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!

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5 Comments

  1. Brad Jamieson

    August 5, 2016 at 5:30 pm

    As I remember, our trailer had an ionizing plug which did something toward keeping the hot water heater from corroding. I know I had to change it every couple years.

    1. d4deli@me.com

      August 6, 2016 at 8:36 am

      Yes, the hot water heater has a tube that is used to prevent corroding. It was among the odd things that I found in the kitchen drawer, which I had no idea what they were or what to do with them. The ionizing tube and the plug were in there, but no information or instruction. This was among the many things that may have been obvious to a RV person, but I was clueless. A little instruction video would have been invaluable!

  2. Brad Jamieson

    August 5, 2016 at 5:31 pm

    How do you heat this fantastic home?

  3. Teri Foster

    March 31, 2017 at 10:21 pm

    I just found your blog and am so glad I did! I think we’re about the same age, and I’ll be meeting my potential builder in Eugene next week. I always expected to have a Tumbleweed but their operations now are so commercial and impersonal that I think I’ll go with a smaller builder. Your advice about the set up is invaluable. I also know nothing about RVs! Thanks so much…

    1. d4deli@me.com

      April 6, 2017 at 2:03 pm

      Tumbleweed approached the shed builders in Colorado Springs about making their tiny houses on wheels. Shortly after the time I was looking, the Shed Yard quit building sheds and began building tiny houses in earnest. While it is true that they have gotten bigger, they go to great lengths to build certified green, and they have the highest standards as certified RV’s. There are many smaller builders, but you might want to check to be sure they build certified RV’s.

      I looked at a tiny house builder in the Corvallis area. They seemed far more involved with building their houses around the filming schedule for one of the tiny house programs. With Tumbleweed, they had floor plans, while the other builder didn’t have much to choose from. I would have to come up wth many of my own ideas with that builder, and I’m just not good at that. In the end, I was able to customize my Tumbleweed much more than I ever imagined. It was just a good fit with me.

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