your means and potentially making it harder on yourself. Tiny house movement or not, I can guarantee you that my wife and three kids have no desire to live in a house, given current means and ability, that is basically the old MSDOS stacker program in a dwelling. Pull down what you need, use it, put it back. Schedule the room for the task at hand, etc.

    If push comes to shove, I think I could get the whole family on board without much complaint but as of right now, neither push nor shove have made an appearance of any kind.

    Just the wife and I in 10 years or so, probably a different story. Right now, why make things more difficult than they need to be?
  15. RightHand

    RightHand Been There, Done That Moderator Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    My feelings about living small come from years of living large. I'm at a time in life when the extra sq footage is used for nothing more than to store stuff collected in the past.

    576 sq ft with a basement and an garage/workshop would suit my needs...if I can get rid of the stuff
  16. DarkLight

    DarkLight Live Long and Prosper - On Hiatus Site Supporter

    Fair point and I can't say with any type of honesty that I need the 2400 Sq ft I have now.

    Also to be fair, tiny houses are usually (from what I've seen) portable which rules out both a basement and a garage. That space (basement and garage) should be accounted for even if not considered living space to be realistic in my opinion (and yours may very well vary).
  17. RightHand

    RightHand Been There, Done That Moderator Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    Most of us live horizontally but when you adapt to living vertically, space is utilized more efficiently
  18. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    Bionic Knees pretty much eliminate Vertical Living..... single Floor Living, is a very good thing for Older Folks...
  19. RightHand

    RightHand Been There, Done That Moderator Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    I wasn't thinking about vertical in terms of stories but rather as storage.
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