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Old 05-19-2015, 10:00 PM   #1
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Location: Calgary
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Moving the Hot Water Manifold on a Berkshire 34QS

I'd like to start a thread on a project that I'd like to do, but which might spin out over a year or two.

My Berkshire 34QS has hot and cold water manifolds on the left side of the coach in front of the rear wheels. The hot water supply is in the right rear of the coach and many of the things that use hot water are closer to the heater than they are to the manifold. And, a trip from the heater to the manifold and back to the sink or shower or washing machine causes me to waste a lot of water before the hot water shows up.

There is a nice little kick panel below the washing machine in the bedroom that is just inside of the water heater. I think that is a natural place for hot water manifold. So, I'm thinking of moving to a manifold in that location, taking several steps that allow me to live with a partially complete job.

1. Build a manifold with stubs to go to the original hot water manifold, washer, kitchen sink, bathroom sink and shower. I'd like to use nice ball-type valves made of metal rather than the current plastic.

2. Cut the hot water line between the hot water heater and the existing manifold to insert my current manifold. Serve hot water to the existing manifold from the appropriate stub on my new manifold.

3. Connect the washer directly to the new manifold.

4. Block the washing machine line from the old manifold so that it doesn't leak all over the MH.

5. Over the ensuing months and years, find a suitable route for pipes from the new manifold to the remaining taps. My highest priority is for the shower. And, to keep hot water in the line, I might connect the bathroom sink off of this line with a shutoff behind the shower for these two lines.

So, I welcome constructive comments on this plan. Here are some questions that come to my mind:
  • What kind of supply pipes are in my MH now? I assume it is PEX, even though it is a little bit different from the PEX in my house, which uses circular copper rings for crimping. The MH seems to use a side crimp setup that might work better in cramped places.
  • Would this likely void my warranty on some part of the MH?
  • Is there anything really dumb about my idea?
  • Is there any refinement that someone can suggest?

Thanks, in advance, for all your advice. I've had a lot of good help from this forum since I picked up my Berkshire last week.

–Gordon Sick

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Old 05-20-2015, 08:52 AM   #2
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Location: Long Island (Nassau County), NY
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Do you do a great deal of dry camping? If so, then it may be worth doing all that work. If not, it seems like a great deal of work and a lot of issues to deal with when trying to move all that plumbing. We very, very rarely dry camp (only once in 30+ years) and we have not had the issues are detailing. And yes, I believe that it would void part of your warranty if you were to have issues that are attributable to the changes you make.
Just my thoughts.
Good luck with what ever you decide to do.

Tom and Margaret
2014 Berkshire 390bh-60

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Old 05-20-2015, 11:06 PM   #3
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We like to camp in National, Provincial and State parks and they often don't have a sewer hookup. So, managing the resulting grey water is a pain. A lot of these sites have fresh water close enough that I can fill the tank with a long hose, but the fresh water tank is only slightly smaller than the grey and black tanks, so the constraint quickly becomes the holding tanks and not the fresh water.

I probably won't start the project till next year, since things are pretty hectic right now and I'll start to phase in retirement next summer.
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Old 05-21-2015, 04:20 AM   #4
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I could be wrong, but because you are not going to change all the hot water piping (I guess),you will not gain anything from the change.

It seems, much more efficient to put a bucket or jerry-can in the shower, pick up the water until you get to the hot water.

In my experience it's a minute or two.

Then or return the water to the water tank or used for washing dishes or,,,,,,

my 17 cents
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Old 05-21-2015, 08:27 PM   #5
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I might not have explained it well, but the first step in the conversion would have water going directly from the water heater to the washing machine, which is less than 2 feet away. The round trip to the existing manifold is probably about 20 feet.

But, as you suggest, the big issue that concerns me is the shower, and the dishes and I am using buckets for those and they are in the second and third steps. (We dump them into the toilet, since black water fills slowly.) So, the quick gains are small.

The big thing about the procedure I propose is that I can do it in small steps and learn along the way. I won't have a bunch of PEX pipe coming out of all parts of the RV as I try to figure out what to do with it.

If I were a plumber, I'd jump right in. We hired a plumber to re-plumb our house from PolyB (prone to leaks and I had two) to PEX and he waited until we went on vacation for a week before doing the job – we knew him and trusted him, so left him to do the job. Lots of drywall to repair, etc.
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berkshire, hot water, water

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