How to Get Air Conditioning in a Tiny Home

How to Get Air Conditioning in a Tiny Home

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how to get air conditioning in a tiny house

Not so long ago, air conditioning was once considered a luxury, something that is only meant for the big houses. Not only it was seen as pricey, but it also needed an enormous power. Using too much power is probably the last thing tiny house owners want. 

But now, technology has since improved. The market is bombarded with various AC units of different shapes and sizes at affordable prices. So, how can you get air conditioning in a tiny home?

Getting air conditioning in your tiny home is relatively the same as that of getting an AC for a traditional home. But of course, there’s a lot to take into consideration. 

The temperature of your home plays a vital role in giving you the comfort you need. Hot climate can be a nuisance, but an air conditioning system is just around the corner, ready to save your day. 

[Related: How to Live Big in a Tiny Living Space: The Best Ideas and Hacks]

A Cool Tiny Home

Everything seems good in your tiny house. You’ve got everything you need, and perhaps, you’re finally living the best life you could imagine.

Not until summer came, and you find yourself dripping in sweat. You opened your door and windows. 

And so you opened your fan, hoping it could give you that cool breeze you need to dry off your sweat. But it was rather disappointing, blowing hot air directly to your face. This isn’t cool. 

You know going outside isn’t gonna give you that fresh feeling you want. And so, right then, right there, you realized you need an AC unit to cool your tiny house!

The tiny house movement is meant to lead you to a conservationist and minimalist lifestyle. It inspires you to live off-grid and live a sustainable living. 

But it’s fair to say that air conditioning systems have become a necessity, especially for those who live in places with a hot climate (hi, Texas!). 

Intense summer heat could give your tiny home that green-house effect. This could be a problem, more so if your mobile home is parked directly in the sun. 

The good news is that installing an air conditioning system to tiny homes is feasible. But there are some things you should take into consideration.

Things You Should Know

Adding an AC system to tiny houses is not something uncommon. Several tiny home owners have done it, and you can do it as well!

There are, however, several things to consider when getting an air conditioning system for your micro home. 

  • Choosing the Right Air Conditioning

There are several types of air conditioning systems, each has its unique features. Choosing the right air conditioning is crucial to ensure you get the comfort you need without compromising important things like your budget, space, etc.

The style of airconditioning you will choose will impact your tiny house from the beginning. For example, if you want a central air system, that may have to be done during the construction of your tiny home. 

Each air conditioning unit also has different power usage. It’s important to select an AC system that your tiny house can efficiently supply power to. 

Below are different AC units that work perfectly in any tiny homes:

  1. Central Air System

The central air conditioning system (or simply central AC) is basically like a giant refrigerator for your tiny house. In fact, it uses the same types of materials, systems, components of a fridge!

You can purchase central AC in fully packaged deals. Most tiny houses prefer a central AC system because there are no bulky units that need to be installed inside the limited-spaced home. 

The system comes with one large AC unit that will be set outside the house. 

What’s really great with central AC is that they can work with your home’s heating system (if you have it). 

This means controlling the temperature in your tiny house only takes a few taps in your thermostat. A central AC unit will give you full control of the temperature of your home. 

We found this Senville SENL-12CD Mini Split Air Conditioner Heat Pump. Check it out!

2. Standalone Units

Standalone AC units are best for small space. You can easily move it around the house or store it if you don’t need it. 

Standalone air conditioners are simple to use. The only problem would be to find their own window access as the tubing need to have a way outside the home.

Take a look at this Black + Decker BPACT10WT Portable Air Conditioner. It’s one of the best-selling standalone AC in the market.

3. Window Systems

If you’re looking for inexpensive AC units, then the window-type air conditioners are the best option for you. 

This can be tricky for tiny homes because the windows are not intended to be similar to that in a traditional house. 

But tiny house owners have found a solution to that obstacle. There are small window units that can be perfectly fitted in smaller vented windows in tiny homes. 

window unit systems for tiny houses
Window AC units are effective and inexpensive coolant

The only major concern about a window AC unit is that it must be installed properly in the window frame. 

Want our recommendation? Check this MIDEA MAW05M1BWT Window air conditioner.

Choosing the Right Air Conditioner

  • Size Does Matter

After selecting the right air conditioning for your tiny house, it’s now time to look for an AC unit in the market. 

You may pick whatever you prefer as long as your budget can hold on to it. But more important than the price of the AC unit is its size.

It can be difficult sometimes to find appliances that don’t only fit into your petite home but into your lifestyle as well. 

The good thing is that there are now a plethora of small and sleek AC units, and most of them are budget-friendly!

To get the size that best fits your tiny home, you need to know first the style you prefer. And the best way to do that is to see the unit before you buy it. 

  • Utility Fees

It’s important to remember that adding an appliance that requires a large supply of power means accepting higher utility fees.

According to The Nest, traditional homes (with an average of 15,000 square feet floor area) pay $4 a day to cool their houses. In a tiny home, you can expect to spend up to $2 a day to cool your space. 

If that doesn’t raise that much of a concern, then you should be fine. Unless you want to save money or go greener, you might want to opt for AC alternatives. 

[Must Read: How Much Electricity Do Tiny Homes Use?]

  • Cost of Air Conditioning Units

And finally, you should also consider the price of the AC unit itself. This is your chance to take a look at your lifestyle once again. Think about how often you would be using or needing your AC system. 

Do you always go out? Or do you stay at home the entire day? 

  • Standalone units

Standalone AC units are portable and easy to store. The average cost of standalone AC units is $200. 

  • Window Units

Window units are relatively affordable. The price of small units can go anywhere from $300 to $400. 

  • Central Cooling Systems

A central AC system is pretty pricey. The unit itself can go as high as $3,000 or higher. 

A central cooling system must be installed in your house during the construction. Hiring professional help can add up to the cost. 

[Related: How Do Tiny Houses Get Utilities?]

How to Minimize Expenses

Maybe you don’t need an AC unit, or maybe you do. But irrespective of whether you have an AC or not, there are things you can do to cool your home and save money from utility bills. 

  • Draw the blinds

Natural light is good, but too much of it can add heat inside your home, especially during the summer season. 

Keep the heat out by drawing the blinds during the hottest parts of the day. This can help keep your tiny house cooler. 

For the best window blinds, we suggest Achim Home Furnishings Cordless Morningstar 1″ Light Filtering Mini Blind.

  • Unplug the appliances that are not in use

Appliances you’re not using must be plugged out. This will not only help cool your house but can also help lower utility bills. 

Plugged in appliances generate heat even when they’re not in use. 

Alternatively, you can use an outlet timer to better control how much you use your appliances without worrying about plugging them in and out.

  • Use breathable sheets

Breathable sheets can help give you a cool night’s sleep. Silk or sateen, although light, actually traps heat. Use cotton or bamboo bedding materials instead. They’re lightweight and cool. 

  • Do not use incandescent light bulbs

Incandescent light bulbs emit extra heat. Use low or no-heat bulbs instead, such as compact fluorescent lightbulbs.

Air Conditioning Alternatives

Air conditioning systems are good, but they’re not for everybody. Some aren’t financially capable of buying one, and others prefer going greener by choosing appliances that have less carbon footprint.

AC units are said to make the environment even hotter. It releases poisonous gases into the environment, including chlorofluorocarbons and hydro-chlorofluorocarbons (both contribute to the greenhouse effect).  

[Related: This Is How Much It Costs to Live in a Tiny Home]

Fortunately, there are alternatives you can opt for. These are great options if you want to reduce your energy usage, cut your utility bill, or your tiny house simply doesn’t work with an AC unit. 

  • Fans

Fans are efficient cooler. They’re simple to use and are way more affordable than an AC unit. There’s a lot of fans to choose from. You can buy a table model, a pedestal-mounted type, or a ceiling fan. You can have your fan swing around at different speeds, too. 

We recommend this Lasko Portable Electric 42″ Oscillating Tower Fan. It saves space and works totally great!

  • Bladeless fans

Bladeless fans work like an aircraft’s turbine engines. They are sleek, powerful, and efficient. 

What’s more, they are safe to use and don’t pose any risk to kids. Like conventional fans, bladeless fans are speed-adjustable and have a swing feature. 

bladeless fan for tiny houses
Bladeless fans are a great alternative to AC units. They are sleek and compact in design.

Bladeless fans can cost anywhere from $50 to $300. 

Check this functional and rechargeable CONBOLA Desk Bladeless Fan.

  • Evaporative or swamp cooler

An evaporative cooler uses a water-soaked pad or sponge and fan to blow cool air. You can cool the house by opening the window to allow hot air to escape and leave the cold air. 

However, this type of cooler only works where there is low humidity. The more humid the air, the less effective you can cool your tiny house. 

Keep Your House Cool Without AC

The first tip is to find a good parking spot for your tiny house (if it is on wheels). Park under the shade of a lush tree. This should help cool your small home. 

Using blackout curtains can also help block sunlight. It naturally insulates the room in which they are installed. Check this NICETOWN Thermal Insulated Grommet Blackout Curtains.

A fantastic idea to cool your tiny home without AC is to hack your fan. Fill a mixing bowl with ice. Place it at an angle in front of your fan, so the air sweeps off the ice in an extra-chilled state. 

Sometimes it’s not the house that’s heating… it could be your body. Check your body temperature. Sipping cold drinks or applying a cold cloth to strong-pulsed areas should help cool yourself from the inside. 

Choose breathable clothes. And probably tell your partner not to cuddle you until summer is done? 

You can keep your tiny house cool at night by letting the night air in. The temperature may drop during the night in the summer season. If this is the case, make the most of the refreshing nights by opening your window before heading to bed. 

And finally, instead of using your oven or stove, grill your meal instead. This is obvious, but we want to emphasize it: using your oven or stove in the intense summer heat will make your house freakin’ hotter! 

If it already feels 100 degrees in your house, then the best thing to do is to turn off that 400-degree oven. 

More Energy-Saving Tips!

Many people move into tiny houses and off the grid to reduce or eliminate their use of electricity. 

But there’s a problem. An air conditioning system is usually a necessity in some places. And AC units use a lot of power, which is often more than what most solar systems can handle. 

The idea of not being able to cool a house down can be scary for some people, especially those who may experience intense summer heat in their state. 

The good news is that it’s easy to keep a small house naturally cool with proper planning. 

  • Build or park your tiny house near or under a tree

A tiny house that’s well shaded is naturally cool. While it may not always be possible to build or park your tiny home under a giant tree, you can plant shrubs and bushes around the exterior of your home to keep the sunlight off your sidings/walls. 

  • Use light colors

A black-painted tiny house looks undeniably appealing and trendy. But if you want to cool your tiny house without using an AC, then you might want to consider repainting your tiny home to a light color. 

A black roof can get 100% hotter than a white roof. Of course, we’re not just talking about roofs but your tiny house in general. The walls/sidings are equally as important as the roof. 

  • Cross ventilation

The concept behind cross ventilation is to allow cold air to enter from one side of your tiny house while hot air exits through the other. 

When done correctly, there’s no need to use machines to cool your house. 

[Interesting: Tiny Home Safety: Top 26 Life-Saving Tips From the Experts]

Related Questions

How can I tell if my AC unit is bad?

A bad AC unit has strange sounds, foul odors, leakage, and no cool air. There is also a lack of airflow. 

How do I know if my air conditioner needs replacement?

If your AC unit blows warm air, demand for frequent repairs, or makes the home more humid, then you may need to replace your air conditioner. 

If the AC unit is old, replacing it with a new model may be the solution. 

What should the AC be set at in the summer?

The U.S Department of Energy recommends setting your thermostat to 26 degrees Celsius when you are home. This temperature level will allow you to stay cool and avoid a high electricity bill. 

All About Tiny Houses is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

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