Ever heard the phrase, “A little maintenance goes a long way?”

The saying is true of many things, including the plumbing on a tiny house. 

You may think, “Small Size, Small Problems.” Well, that is not the case here. 

Maintaining the plumbing in a tiny house requires regular attention if you don’t want a small disaster on your hands.

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The good news is you don’t have to be a licensed plumber to handle most of the issues and maintenance. 

This article will examine simple tiny house plumbing maintenance tips that anyone can do.

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I can earn commissions. If you decide to purchase through my links, it is at no cost to you.

11 Tips for Tiny House Plumbing Maintenance

Knowing how your plumbing has been laid out and its various components is important.

This will help you maintain the system and troubleshoot if needed. 

Familiarize yourself with major fixture shut-off locations, including positioning the main water shut-off valve.

The main water shut-off valve controls all of the water throughout the home.

In emergencies, you could need this knowledge to block water flows swiftly, minimizing damage. 

Pro Tip

Have a map or diagram of your house’s plumbing to locate pipes, valves, or other parts whenever needed. Some laminate this diagram and attach it to the inside of a cabinet.

Many homeowners see sustainability and eco-friendliness as vital aspects of tiny house living. 

By avoiding harmful chemicals that can easily be poured down the drain, you can minimize your plumbing strain and protect the environment. 

Eco-friendly cleaning products help protect water sources. They are made from natural, non-toxic, and biodegradable ingredients and are safe for humans and animals.

Eco-Friendly Cleaning ProductDescription
Vinegar and Baking SodaPour a cup of baking soda down the drain, followed by vinegar, and let it fizz for a few minutes before rinsing with hot water.
Septic-Safe Toilet CleanersDr. Bronner’s Pure-Castile Liquid Soap is versatile and biodegradable. It can clean sinks, bathtubs, and other surfaces without harsh chemicals.

Leaks are a common problem in all houses, but they can become problematic in tiny homes with limited space.

Water damage can spread quickly. Inspect the following for signs of leaks: 

  • all visible pipes
  • faucets
  • connections under sinks and around the water heater
  • external hose connections
  • bidet connections
under the sink, that's where they hide (IMG_6569)

The smaller the home, the less pipe length you will have, so clogs happen quickly!

Clean your drains regularly with vinegar and baking soda. Then flush with hot water.

The vinegar solution disintegrates buildup, allowing the drain to flow smoothly. 

Drain screens should be used to trap hair and other materials, such as food, which could be responsible for causing clogs or blocks. 

Pro Tip

Do not pour oils, candle wax, grease, or coffee grounds down the sink. These substances can form a solid substance and clog pipes. 

Tiny homes are more vulnerable to temperature fluctuations. Insulation of pipes is vital in preventing freezing in cold weather. 

Check your pipe system regularly for wear, cracks, or leaks. Insulate exposed pipes using foam insulation, especially against outside walls. 

insulating pipes

This will protect them from bursting due to freezing temperatures during winter months. 

Ensure that your skirting or foundation insulation is intact. This helps maintain temperature stability within your home and around the plumbing.

It is worth considering installing low-flow faucets and showerheads to decrease water consumption in your house.

A low-flow faucet is designed to maintain high water pressure while restricting water flow to no more than 2.5 gallons per minute (GPM).

This is especially helpful if you are off-grid and may have a limited water supply.

Plumbing systems can become overburdened due to excessive water pressure, resulting in leakages and bursting pipes. 

Properly maintaining water pressure will prevent any destruction from your pipes and fittings.

A pressure-reducing valve (PRV) is a device installed in a plumbing system to automatically reduce incoming water pressure to a safer, more manageable level.

pressure reducing valve
Pro Tip

Use a pressure gauge to examine the level of pressure.  It should range between 40 psi and 60 psi. 

Winterizing your plumbing system will be necessary if you live in an area with freezing temperatures. 

If you plan to leave your home unattended for several weeks or months during winter, consider draining all the pipes and external houses to avoid frozen ones throughout winter time. 

frozen sink pipe

Ensuring proper plumbing winterization helps save from dealing with burst pipes, which can be a nightmare. 

Pro Tip

Protect exposed pipes using insulation materials or heat tape/pipe heaters on vulnerable parts so they don’t freeze up. 

Never ignore just a “little issue” concerning plumbing.

Minor issues such as a slow leak or clogs can easily blow up.

leaky faucet

If you notice anything unusual, such as slow drains, low water pressure, strange noises, or wet areas, do not hesitate to investigate.

Fixing small leaks promptly can prevent more significant damage, thus saving you money on repair costs.

Everything has a life space, which is true of your tiny home’s plumbing system. It may need some upgrades or replacements.

Upgrading to a more efficient or durable material can enhance the performance and longevity of a plumbing system. 

rusty pipes

Modern PEX or copper pipes can be considered alternatives to aging galvanized ones that corrode easily and cause leaks.

Luckily, tiny houses are on the newer side and should not have the older galvanized pipes. 

Water heaters in tiny homes are typically smaller and more efficient. Don’t let their size fool you. They still need regular maintenance to perform their function optimally. 

  • Check the Pressure Relief Valve: Test the pressure relief valve by lifting the lever and letting it snap back. This should release a burst of water into the drainpipe. If it doesn’t, the valve might need replacing.
  • Flush the Tank: Sediment buildup can reduce efficiency and cause damage. Drain a few gallons of water from the tank yearly to remove sediment.
  • Check the Thermostat: Ensure the thermostat is set to 120 degrees Fahrenheit to prevent scalding and reduce energy consumption.

Maintenance for Electric Water Heaters (A little more advanced)

Electric water heaters use one or two heating elements to heat the water.

Over time, these elements can wear out or become coated with sediment, reducing efficiency and heating capacity.

How to Check: Turn off the power to the water heater at the circuit breaker. Use a multimeter to check the continuity of the heating elements. If an element has no continuity, it needs replacing.

Maintenance for Gas Water Heaters

Check the Gas Line and Connections: Inspect the gas line and connections for any signs of leaks.

If you smell gas or suspect a leak, turn off the gas supply and contact a professional immediately.

Inspect the Pilot Light: Ensure the pilot light is burning with a steady blue flame.

A yellow or flickering flame may indicate a problem, such as a dirty burner or insufficient ventilation, and should be inspected by a professional.

Call a professional if you encounter a plumbing issue you can not handle. Sometimes it’s cheaper to hire a professional than to do costly damage.

A professional plumbing company like SD Plumbing & Heating can identify potential issues you might miss and provide expert advice on maintaining your plumbing. 

plumber

Regular DIY maintenance is important, but a professional plumber can inspect your system every few years to prevent unexpected issues and extend the life of your plumbing system. 

A professional plumbing inspection will check for signs of corrosion, leaks, or any other damage that might lead to more serious problems.

Final Thoughts

Living in a tiny home comes with its own challenges and perks, especially with plumbing.

Because everything is so compact, small problems can turn into big ones if you don’t fix them quickly. 

By following the tiny house plumbing maintenance tips in this guide, you can keep the plumbing in great shape for years to come.

Author
  • Erin Hybart

    Meet Erin, a real estate enthusiast with a wealth of knowledge and an insatiable curiosity for all things Real Estate and living with intention. She passionately advocates for alternative, affordable, and eco-friendly housing solutions. She believes in pushing the industry's innovation boundaries and thinking outside the box. As a licensed real estate agent in Louisiana, Erin dedicates herself to assisting clients in buying and selling properties and mentoring fellow agents to succeed in their own Real Estate businesses. In addition to her professional pursuits, Erin channels her expertise into captivating house-flipping adventures.

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