A large water capacity is only useful if water is available for use when it is needed. Many traditional motor homes must have their tanks drained and be winterized with the thermometer drops below freezing. EarthRoamer XV plumbing systems are designed to be reliable and robust, and to be functional even in below freezing temperatures. In addition, with a built-in air pressure system, they are designed to be quickly and easily winterized (without the need for the use of RV antifreeze) when not being used.
Fresh Water Tank
The large 85 gallon molded fiberglass EarthRoamer XV water tank is located on the passenger side of the vehicle under the bench seat and extends through the floor. The bottom half of the tank is insulated and located inside a fiberglass fairing, the top half of the tank extends into the inside the camper. As long as the camper interior is kept heated, some of this heat is transferred to the water tank helping to preventing freezing. An optional thermostatically controlled heat pad can be located on the bottom of the water tank to further protect against freezing in extremely cold conditions. The top of the water tank is removable to enable cleaning of the inside of the tank. The water tank is filled by a gravity fill located on the passenger side that is located behind a lockable access door. All water from the fresh water tank passes through a “whole house” style sediment filter located under the galley sink immediately after being drawn from the tank by a high capacity (5.7 GPM) marine grade water pump.
PEX tubing is used extensively for hot, cold and wastewater plumbing lines. PEX tubing has many advantages over rigid copper or plastic pipe including:
- Flexible PEX tube is manufactured by extrusion, and shipped on spools so PEX plumbing installations require fewer fittings than rigid piping
- PEX tubing unrolled from spools can be installed in long runs without the need for coupling fittings
- The flexible tubing can turn 90 degree corners without the need for elbow fittings
- Attaching PEX tube to fittings does not require soldering, and so eliminates the health hazards involved with lead-based solder and acid fluxes
- PEX is safer to install and repair since a torch is not needed to make connections
- PEX resists scale build-up common with copper pipe, and does not pit or corrode when exposed to acidic water.
- PEX is much more resistant to freeze-breakage than copper or rigid plastic pipe
- PEX tubing does not transfer heat as readily as copper, and so conserves energy
Marine Grade PEX Fittings
EarthRoamer XVs use marine grade PEX fittings throughout that are simple, reliable and extremely easy to service. Connections are made by simply pushing the PEX tubing into the fitting and installing a collett clip to lock the connection and prevent the tube from coming out of the connector. These high tech connectors provide many benefits over comparable products including higher flow rates, ability of the PEX tubing to rotate in the fitting even under pressure and an exclusive patent-pending O-ring guide that helps insure a leak free connection.
The marine grade PEX connectors we use joins the tubing on the outside, and since there is no barb fitting on the inside of the tubing the flow capacity is increased by more than 30%. After a joint is made, the tubing can still swivel while connected – even under maximum pressure. The ability to rotate under pressure makes these connectors ideal for applications that are subject to vibration and dynamic loads.
The patent-pending connector design incorporates an exclusive O-Ring guide for improved reliability. This unique feature insures zero-leak connections by protecting the O-Ring from damage during connection, increasing the connector’s side load capacity, correctly aligning the tubing with the O-Ring every time and prevents the O-Ring from becoming dislodged. Once again, with good system design, the system is as only as strong as its weakest link and the “devil is in the dteails.”
On EarthRoamer XVs, hot water is heated by the truck engine whenever the engine is running, and an optional hydronic heater can be used to heat hot water without running the engine. The hydronic heater can also be used to preheat the diesel truck engine when camping in extremely cold temperatures. On EarthRoamer XVs, the engine coolant lines are extended and routed to the back of the camper to the hydronic heater, then to a 6.5 gallon hot-water tank/heat exchanger and finally back to the engine. In typical operation, the engine coolant will heat the hot water in the tank to over 200 degrees Fahrenheit. A thermostatic mixing valve mixes this 200 degree water with cold water to bring the temperature down to approximately 100 degrees which provides about 13 gallons of hot water.
If the hot water is all used or becomes cold from sitting in camp for an extended period of time, simply turn on the hydronic heater to efficiently heat more hot water. The hydronic heater can also be used as an engine pre-heater to heat the engine block and enable easy starting in temperatures below 0 degrees Fahrenheit. The hydronic heater also has a timer option so it can be set to run before you take a morning shower, or plan to leave camp ensuring ample amounts of hot water and a pre-warmed easy to start engine.
Water from the kitchen sink, bathroom sink and shower all drain into a 26 gallon gray water tank located under the floor of the bathroom. Gray water is simply water from the sink and shower and if biodegradable soaps are used it is not toxic and environmentally benign. There is some controversy with gray water dumping – some places (especially drought stricken areas) actually encourage gray water dumping onto vegetation, while other campgrounds and camp sites specifically prohibit gray water dumping. Some of the controversy stems from the fact that some RVs have interconnected black (toilet) water and gray water systems, and use gray water to flush the black water system. With these systems, the only safe place to dump gray or black water is an RV dump station. With an EarthRoamer XV, the black and gray water tanks are completely isolated from each other and our recommendation is that as long as you are using biodegradable soaps, gray water dumping is safe almost anywhere. EarthRoamer XVs have an electric operated dump valve from inside the camper so you won’t have to crawl under the camper to dump the gray water and a hose can be attached to the gray water drain if needed.
Operation Below Freezing
Since the main water tank extends into the heated camper, as long as the camper interior is heated to a reasonable room temperature, the water system can still be used in temperatures down to the mid to upper 20’s Fahrenheit . An optional cold weather package which includes electric heat pads for fresh and gray water tanks and a water recirculation system enables the use of the water system in temperatures well below freezing.
For periods of cold weather storage or to completely eliminate the risk of freeze-up, EarthRoamer XV’s feature an integrated water blowout system. The optional air compressor/tank system is connected to the water system with an electric solenoid valve. Winterizing the water system can be accomplished by simply opening the drain for the main water tank, draining the tank, flipping the air blowout switch, and then opening each faucet until all water is blown out of the system. Many RV’s and expedition vehicles require expensive and messy RV antifreeze to winterize their water systems.
The EarthRoamer galley features a large deep stainless steel sink with a pullout hot/cold sprayer faucet as well as a filtered drinking water faucet. The large deep sink is typically used for washing dishes but can also double as a tub for washing clothes. A .5 micron carbon drinking water filter is used to filter water that is fed to the drinking water faucet.
Hot and cold waterlines feed the bathroom pull-out sink sprayer which also doubles as the shower sprayer. A cold water line feeds the water fill for the toilet.
A hot/cold outside accessible shower sprayer is provided and is useful for hosing off at the beach, washing the dog or taking an outside shower.