Plumbing 1

10 / 11 / 2015

Brain component missing

Turns out, have a terrible three dimensional perception. When I started researching plumbing plans for Tiny Houses, I found a few simple two dimensional plans that had all the components I needed, but my brain couldn’t compute the components to my model AT ALL. It’s so weird. I’m used to saying that I have an unusually strong visual perception – I can draw all kinds of images inside my head object by object, color by color. They merge together and form a picture that I can edit and see the outcome very clearly. But apparently when I’d need to move inside the picture, a blue screen appears. Nothing happens! I bet that because the two dimensional visual cord in my head is twice as strong as the standard, the one meant for spatial perception is missing entirely 😀

Once again, SketchUp to the rescue. I broke the 2D plans I found to pieces, made three dimensional objects of them and started adding them to the model. Only after the three dimensional plan I was able to draw a two dimensional picture of the plumbing with all the components needed. It was still hard and I’m not quite satisfied of how the it turned out, but I guess it’ll give out the idea. And the components needed.

The plan

Blue pipes for cold water, red for hot and gray for waste. Green snippets are switches to control the water flow.


The basic idea of the plan is that I can either bypass the fresh water tank and join a water network, use an external pump to create one or carry the water manually to the tank – then gravity feed it to the pump and enjoy pressurized water even without a connection to a network. The waste water system is simple – either collect and dump or connect directly to a sewer system.

The fresh water tank I’m planning to purchase is 140 liters big. Without a water closet it should last at least two days for one person. If the solar power batteries would hold the similar amount of electricity to power up the pump, it would mean that the home would be livable to the full comfort level for two days – without access to any water, power network or sunlight.

At this point, the plan is preliminary. I’m hoping to have a meeting with a plumber some time soon, so I can either improve or lock it down.


The only fully legal circumstance to dump waste water into the ground in Finland is if the water you’re using is carried in by hand. And this applies ONLY when processing gray water (when urea is added to the mix, the water becomes black). And it STILL requires a permit.
I’ve planned the urea feed to be detachable from the sewer pipe to ensure adaptability to different environments. I don’t know where I’m going to live so it’s better to be prepared for everything. With the plumbing plan I’ve presented, using biodegradable detergents and shampoos, there are three ways to get rid of the waste water.

1. Connecting the urea to the sewage pipe and leading it to a sewer system that allows both gray and black water.

2. Disconnecting the urea from the sewage pipe and leading the sewage pipe to a gray water handling system. Urea is to be collected to a tank and used as a fertilizer or dumped to a more advanced sewage system.

3. Collecting both urea and gray water to tanks, using them as a fertilizer or dumping them into a full sewer system manually.

There is a fourth option option of a transportable filtering system – either store bought or DIY. The problem is that they’re quite heavy and don’t really work as well as they should if the filtered water was dumped constantly on the same spot. Whenever moved, I’d have to apply a new permit to dump the filtered water too. I won’t count it as a viable option for now – but I will reconsider if I end up in a place where I can’t join a sewer system for a longer period of time.

Sources Kaymalan nesteiden kaytto ja havitys, Biolan and Harmaiden jatevesien kasittely,

  • Maitonarkki says:

    One thing I’ve always wondered about tiny house water consumption and showering is, how come nobody has designed a showerless bathroom? I think if people bathed the old way (pouring water over from a basin) they could save a lot of water. I’ve been to japanese bath houses, and they use the old basin method along with a shower, which is at a sitting height. Though in a tiny house, it might require more horizontal space than a standing shower.

    • Tiina says:

      I guess most people want to keep up the comfort level they’re used to. I think I’ve seen only one design that had a washing system you described instead of a pressurized shower. The owner upgraded to a regular shower as soon as she could though, so I guess she wasn’t happy with the decision 😀 I’ve also seen one with an outside shower, but that’s not really an option at my parallel.

  • wwics says:


    Really very nice plain drafted. Thanks

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