Wednesday, August 29, 2012


I’ll be heading down to Mexico possibly as soon as next month so I'll need to move my attention toward getting things ready for the trip.

Now that our well is finished, I need to set up an electric pump, which I can run off the generator on the RV currently parked on our lot. The pump will fill a 275 gl. cistern that I’ll raise on a 6’ to 8’ tower. The water will then gravity feed into the holding tank in the RV where a 12-volt pump will run the plumbing.

I wonder if I can get a filter to make the well water drinkable?

This is when they were still digging the well. 

Found these food grade 275 gallon tanks for $80. I would like to get two but unfortunately, I can only fit one in the van. 

 This pump at Harbor Freight for $65.

Pipe Dreams

Our long term goal is to have some sort of rental property set up at our place in Mexico. I've been thinking about building 4 tiny houses with a community area with an outdoor kitchen and a pool in the center.

But maybe this is the right idea? Its a "pay as you wish" hotel in Austria made of concrete pipe.

Monday, August 27, 2012

What a gas!

Well, it’s been a year. And what a year its been!

We have a child. I built a tiny house. We have a well for water at our land in MX. We’ll be heading down twice in the next 4 months. Colorado is beautiful and we’re lucky enough to live here. We’re healthy and happy. We have great family and friends. Life is good!

I got a lot done this weekend. Sadly, the pictures don’t do it justice. I ran all new black gas/propane pipe and copper tubing for he fridge, stove, hot water heater and an extra connection for the outside gill. 

Tankless water heaters are coming way down in price. I found a brand new Marey 5L for $135.00 including shipping! 

Also spent a lot of time going back over the wiring, double-checking the connections and assuring that all is safe.

Lastly, made a new access panel for the transformer and the vent area for the fridge. 

Next weekend I’ll install the paneling in the kitchen area and start the Pex plumbing.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Bushings damn it!

I got a couple solid tips from more experienced electricians to add special bushings to the metal studs where the wires go through. This will prevent the sharp metal edges cutting into the wires. I bought some today at lunch, installed a few tonight. Will finish this weekend. 

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Back and Forth

I've gone back and forth on a couple things lately.

Number 1: Insulation. While I think closed cell, sprayed in insulation would be the best solution, it’s far from the least expensive. I’ve also been worried that for some reason I need to get into the electrical in the future, having everything encapsulated in insulation would present a problem.

So when I started the 110 electrical, it was with the intention of using sprayed in insulation. I enclosed the wire in “smurf” tube so that, theoretically, the problem wire could be pulled out and the new wire installed in its place. It was nearly impossible to push the wire through the smurf tube before it was installed in the walls so I don’t see pulling wire through later as an option. I have sense abandoned the smurf tube idea.

I decided that I would go with Polyiso insulation sheets. It has the highest R-value per inch of any rigid insulation. About 7 per inch. With 2 ½” thickness I’m getting an R-value of 17.5. I bought 10 sheets used for $105. I’ll need an additional 10 sheets to finish.

Now here’s the trick. Once I cut and installed the panels, I went back with cans of spray foam and filled the cracks and openings. When the foam expands and hardens, it adds support and strength as well as fills in all the nooks and crannies.

The other thing that’s been bugging me lately is trying to use all repurposed and/or recycled materials. I think this idea is great in theory, but I’ve decided that there are some places it just doesn’t make sense. Electrical for instance. It wouldn’t be smart to install used outlets and switches, only to have to reinstalled new ones later. Moving forward, I’ll be using recycled building supplies sometimes, and new when it makes sense for longevity and performance.

I had a busy weekend working on the Tint Casita. I finished the 110v wiring, which much like a typical RV, will work only when the transformer is plugged into a power supply. I installed two outlets in the bedroom, 1 in the loft, 4 in the kitchen, and 1 in the bathroom and 2 in the living room.

The 9V wiring, which will be attached to golf cart batteries that will be charged by the solar kit, will only be used for lighting. I finished about half of the 9v wiring today too. The stove, fridge and hot water heater are all propane. I'll finish the rest of the 9v wiring this week and, even though the wiring will be under the paneling, I'll spend a few hours getting things neat and tidy. It's a bit of a mess right now.

One of the things I learned (the hard way) is that even when using used, and inconsistent metal studs, its best to at least try and line-up the holes so that when installing the electrical lines, the wire passes through easily and evenly. My wires will look a little messy and uneven, but thankfully, will be covered by the paneling. Also, the metal studs have sharp edges that may cut the wires. Don't forget to use the special grommets they make especially for metal studs. I’ll also go back and spray foam the areas where the wires pass through the studs. I hope that this will protect them.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Cabinet Grade

I was going to stop by the repurposed materials store after work on Friday but they were out of the insulation sheets they usually have. Instead, I picked up a few sheets of cabinet grade ¾ plywood. I looked all over Craigslist and the recycle building supply stores but no one ever seems to have decent plywood. This is also a major focal point and needs to not only look great, but function great as well. Well worth it to buy the good stuff.

I usually map out my cuts to maximize each sheet, and I have the guys at the lumberyard make the initial cuts. Once the 4x8 sheets are cut down to smaller pieces, it’s much easier to manage detail cuts on my own. Also easier to load in the van.

I made pretty good progress roughing all the kitchen cabinets.

Below: The stove section, the fridge and below the hot water heater.

Here you can see the hot water heater. I cut through the siding so that it can vent properly.

Below: The sink cabinet with the water tank. I cut and sanded the doors for the cabinets as well but I'll wait until the very end to install the doors. Much to do before.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Totally Wired!

I found some time to sort out the old wiring from the camper. Surprisingly, I ended up with much more usable lengths than I expected. I'm pretty sure I have enough to do all the low voltage wiring.

While my dad was in town we also checked-out the transformer box out the old camper. Everything appears to be working perfectly! That will save me a lot of money.

This weekend I'll start working on the kitchen cabinets, and I'll begin the insulation process as well. 

Stay tuned. Hopefully by Monday I'll have some progress to report. 

By the way - I would love to hear your comments and/or tips on the Tiny Casita build.