Big Plumbing Problems for Tiny Houses (and How to Solve Them)

Tiny House Plumbing Problems

Big Plumbing Problems for Tiny Houses (and How to Solve Them)

While the square footage of tiny houses may lend themselves to less maintenance overall, they certainly can pose many challenges to homeowners. One big potential obstacle is that of plumbing. Obviously, such a small structure does not leave much space for complex piping; right in line with the tiny house philosophy, simplicity is often the best. Let’s look at some ways we can prime our pipes for tiny house living.

In this post:

Finding (and hooking up to) an available water source

If you decide to have plumbing in your tiny house, installing the appropriate water hookups is a must. If your tiny house is stationary, the cost for meter and installation will be set by the city you live in. For mobile tiny houses, campsites, RV parks, and similar places all commonly have hookups you can use to operate your plumbing.

Saving water for later

Most of the previously mentioned water sources can provide the water you’ll need when on the go. But it may be easier altogether for you to simply use your hookups and store it for later use. Water tanks make it easy to carry your water with you when you’re traveling with your tiny house and won’t know where the next hookup will be. Having 40 gallon tanks will typically cover the size of most tiny houses, but you’ll want to assess your own water needs, as well as how much space your tiny house can spare to store your water tanks.

Water Storage for Tiny Homes

Too many water appliances

When constructing a tiny house, it may be tempting to include all the amenities of a much bigger home. However, it’s usually not possible to supply enough water for a shower, dishwasher, toilet, and sink. When your appliances’ water needs exceed your space, you’ll have to make some decisions on what to cut. That’s not saying you need to go completely without those things — setting up an outdoor shower or washing all your dishes by hand can help you make the most of your tiny home’s space while still having a few of the finer things in life. And speaking of which…

What to do about waste?

A composting toilet is a truly hassle-free plumbing solution for a tiny house. They’re similar to the kind of toilet you’d use in an outhouse, but far more innovative (and far less smelly). Instead of installing the typical type of plumbing that’s required for flushing a standard toilet, most composting toilets dispose waste usually via a urine line and a removable bucket/bag for solids. Although you do have to empty the solids receptacle on a regular basis, there’s far less smell even compared to a standard toilet; a user-operated trap door is used to drastically cut down on that sort of thing.

Woman using an outdoor shower for tiny homes

No plumbing at all

Of course, should you choose the ultra-minimalist path for your tiny house lifestyle, no plumbing at all may be an attractive solution for you. After all, what better way to minimize your expenses (both maintenance and money) than by eliminating the hassle altogether? Of course, we don’t recommend going completely without a water source for bathing and, ahem, waste management; you’ll want to figure out a system. Consider rigging up a rain barrel to collect rainwater during the wet season, or setting up an outdoor shower instead of an indoor one. You could also look into reusing water from your sinks and showers (AKA “grey water”) to use to water your plants!

The fact that you’re seeking solutions for your tiny house plumbing shows that you’re capable of coming up with creative solutions under a strict set of limitations.

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About the Author

Elephant Structures Writer