Simple Project Takes All Day

Yesterday I started on my to-do list of maintenance and cleaning projects... and never got beyond the first one. My thinking was to pick an easy one and knock it out quick as a way to build a little momentum. But sometimes, as we all know, things don't always go as planned.

The first item on the list was the kitchen faucet. It's one of those cheap RV models that came with the bus-house when it was punched out at the plant in Indiana in the spring of 2007. We've grown to like the function of this unit -- the spout part pulls out and can be used as a hand-held sprayer. But it was becoming progressively harder to swing from side to side between the two sink bowls, and had actually stopped swinging altogether in the past few weeks.

My thought was to get under the sink and loosen the big nut that secures the faucet to the counter-top... that perhaps it was binding from being too tight. So after cleaning out a work space in the cabinet below the sink, I went in with wrench and flashlight in hand... only to find that the nut in question wasn't too tight at all... maybe just a little more than finger tight. Hmmm.

So I removed the entire faucet assembly and studied it for a while, looking for a way to disassemble it and, hopefully, find a way to remedy the problem. I'm not a mechanical whiz by any means, but I couldn't see any way to break it down into it's component parts without destroying it in the process. It became clear that replacement was going to be the solution. Besides, it might be time to replace this regularly used item with a higher quality and repairable residential faucet.

After a couple trips to Home Depot, a little adapting here and there, and about 5 more hours than originally planned, we now have a new Moen kitchen faucet that has a five year warranty and is able to be repaired. After pressure testing all the new connections and living with it for a day, the confidence is building that it will serve us well.

The other day I found a great deal on a small propane powered portable radiant heater. I've been interested in expanding our options for heating the bus-house in various situations and this thing fills a hole we had in our heater arsenal. When plugged into 120v power we have three ways to keep warm... the horribly inefficient and noisy RV furnace that's built into the bus-house. It's rated at 40,000 btu (input) but I'd be surprised if we got any more than half that actually into our living space. Option 2 is the heat pump cycle on our Penguin A/Cs. And option 3 is a small portable electric space heater.

The problem has been that when boondocking (no hookups and completely self-contained and self-sufficient), we only have one option... that noisy RV furnace we hate so much. Despite it's multiple bad habits, it does have one thing going for it... it doesn't require 120v power. It only needs 12v battery power for the controls and blower fan, and propane as the fuel. But that good news also has a bad news element... it uses so much 12v power that a cold night will drain our battery bank.

Some people shy away from unvented portable propane heaters. There are dangers if not used correctly. And for that reason we won't be using it while we sleep. I just want to keep the camper toasty until bed time when the ugly old RV furnace will take over. It might also come in handy to extend our outdoor time on cold evenings... you know... watching sunsets, the night sky, satellites, and more.

Preparing for Winter like a squirrel...


Pat Lovett said…
Anything under 4 trips to the store for a "simple" plumbing job and finishing in daylight is a job well done.
Congrats to you for getting the job done, even if it took longer than you expected. If you took it to an RV dealer, it would have taken days instead of hours and you'd be out some serious money.

No matter how long it takes me I feel I come out ahead when I do my own repairs.

Have you considered tapping into your onboard propane system to fuel your new heater? I'll be interested in how well it works for you, my MH is the same size as yours and we can use some extra heat.

Keep up the great work, we're enjoying your posts of your travels.
Thom Hoch said…
We're going to try this out for a while just using the 1# bottles. If we agree it's working the way we'd like, I think we will tap into the cooktop propane line and save a few bucks per gallon. Thanks for the comment.
Unknown said…
My heat is an unheated propane heater -- a Glo-Warm blue flame (tapped into the rig's propane service). With no furnace, this was my option when I had Wandrin Wagon built. That was seven years ago. With an outside door that is not the tightest along with a cracked window, there is enough fresh air. Second precaution was the installation of a carbon monoxide detector. (If I had slides, there might be enough air leaks not to consider the cracked window.)

When attached to shore power, I may use the space heater instead of the blue flame heater.

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