Designing the Van Part 23 – Problems with Plumbing

The kitchen, work surface, taps and sink sat neatly in place; firm, solid, unshifting and stoic. I admired my handy work to that point, pleased that I’d created something so useful and functional without snags and hitches. There were things that needed doing still, drawers, water pump and drainage but it was looking good.

I connected the hoses to the taps, the cold straight from the pump and the hot from the water heater via the pump. A simple ‘Y’ connector took care of that piece of installation, I also made sure my plumbing tape was wrapped around each connector and intersection and that the jubilee clips were fastened as tightly as possible.

The water pump is of the 12v WHALE submersible variety, a tiny little thing that drops straight into the tank and gurgles away when switched on. I had run the wires to the leisure battery situated above the driver’s seat in the overhead compartment and luckily it came with a detachable lighter socket which meant I could test it first without hard wiring it.


The WHALE 12v water pump. Simple, cheap and awesome.


I put the plug in the sink (eager to test the power of the flow without plumbing in the drainage), switched on the pump and turned the cold tap. A buzz, a gurgle, air rushing through pipes and then SPLOOOOOSH.

Well, not that drastic, but I had a healthy and powerful surge of water gushing from the tap. I was of course now faced with the problem of getting rid of he pond in the sink and had to get underneath and connect the drainage pipe.

I opted for a flexible hose instead of rigid plumbing and it was a simple job to connect it to the sink’s outlet and run it down into my 10 litre drainage tank (that would sit underneath the drawers on the right of the kitchen area).

I pulled the plug and watched for any leaks.

There were several. I noticed the water hoses between the pump and the tap had leaked in several places and the drainage from the sink was dripping onto the top of the fridge. The next few hours were spent tightening the system up, adding more plumbing tape, tightening jubilee clips even tighter and sealing the sink with the old heroic boat window sealant.

I left it for the day and came back to it the next, tested it again and was happy to discover the leaks had been plugged.

My water system was watertight and I could look forward to finishing the kitchen in the near future, starting with fitting the drawers.

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