To some, the prospect of installing a water system in their campervan is daunting. After all, if the installation procedure goes wrong, the camper will be soaked. Choosing what components to include in your do-it-yourself campervan water system is the first step.

We opted for a very simple water system in our campervan to keep costs down. A boiler with an exterior-venting flue is required for hot water delivery from the kitchen sink or installation of an indoor shower in a camper. Since ours is an outdoor shower, we didn’t have to install a flue since it would only be utilized while the back doors were open.

campervan water system

How to Choose the Best Campervan Water System for Your Needs

Think about the following when deciding how big of a water tank to buy:

  • How much water do you typically consume each day (if you have a shower, how often do you take it, etc.)?
  • How frequently will you be able to replenish your tank (i.e., how much time do you intend to stay off-grid)?
  • How much are you willing to pay (a bigger tank means higher costs)?How much room do you have  for a campervan water system (i.e., where will you mount it)?
  • Is there a need to think about weight (do you have a huge vehicle that will be close to 3.5T, for instance)?

It’s smart to make an educated guess as to how much water you’ll need. The recommended daily water intake is 2 liters. Dishes, laundry, and personal hygiene all need water use, which may quickly mount up. It’s crucial to be frugal with water while you’re living in a van and not use it like you would at home.

Everyone’s water use is different and so the campervan water system; those who take daily showers in their vans will require a bigger tank or to fill it every day or two. It makes sense to have a modest tank if you want to stay mostly at campgrounds where you will be able to fill up on a frequent basis. A big enough water tank is essential if you want to be self-sufficient for an extended period of time away from civilization.

campervan water system

When you know how much fuel you’ll need and how frequently you’ll be using it, you may choose the appropriate size tank for the campervan water system. There are times when the biggest water tank is not the most practical choice. To begin with, water is heavy—1 litre of water equals 1 kilogram, so if you have a 200-litre tank, that’s an additional 200 kg you’re hauling about when it’s full! Another reason is that a larger tank will be more costly, so it’s preferable to figure out what size you believe you’ll need rather than simply getting the largest item available.

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The 70-liter Fiamma water tank that we built is not something we would suggest to others. There aren’t many inlets in practical places, and if we could do it again, we’d have a custom tank built to go over each wheel well. These help by putting to good use otherwise unused space.

Installing an underslung water tank on the underside of your van is another alternative that can free up inside room, but it may not be the best choice if you plan to go to any areas with freezing temperatures or significant snowfall.

Techniques for Constructing a Water System in a Campervan

Mounting Your Water Tank

We recommend starting with the water tank and making sure it is securely fastened. Though the specifics may differ from tank to tank, ours had a set of threaded bars that only required nuts and washers to attach. By boring holes in the plywood and attaching the threaded bars with a washer and nut, we were able to secure our tank to the side wall. We used the additional washers and nuts to secure the water tank to the wall after we had attached the ply to the wall.

campervan water system

Installing a Fill Point

It’s crucial to place the filling station higher than the tank and away from the tank itself in the campervan water system. We also learned a lesson about what not to do the next time: placing the fill point right next to the tank means that when the tank is full and we’re riding up a steep hill, water will try to splooge out of the fill point. As long as there is a height difference and you can go some distance away, this shouldn’t be an issue. While many people choose to put their fill stations on the outside of their vans, we opted to attach ours to a piece of ply in the trunk.After you’ve fastened the inlet to the ply on the inside or outside of your vehicle, you may connect the convoluted hose to the inlet using jubilee clips. We used a hose connection on the water tank that was the same size as ours to get water from the tank. Since the tank didn’t come with many built-in intake sites, we had to drill our own in order to make the tank connection, as was previously mentioned. Then, we used a lot of silicone to seal any potential leaks.

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Make sure the water container you purchase has a removable bung. When you remove this bung, it allows the campervan water system to ‘breathe.’ Without it, the system will develop a vacuum as air pressure builds up (similar to what happens when you empty a plastic water bottle without replacing the cap).

Connecting the Tank to the System

As soon as the tank and inlet were in place, we connected the water supply line to the tank. We utilized 12mm food grade water pipe, which works well for this application. Put this where you can easily access the water at the bottom of your tank.

The lever ball valve connects the water line to the pump. This implies that we can seal up the system so that even if there is a leak, no water will enter.We used jubilee clips to connect the pipe to the lever ball valve and the pump. Finally, the water pump is connected to the battery in the same way. The accumulator is utilized to smooth out the flow of water so that it doesn’t sputter when it exits your tank.

Connecting the Sink and Shower to the Campervan Water System

When the water came out of the accumulator, we cut it in half so that it could be used in the shower and the sink. These connections may be made of either metal or plastic; we selected brass, but plastic connectors work just as well. Once again, jubilee clips are used to attach the pipe to these.

To connect the shower’s pipe to the shower, a jubilee clip was used to snug the female fitting onto the shower’s pipe.

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Since there are two outlets in the sink, a second T piece was utilized to split the pipe heading there (usually used for hot and cold). Since we do not have hot water coming into our tank, we connected both ends to the cold water coming from the pump. We chose to connect both to the cold water supply, but you may easily just disconnect one of the connections if that’s easier. To connect the pipe to the source in the campervan water system, we utilized a 12mm barb to 1/2 inch BSP connector. It is important to verify the BSP size before buying a tap, since it may be different from one brand to another.

Connecting Your Sink’s Waste Pipe

Once the water is hooked up, you may attach a pipe to the sink’s drain. For ours, we utilized a 1 1/4″ waste trap with a 40 mm pipe connection, but this may need to be adjusted for your specific sink’s waste. A U-shaped curve in the waste trap is often utilized to contain odors (the water sitting in the U bend stops any odors from entering the van).

campervan water system

Our massive, extra-deep kitchen sink and accompanying trash basket necessitate that the fixture be installed low and in front. To get the rest of our pipe to the rear of the building, we used a waste trap with long bellows to create a shallow U bend.

You Can’t Go Camping Without a Great Campervan Water System

The water system in your campervan may be activated by connecting a few things to the electrical system (for more information on electricity, check our blog entry on how to wire up your campervan’s electrical system). For convenience, we installed a switch between the 12V water pump and the 12V fuse box. A spark is all it takes to get our Camplux rapid hot water shower going; it’s powered by LPG and 2 D-size batteries, so there’s no need to hardwire it. A water tank level sensor was recently fitted. Thus, we can keep tabs on the precise water level inside.