Plumbing Systems, Part 1

We needed to CHANGE EVERYTHING!  I usually hate projects that start like that because, sooner or later, we decide to keep part of the old system after all.  And that’s where things get complicated.

But not on this project.  I removed the old faucet, household-style filter, and pump in order to install new everything and tee into the system for a water heater.  Sorry, no before pictures.

Replacing the faucet meant creating a new base.  Our new faucet has a different hole pattern, so I epoxied together 2 pieces of 1/4 inch Spanish cedar and took the hole saw to them.  I cut the new holes in the maple countertop with the jig saw.

Faucet before Installation

And this is what it looks like installed, first with it in the upright, ready-to-dispense-water position and second in the out-of-the-way, downward-leaning position.

Faucet - Upright

Faucet - Downward

Of course, it’s hard to get at the bottom of the faucet in order to attach the female NPT to 1/2″ barbed fitting, along with the ever-important plumber’s tape.  Attaching the hose and tightening 4 hose clamps (because I wanted to have everything double-clamped if there is room on the fitting)…easy in comparison.

Faucet - Under

I attached the hoses to the underside of a shelf in the sink cabinet and then along the side…

Tidy Hoses

The pump is living, temporarily, atop the lid from one of the integral tanks.   In order to leave myself a bit of play in the lines later, I wrapped them to get them where I wanted.  The input from the tank starts just above the pump and circles all the way around to the same place before going onto the pump.  The output goes to a tee.  One side goes directly to the cold water side of the faucet and the other side goes into the head, where the water heater is mounted proudly.


Now the heater…that was a project in itself!  When I first hooked it up, it fountained directly out in front, spraying the head (and drenching a roll of toilet paper).  I put it through a running test, with the input and output hoses in the same bucket and the old water pump providing the motion.  I powered the pump with James’ 12 volt plug for his air conditioner – no good invention goes underutilized!

Once I replaced the fitting that wasn’t, I did another test.  This time, I wanted to let it run for a while and then pressurize the system to really, really test for leaks.  Shazam!

Heater - Pressure Test

And for those of you at home, who can’t quite tell what’s in the end of that hose…

Heater Pressure Test Toothbrush

Yes, I photoshopped that so that you can see that I have, indeed, hoseclamped a toothbrush into the end of the hose.  Well, hell, people – it did the job!  I found a slow leak and tightened the fitting involved.

After a half hour, the heater was holding pressure just fine.  So I installed it!

Heater - Installed

Part 2 of this project is hooking the heater into the propane system.  Busting open our integral tanks and installing flexible bladders…that’s Part 3, in which I will also install a filter system that has to be upright, or I would have installed it along with everything else already!



  1. Thanks, Trevor! The tidiness is only in part for the picture – we do a pretty good job of keeping things shipshape down there. See how much room there is, though? The pots and pans always shift around while sailing, so we’ll have to build some sort of rack system down there. It’s all fun and games when you’ve got the rest of your life to get the projects done!

  2. You two are dangerously inspirational. We’re building a dinghy in our basement this winter and selling heaps of our stuff to get the moving-aboard process started. Is it odd that I rather covet your dodger?

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