Last of the PEX Water Lines

July 23, 2015

I spent the whole day running the last of the PEX through my tiny house and while I am happy to say that I finally finished that project, the whole thing was just so much harder than I thought it was going to be.

Here are the major difficulties and accomplishments I can remember working on the house yesterday:

  • I spent about an hour in the morning trying to figure out exactly where I was going to drill holes in the floor for the three PEX lines that would go to my water heater and provide a drain my water tank. I thought about going directly through the floor, but eventually discarded that idea because I was afraid the hole in the metal flashing underneath my subfloor might be sharp and eventually cut through my PEX. I also wanted the PEX to come out somewhere near the edge of the house where it would be easy to access when I needed to attach or detach my water heater. Eventually, I decided to run it through the bottom edge of my rear wall. That involved drilling a 5 inch hole at exactly the right angle so that the PEX would come out between my trailer frame and the edge of my wall sheathing, a space of only 2 inches. I drilled one hole successfully before realizing it really wasn’t in a good spot and then drilled three more holes that I would actually end up using.
Drilling Holes at the Right Angle

Drilling Holes at the Right Angle

Finished Hole

Finished Hole

More Holes with Start of Cold (Right) and Hot (Left) Lines

More Holes with Start of Cold (Right) and Hot (Left) Lines

Cold Line Coming Out Bottom of Rear Wall

Cold Line Coming Out Bottom of Rear Wall

  • The next thing I needed to do was design some kind of block that I could attach all of the fixtures for my water heater underneath the rear wall of my house (to heat my water, I purchased an Eccotemp L5 Portable Tankless Water Heater which was relatively inexpensive, but cannot be installed inside the house). This included two screw on male hose attachments and two on/off valves, one for the cold water line coming out of the house and one for the hot water line going back into the house. It took me a while to figure out a good design, but eventually I came up with a notched block of 2 x 4 cedar that would exactly fit in the small space between the subfloor and the exterior sheathing and in length between the hot and cold lines coming down through the wall. I cut the block when I was at the tiny house and later in the day, took some time to stain it. I also carefully assembled the fixtures in a way that lined up well with my block.
Block for Exterior Water Heater Fixtures

Block for Exterior Water Heater Fixtures

  • The next problem was figuring out exactly how to run all of the water lines through my mechanicals cabinet with in a way that took up the least amount of space, had the least number of turns, did not impede the installation or removal of the water tank and did not get in the way of the removable wall panel I was going to put behind my stove cabinet. Meeting all of those different requirements turned out to be quite a geometrical challenge. Eventually, Sheila came over to take a look and together, we came up with a solution I was reasonably happy with. By then, it was about 2:30 PM. After that, it was just a matter of cutting all the PEX lines and attaching it all together, which was actually rather fun. That took me until about 5:30 PM.
Final PEX Routing Inside my Mechanicals Cabinet

Final PEX Routing Inside my Mechanicals Cabinet

  • In above photo:
    • Uppermost blue PEX line is input from city water inlet outside the house
    • Large white hose is input from fresh water in line outside the house
    • Red and blue PEX lines running out of the top right side of the picture go to the kitchen sink
    • White object is my Flojet 2.9 GPM 50 PSI Water Pump
    • Flexible braided hose is the connection from the water tank to the pump
PEX Below Mechanicals Cabinet Shelf (Will Be Behind Water Tank)

PEX Below Mechanicals Cabinet Shelf (Will Be Behind Water Tank)

After solving the above problems, the only thing left to do was to attach my carefully designed mounting block and water heater fixtures on the outside of the house. I thought about putting this off since I knew it would probably involve a new problem I hadn’t thought of end it was already pretty late in the day, but I really wanted to get everything done. I was sure something would go wrong with this task. But somehow, everything came together exactly the way I had envisioned it and within 45 minutes, I had the block mounted and all of my fixtures attached. I’m really happy with how this turned out. Once I connected all the fixtures and secured them to the block using a few nail in PEX C clamps, the whole mechanism turned out to be extremely sturdy. I’m now quite confident that I will be able to open and close the release valves and attach and detach the hose fittings as many times as I need to without fatiguing any of the parts.

Water Heater Fixtures Outside

Water Heater Fixtures Outside

Fixtures from Undernieth the House

Fixtures from Undernieth the House

That was it for yesterday. I feel like it took me three or four more days than I thought it would, but I have finally finished running all of my water lines. That means that the next thing I get to do is test the water lines. I sure hope they work!

Favorite parts of my day:

  • Having Sheila come out and help me figure out how to run the last of the PEX Lines through my mechanicals cabinet.
  • Attaching all of my PEX fittings to my custom made block on the outside of the trailer and seeing how well it turned out.
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