Options for heating and cooling your tiny house

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Tiny houses are popping up all over the nation! Most tiny houses are only about 500 square feet, making them ideal for individuals and families who are looking to live an extremely minimalistic and cost-efficient lifestyle. Some tiny houses are only 120 square feet so that the owner can tote their tiny home around without having to worry about a building permit. 

Some owners prefer to build stationary tiny homes, while others enjoy moving their tiny homes to different locations. Whatever your situation, keep in mind that you’re going to need to control the internal temperature of your home so that you can live comfortably in whatever climate you’re in. 

Traditional heating or cooling methods can quickly make a smaller space too hot or too cool. However, there are alternative methods that might better meet your needs. Any time you consider an alternative method, keep in mind your location, budget, and the size of your home. 

Compact Air Conditioner

Compact air conditioners for homes are available both as window units and as wall units. Compact units are great because they can easily fit in your space, are cost-efficient, and will still cool down smaller spaces. 

Window units are easy to install, but you may find that there are some limits to the area that they’ll cool. For example, if you have a loft area in your tiny home, you may find yourself needing two separate window units to help keep your home cool enough. 

Wall-mounted units allow you to place the unit wherever you want in your home, but installation can be expensive. However, with a wall-mounted unit, you don’t have to worry about units sticking out of your windows. 

Oscillating fans 

If you don’t require a full unit, fans are a great alternative. Fans have different settings, allowing you to cool the air or simply circulate the air. They can also be moved around to different locations throughout your tiny home. So if you have multiple sleeping spaces and everyone prefers a different temperature, it is easy to have a fan in one space but not in the other.

Sometimes, the air outside is enough to help cool down your house. If you open your windows and set your fans to circulating, this is a great way to get a natural breeze blowing through your space!

Roof vent fans

Depending on your location, you might not even need an air conditioner to help keep your space cool! Roof vent fans allow for natural ventilation. They help draw hot air out, which allows the internal temperature of your home to remain comfortable. These types of fans are more commonly found in RVs, but they can also be installed in tiny homes. It is recommended that you either incorporate the fans into your home when you construct it or have a professional install them for you. If not installed properly, roof vent fans will leak when it rains. 

Space Heaters

Space heaters are a good alternative when you don’t need a larger unit. While you don’t want to leave them running all the time, these are a cost-efficient way to get rid of a chill out of only one or two rooms. Space heaters come in several different sizes, so it is possible to get smaller units that can be moved throughout the tiny home. 

Some individuals worry about space heaters and the possibility of them getting knocked over. If you’re worried about the possibility of your heater tipping over, opt to get one that has a weighted base and that has an auto shut-off feature. 

Another concern with space heaters is that they dry out your air, which can lead to health concerns such as respiratory infections. If you use a space heater, you’ll also want to pick up a humidifier to help add moisture to the air. 

Electric Fireplace

If you’re looking for a decorative piece that will also keep your tiny home cozy, try an electric fireplace. These electric heaters distribute heat directly in the room without the need for a chimney or vent. And since there are no actual flames involved, they are completely safe. 

There are a variety of sizes available, so you’ll be able to find something that fits your space. Some people even insert them into existing furniture pieces. For example, if you’re opting for a built-in entertainment center within your tiny home, a small electric fireplace could be incorporated into it. 

Electric fireplaces aren’t designed to heat large houses, but they are perfect for tiny houses. Most electric fireplaces can comfortably heat up to 1000 square feet. 

Wood-Burning Stove

If you’re living off the grid without electricity, you won’t be able to use space heaters or an electric fireplace. This is why tiny house owners resort to installing a wood-burning stove. 

Some wood-burning stoves are specifically designed for small spaces. If you choose a stove, you will need to consult a professional to avoid any potential dangers. You’ll need proper ventilation to ensure that the smoke doesn’t stay within your home. 

Mini-split system

A mini-split system could be the answer for homeowners that are looking for both heating and cooling. These are a smaller version of a traditional HVAC unit that doesn’t require ductwork, making them ideal for tiny homes. 

While a split system can be pricey, it is a good investment if you’re planning on living in your tiny home for years to come. A benefit that split systems have over some of the other methods mentioned here is that you can control the exact temperature. They’re completely safe and will keep your space at a comfortable level. 

Final thoughts

Not every heating or cooling option is right for every tiny home. When deciding what to choose, think carefully about your location and how you want your system to function. For example, if you live in an extremely cold area, you might not want to take the risk of relying on space heaters. While budget might also be the determining factor for some families, you do want to choose an option that allows you to live comfortably. 


Ref number: THSI-2367


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