Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 11-14-2016, 12:13 AM   #1
New Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2016
Location: San Francisco
Posts: 8
How much plumbing costs?

Hey everyone,
I have been thinking about a skoolie for a long time, and as a former librarian have decided to start a mobile bookstore. I didn't intend to find the perfect bus but found a former schoolbus converted into a bookmobile already complete with genny, breaker box, outlets, lighting, heat/a-c. I plan on using the front half of the bus for the business with the currently installed shelving, and the rear as a small living space. I can easily install a small fridge, toaster oven, coffee maker, etc with the current power available.

The only thing it lacks is any kind of plumbing - in the short term (1-2 months) I have no problem using rest stops and campgrounds for toilets/showers, however in the near long term, I'd like a bathroom put in. I can do the research on what fixtures and tanks I'd need for 2 people (myself and my biz partner), to have a toilet, shower, small bathroom sink, and larger kitchenette sink, but have no idea what having a professional run the piping and installing those fixtures might cost.

We live in the SF Bay area, but can easily have this done anywhere in the US since we're ok living without for a few weeks if there's someone you heartily recommend, or if you know how to do this yourself as an experienced skoolie and want to make some extra dough.

I know I can't expect anything exact but a ballpark on what someone might spend on the plumbing would be super helpful. We're not particularly handy and would learn except our timeline has now been pushed significantly forward since we fell into a bus far ahead of schedule.

Any advice or recommendations on fixtures you've loved or hated are also always appreciated!
bookbus is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-14-2016, 12:46 AM   #2
Bus Nut
 
Carytowncat's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Richmond Virginia
Posts: 932
Year: 1984
Engine: 366 Big block Chevy! :) w/ Stick shift
Welcome!

As i was reading i thought "there are a lot of bookmobiles alreasy out there" but then read on to see you discovered that too. I would love to see pictures when you can.

As for plumbing... i am confident someone who knows will be by shortly. lol
I didnt run any, although i have done plumbing and it is pretty simple, especially now with pex and crimpers.

Good luck!
Carytowncat is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-14-2016, 12:52 AM   #3
New Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2016
Location: San Francisco
Posts: 8
Thanks so much!

Yeah - the other challenge is that it has no propane, so finding a fridge that runs on 12V and 110 (120?)V is a challenge on a budget - most are propane hybrids to save on electricity... wondering now if it would be worth having a propane tank for that and water heating - does anyone heat their shower/sink water with electric or is that just not done? The generator does run on propane... ack, steep learning curve!
bookbus is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-14-2016, 10:27 AM   #4
Bus Geek
 
Tango's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Houston, Texas
Posts: 8,460
Year: 1946
Coachwork: Chevrolet/Wayne
Chassis: 1- 1/2 ton
Engine: Cummins 4BT
Rated Cap: 15
Propane fridges can be seriously problematic. If not leveled before turning on they can have the coils go solid. Then they are toast. Also...there all those RV fires...more often than not associated with propane fridges. Personally, I would not have one even if it was free.
Tango is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-14-2016, 11:24 AM   #5
New Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2016
Location: San Francisco
Posts: 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tango View Post
Propane fridges can be seriously problematic. If not leveled before turning on they can have the coils go solid. Then they are toast. Also...there all those RV fires...more often than not associated with propane fridges. Personally, I would not have one even if it was free.
Great to know!
Does everyone have a Dometic or Norcold fridge then? How does the fridge run if it's one that runs on regular voltage when the bus is moving (and the generator is not)?
bookbus is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-14-2016, 11:32 AM   #6
Bus Geek
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Columbus Ohio
Posts: 11,359
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DTA360 / MT643
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
I like the idea some have done which is using a chest freezer with an external thermostat as they are very well insulated... im guessing with it full of food you could easily go a few hours with it turned off and not have it get hot..

otherwise you can put in an inverter and run the frig off of the bus electrical system when moving and then off of your genny when boon-docked... thus eliminating the reason for a special expensie dual voltage fridge.
-Christopher
cadillackid is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-14-2016, 12:16 PM   #7
Skoolie
 
prof.fate's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2016
Location: South Western PA
Posts: 164
there are 3 kinds of fridges - those that need 110v - regular home, dorm size, etc. You can run a genny or get the proper inverter and run them while driving.

Next most common are 'normal' rv fridges. The above kind are compressor run..like A/C ona car or in a house.
The 'propane/elec' ones don't have compressors - they have a heating element (either via propane or 110v) heats a chamber holding a solution of water and ammonia until the liquid boils. The ammonia gas rises to another chamber, the condenser, where it cools back into a liquid. It then flows to the evaporator, where it mixes with hydrogen gas. No moving parts is a big plus. Most will automatically move from elec to propane when you unplug the power.

There are also 12v/LP/120vac known as '3 way' fridges, but the selection is limted and they are not cheap and seem to be small.
Dometic RML 8555R Euro 6.7 cu. ft. 3-Way Refrigerator - Dometic RML8555R - Compact Refrigerators - Camping World

Properly installed there's no issue with a propane fridge. Boaters don't like them becuase propane is heavier than air so if you have a propane leak on a boat it collects in the bilge and the boat blows up. Not an issue with a camper.
prof.fate is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-14-2016, 12:46 PM   #8
Mini-Skoolie
 
TheCog's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2016
Location: West of the Mississippi
Posts: 42
Year: 1990
Coachwork: Shuttle Bus
Chassis: Ford E350
Engine: Ford 460/7.5l
Rated Cap: 15
I have used propane fridge as have millions without issue. My word of caution is do not breach the ammonia system for any reason as the gas is deadly.
__________________
Certified Zip Tie Mechanic
TheCog is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-14-2016, 01:58 PM   #9
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Oct 2016
Location: Pensacola and Crystal River, FL
Posts: 554
Year: 1998
Coachwork: AmTran International
Chassis: 3800
Engine: Navistar 7.6L
BookBus,
You might want to look at picking up a used travel trailer that has all or most of the creature comforts in it you desire.
Then transfer all the goodness into the bus.
DoubleO7 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-14-2016, 03:51 PM   #10
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: Kansas
Posts: 492
Year: 2000
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: T444E
Rated Cap: Your mom +1
Quote:
Originally Posted by cadillackid View Post
I like the idea some have done which is using a chest freezer with an external thermostat as they are very well insulated... im guessing with it full of food you could easily go a few hours with it turned off and not have it get hot..
We originally got a 3 way(propane/110v/12v) fridge and I wasn't happy with it. I went the chest freezer and external temp control route and couldn't be happier... In fact last Thursday the power went out here at about 10 pm and everything was still cold the next day. Even with a fire going in the wood stove. I don't know if I lucked out or what but my chest fridge will keep stuff frozen in the very bottom compartment and maintain about 34 degrees in the upper levels so milk and eggs and whatnot don't freeze.

Bought it brand new at home depot on sale for 79 bucks and the temp control was $65. We spent almost $500 on the three way fridge... You live and you learn...
slaughridge85 is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
advice, cost, newbie, plumbing

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


» Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 02:49 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.