Sunday, November 29, 2015

Plumbing In The Kitchen With Our Gravity Fed Tank

After completing the electrical work and seeing that the pump and everything seemed to be working just fine, it was now time to press on with getting the cabinets and plumbing aligned.

With Kenny's assistance, I dismantled some of the old plumbing arrangements, and realigned them for the new system.  I had to drill three holes through the base of my corner cabinet.  One for the water line coming from under the cabin, up through the cabinet and into the water storage tank up above.

Another tapping into the feed line coming down from the storage tank to the sinks.

And a final, larger one for the drainpipe.  Under the cabinets I have mounted a T fitting into this drain so that I can also extend it out beyond the counter and up to the washing machine.  I will install a P trap for the washing machine, as well as for the sink - something I hadn't previously done, but now can see some value in, either to keep any possible fumes from the greywater system from coming up through the sink, or to help retreive any tiny but important items that may inadvertently go down the drain.

As easy as these things sound, they still took us into the early afternoon.  Grandpa showed up with the mail and I immediately had him take off his boots and assist me.

Kenny made himself a hard hat out of paper, and then with Grandpa and I holding up the corner cabinet high, he crawled underneath and tried to guide the pipes into their proper holes.

Part way through the process, the cabinet got hung up on the switches for the water system.  Idly I wondered if the cabinet was close enough to actually press the switches, and a moment later, Kenny hollered and scrambled out from under the cabinet as I heard water gushing onto the floor - ACK!  We had actually pressed the pump switch and the hose was just fountaining out into the cabinet!

Scrambling madly with one hand, mashing desperately on the off switch, I managed to hit it just as the cabinet pulled the buttons off the other switch.  In hindsight, it would have been a real smozzle if the buttons on the pump switch had come off before I had a chance to stop it!  Next time (there will be a next time?!) I would try to switch off the power here - but then again, I wanted the lights.

With Kenny walking off the project and refusing to return, I had to try to support the cabinet and still get the pipes to align underneath.  It wasn't easy, but at last we did manage to get it down.  I covered the floor in mats to soak up the water, and Grandpa returned to his nice, dry, finished home.

Working quickly now, I installed the last of the plumping up to the storage tank above and tightened all my fittings as best I could.

Still worried that I didn't put on enough brackets.
Particulate filter ready to do its thing!
Please no leaks, please no leaks, please no leaks....
I'll have to trim that down in editing.
Criminey!  I couldn't find a normal tap to hook up a temporary system, so I had to dust off one of our old bathroom taps.  Looks pretty professional eh?
With the supper hour rapidly approaching, I pulled Kenny away from Minecraft long enough to get him to press the pump switch.

It took a surprising amount of coaxing to convince him that this was safe.
I allowed a little bit to go into the storage tank, then realized that there was a pretty big leak coming from the particulate filter.  This filter was a new addition to the system.  It was a fine mesh screen that was washable that hopefully would keep larger pieces of grit from getting into the tank and my pipes.
I'm a blur of motion trying to wipe up the leaks.
Maybe if I just leave a rag under the filter, that could be a permanent solution?
I dismantled this filter, and saw that there was some hard blue smutz on the sealing ring.  I scraped this off with my fingernail, and then greased the ring with some peanut oil.

Reassembling it, I could see no new water leaking from that spot.  Of course, then it started to drip from the threaded fittings.  I will try to re-wrap those fittings with the plumbing tape later today and see if I can take care of the problem that way.  Otherwise, nothing else leaked noticeably.

As expected, I could see that the water line from the tank started to form condensation.  I had a number of lengths of pipe insulation already prepared for this - for once something was expected, and I had a possible solution!  Amazing!

I wrapped the feed line from the tank in insulation, and now the problem is either solved, or at least, out of sight.  I also decided to wrap the incoming lines from the well pump.  I'm not sure how much of a problem they will be.  The pump shouldn't run more than five minutes at a time according to my guestimate (two minutes of pumping filled the tank to about 35-40%.)  With water in those lines for such a short period of time, I'm not sure that condensation will be a real issue.  Same for the emergency overflow line - it theoretically should NEVER have water in it.

Took a little finagling to get the foam up between the tank and the wall, but it wasn't horrendous.
Foamed up the pipes down here too.


How does he know that the tank was 40% full?  It's in a plywood box!  Does he have x-ray vision?  Some sort of electronic water level detector?  Ultrasound?  Radar?  Infrared?

No, I just can fake smarts...  I installed a small T connector coming out of the tank, and then boiled the end of a 10' clear nylon hose until it was nice and soft.  I pushed this onto the side junction of the T fitting, and then ran the hose up the wall.  The water flows into the hose and rises along it until it matches the level in the tank.  You can see the level just by looking up at the hose now.
Close up of the T connection
And halfway up the tube, you can see the water level line!
I'll mount it fancy once I get some proper sized screws to attach the brackets.  Serendipidously, the hose I purchased was 1/2".  Same as the electrical conduit I purchased.  I only just noticed that, but now I realize that I can use the same brackets to mount both the conduit AND the hose!  Nice!

The spice, er, water must flow!
I put everything in place to see how it was fitting.  Looks good!
Of course, having this part of things finished allowed me to get started on doing the laundry.

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