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Thread: Cabin Water Systems

  1. #1

    Default Cabin Water Systems

    I am looking for input from anyone who has opted for a cabin water system using a bulk storage tank and water delivery versus a well. I realize this is only practical for cabins on the road system with access to a delivery source.

    I'm looking for anyone can tell me the ups or downs of what they have experienced. I know it would be seasonal, but so would a well if I'm not heating the place all of the time.

    I know there is an outfit across from SBS in Wasilla that sells the tanks and water. Thanks for any input or advice.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2006


    I have a water tank under my house, it gravity feeds to the pump, which charges the pressure tank. Everything else is just like a normal house. I have valves and a spigot so I can turn off the water and drain the system if I need too. The biggest downside is hauling water, my water consumption tripled when I got married.
    The place across from SBS was priced a bit high the last time I was in there, which was a while ago. You can try Ferguson and Keller Supply. They on across from each other on Bogard rd.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008


    I guess it depends how much water you want to use. For summer we mount gutters that pipe the roof runoff into a tank for shower water. In the winter we just melt snow for showers in large stockpot. All of our drinking water we haul from a nearby spring or just haul in.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2009

    Default I lived on the desert in california

    Our cabin I reinforced the inside of the place and put a tank up high in the rafters. It naturally stayed wormer up there. we had freezing tempretures but nothing like Alaska .I kept a tank on the pick up so that I could fill from any source available ,then when I got home ran a hose to the system and used air pressure to transfir the water from the truck to the upper tank. I also built a solar water heater using a small 10 gal water heater tank inside a glassed box mounted on the roof , works better than coils under glass.Not as hot but more volume longer lasting heat through the nite. The coil method is good as a preheater to another tank heater, but not on it's own.
    It getts complicated to do solar systems using anti freeze and a heat exchanger, but it is by far the best way to preserve the investment.
    I wanted to but didn't get the chance to mount a water heater tank as a part of the stove pipe, on the wood stove,using a damper and by pass stove pipe to divert the heat when the water was to temp controling with a bi metal spring on the damper , well supported obviously,but we moved , but the idea is still alive. I may still do it just to prove it .

  5. #5


    We built a cabin water system similar to what you are describing. It works out very much like a RV or boat system. We had a 250 gallon tank under the cabin and pumped water with on demand pumps that came on when you open the tap. The pumps were powered with a couple of deep cycle batteries that we had one 65 watt solar panel recharge. On demand propane water heater with a hundred pound tank lasted several years. We ran the grey water from the kitchen and shower outside and the black water into a tank that Rent A Can pumped when ever we called them. They had several of their port potties near by.

    Works great all the comforts of home.

    Alaska pure water helped me get set up.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Fairbanks, Alaska

    Default My remote cabin water system

    I have attached a picture of the system that I installed at two of my remote cabins in Alaska. One of the cabins is on the power grid, and the other is way off the grid and powered by a solar panel and batteries. The 16 x 24 cabin pictured is the one totally off grid.

    I plumbed the rain gutters to dump into two 100 gallon stock (cattle and horse, etc.) tanks that are tucked under the rear of the cabin. I installed plywood tops on top of the tanks, to keep out large debris. I installed screens in the gutter downspouts, to keep out debris also. Those screens must be cleaned out periodically. The two tanks are connected at the bottom, using the built in bungs at the bottom of the tanks. A steady rain will fill both tanks in little more than an hour. I drilled a hole at the top of one tank, and installed a pvc drain pipe, to take overflow water out away from the cabin. Drains are also installed in the bottom of the tanks so they can be drained in the winter.

    I mounted a small piece of plywood to the back wall, just above the left water tank. On the plywood I mounted a small 12 volt water pump, like that found in an RV, and it pulls water from the tanks. Also on the plywood is a propane, hot water on demand, water heater. The pump and heater supply hot and cold water to a kitchen sink, bathroom sink and shower.

    Obviously, this is a summer season only system, although at the other cabin, the pump and heater are located inside the cabin, so that in the winter water can be pumped from 5 gallon jugs, and the system drained when we leave.

    One side note concerning the electrical system. The cabin is wired for both 12 volt and 110 volt systems. The 110 volt outlets can only be used when the generator is running, which is seldom. But I installed small 12 volt reading lights over or near every bed, which are appreciated by the folks that go to bed earlier, or later, than others, and just want to read. All of the lights in the cabin are either 12 volt or propane.
    Attached Images Attached Images


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