Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 11-14-2016, 01:13 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, 01:46 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, 01:52 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, 11:27 AM   #4
Bus Geek
 
Tango's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Houston, Texas
Posts: 8,462
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, 12:24 PM   #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, 12:32 PM   #6
Bus Geek
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Columbus Ohio
Posts: 12,208
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, 01:16 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, 01:46 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, 02:58 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, 04:51 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
Old 11-14-2016, 05:18 PM   #11
Bus Nut
 
AlleyCat67's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Music City USA
Posts: 737
Year: 2005
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Freightliner
Engine: Detroit MBE906
Rated Cap: 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by slaughridge85 View Post
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...
Or.... fabricate something like this for a temperature control:

Temperature Control For Freezer or Refrigerator
__________________
My bus - Jasmine - External Build Website - YouTube Channel - TN/KY Meetup Group
As a level 1 burglar, Bilbo got a pony when he accompanied the level 60 dwarves on the Smaug the Dragon raid. Those powerlevelers probably invited him solely so he could trigger fellowship attacks for them.
AlleyCat67 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-14-2016, 05:29 PM   #12
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: Kansas
Posts: 492
Year: 2000
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: T444E
Rated Cap: Your mom +1
I used the johnson controls a-19 just like in your link... Just couldn't find it anywhere for less than 65 bucks...
slaughridge85 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-14-2016, 05:48 PM   #13
Bus Nut
 
AlleyCat67's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Music City USA
Posts: 737
Year: 2005
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Freightliner
Engine: Detroit MBE906
Rated Cap: 72
Yea the guy who wrote the instructable said he found his on eBay for $19.... I found some that were less on there but they were missing the control knob, which I guess wouldn't be a big deal since you will set the temperature once and it will stay there.
__________________
My bus - Jasmine - External Build Website - YouTube Channel - TN/KY Meetup Group
As a level 1 burglar, Bilbo got a pony when he accompanied the level 60 dwarves on the Smaug the Dragon raid. Those powerlevelers probably invited him solely so he could trigger fellowship attacks for them.
AlleyCat67 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-14-2016, 07:38 PM   #14
Bus Nut
 
AlleyCat67's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Music City USA
Posts: 737
Year: 2005
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Freightliner
Engine: Detroit MBE906
Rated Cap: 72
Here's a wiring diagram for a circuit like the instructable I linked shows.... main difference is that this one leaves out the switch and runs direct to the breaker panel (in essence the 15 amp breaker is the switch in the circuit):



You also don't have to use the thermostat I specified if you have a particular brand you like better or if you already have one on hand. I just used that one because it's what was used for the instructable.
__________________
My bus - Jasmine - External Build Website - YouTube Channel - TN/KY Meetup Group
As a level 1 burglar, Bilbo got a pony when he accompanied the level 60 dwarves on the Smaug the Dragon raid. Those powerlevelers probably invited him solely so he could trigger fellowship attacks for them.
AlleyCat67 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-14-2016, 08:41 PM   #15
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Kent, WA (Seattle)
Posts: 411
Year: 1987
Engine: 6.9L Diesel
I agree with chest freezer conversion. Mine used about 220watts a day(haven't measured since summer ended), I think that's higher than the average but I'm still super happy with it.

I got this controller off amazon for $20 and I got another off ebay for $15. Works just fine. my splices are a little sketch but It'll prolly be fine.

link
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

edit addon: Took me about 30 minutes to overthink how to install it, it was really easy once I drank a beer and stopped thinking so hard. After I installed it I got super excited with all of the other applications this could be used. Such as automating space heaters in houses, automating air conditioners, and I had other ideas too but I forgot.
TAOLIK is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-14-2016, 08:50 PM   #16
Bus Geek
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Columbus Ohio
Posts: 12,208
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DTA360 / MT643
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
I use a device just like that to override and start my basement furnace if the upper part of the house gets cold because my fancy HVAC system fasiled on a cold day...

I'll probably use one in the new Bus as an A/C temperature control since the Trans / Air system doesnt have one... these are great little devices... mine is a bit different, not quite as nice as these but mine can be powered by 12-240 volts oincluding DC so might be better choice than this for my use.. but for a freezer this is great
-Christopher
cadillackid is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-14-2016, 09:10 PM   #17
Bus Nut
 
AlleyCat67's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Music City USA
Posts: 737
Year: 2005
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Freightliner
Engine: Detroit MBE906
Rated Cap: 72
With that JC thermostat control you could use it to control an air conditioner as well without any modifications (temperature range for it is -30 to 100 degrees). It's a cooling only thermostat so it wouldn't work to control a furnace, you'd need a thermo designed for that, or a dual-function that will do both like in a house.
__________________
My bus - Jasmine - External Build Website - YouTube Channel - TN/KY Meetup Group
As a level 1 burglar, Bilbo got a pony when he accompanied the level 60 dwarves on the Smaug the Dragon raid. Those powerlevelers probably invited him solely so he could trigger fellowship attacks for them.
AlleyCat67 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-14-2016, 09:28 PM   #18
Bus Geek
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Columbus Ohio
Posts: 12,208
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DTA360 / MT643
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
Quote:
Originally Posted by AlleyCat67 View Post
With that JC thermostat control you could use it to control an air conditioner as well without any modifications (temperature range for it is -30 to 100 degrees). It's a cooling only thermostat so it wouldn't work to control a furnace, you'd need a thermo designed for that, or a dual-function that will do both like in a house.
JC makes them for heat too.. I have one laying around somewhere, although i think mine is a white rodgers.. that particular one has 2 wire positions on the switch.. one that closes below set point and one that closes above setpoint.. plus it had a higher range.. the original Ultra high efficiency furnaces,(modulating valve) if gone rogue would over-temo the heat exchanger and destroy it so I had that mechanical stat on between the gas valve main power and the control board.. they were notorious for failure.. the newer firnace has more safeguards so I never hooked that up
-Christopher
cadillackid is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-14-2016, 09:32 PM   #19
Bus Nut
 
AlleyCat67's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Music City USA
Posts: 737
Year: 2005
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Freightliner
Engine: Detroit MBE906
Rated Cap: 72
Yea I figured they would, just hadn't bothered to look any up. I figure a furnace or heat pump will come with one designed for the unit. Still haven't gotten to that point in my planning.
__________________
My bus - Jasmine - External Build Website - YouTube Channel - TN/KY Meetup Group
As a level 1 burglar, Bilbo got a pony when he accompanied the level 60 dwarves on the Smaug the Dragon raid. Those powerlevelers probably invited him solely so he could trigger fellowship attacks for them.
AlleyCat67 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-15-2016, 01:40 PM   #20
New Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2016
Location: San Francisco
Posts: 8
Hey everyone!
Thanks a MILLION for the fridge info! All of that is super helpful. Looks like we might go with a 110V fridge and inverter for now (least expensive easiest option for fast conversion) and do more research and figure out what works for us longer term if that doesn't satisfy.

As for the plumbing - has anyone had theirs done for them (as opposed to doing it themselves?) The thought of doing it myself has got me like

Here's photos of our future baby, The Road Virus - a mobile bookstore specializing in horror, mystery, sci fi, fantasy, and other fringe literature! Deposit made, and balance being paid shortly!
bookbus 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 10:19 AM.


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