Once my tiny house was situated and leveled, the process of unpacking began. I mentioned before how this was not an easy task. Trying to find the best place for things was a challenge. Another challenge for me, is I have never owned an RV and was unfamiliar with many of the normal things an RV has. I found the panel for all my power, and a mysterious fuse box with only 2 fuses. The 10 gallon water heater also escaped me. The manuals for literally everything were placed neatly in a binder which came with my house, but most of the instructions were installation instructions. There were cautions NOT to turn on the hot water heater until the water was hooked up. That was enough to terrify me right there. And when I got it all hooked up, and thought I was ready, water went spilling out the outside panel of my house. Apparently, the kitchen drawer which contained several odds and ends, included a tube and plug for that system, which the builders decided not to install. I’m sure it would not have presented any problem to ship the house with these items in place.
So the mystery items in the drawer, turned out to include both vital things, and extra things I did not need. I literally took pictures of everything and emailed them to Tumbleweed, so they could talk me through everything via phone and let me know what those things were for.
There is a panel below a kitchen work station which contains the water heater, with an assortment of valves. I was told to turn all the valves to an in-line position. After that, I found I really didn’t have hot water–more like briefly warm water. To add to the confusion, my unit is a 50 AMP system, but all the paperwork on the hot water tank clearly says: “Gas water heater”. It turns out, the water heater swings both ways, and if you dig through the manual, you can find some information about the electric hookup.
Another call to Tumbleweed, and I learned the not all the valves were supposed to be in the in-line position. There is one marked blue for cold, one red for hot, and those two valves are supposed to be opposite of what I had. The good news? Hot water!!
Tumbleweed Tiny Houses have been building their tiny houses since 1999, long before the current craze and tiny house programs and movements. And like I said, I was totally unfamiliar with an RV and various setups unique to an RV (my house is a certified RV with a VIN number). My recommendation to the company, is to create a video with a youtube link, which walks you through step by step, all the things a novice would need to know. I would like to think others could learn from my mistakes, and even ignorance. To be sure, there will be others like me to follow, who just think having a tiny house on wheels involves turning the key in the doorknob and you’re home!