How Much Electricity Do Tiny Homes Use?

How Much Electricity Do Tiny Homes Use?

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tiny house power consumption

When it comes to finding a new home, it’s not only the size and location that we need to consider. These days, power consumption has become an important factor to include in the checklist, especially that the electricity rate is increasing. 

Regarding tiny homes, you’re confident that no matter how you power your house, you’ll consume far less electricity than big, traditional houses. 

The structure of tiny homes is intended to limit your power consumption. And because you have limited space in your house, you will likely use fewer appliances and utilities. 

However, just because you live in a tiny house doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t be using too much electricity. Your power consumption will depend on several factors: (1) the size of your home and household, (2) the quantity and quality of the appliances you have, (3) and how frequently you use your household items. 

Logically, the more appliances you have at home, the bigger your power consumption will be. And big power consumption means a high electricity bill. And you don’t want that, especially if you’re living on a budget or off the grid. 

How Much Electricity Do Tiny Homes Use: Your Power Consumption

Living in a tiny home doesn’t exempt you from a high electricity bill. Several factors can impact your power consumption. It’s essential to take note of these factors so you’ll know what to do to save energy or at least lower your utility bill.

The Size of Your Tiny House

The size of your home matters when it comes to your power consumption. 

Nowadays, people build bigger and bigger homes. According to the latest data, the average family house in the US has been steadily increasing in size — from 2,057 square feet in the year 2000 to 2,386 square feet in the year 2018. 

A large, spacious house is good. For the most part, big families prefer capacious homes. But large houses pose a lot of concerns, high utility bills included. 

According to the US Energy Information Administration, the average annual consumption of a US residential utility in 2018 was 10,972kWh. That’s about 914kWh per month. 

The bigger the house, the higher the electricity bill will be. Likewise, the tinier the home, the lower the utility bill will be. 

A tiny house is… you know… little. The average size of tiny homes is 120 square feet (8 x 20 ft). Because you have limited space, you have the notion of avoiding using high-powered appliances. 

Your Household Items

Household items can impact your power consumption. 

When it comes to appliances, the size doesn’t really matter. A small machine doesn’t always mean less energy. A conventional blender, for example, uses 500 watts, while a powerful blender uses a blasting 1500 watts.

A window air conditioner uses somewhere between 500 to 1500 watts (depending on the brand, make, and size). Using it for 8 hours is equal to 8,000Wh (or 8kWh). 

Let’s say the price of electricity in your state is 16 cents per kilowatt-hour. If you use your air conditioner 8 hours a day for 30 days, it will cost you about $40. 

The price may be higher if you use your air conditioner longer than 8 hours in a day. The price will also vary depending on the rate of electricity in your locality. 

The Price of Electricity

tiny house electricity rate

The rate of electricity varies from state to state. According to the EIA, the average electricity rate for residential houses is 12.89 cents per kWh. Below is a table that shows the average price of electricity in different states per kWh.

8 cents per kWh
Idaho
North Dakota
Washington
Arkansas
Utah
Louisiana
Wyoming
9 cents per kWh
South Dakota
Nebraska
Kentucky
West Virginia
Oklahoma
Oregon
Montana
Missouri
Tennessee
10 cents per kWh
Indiana
North Carolina
Mississippi
Iowa
Kansas
Virginia
Virginia
New Mexico
Minnesota
11 cents per kWh
South Carolina
Arizona
Georgia
Alabama
Colorado
Ohio
Texas
Illinois
Florida
Nevada
13 cents per kWh
Michigan
Wisconsin
Pennsylvania
Maryland
District of Columbia
Delaware
14 cents per kWh
Massachusetts
Rhode Island
15 cents per kWh
California
Maine
16 cents per kWh
Vermont
New Jersey
New Hampshire
17 cents per kWh
Alaska
18 cents per kWh
Connecticut
New York
33 cents per kWh
Hawaii

Take note, the rate of electricity may change from time to time. 

The Size of Household

The size of your household can also impact your power consumption. This means the number of people living in your tiny house will determine the number and intensity of use of appliances. 

For example, the more people there are in your home, the more intensity needed by your air conditioning or space heating to maintain a specific temperature. 

The Outside Temperature

The outside temperature can also affect the intensity of use of air conditioning or space heating. 

During the hot summer season, you might use your air conditioner longer than you usually do. And chances are you probably will adjust the air conditioner to the lowest temperature to give you that cool breeze. 

Likewise, in the winter season, you might use your space heater longer than usual. A space heater uses somewhere between 600 to 1,500 watts (depending on the intensity). 

The Amount of Time Spent Outside the Household

The longer you are outside your tiny house, the lesser you are to use your appliances. But then again, this will be primarily determined by the size of your family.

The Different Types of Energy for Tiny Homes

The type of energy you use for your tiny home also plays a vital role in determining how much power you consume and, radically, how much you will spend for it. 

If you build your tiny home on an affixed land, you can easily connect it to an electrical grid. Or you can lease or buy a property that already has a power source. It’s best to talk with your town to get more information about hooking up to a power line. 

Using alternative power source shouldn’t be a problem anymore if you’re living on a stationary home unless if you decide to use it to save money, get that off-the-grid vibe, or have a power backup. 

Fuel Power

Many tiny house dwellers choose fuel and hot water tanks to power up appliances. Some use some variation of propane, while others prefer other options. 

Tiny house owners who promote greener lifestyle like using reused oils, albeit it’s harder to come by. 

If you wish to use clean oil to power your tiny home, you will need to have a reliable supplier. 

Solar Power

tiny house solar panels
Solar panels for tiny houses

When it comes to power, we can always rely on Mr. Sun. His intense heat can be used to power up your tiny home (even big ones). 

Using solar power doesn’t necessarily mean you need to fit solar panels to your roof. You can start small by finding household items that can run on solar energy. 

Using solar energy for a tiny house on wheels can be quite a challenge. Your mobile home should always have a clear view of the sun for most of the day. 

But it doesn’t always have to be that way. Some solar panels can generate power even on cloudy and rainy days, albeit expensive. 

External Generators

If you want to live off the grid, then we recommend using external generators as your power source. 

Fortunately, there are lots of generators in the market. These generators are the same generators that you can use to power an RV. 

You can use gasoline, diesel fuel, electricity, and even propane to fuel these generators. 

For external generators, we recommend Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 240,

Getting Off-The-Grid

One way to determine how much electricity your tiny home will use is to jot down the appliances you use and how much power they need. 

Check out the table below:

(Note: we’ve added our product recommendations, make sure to check them out.)

Household ItemWattsQuantityUsage (in hours on each day)The energy in watt-hours
Led Lights645120
Cellphone53345
Laptop4229756
Internet Router6124144
Energy-efficient fridge831241992
Space heater1000188000
Conventional blender50010.0945
Table fan5524440
Window air conditioner1000188000
Total watt-hours per day


19542
Total watt-hours per month


586260
Total kilowatt-hour


586.26

Formula = (watts x usage in hours) x quantity = total watt-hour 

This is just to give you an idea of how much electricity a tiny house uses. In actuality, your power consumption will vary in several factors, as discussed above. The appliances, number of occupants, outside temperature, the intensity of use, and the price of electricity largely impact your electricity bill. 

Going back to the example we have above, if, for example, you live in Alabama (11 cents per kWh), you’ll pay $64 for your electricity bill per month. 

If you think that’s too much, then you can reduce your power consumption by following the tips we’ve listed below.

How to Save Even More Power

The tiny house movement leads you to an environmentally-friendly and sustainable lifestyle. The tiny lifestyle allows you to live off the grid and use energy efficiently! 

The great news is that there’s a lot that you can do to save even more power. The tips below will save you a lot of money from the electricity bill (or fuel consumption). Not just that, by following them, you’ll be able to go greener. 

Lightbulbs

Your lightbulbs will probably be one of the most used items in your tiny home. Large, residential homes use anywhere from 20 to 30 light bulbs, while tiny houses use 6 to 10 bulbs on average. 

Although you tend to use fewer lightbulbs in your tiny home compared to larger houses, they can still impact your electricity bill. 

When purchasing light bulbs, find energy-saving bulbs that can last for several years. These types of bulbs use low wattage, which means using them will not cost you much to power. 

And to minimize your use of lightbulb, we suggest doing your activities during the day, so when the nighttime comes, you’ll only turn on the bulbs for a short period. 

Windows 

tiny house windows

You can lessen your use of table fan or air conditioning with your windows. 

During the night, you can leave your windows open to allow the cold night air to enter your room.

And if it’s windy outside, allow the wind to enter your tiny house and push the hot air out. 

Windows also play a part in giving you good lighting. Sometimes during the day, we tend to turn on the lights to provide us with extra brightness. But if you have wide and open windows, you will not need to switch on your lights on the daytime anymore. Besides, big windows are good, especially if you live in a tiny home with a dog. 

Also, make sure that your windows are properly installed, so when you turn on your air conditioner or heater, the heat or air won’t fly out of the house. 

Appliances

tiny house appliances

Choose energy-efficient devices. They’re not that hard to find since they are in high demand. 

Buy household items that can use solar energy as a power source. Also, make sure that your appliances are up to date. Appliances of older models tend to consume higher power. 

If you have a refrigerator, ensure that the rubber seal is doing its job properly. It must be able to seal the cold air inside. The seal may break down over time, so it’s essential to do a regular inspection on your fridge. 

If you plan to install an HVAC in your tiny home, use a system that has a programmable thermostat. It allows you to adjust the temperature automatically at specific intervals. 

And also, we recommend using a laptop instead of a desktop. An average desktop idles at about 80 watts, while a laptop idles for just 20 watts. 

Ventilation

When your tiny home has proper ventilation, you’re less likely to use a high-powered heater or air conditioning. 

How to Get Power for Your Tiny Home

A stationary tiny home can quickly hook up to an electricity grid. 

If your tiny house is on wheels, there are options you can choose to power up your home. 

A. Connect to a building that already has power

This is the cheapest, and perhaps the simplest way to get the power you need for your house. 

If your tiny house is parked full-time beside or behind a friend, relative, or landlord’s house, then you can run an extension cord to their home to power up yours. Of course, if they agree on that. 

B. Buy or rent a property that already has a power source

You can buy your property or rent a stationary tiny home that already has a power source. Connecting to a power source is no longer rocket science. Just plug and play!

C. Use fuel or solar power

As mentioned above, if you want your tiny house to be off the grid, then the best power source would be fuel or solar power. Either of the two can work well for tiny houses. 

Bear in mind, though, that both have advantages and disadvantages. As for the fuel, finding a supplier of clean fuel can be quite a challenge, especially if you’re always moving from one place to another. Also, the price of fuel changes occasionally.

Solar powering is good, but it’s usually pricey. Solar panels and batteries can cost anywhere between $4,000 to $10,000, depending on how much power you need. 

Conclusion

The electricity a tiny home uses depends on several factors. But one thing is for sure, you’ll consume far less power than large, traditional houses.

There are things you can do to save even more energy. By following the tips we’ve listed above, you can go greener and avoid a high electricity bill! 

Related Questions

How many solar panels does it take to power a tiny house?

The number of solar panels you must use will depend on how much energy your tiny house needs. For example, if your tiny home requires 2kW (or 2,000 watts) of solar panels to make 100% energy, then you would need seven 300-watt panels.

How do tiny houses get water?

You can hook up your tiny house to a town water line or a well.

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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