One of the things to think about when planning and moving into your tiny house is plumbing. Where will your water come from? Before making plumbing decisions, know what options exist for tiny homes.

Water Sources

If your home is going to be on the grid, the easiest solution is to hook up or splice into an existing line or system. Have your home's plumbing configured so that you can get water from a standard RV hose or hookup if you are staying on someone else's property or in their backyard.

Storage Tanks

When it comes to water from storage tanks, it makes sense to use a pump to circulate the water through your sink, shower, or wherever else you are using it. This setup will make it feel more like a home with conventional plumbing but still allow you to live off-grid. The tanks and pumps are fairly big but generally will fit under a sink or cabinet in the home.

Hybrid Options

If you are choosing to go with both on-grid and off-grid plumbing, consider a hybrid. Install the plumbing needed to access city or communal water supplies, as well as a tank with pump. This setup will enable you to adapt to any future situations, on the grid or off it, without getting stuck without water when you hit the road.

Water Heaters

If you live in the right climate, you may be able to access an outdoor propane hot water heater. This type of water heater will eliminate storage issues inside your tiny home and provide hot water on-demand. You will also find that indoor systems require very specific and space-consuming venting. Talk to your plumber about outside options.

Winter Generators

You may need to invest in a generator for winter weather, as solar power could be challenging. Since the sun is at a lower angle in winter months, it uses more energy to heat, which can make solar options less practical. A generator is an excellent backup plan for any tiny-home owner.  

Septic Systems

Are you able to hook up your house to an existing septic system? If so, you open up the chance for on-grid, public sewer system access, which is simple and practical. You may also consider sharing an existing system with someone who has their own drainage system for access to their septic.


You also need to know the distinction between black and gray wastewater, as some may not be disposed of or stored easily. Black wastewater is what comes from a toilet; storing this over time can impact the weight of your tiny home; gray wastewater is what comes from bathing or your sinks and it can often be disposed of at public receptacles or routed to water plants and gardens near your home.

Dump Stations

Dump stations solve the wastewater issue for tiny homes living off-grid. A black water tank outside your home for the toilet and one near your sink for gray water can be dumped at RV dump stations widely. If you are opting for a semi-permanent living situation, splice into existing septic systems to keep your house mobile.

If you have decided to go off-grid, know that you will likely be purchasing and storing your water. Since space is limited in smaller houses, you may need to create outdoor storage for your water supply.

It makes sense to keep both on-grid and off-grid options open when it comes to your tiny home's plumbing; having the ability to hook-up to communal lines yet also have storage and waste options may be the ideal for those living in nonpermanent situations. For homeowners near Carmel, IN, consider talking with licensed professionals to identify challenges and costs associated with plumbing before ruling anything out.