Is there a catch? The issue becomes one of how big is your grey water tank? In fact the trend is to have 2 grey water tanks on board. One for reclaimed water from the shower, the other for the rest.
Pumping from a stream or billabong through an LPG-based hot water system presents some practical problems. LPG-based hot water systems rely on the water passing through thin plates with the LPG flame heating these plates. If the water has any sediment or stray material, these plates may become easily blocked. Once these heating plates become blocked hot water performance is severely depleted.But it can be done with the Diesel Hot Water system used in Kimberley off-road caravans! Diesel-based hotwater systems heat glycol which passes through an industrial heat exchanger (we source stainless steel units from Sweden). There is no issue if the water has any residue or particulate in it. This is filtered at both ends: on the input side and a final filter before the tap. The water system can be flushed clean under pressure at any time. Image above: This is a diagram of the type of diesel burner used in the Kimberley Diesel Hot Water System. Heat Storage Fluid (Glycol- the aqua coloured path) flows into the unit and passes through a heating jacket. This hot Glycol is then passed through a heat exchanger unit where it heats the water. The other issue is that you don't want to be filling a tank in one operation from the stream and then using the tank. This is laborious. A single switched system is far easier to use. With the use of heat exchangers, not only is the hot water virtually instantaneous (55°C in less than 5 minutes in most cases) but to switch to a stream or billabong is simply a matter of turning 2 valves and dropping the hose in. With the Kimberley system you can park near a creek and run endless hot water using the outside shower to clean down nearly anything... preferably it is all natural material! Separate or Connecting Water Tanks? We have to report the terrible story of a camper trailer customer who were on a long trip off the beaten track. They had “taps” fitted to the drain of both water tanks. After an overnight stop and a brief hike during the day, they returned to find both taps had been turned “open” by mischieveous visitors. At Kimberley we now only fit a “tap” to the drain on one tank and require a spanner to remove the “bung” on the second tank. The 2 tanks are not connected! Our principles of water storage:
- Dual tanks, dual water fillers, dual hoses
- Lockable and secure water fillers
- Separate town water or stream water inlet that can bypass the main water tank
- Water for hot water tank to be stainless water tank/ hot water tank/ buffer tank. The tanks can be rinsed with town water if they become contaminated.
- Can pump (potable) water out of a stream
- Sink drains through small outlet so a drain hose can be connected if desired
- Keep one water tank with good drinking water as full as possible.
- Carry only enough water in the second tank as you need from filling point to filling point (this may be bore water) – typically from 30L to full.
- Always carry an emergency Jerry Can of water on the front.
- Use hot shower generously when available bore water
- “Navy wash” when bore water is limited
- Use hot “shower” drain water for washing clothes when bore water is scarce.
- Check water meter levels daily
- Attach a long enough hose (we recommend a 20mm hose with a small in-line foot valve) with the valve in the stream
- Turn the water source valves to bypass the water tank and take the stream water into the pump and hot water heater.
- Turn on the tap!