Oxygenics Shower upgrade in Rockwood MiniLite 2014S

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Inspired by the likes of RV with Tito and the venerable Ray with Love your RV I decided that we too have had enough with our less than great shower faucet and shower head and decided to install an Oxygenics Shower head in our Rockwood MiniLite 2104S.

As you may have read in the blogosphere,  in general the showerhead / faucet combo that comes in a standard RV isn’t all that great.  They generally have low pressure, in our case… rotary twist knobs (hard to know where your favorite temperature is), have a sub-standard shut off valve, and are just generally, well… meh.

Certainly, the original equipment is better than no shower whatsoever… but could the Oxygenics make showering better in our rig ? … ¡ vamos a ver !

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At the same time we replaced the shower head, I decided to also change out the rotary knob faucet with something a bit nicer.  We chose the following handle-style faucet (with “almost” matching nickel finish to the shower head).  I hoped this handle type would help us get a consistent, pleasant shower temp with a bit less guesswork.

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First things first… I turned off the water and ran the bathroom sink faucet until there was no more hot or cold pressure.

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OK,  next thing was to remove the old faucet in the shower.  This was as easy as removing the four screws around the plate and then prying away the faucet, breaking the silicon seal
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I used this putty knife and my fingernails to scrape away all the old silicone so it looked clean and fresh
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The hot and cold lines from the shower revealed.  Unfortunately, there was very little give in these lines.  When they did the install, they left hardly any slack in the lines.  This made it difficult but not impossible for my ungainly hands to work off the old fittings.
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the old shower is staring me down !  Here you can see all the old silicone has been removed and we are ready for the new fixture.

I was temporarily befuddled by the new fixture in that the left side was Cold and the right side was Hot.  I wanted the downspout that connects to the shower head line to be pointed down.  Luckily, this model from Durafaucet allows you to pull off the tabs (they are just plastic tabs) and swap sides.  It wasnt immediately obvious that you could do this, so after consulting the included parts diagram, I pried out the tabs and switched them

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between the faucet and the putty knife you can see the plastic H and C tabs

I also wanted to install a Hard Stop shut off valve in the shower head (to save water during a shower without losing my temperature setting)  So we grabbed this shut off valve

Before screwing the faceplate back to the shower wall, I turned on the water to get pressure back in both lines, and checked for leaks (behind the faucet)

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Each connection I made has teflon tape to ensure a solid connection.  Here you can see the hard shut off between the faucet and the shower head

I reused the lower of the two holes that were already drilled into the shower wall.  The new head holder has a ball and socket type swivel connection.  Unscrewing the collar allows you access to the second screw hold for mounting.  I made sure that there was ample room to pull the shower head up and out of the holder easily without hitting the ceiling

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Install almost complete, need to run a bead of silicone around the sides and top of the faceplate.  Ain’t it shiny ??

So… it looks nice, but how does it feel to shower with it ?  Well, I have tried it both with city water pressure (in an RV Park) as well as dry camping with our water pump.  I must say that there are quite a few improvements over the old setup.

  1. the pressure coming from the shower head is definitely more powerful.  Its not like a residential shower or standing underneath a Hawaiian waterfall, but I’d venture to say its somewhere in the 15% to 25% range of pressure increase (less on the water pump, naturally)
  2. the swivel head on the wall mount holder works well. this allows you to point the shower head in the direction you want and it stays there quite solidly (i had to screw down the collar pretty hard to get it to hold consistently).  This makes for a hands-free shower head (when you need it)… what a concept.
  3. the handle style faucet was much easier to dial in my favorite hot shower temperature since I could easily see the position of the handles vs. the perfect mix
  4. the goofily named “Smart Pause” button on the shower head works better than expected.  This pause button does NOT stop the water, but brings it down to a trickle.  The idea here is that keeping the water flowing will “hold” the temperature.  For me this is fairly useless except, the pause trickle is perfect for keeping your shower barely going, so you can soap up, keep a washcloth rinsed etc. The smart pause also gives you an extra blast of pressure when you need it (pause, then blast!)
  5. the hard shut off is handy.  The model we installed works as expected and shuts off ALL water to the shower head (i guess this is a “Dumb Pause” ?).  This is great for dry camping when every drop of water in your holding tank is more precious than normal.
  6. supposedly this shower head uses less water (according to Oxygenics) than a standard RV shower head.  I have seen many enthusiastic youtube vids (hoping for huge water savings) that have more or less inadvertently debunked the manufacturers claim.  Each test I have observed in these vids proved that, indeed, this shower head uses less water than the one it replaced, but the savings was a meaningless amount.  (you could make up the difference by being more diligent with the shut off button on ANY shower head)
  7. and finally … its pretty !  Oddly all the other fixtures in our camper are either chrome or brushed nickel, so this matches better than the original.
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