Running a new water line to the trailer

Back to the non-glamorous side of tiny housing, in anticipation of cold weather we scrambled to switch out our garden hose water supply with a buried insulated pex line. To keep everything as code compliant as possible we are still feeding off a hose bib which in this case meant installing a new one in the basement for a shorter hose run. We re-piped the big house ourselves a few years ago so everything is pex and fairly easy to splice into, (if not a little bit exciting going to my unwillingness to do a full drain down.)

We made our own hose with leftover three-quarter inch pex pipe from the big house re-pipe and surrounded it with arm-a-seal pipe insulation.

For freeze protection we added a SmartThaw freeze protection valve just below the trailer water inlet (it’s that funny looking thing you see sticking out of the side of the brass tee). This clever device has a thermal actuator in it that opens a valve a tiny amount if the water in the pipe reaches 34° and then lets water drip through until the water reaches 39° and repeats this cycle as long as is necessary. Considering how many open loop solar hot water systems I’ve built it’s kind of surprising that I’ve never used one of these before (was just careful about draining the collectors on freezing nights). It will be interesting to evaluate the performance of this gadget and see how much water it wastes and if it works as advertised. There are a variety of these on the market and I really didn’t know which to choose so I hope this is a good one.

Another approach would be to bury electric heat tape inside of the insulation against the pipe but considering how rarely it freezes here it just didn’t seem worth the money and effort.

I feel that it’s only fair to point out that Liz dug the entire trench by herself, while I worked inside the house literally screwing around, listening to podcasts, and getting high on rubber cement. You’ve earned that glass of wine tonight Liz!


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