Monday 10 November 2014

No Plumbing

So, apparently Wanda has the circulation of a 96 year old woman; at the first breeze of cold she clogs up. I mean sure she is fine to -6 or so, but at -10, the water doesn’t flow. 

I have the heat tape turned on and I did plug in last night, so the furnace was going and my heater was going. I myself was warm and fine, I just lost my indoor plumbing is all. 

There is a chance of some sort of damage, which will not be made evident until Wanda warms up. I have booked her in for service to get winterized. It makes sense as it seems that for the next few months I will not be able to use her indoor plumbing anyways. 

Yesterday I did make my backup toilet and this morning I officially broke it in. I also washed by heating up water on the stove and washing with a rag, soap and a small basin. An odd experience to be sure.

The construction of said backup toilet is simple. First you will need a 5 gallon pail. Why a 5 gallon pail?  It is not only the right height and shape but it is also solid enough to sit on. 

Next you will need a kitchen garbage bag, at least big enough to fit around the whole opening of the pail (trust me you don’t want to miss that bag). 

No shopping bags from the store will not do, as they always have little holes in the bottom of them . . . trust me, don’t cheap out, buy the kitchen bags. Then you will need a bit of plumbing pipe insulation. 

Here are the supplies

To assemble, just put the kitchen garbage bag in the pail properly. Next using the opening of the pipe insulation fit it around the rim of the pail. Cut off the excess pipe insulation. The insulation gives a bit of a cushion as well as it keeps that bag in place. 

Here is the finished backup toilet. You can build this for less than ten bucks.

It works, not fancy but effective. Trust me don’t cheap out on the bags and try to use it for more than one use . . . tie it up and dispose of it right away.

For my backup Greywater tank I just bought an extra five gallon pail with a lid and will dump it once a day.  My blue jug is now sitting on Wanda’s toilet, as I can’t use it now anyways. 

Again, this setup worked, not fancy but it worked. I am now using my blue jug of water for freshwater and my “backup graywater” jug for waste water and that backup toilet as a toilet. It is not a desirable situation, but it can work, so far this has proven that. 

On the subject of possible damage to Wanda, it may be made evident that a few thousand dollars of damage may have been done. What’s done is done and I have to deal with that and move on. If this is the case I can just wait until spring to fix it (as even if it was fixed now, I can’t use the plumbing). This is frustrating, as it means that instead of paying down a credit card over winter I will be saving up to fix Wanda, all because I didn’t dump and drain tanks on Saturday. 

As it is, I don’t know what has happened. I have left all of the taps open in hopes that as the pipes thaw that they will push the water out the open tap, rather than burst. 

I kinda saw, or feared rather, that this situation was coming, as Wanda was designed and built by Americans. What does that mean? Why is that bad? For the most part it isn’t bad, as there are a lot of fine and good details to Wanda. There are a lot of nice small touches around Wanda which show good design. Most of all I am happy with the way that she has been well thought out.

However, let’s face it, a bitterly cold winter south of the 49th is when it drops to zero. Even then they didn’t figure anyone would be out and using it in winter. What is frustrating is that I am not talking about having problems in -30 or -40. I am having problems at -10 . . . all this with a ‘polar package,’ installed in Wanda. 

Without the plumbing, the heating and insulation are fine; Wanda works great. It is just the lack of water, for whatever reason which is bad. I haven’t checked if the grey and blackwater tanks are still fluid. I was going to dump this morning and when I went to check if water would flow, the dumping valves were frozen shut. 

Once again, I can’t dump and drain my tanks until Wanda is warm, so that is why I booked her in for service, I should hear today to know exactly when I can bring her in, hopefully this afternoon or tomorrow morning. 

I know what you are all thinking, why not call it a season and rent a room. At the end of the day, I want to stick this out to see if I can do this. I guess I just want to prove that it can be done, that you can live in an RV year round. The harder this gets, the more I want to stick it out. I am just stubborn that way, so, plumbing or no, I’m staying.  (Quonset hut optional).


  1. I have the heat tape turned on and I did plug in last night, so the furnace was going and my heater was going. I myself was warm and fine, I just lost my indoor plumbing is all. James L. Martin

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