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Water Saving Mods and Adjustments
Overland posted a topic in Ollie Modificationstl;dr - absolutely buy this, and depending on how you use your kitchen sink, maybe buy this. When we started looking at campers/trailers one of my requirements was that we should be able to go for a full week without refilling our water supply, using an estimated 7 gallons of water per day for both my wife and me, which included a daily shower for each of us. That was ~50 gallons, so we knew we couldn't get that with the Ollie, but were hoping that with some diligence and an extra 12 gallons carried in the truck that we could stretch a calculated 6 days into 7. That never happened, and of course we actually slid the other direction, getting more like 5 days - 3.5 from the trailer tank and another 1.5 from the extra water. I think if we really ran the tanks dry that we'd have gotten 6 full days but we never had a situation to really test that, mostly since we'd start to get nervous around the 20% mark and would go find water. Then last year I replaced the kitchen faucet, and the new one had an aerator that really had no flow restriction at all. It was rated at 2.5 gallons/minute vs 1.5 for the standard Delta faucet Oliver uses. And it also has a short little lever that made it hard to adjust to a small stream to save water. We could do it, but it was a pain. I realized last month though that the faucet would take a standard sized aerator, so I decided to buy a few to test them out. The ones I got were better, but made my cool kitchen faucet seem average, and I couldn't have that. But a little internet sleuthing led me to The Mikado. It restricts the flow to an amazing 0.35 gallons per minute and has the coolest spiral spray pattern you've ever seen. At only 0.35 gpm, I imagine you'd get pretty frustrated if you wanted to fill a glass of water; but we use bottled water and only use the kitchen faucet to do dishes and wash hands, so that low of a flow rate actually works out perfectly for us. We lost the ability to switch between two different sprays, but we never used that feature anyway. With that success, I decided to take on the shower. The highest rated low flow shower head I could find is the High Sierra. It's not a looker by any means - it's downright ugly. But it seemed like anyone who's ever rated shower heads has placed them at the top of their list, and it has a flow rate of only 1.5 gpm vs Oliver's 2.2, so I put my aesthetic sense to the side and ordered it. In its favor, it feels great in the hand - very heavy and solid, and it also has a trickle feature like the faucets Oliver used to use, which is great for keeping the water warm while sudsing up. Not in its favor is that I found it nearly impossible to connect to the hose from Oliver's faucet. I ended up having to order an oddball adapter and then modifying that to make it work. (It would have been easier just to have swapped out the entire faucet, which is what I'd recommend anyone else do.) But even with the adapter, it does slide back into the faucet just like the original, so apart from being a pain to make work, it does work just the same. But I have to say that this shower head is truly amazing. It has a surprisingly forceful stream that feels as if it's using twice as much water as before, if not more. It works so well that I didn't believe it was only using 1.5 gpm and had to test it myself - which made me even more surprised since I actually got a little less. I'm not exaggerating when I say that this really transformed the shower, and I highly recommend it to everyone, whether you're trying to save water or not. But it is ugly. After both of those mods, I thought I'd see if lowering the water pressure would make any difference, and found that 40 psi was about the point that I started to notice some drop off in the shower output. The sink stayed the same regardless what I set the pressure at. In fact it will actually run for a good while with the pump off, just from residual pressure in the pipes. So I've set both the pump and my external pressure regulator to 40 now, which I suppose helps my plumbing and maybe makes some dent in water usage though I doubt much. The result? 8 full days this past trip with both of us taking showers each day, split roughly 5/3 for the Ollie's tank and the extra gallons in the truck. So 2+ extra days of water while at the same time improving the quality of the water at both the sink and the shower and being able to lower the water pressure. Really A+ results. I don't know how often we'll actually need a full week's worth of water, but on this last trip it worked out well for us since only once were we someplace that we could actually hook up the trailer to a hose, which meant a lot fewer trips to get water. Also it means a little less stress and obsessing over water use, which is a good thing. By the way, the replacement aerator may work with the stock faucet, but I'm embarrassed to say that somehow I've lost mine* so I can't check. *Along with the sink. How do you lose a sink?