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Old 07-02-2018, 12:03 PM   #1
csp
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Smile Off grid rain water collection system question

Hello to all Sunline camper owners out there. Last February I posted about preparing to have my 1990 T243 pulled up to a 77 acre mountain top property in southwestern PA with a bulldozer. Well, the move has been made and I am working on setting up an off grid camp. Currently I am working on a rainwater collection system utilizing a 55 gallon food grade plastic drum and a rain saucer. I will need to connect this system to my Shurflo model series 2088 pump. Is there anybody here that can offer any insite as to where this pump would be located in the camper and how I might best connect my rain barrel to it. Unfortunately I am not out at the camper now and won't be for another 3 weeks. By the way, if anyone is interested, I have some pictures and videos of the camper being pulled through the woods up the mountain I could post on YouTube and send a link. Any information that would help with setting up and installing this water system is greatly appreciated.

Chris
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Old 07-02-2018, 01:03 PM   #2
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Hi Chris,

I'd definitely love to see your pictures and videos of it getting there! Not your typical tow to a campground, lol.

Your water pump should be near the water tank, all of which is probably under the rear bed. If not there, maybe under the kitchen sink. I can research more later if you haven't seen it in the trailer. It should be a 34 gallon tank, per the brochure spec.

As far as connecting to the water pump, that should be fairly easy. You'd need to get some sort of food grade hose or line to get to the pump. As for how to get it into the trailer- you have options. The easiest would be to go in through a storage compartment door, and then just remove the line and to close up the storage door when you leave. Then you can't have rainwater gushing into the trailer should some failure occur. You could also install an RV fresh water supply fitting on the outside and permanently plumb it to the pump, but this would require some minor drilling and modifying.

The pump should have 1/2" NPT male threads on both input and output sides of the pump. You could connect your water supply direct to that thread, but:

Personally, I would install a three way valve at the input of the pump. This is commonly sold with an RV winterizing kit and is pretty cheap- the trailer may already have one. It gives you a garden hose thread so that you can turn the valve to pull from your holding tank, or you could pull from a short hose that you can put in a jug of RV antifreeze for winterizing. Instead, you could have the rainwater be your other input instead of antifreeze. Or, it could also be antifreeze in the winter months by simply disconnecting the line to the 55 gallon drum and replace it with the feeder line.

Other benefits of this setup are the ability to run off the existing holding tank in cold weather months if you choose. Also, you could put some of this rain water in your holding tank inside, if it was really dry out and you needed to bank as much water as possible, then you'd have two sources to pull from with a simple switch of a valve. Plus, if you wanted to go there in cooler months, you could put some water in the trailer tank for the weekend and keep it from freezing, but you'd have to winterize the trailer as soon as you turn the heat off.

Another thing to think about, which you may have already, is a couple of shutoff valves at the drum. I would put at least two on as a failsafe, before water goes into the trailer. You wouldn't want something to fail and it to flood the trailer. I'm not sure how much pressure the pump could handle from gravity feed, to sit long term. Also, given the elevation, it might be a good idea to pump out all the water when you leave, from that valve, and then drain the low point drains of the trailer. Sometimes it gets cold up there, and you wouldn't want lines freezing.

Jon
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Old 07-02-2018, 01:57 PM   #3
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Think about a separate pump and loose hose for the 55 gal drum. You could filter and fill the trailer holding tank increasing your capacity and also have a supply for use direct from drum. I'm not familiar with a rain saucer, will have to google it...
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Old 07-02-2018, 02:25 PM   #4
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The saucer is interesting, never saw them before. I harvest rain water from my gutter down spouts at home and pump from a cheap 12v unit for garden watering, works well.
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Old 07-02-2018, 05:09 PM   #5
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Put your collection tank above the camper plug it into your city water fitting use a tee to fill the camper tank no pump needed until you need camper tank water.
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Old 07-03-2018, 07:12 AM   #6
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Put your collection tank above the camper plug it into your city water fitting use a tee to fill the camper tank no pump needed until you need camper tank water.
Would that have enough water pressure to release the check valve in the city water inlet?

I could see this working well like a vintage trailer has over the sink, but this trailer has a lot of complex plumbing lines and a lot of area that the water has to go back up to a faucet. It might not work like pumped water.

That said, RV water pumps are cheap (under $100), I guess one could be plumbed in line to the city water inlet to pressurize the system. Then leave the one in the trailer functional for colder weather.
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Old 07-03-2018, 02:59 PM   #7
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I would suggest filtering before putting it in your trailer. You would be amazed how much sediment collects over time. Not really a problem in the 55gal drum, but I wouldn't want in in my camper plumbing.
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Old 07-03-2018, 03:04 PM   #8
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Yeah it takes very little to open it the 12 volt pump pressure closes it. A hundred pounds of water has a lot of pressure! But yeah an extra pump directly at the city fitting would cure any pressure issues. A two way valve (A/B) on the suction side of the pump would work but RV plumbing is no real fun to get at.
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Old 07-03-2018, 03:08 PM   #9
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The saucer is interesting, never saw them before. I harvest rain water from my gutter down spouts at home and pump from a cheap 12v unit for garden watering, works well.
My barn is 36 feet long there is a gutter on one side between a 1/4 and 1/2" of rain will fill my 55 plastic drum.
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Old 07-03-2018, 07:10 PM   #10
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Yea, roofs gather a lot of water! I have two barrels under two gutters and those barrels gravity feed to two more for increased capacity.
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