10 Essential Tools for Campervan Plumbing
Designing and building your DIY campervan plumbing system can be daunting.
Whether you’re going for a simple foot pump system or a fully comprehensive plumbing system with hot water, there are some basic and essential tools you need to have at your disposal to get the job done.
We’ll also share some useful search terms for plumbing parts and connections to help you start your campervan plumbing system.
10 Essential Tools for Campervan Plumbing
- Pipe cutter
- PTFE tape
- Adjustable spanner
- Hose Clamp pliers
- Mini screwdriver
- Flexible tape measure
- Pipe bender (metal only)
- Plumbing Diagram
This blog won’t cover general van conversion tools, electrical van conversion tools, or essential van conversion materials – but we have done a blog on each, so be sure to check those out after this one!
Campervan Plumbing Tool #1 – Cloths
Is this a tool? I’m going to say yes. Cloths are a MUST for plumbing. You will always have a leak somewhere when doing your plumbing system, and a set of cloths, rags, or anything absorbent is essential to quickly stop water from flooding your entire van.
A top tip is only to fill your water tanks a small amount when plumbing your system and testing for leaks. That way, you can’t have 100L of water flood everything!
Campervan Plumbing Tool #2 – Pipe Cutter
What type of pipe you’re using for your cmpervna plumbing (plastic or copper), you’ll need a pipe cutter.
These allow you to cut the pipe easily, without rough edges and evenly, allowing for a water-tight seal.
Campervan Plumbing Tool #3 – PTFE Tape
Not all threaded connections will need this tape, but its best to have a roll of PTFE tape lying around since it’s only a few quid and is super helpful for fixing minor leaks caused by threaded connections.
Campervan Plumbing Tool #4 – Adjustable Spanner
For those connections that require a spanner, having an adjustable spanner will help you tighten these connections in no time. These connections can be different sizes, so having the spanner adjustable is necessary.
Campervan Plumbing Tool #5 – Holesaws
Holesaws are not something you think of when it comes to campervan plumbing, but for getting pipes through walls and floors, a hole in your kitchen counter for your tap, and into water tanks for bulkhead connectors, a set of holesaws are needed to do the job neatly.
You’ll also need a drill driver to put the holesaws in to use them.
Campervan Plumbing Tool #6 – Hose Clip Pliers
Hose clips are used everywhere in plumbing systems to ensure pipes stay where they are meant to and provide a waterproof seal. Using a pair of regular pliers, or preferably, hose clip pliers, means you can get a good grip and attaching these clips on securely.
Campervan Plumbing Tool #7 – Mini Screwdriver
You always need a screwdriver, and in a campervan plumbing system, this is no expectation. Having a mini screwdriver kit with flathead and crossheads means you can do up pipe clips, hose clamps and secure pipes and parts into place perfectly.
Campervan Plumbing Tool #8 – Flexible Tape Measure
These neat, flexible tape measures are often used for sewing, but for measuring pipe lengths around corners and in tight spaces, they are excellent. They’re cheap, and we always had at least one floating around when doing our plumbing and are much better than a ruler or normal rigid tape measure for measuring water pipe length.
Campervan Plumbing Tool #9 – Pipe bender
If you’re going with metal pipework, then having a pipe bender will save you hours of time, instead of cutting and soldering pipe connections together. The more connections in your plumbing system, the more chances you have for a leak, and although these tools are expensive, if you have metal pipework, it’s a must.
Campervan Plumbing Tool #10 – Plumbing Diagram
Planning your plumbing system beforehand makes the job of doing your campervan plumbing oh so much easier.
Having a plumbing diagram of your system in front of you as a guide and plan helps you know what connections need to go where and how to arrange everything.
We have an example of our own plumbing diagram, which you can use to help you research and design your own.
Useful Plumbing Gear
As a bonus, below is a quick list of useful plumbing gear you’ll need for your Campervan Plumbing, with a link to help you get started.
- Plastic Pipe – Simpliest thing of the lot. Usually in 12mm or 15mm.
- John Guest Connections – To connect pipes to each other, to taps and tanks in 10 seconds.
- Shurflo Pump – The main water pump for your system.
- Accumulator – Keeps your water flow steady and handles expansion with hot water.
- Fresh/grey water tank – Available in nearly any size you need.
- Thermostatic Mixer – A handy way to not scald yourself with hot water.
- Pipe Clips – Keep your pipework neat and tidy.