How Do You Install An RV Shower Water Recycling System?
Extend your off-grid stays and be more environmentally friendly by installing an RV shower water recycling system.
Whether you want to reduce your water usage for environmental reasons, or your water supply is limited by your camping location, recycling your shower water is a great option.
RVs are limited to how much water they can store in their freshwater tanks and their grey water tanks. For those RVers camping without water service, this can be an inconvenience.
How do you recycle your RV shower water?
In a normal RV plumbing system, your water is pumped from your freshwater tank or supplied by your water hookup if you have water service.
The water that drains from your shower then enters your grey water tank, and when full, gets dumped from your main tank drain into the sewer hook-ups.
If you don’t have sewer hook-ups, you need to have your tanks pumped out or find a dump station to empty your tanks. If you are without water service once your freshwater tank is empty, you need a water source whether a water truck or water tap to refill.
With an RV shower water recycling system, the water that drains from your shower will be recirculated back to the shower for continued use.
The water, of course, will have to be filtered before it is used again, so filtration will be part of the system. The water drains from the shower to a tank and is then pumped through a series of filters and back to the showerhead.
What you need to complete this project
Recycling your shower water and filtering it for reuse is a doable DIY job, however, it is more involved than some upgrades.
You will require a tank for water storage. The size can vary for the tank, but approximately 5 gallons of water will be used.
The filters will include a spin down filter, particulate filters, in some cases a charcoal filter, and a UV filter.
Water lines and fittings along with a pump and some valves will make up the rest of the system. The pump and UV filter will require some electrical connections.
These systems can be very basic recirculating systems or more complex with automatic valves and hot water options. Consider what you need and your level of DIY skills and choose the right option for you.
Luckily, there are lots of how-to videos online from the many people who have tackled this project.
How to install an RV shower water recycling system
The first thing to do is plan where everything is going to go. The storage tank will have to be mounted as close to your shower drain as possible. The pump and filters should all be located in the same general area.
Any items mounted to the underneath of your RV will have to be very secure. Mount them so they will not be damaged by road debris or rattled loose while driving.
The order in which the system will flow is as follows:
- The shower drain connects to the top of your storage water tank.
- The water pump is connected by a water line from the bottom of your water tank.
- If you’re using a water accumulator, it will be next in line in the system.
- Then it will be your series of filters. The filters will be in the order of size of the particles removed from largest to smallest. Your UV filter will be the final filter.
- The final run of the water line will be a return to your showerhead.
- If hot water is required, a heat exchanger will be teed into the return water line.
UV filters and water pumps, as mentioned above, require a power source. They will have to be wired into your RV’s 12-volt power system via your batteries or 120-volt system via your fuse panel.
Being self-sufficient and free to roam without limitations is one of the best perks of RVing.
A step in self-sufficiency and achieving that freedom means being able to recycle RV shower water. It also helps to do your part in helping the environment by reusing your grey water.
Make sure you keep track of all your RV maintenance and repairs with an online tool such as RV LIFE Maintenance from RV LIFE. Not only can you keep all of your documents in one place, but you’ll also receive timely reminders when maintenance is due to help you avoid costly repairs and potentially serious accidents.
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