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18 Tips on How to Install Plumbing in a Shipping Container

Shipping containers with plumbing systems offer a number of versatile options for workspaces, offices, and even tiny homes. Our guide below goes over the essentials, from mapping your system to working with a professional. Keep reading to learn how to install plumbing in a shipping container and how Container King can help. 

plumbing pipes against a brick wall

Determine Your Plumbing Needs 

First, consider what your container will be used for and what water and drainage options are needed. Will your container be a construction site office with limited toilet and sink capabilities, or are you establishing a home that will need water for showers, laundry, dishwashing, and outdoors? 

Each application has different plumbing requirements, so knowing ahead of time how your custom shipping container will be used is key to planning the right setup. In case you want to make changes later, you should also make sure your plumbing system will be able to accommodate a reasonable expansion. 

Prep the Interior of Your Container 

  • Before your plumbing professional arrives, clean your container thoroughly. This makes your plumber’s job easier and helps your system function effectively once installed. 
  • Next, mark all plumbing entry and exit points. Clearly indicating where your pipes will enter and exit the container ensures accurate placement and prevents costly mistakes. Your plumber may do this for you.
  • Finally, you may need to consider reinforcing your container structure for the installation process. This depends on the condition of your custom shipping container and the weight of your plumbing components. 

Older containers or small containers that will be outfitted with a large plumbing system may need extra structural support to allow the container to safely accommodate the plumbing infrastructure.

5 Tips for Working with a Container Plumbing Professional

Working with a professional to install water and drainage in your modified shipping container is a smart choice. These specialists bring essential expertise to the project, so your container conversion meets your needs and local laws and regulations.

1. Installing Your Water Supply

Your plumber will start by installing your water supply, so clean water can be routed to your container. They’ll also configure the system to support any specific needs you may have, like sinks, showers, and appliances.

2. Setting Up Drainage 

Then, they’ll set up your drainage system by positioning pipes to efficiently remove wastewater and control odors. Proper drainage is extremely important to prevent clogs, leaks, and other problems that cause serious damage over time.

3. Ensuring Proper Ventilation 

Adequate ventilation around your system and in your container overall is crucial for preventing moisture buildup that can cause mold and mildew to spread. It also promotes good air quality, which is important if your custom shipping container will be used as an office or any type of living or work space. 

Your plumbing professional can install vents and exhaust systems where needed to keep the air fresh and dry inside the container.

4. Connecting to External Resources 

Next, your plumber will connect your container to external water sources, sewage or septic systems, and water heaters if you have them. They’ll also ensure that your installation is compliant with local plumbing codes and other regulations in your area.

5. Testing the System 

After setup is complete, your plumber will thoroughly test it to make sure that all components function correctly as intended. Working with a qualified plumber ensures that your container conversion project goes smoothly and that your plumbing system is designed and installed to the highest standards.

What You Need from Your Plumber

Before your plumbing contractor completes their work and leaves the property your container is on, it’s essential to get these four key pieces of information:

1. Records of the Installation

This should include diagrams or schematics of the plumbing layout, a list of all components that were used with their part numbers, and any relevant permits or inspection certificates. Having these records on hand will be needed if you have to file an insurance claim or decide to make any modifications to your plumbing system in the future.

2. Information About How to Use Your System

Ask your contractor for guidance on how to properly use and maintain your plumbing system. This should include instructions for regular maintenance tasks as well as information for operating any specialized fixtures or equipment that has been installed.

You should also make sure you know the location of all shut-off valves and have instructions for what to do if there’s a problem.

3. Emergency Contact Information 

Get a list of telephone numbers to call in case of plumbing emergencies, so you can get help quickly if needed. Emergencies can happen at any time and having access to a reliable point of contact can help you quickly resolve issues and minimize potential damage. 

4. Proof of Warranties

Finally, make sure you receive proof of any warranties that are associated with the plumbing work. These should specify the duration and coverage of each warranty, including any conditions you’ll need to meet to keep your end of the warranty. Having this information handy is key if you encounter any problems that may be covered by the warranty.

How to Clean and Maintain Your Container Plumbing System

Good maintenance is vital to keep your shipping container plumbing system in good condition. These six tips can help ensure that your network of water supply and drainage structures continue to work as intended: 

  1. Clean your drains. Install drain screens to catch hair, debris, and food in sinks and showers. Treat your drains regularly with eco-friendly cleaning solutions to get rid of clogs and avoid damage to your pipes or the contamination of your water supply. 
  2. Keep your water pressure at the right setting. If your water pressure goes outside the recommended range for your system, it can strain your pipes and fixtures. 
  3. Check for leaks. Plumbing leaks need to be caught and fixed as quickly as possible to prevent damage to your system and your modified shipping container. 
  4. Test your water quality. Periodically check the quality of your water, especially if you use it for drinking, bathing, or washing clothes. If there are any problems, consider installing filters to keep chemicals and sediment from reaching your container. 
  5. Stay up-to-date with septic tank maintenance. If your plumbing system has a septic tank, make sure you have regular maintenance on the schedule. An over-full tank is at risk of pooling wastewater on the ground above it, creating unpleasant odors and a hazardous environment. 
  6. Winterize your system. Insulate your pipes both inside and outside the container to protect them from snow and ice during the winter. If your pipes get too cold, they could freeze and burst, which is a plumbing emergency. Your plumber can do this for you and has special equipment like heat tape that is especially effective at shielding your pipes from dropping temps. 

By following these maintenance guidelines, your shipping container plumbing system will stay in working order as long as possible and continue to provide you access to clean water and drainage when you need it most. 

Final Points

Outfitting your storage container with a plumbing system can transform it into a usable, workable, and livable space. No matter what you plan to use it for, working with a professional ensures that your system is properly installed and performs as intended. With the right setup and regular maintenance, you can have the convenience of clean water and drainage right inside your custom shipping container.  

Container King: Your Modified Storage Container Experts  

You don’t need to know how to install plumbing in a shipping container when you work with Container King. Contact us today to explore shipping container plumbing solutions for all your storage, living, and workspace needs. Call now at (972) 351-8063 or request a quote and our trusted modified storage container experts will get in touch with you as soon as possible.