For the times when nature calls while out in nature
If you are going all-out with your tree house and stuffing it full of creature comforts, having running water is a no brainer. Now, supplying electricity to a tree house is not a huge challenge. Insulation and climate control are installed with a couple tricks. But plumbing is a whole different animal.
Insulation- Gotta Stay Warm
In a ground house, almost all the plumbing is indoors and covered, or otherwise easily insulated. Being outside and elevated many feet above ground leaves pipes exposed to the elements. If there is any chance of freezing, the pipes need to be protected. There are products available to help keep pipes from freezing such as high performance insulation and electric heat tape that will actively warm the pipe when it gets cold. Minimizing the amount of pipe that is exposed to the weather will also reduce your chances of having a burst pipe.
Blowin’ In The Wind
Treehouses are not static structures, they are built on a living foundation; a tree. Trees move in the wind, and the higher you are in a tree, the more movement you will have. Any pipes running to and from the tree must be able to move with the tree or they will break, causing costly damage and repairs. Flexible lines and flexible pipe such as PEX tubing for your supply lines and creative use of flexible Fernco fittings on the drain lines will help keep your pipes from breaking when the wind starts blowing.
Follow The Rules
Rule #1 in plumbing is Water Flows Downhill! All drain pipes must have a slope so waste water will flow down and away from its source. You don’t want sewer water to back up and flood your newly built tree house. Plumbing is not easy for everyone, and a small mistake can cost you big time. Having a licensed plumber install or at least inspect the plumbing can save you a headache and also ensure your piping meets building codes, especially if a permit is required for building a tree house.
When You Think You’re Done
Now your tree house is complete. You have poured your heart and soul into it, paying strict attention to all details. It is complete with air conditioning, a plasma TV, plumbing…. and big, ugly pipes running up to it! Hiding the plumbing can be a challenge because the underside of the tree house is visible from the ground. Running pipes with the framing and underneath stairs and ladders can help facilitate covering them. If you have spiral stairs, the pipes could run coiled underneath. You could even paint or camouflage the pipes against the tree to minimize their appearance.