Month: November 2019

10 Home Appliances Your Tiny House Needs

10 Home Appliances Your Tiny House Needs

home appliances your tiny house needs

Fitting all you need in a tiny house can be hard sometimes, but there’s no denying that pulling your creative muscle is one of the best parts of owning a tiny house. You’re working in a limited amount of space, which may be new to you. And so it requires innovation so you can use every inch of your tiny home. 

Therefore, it only makes sense to purchase appliances with design and performance that fit your needs. You may be wondering what home appliances your tiny house needs. 

Read on as we give you a list of the best appliances for tiny homes. We’ll also talk about how to choose appliances that’ll reduce your energy use and lower your electricity bill. 

Home Appliances Your Tiny Home Needs

Tiny houses have escalated in popularity, and they attract more and more people nowadays. The tiny house movement, however, is not just a passing trend. It inspires people to live a minimal, cost-effective, and eco-friendly living. 

Many believed that traditional homes are a great investment until the housing market crisis happened in 2006. Called the United States housing bubble, the housing prices exponentially increased in early 2006, then soon started to decline that same year and the year after. 

The year 2008 was reported to have the largest housing price drop in history. This left many people to feel disillusioned with the idea of homeownership. 

Then came the tiny house movement. Affordable, sustainable, and environmentally-friendly, many people transitioned from traditional homes to tiny houses. 

But then again, living in a tiny house poses a lot of challenges, choosing small-scale yet high-performing appliances included. While the market is already bombarded with household appliances for tiny houses, choosing the best items is still tricky more so if your house measures no more than 200 square feet in total area. 

That said, it’s important to consider buying appliances that are extremely compact, yet durable and high-performing. Here are some great home appliances your tiny house needs. These items will save you some space and reduce your energy usage and even water consumption.

Water-Conserving Appliances Your Tiny House Needs

Did you know? On average, each person uses about 80 to 100 gallons of water per day for indoor home uses. Globally, that’s around 4 trillion cubic meters of fresh water a year!

So what can you do to make a change in the environment and conserve water? Living in a tiny house is one, but you can do more than just that. How? By using water-conserving appliances in your tiny house. 

Many companies are stepping towards providing greener alternatives to conserve water and reduce water usage every month. For most consumers, conserving gallons of water every month and saving big on utility bills is as easy as changing old appliances for more eco-friendly models. 

Check out some of our favorite water-conserving appliances below:

Low-Flow Toilets

According to a report, a conventional toilet uses 3 gallons per flush. An average household flushes six to eight times per day. 

3 gallons per flush x 6 to 8 flushes per day = 18 to 24 gallons*

Niagara Stealth is one of the best low-flow toilets available in the market. Consumers report that this toilet does not clog. It only uses 0.8 gallons per flush. And compared to other similar products, Niagara Stealth is way more affordable. 

low-flow toilet

Low-flow toilets are a good option only if you want a toilet system similar to that in a traditional home. You can conserve more water if you use composting toilets.

Here’s why we think composting toilets are a better option.

Composting toilets are cheaper than a traditional toilet system. They are also faster to install, consume a minimal amount of space, require little maintenance, conserve water, and generate nutrient-rich fertilizer. 

What’s another great thing about composting toilets is that most companies offer lifetime warranties. 

[Must Read: The 3 Best Toilet for Tiny Houses]

Shower Filters

Did you know? An average person uses 2 gallons of water a minute in a shower. That means a 10-minute shower consumes 20 gallons of water. 

Shower filters purify water to reduce chlorine, chloramine, and chemical content in your shower, so you can keep your skin and hair healthy and soft. The Pelican Water, however, does more than just filter dirt from water. It comes with a dual-head system that allows you to conserve hundreds of gallons of water per month! 

The pressure mode lets you enjoy a standard shower experience. The water conservation mode does the same, except you save water while still benefiting from healthier and safer water.

Pelican Water functions:

  • Filters chemicals in water, including chlorine, chloramines, and other contaminants
  • Improves softness in skin and hair by reducing dryness, flakiness, and fading of dyed hair.
  • Removes unpleasant odors from water.
  • Maintains shower pressure for excellent shower experience. 
  • Features dual-head function. 

Advanced Dishwashers

Did you know? A dishwasher uses four to 10 gallons of water a day. That’s 120 to 300 gallons of water per month.

If you have a large household and cook at home frequently, then you might use more water than the average presented above. You can conserve water by purchasing an efficient Energy Star-certified dishwasher. 

The Beko DIT28430 uses a very minimal amount of water, only 2.4 gallons of water per cycle to be exact. A standard dishwasher uses about 5 gallons of water per cycle, which means the Beko DIT28430 is 52% better than the standard dishwasher. 

It is Energy Star-certified and is 27% better than US Federal standard dishwasher in terms of energy use per annum. 

Water-Saving Washing Machines

A standard washing machine uses 15 gallons of water per load. Sometimes, it can go as high as 45 gallons. You can combat this alarming amount of water waste per washing cycle by opting for high-efficiency and water-conserving washing machines. Eco-friendly washing machines can help you save as much as 15 gallons of water per cycle, or even more. 

water-saving washing machine

Consider Samsung 4.5 cu. Ft. Front Loader Washer. It has eight preset wash cycles and another nine washing options. Plus, it is Energy Star-certified. 

Purchase a washing machine that’s not only water-saving but also compact and uses a minimal amount of energy. 

Read The 8 Best Washer and Dryer Combos for Tiny Homes to learn more.

Kitchen Appliances Your Tiny House Needs

As tiny houses grow more and more popular, a lot of companies across the United States and around the globe produce small-space kitchen appliances with top-notch aesthetics and performance. 

However small… or technically, tiny… the living space is, there’s no doubt that people still want the convenience of a microwave, refrigerator, hood, stove, and washer/dryer. Fortunately, manufacturers are able to meet the demand of tiny house owners by producing small-scale products — both built-in and freestanding. 

As reported by The New York Times, “micro kitchens are now being embraced by a group of early adopters who could easily afford much larger ones, and whose culinary preferences could shape kitchen design for years to come.” 

Clearly, millennials now prefer shrunken kitchen appliances because they perform efficiently yet use less energy compared to full-sized, conventional appliances. 

Plus, small kitchen appliances can make a kitchen feel larger. 

Refrigerator

You need a fridge that can efficiently provide healthy living by keeping your food fresher longer. If money isn’t a big deal, we recommend Bosch Benchmark® Built-in Freezer B18IF900SP. This 18” custom panel single door built-in freezer is Energy Star qualified for energy efficiency. 

What’s more, with the Home Connect app, you can monitor and control your fridge even if you’re away from your home. 

It has ice maker technology in its Ultra Capacity Ice Drawer and a bright all LED lighting. This slim fridge has three modes to help you control your fridge: Sabbath Mode, Economy Mode, and Vacation Mode. It also has Door Open Alarm technology. 

If you want to opt for something more budget-friendly, consider 800 Series Freestanding Easy Clean B1CB81SSS, still from Bosch. It has NoFrost technology, so you’ll never have to defrost your fridge again. It is almost 40% cheaper than the Bosch Benchmark® Built-in Freezer. Plus, it’s freestanding, so you can place it anywhere it suits in your tiny house. 

And just because it’s more affordable doesn’t mean it doesn’t have style. The stainless steel exterior looks classic and chic. And oh, it’s easy to clean.  

Remember, though, that refrigerators use the most energy, so it’s best to buy an energy-efficient fridge. 

Microwaves

If you want to reheat food, cook popcorn, or try quick Buzzfeed snacks, then you need a microwave. But not just a standard microwave but a compact, energy-saving one. 

home appliances your tiny house needs microwave

Take note, there is no Energy Star label for microwaves at this time. Yet, that doesn’t necessarily mean you cannot find energy-efficient microwaves.

In this world of big guides, we’ve listed down five best compact microwaves available in the market. 

ModelPowerDimensionPrice
Panasonic SD372S950 watts14.8 x 19.3 x 11$140+
Daewoo KOR-7LREW700 watts13 x 17.5 x 10.5$80+
Panasonic NN-SN686S1200 watts15.8 x 20.65 x 12.2$190+
Danby Designer700 watts14 x 17.3 x 10.1$85+
Whirlpool WMC20005YW750 watts13.75 x 15.5 x 14.1$250+

Oven

No space for a stove or stovetop? No worries. You will love Avanti Multi-Function Oven. With it, you can prepare your favorite dishes. This small yet powerful oven has two burners for stovetop cooking. Yes, with it, you can spend less on the gas bill. 

Your kitchen might have shrunk, but that doesn’t mean you have to downgrade your lifestyle as well. By choosing compact yet high performing appliances, you can still enjoy the comforts you’re accustomed to while choosing energy- and water-saving choices in the process.

Coffee maker

If you’re anything like us, you can’t start your day without a sip of coffee. There are a lot of coffeemakers in the market. Hence, we understand how overwhelming it can be to pick the best one. 

We’ve narrowed the list and picked the three best coffee makers there is for tiny houses. 

Keurig K-Mini Plus Coffee Maker

Sometimes we just want to get a cup of coffee as quickly as possible. Keurig K-Mini Plus Coffee Maker can make coffee within a few minutes only. It has a removable drip tray for easy cleanup. It is also energy-efficient, making it even more perfect! 

Black+Decker Coffee Maker CM0700BZ

Ergonomic, space-saving, and affordable, Black+Decker Coffee Maker makes delicious coffee in an instant. All it takes is a flip of a switch to brew a cup of aromatic coffee. And with its permanent grounds filter, you never have to remove messy paper filters. 

Ninja 12-cup Programmable Coffee Maker

Need a coffee maker that can brew coffee for the entire family? This coffee maker is capable of brewing up to 12 cups of coffee. If you want to wake up to the smell of a freshly brewed cup of joe, it takes a few taps to program this coffee maker. 

Other Home Appliances Your Tiny House Needs

Air Conditioning System

Air conditioning was once seen as a luxury, and by then, only those who have the $$$ are able to enjoy the comfort it provides. But now, as more and more companies offer air conditioning systems, they have become more affordable. 

Adding an AC system to a tiny house isn’t uncommon. Many tiny housers install AC systems in their tiny homes. 

But before getting an AC system, consider these:

  • Pick the right AC system

Look for an AC system that’s within your budget. This can help you narrow your search for air conditioners. 

Take note, too, that there are different kinds of AC units, like (1) central air system, (2) standalone units, and (3) window units. 

If an AC system is not within your budget, you can opt for alternatives instead. You can use fans or bladeless fans instead. Or better yet, keep your house cool without using AC. 

To learn more about the air conditioning system for tiny houses, read How to Get Air Conditioning in a Tiny Home. 

Heaters

Has the weather kept you chilling on your bed? A heater can help. Take note, heating your home doesn’t have to be expensive. Several portable heaters are now available at affordable prices. 

Here are some ideal portable heaters for your tiny house.

Lasko 754200 Ceramic Portable Space Heater

Pros:

  • You can use the fan only feature all year round
  • The adjustable thermostat lets you pick your preferred temperature
  • Compact and space-saving
  • No need to assemble

Cons:

  • You can’t set a specific temperature 
  • It only heats in one direction

Mr. Heater MH9BX Propane Heater

Pros:

  • Made of durable and high-quality materials
  • Compact
  • Equipped with safety features
  • Light and portable

Cons:

  • Propane is more expensive than electricity
  • Heating real estate is pretty small

Homegear 1500W Infrared Electric Portable Space Heater

Pros:

  • Energy-efficient
  • Comes with a remote control
  • Equipped with temperature display

Cons:

  • Bulky and hard to move around
  • Noisier than its competitors

Get our full list of portable heaters here: The 10 Best Portable Heaters for Tiny Homes

home appliances your tiny house needs electricity

How Much Energy Do You Need?

With all these appliances in your tiny house, how much energy do you need to power them up? And how much will it cost you?

Your energy consumption depends on several variables, including the number of appliances you have, power usage of each item, frequency of use, and size of your household. And take note, having few appliances doesn’t always guarantee you’ll use less energy. 

Remember, not because you live in a tiny house doesn’t mean you’re exempted from a high electricity bill. As mentioned, several factors affect your power consumption. 

The Size of Your Tiny House

Compared to traditional homes, you can only fit in a few appliances in a tiny house. Technically, that means you’ll consume far less electricity than conventional houses. 

The average power consumption of a traditional home in the US in 2018 was 914kWh per month, according to the US Energy Information Administration. A tiny house consumes an average of 21kWh per day, which is about 630kWh per month. 

The Power Usage of Appliances

The number of appliances you have is a factor we must consider in determining the amount of power you need. But what is more important than the quantity is the power usage of your home appliances. 

It’s easy to assume that if you have fewer appliances, you’ll consume a minimal amount of energy. That’s not the case if your home appliances, though few, are high-powered. 

Let’s say you have only eight appliances at home, but six of which consumes more than 1000 kWh per day. You’re most likely going to spend big for your utility. 

Now, let’s say you have 15 appliances at home, all of which are energy-efficient. You’re likely going to spend less on your utility bill if this is the case. 

The Household Size

The number of your dependents can also impact your power consumption. The more people living in your home, the more the appliances are to be used. 

For example, your air conditioner may need to work more to accommodate eight people compared to when there are only two or three people. 

Also, cooking for eight people on an electric stovetop may take longer than if you’re cooking for two or three people only. 

Your Electricity Cost

Now you’re probably wondering how much it would cost you to power up your tiny house with all your appliances. 

There are different kinds of energy for tiny homes, including fuel power, solar power, external generators, and on-grid power. 

If you’re directly connected to an electricity grid, your electricity cost will depend on your (1) energy consumption and (2) location. 

The price of electricity varies per state. Idaho, North Dakota, Arkansas, Washington, and Utah, for example, charge 8 cents per kWh. While Arizona, Florida, Texas, Ohio, Alabama, and Nevada charge 11 cents per kWh. In Connecticut, the price of electricity is 18 cents per kWh. 

It’s important to remember that the rate of electricity may change from time to time. If you’re not sure about the cost of electricity in your area, we suggest asking your local authority. 

Solar panels are also a great choice to power up your home. A solar panel system can provide you with free and clean electricity. It’s also an excellent power option if you want to go greener. 

Though a solar panel system requires a huge amount of upfront payment, it’s a good investment considering it can power up your tiny house for years without being reliant on in-grid electricity and without having to pay for the monthly electricity bill. 

You might be interested in reading this: How Many Solar Panels Does It Take to Power a Tiny Home?

How to Buy Home Appliances

Shopping for home appliances for your tiny house is fun and exciting until you’re presented with so many options that it becomes rather overwhelming and tedious. 

So, to make your home appliance search easy, it helps to have criteria so you can narrow down your search and focus only on those that are in line with your standard. 

Here are a few tips when buying for home appliances. Thank us later. 

  • Measure it

Since you’re living in a home with limited space, you want to purchase items that are compact and can be fitted in your tiny house. 

Purchasing an appliance that fits perfectly in your house is much easier than buying one that is too large to pass through the doorway or hits the walls as it is carried in. 

When it comes to stoves, don’t forget to consider the space it needs to connect any pipes. For refrigerators, make sure that you consider the depth of the door. 

  • Look for online reviews

To make sure you get the best out of your hard-earned money, do research, and learn about the appliances you want to buy. Read online reviews from people who have actually used the product. 

You may also want to check consumer publications like Consumer Reports to get authentic reviews.

  • Choose energy-efficient appliances

Energy-efficient home appliances can help a lot in reducing your power usage. Such appliances often have an eco-mode feature that optimizes power consumption without ever sacrificing performance. 

Energy-saving items are usually easy to detect. Look for appliances that are Energy Star compliant. 

Learn more about How Much Electricity Do Tiny Homes Use here. 

How to Save Energy

Aside from choosing Energy Star appliances, there are other smart things you can do to save energy. 

Open Your Windows

Feeling hot? Why not open your windows to let cold air in instead of turning on your air conditioner? Or better yet, go outside for a quick walk, go to a windy place, and relax. 

You can use this time to unwind and be in the “now.” 

Coffee in a Flask

Instead of frequently turning on your coffee maker to get a cup of joe, you can brew your coffee once in larger amounts, drink a cup of coffee, and keep the rest in a flask. A high-quality thermos should be able to keep your coffee hot for 5 hours or so. 

coffee in flask

Use LED Light Bulbs

LED light bulbs use less energy than conventional light bulbs. An average household keeps lightbulbs on for an average of 5 to 8 hours (depending on your location). So if you’re going to keep your lights this long, you can save money (and energy) if your light bulbs only consume a minimal amount of energy. 

Final Takeaway

Living in a tiny house doesn’t necessarily mean you cannot enjoy the comfort of a traditional home. You can still get to use appliances, just this time you’re going to do it smarter. 

Choose energy-saving, compact, and high-performing household appliances with sleek aesthetics. Refer to our buying guide when selecting home appliances your tiny house needs. 

Owning energy-saving appliances is good, but there are other steps you can take to go greener.

Related Questions

Where can I purchase home appliances for tiny houses?

Home improvement centers offer a wide range of appliances for both tiny homes and traditional houses. Some of the famous brands known for creating high-performing, durable, and reliable appliances are Samsung, Whirlpool, Bosch, LG, Frigidaire, and KitchenAid.

Refrigerators consume large amounts of energy. Do I really need one?

To have or not have a fridge is totally up to you. But let’s not forget how a refrigerator can keep your food chilled and your produce fresh for a long period. 

How to Know What Size Tiny House You Really Need

How to Know What Size Tiny House You Really Need

different sizes of tiny house
Photo by Nanda Sluijsmans via Flickr

The first question you need to answer before building or buying a tiny house is– how large should it be? Getting an idea of the size of your dwelling can save you a lot of time and money in the long run.  

Tiny houses can have a floor area between 70 square feet and close to 500 square feet. There are tons of factors to consider when deciding what size of tiny home you need. However, the primary consideration is the number of occupants. 

An average person requires 100 to 400 square feet of livable space to feel “comfortable.” However, each person has different needs and comfort levels. Hence, you need to decide how much space should be allocated for each tiny house member.

Using the same metrics, we can easily see why tiny houses on wheels (THOWs) can only accommodate up to four persons at a time. 

In this post, we looked into the process of knowing the size of a tiny house where every occupant can be happy and comfortable. 

Size Limitations of a Mobile Tiny House

Most tiny homeowners register their dwelling as an RV so they wouldn’t have to comply with strict building codes and zoning laws. However, they are also required to submit a certification from the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA).

Aside from the floor area limitation, tiny houses also have other restrictions in terms of its measurement. For it to be road-worthy, its width should not exceed 8.5-feet. Additionally, it can only be up to 40-feet long and 13.5-feet high. 

Because of these limitations, it’s quite rare to see a tiny home on wheels (THOWs) with a floor area that exceeds 500 square feet. 

Hence, if you plan to live in a mobile tiny home for more than a month, you should take note of this size limitation. Also, it is illegal to permanently live in a mobile home, especially once you registered it as an RV. 

tiny house small
Photo by Mark McClure via Flickr

Size Limitations of a Stationary Tiny Home

Once you settle your tiny house over a foundation, you can significantly increase its living space through different methods. The common practice is to register your small home as an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU).

Different states have varying laws regarding ADUs. The state of Oregon, for example, only allows an ADU to be 800 feet square or smaller. It also requires a tiny home with 500 square feet of impenetrable surface to have a stormwater treatment facility. 

Settling in a private property or a tiny home community is the preferred setup of the most tiny home owners. Very few drives around on their small mobile home and live there for more than a couple of weeks. 

Thus, if you plan to live in a stationary tiny home, you need to abide by the zoning laws and building codes of the state. With that said, you may need to renovate your tiny house to comply with these regulations.

Things That Will Take Space in Your Tiny Home

One truth about living in a tiny home is that there is only so much space to go around. However, there are numerous techniques to save as much space as possible. 

Every square foot that you could save can make your home feel a bit roomier. For this reason, the first thing you need to consider before buying a tiny house is– what are you going to put inside it?

Aside from people, other things consume space inside a tiny home. Such as:

  • Furniture such as sofas, tables and cabinets
  • Walls and small decorations
  • Appliances such as refrigerator and TV
  • Closets and other compartments
  • Beds and loft
  • Staircase, if you have a second floor

These parts of the house can quickly eat up more than half of the available space in your tiny home. If you currently live in a traditional home or apartment, you can measure these things.

tiny house windows

Factors to Consider When Determining the Size of Your Tiny House

Aside from the legal limitations, there are also other factors that you need to consider when designing a tiny home. For the most part, you have to deal with the building codes and zoning laws in your state.

These are the other things you need to think about before drawing a house plan:

1. Personal Preferences

We all have different personal liking when it comes to our home. Some prefer a large living room, while others prefer big comfortable bedrooms. These peeves can significantly affect the design of your tiny home unit. 

The number of adults and kids living in a tiny house can also affect its size. If you are a couple with a toddler, you may all stay in one bed. However, if you have a teenager, he or she may need a separate room or sleeping area. 

2. Size of the Lot

If you plan to settle your tiny home over a foundation, you also need to consider the available lot from the property. Also, check first with your jurisdiction, if it’s allowed to build a tiny home in your private property as not all states permit it. 

3. Your Towing Vehicle

Wouldn’t it be nice if you don’t have to call a hauling company to transport your tiny home? Well, if you have an SUV or pickup truck with ample towing power, then it can solve your problem. Check with your car’s user manual if it can tow more than 5,000 pounds which is what the smallest tiny home weighs. 

4. Semi-trailer Dimensions

Another thing you should be wary of is what type of trailer should you use for your tiny home. There are many kinds of trailers, and each has its pros and cons. They also have different lengths which directly affects the available floor area for your unit. 

tiny house for sale
Photo by Jon Callas via Flickr

Estimating the Amount of Space You Need

Once you get how much space is consumed by the items listed above, the next step is to visualize if they could fit in a tiny home. You can use a piece of blank paper, a pencil or a ballpoint pen, and a ruler to draw the floor space of your small home.

If you know how to do it on a computer, you may do so as well. There are also numerous programs specifically for designing floor plans which you can download. Most engineers, for example, use AutoCAD, BricsCAD, Solidworks and the like.   

Here are the steps to sketching your floor plan:

1. Use Proper Scaling

For easier scaling, you can assume that an inch is equal to 10 feet. If you plan a bigger floor plan, you need something bigger than a bond paper to sketch your idea. Or you can also rescale to say an inch equals 20 feet.

2. List Down What Goes Inside

Next, decide what necessities and amenities that the tiny home should have. For example, do you need a separate living room and bedroom or can they function as one? Which takes priority– a wash area or a pantry?

3. Know the Dimension of Each Part of the House

Once you get a list of what you want to put in your tiny home, next is to know the dimensions of each item. For example, you can use a ruling tape and measure your bed’s width, length and area. Do the same thing to your sink, refrigerator, couch and other amenities you have in mind. 

4. Design Each Room As Simple as Possible

Next, design your bathroom, dining room, bedroom and living room as simple as possible. Place each of the items you have listed in each room and estimate the amount of floor space they need. Remember to add 20 to 40-percent of this space for the house’s walkway. 

5. Add Up All the Figures You Obtained

Next, add up all the figures for the areas of the rooms you need. This figure is roughly the total amount of space you need for your dream tiny house.

Once you have a rough estimate of the floor area you need, the next step is to choose the type of trailer where you could place it.

70 square feet tiny house
Photo by Bill Smith via Flickr

Which Trailer Should You Use for Your Tiny House?

If you plan to build a tiny home on wheels, you should also look into the different trailers you can use. Tiny house trailers usually vary based on their length and number of wheels or axles, but most of them are almost 7-feet wide. 

Moreover, trailers also have different load capacity from 4,000 pounds to more than 15,000 pounds. The load rating tells you how much weight it could carry. When building a tiny home, you should also compute the weight of the structure and everything you will put in it.

Below are some of the most popular trailer options for tiny house owners:

1. Dovetail

This trailer has an angled rear section that leans to the ground like a dove’s tail; hence its name. If you’ve seen huge trailers that haul trucks, cars, and other vehicles, it’s similar to those. With a dovetail trailer, it’s much easier to load things inside your tiny home.

Because of its unique design, tiny homes built on dovetails usually have a storage area on the rear. It can also be just an open area, where you can temporarily store your bike or motorcycle. However, the awkward layout usually calls for modifications to make it viable for a tiny house structure. 

2. Deck-Between Trailer

As the name hints, the deck of this trailer is in between its two wheels. Hence, the flatbed is located just below the summit of the wheel’s reach. 

Deck-between trailers can’t have a bed that’s wider than the distance between the two wheels. As such, you have less room to work with. However, it’s easier to build a tiny home in this trailer because it sits lower to the ground.

3. Deck-Over Trailer

With this trailer, the flatbed is located above the wheel wells without them getting in the way. For this reason, this type of trailer can be as wide as eight feet; still legal for road use. 

Because of the extra space from its wide-body, this is one of the most preferred trailers for mobile tiny homes. However, their high ground clearance means that it would be harder for you to expand vertically. If you use this trailer, you may have to stick to a one-storey tiny home. 

4. Gooseneck

Goosenecks can either be deck-over or deck-between trailers. However, they use a ball hitch to haul the unit. Pickup trucks are the preferred towing vehicles for this type of trailer. The gooseneck, or an extended portion of the trailer, usually reaches over the pickup’s tailgate. 

The gooseneck is also a great trailer to build a tiny home that has a floor area of more than 350 square feet. The additional space just above the hitch or tow bar can be used as an additional room or storage. Thus, giving you extra space while keeping to the legal road length of the trailer and towing vehicle.

Visualizing the Tiny Home of Your Dreams

Tiny home manufacturers have a technique to visualize how the finished unit would look like. Aside from creating sketches, they also draw life-size floor plans of the tiny home. They also integrate the floor plan into the best-matched trailer type.

If you plan to build your own tiny home, you can also do this visualization method. Here is how:

1. Measure everything that you want to be included in your small home such as the rooms, furniture, appliances and walkway. If you can have a floor plan sketch, then do so.

2. Go to an empty area such as your garage, your lawn, or a vacant piece of land. Next, using tapes plot the floor plan. Using the dimensions, you obtained you can mark the amount of space used by a room or object.

3. After an hour or two, you will now have several rectangles on the floor. It’s the actual scale of the house of the tiny home you are planning to build.

4. If you notice that a part of the house is off, you can move it around like a jigsaw piece. You may also need to adjust the placement of your furniture or appliances if it obstructs or narrows your walkways.

This visualization can give you all sorts of ideas if you should give the floor plan you have in mind a go. For better results, we recommend you consult a professional house planner or tiny home builder for the project.

Purchasing a Tiny Home Blueprint

If you don’t want to go through all the troubles of designing your tiny home, there are always other alternatives. Numerous tiny home manufacturers or builders sell building plans. 

What’s great about this option is you can proceed to build the tiny home if you like the design. But before you begin your project, make sure first to consult a structural engineer to make sure the house is safe to live in. 

You can even browse online to find free tiny home blueprints by some of the most renowned designers in the business. You can use these plans to draw out inspiration for your tiny home or use them directly. 

The best thing about these free blueprints is that they are Do-It-Yourself friendly projects. However, you may still need the advice from a professional, especially when you want to put these structures over a trailer. 

Nonetheless, these plans could save you a bit of money and fast-track building your tiny home. 

tiny house models for sale
Photo by Mark Crawley via Flickr

Conclusion

Tiny homes come in different shapes and sizes, much like your traditional houses. Getting an idea about its size and total floor area can help you better plan the design of your humble dwelling.

Related Questions

Which is larger– a tiny home or an RV?

Generally speaking, both RVs and tiny homes have almost the same size given that they also follow the same limitations previously mentioned. In some cases, though, tiny homes can be a bit larger because they can expand vertically.

On the other hand, RVs has an average 10-feet, and its roof isn’t considered livable spaces. In contrast, tiny homes can be as tall as 13.5 feet and have a second floor.

Can a tiny house be 10-feet wide?

Yes, it can exceed the 8.5 feet limit for road use. However, once you exceed this measurement, you can’t transport your tiny home elsewhere. For this reason, you only want a 10-feet wide tiny home if it’s built over a foundation. 

How thick are the walls inside a tiny house?

The minimum thickness for a tiny home’s wall is about 4.5-inches. This kind of wall is enough to accommodate your wall framing with insulation, slidings and sheathing.   

Tiny Homes in Storms: How to Stay Safe

Tiny Homes in Storms: How to Stay Safe

Photo by Patrick Reichboth on Unsplash

Keeping your home safe during storms has always been a concern for people who live in tiny houses. After all, a storm’s heavy rain and strong winds can do more damage to smaller structures. If you live in a tiny home, how do you keep yourself and your family safe from an incoming storm?

Much like in any disaster scenario, preparation is the key to safety. People who live in tiny homes need to prepare a list of things to ensure no harm comes to them. On top of that list is a contingency plan in case you’re in the path of a strong storm.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, on average, the US is visited by 10.1 named storms each year. Of that figure, more than half become hurricanes and about 25-percent changes into major hurricanes (category 3 or higher).

The same agency also stated that 40-percent of all hurricanes in the US hit the state of Florida. Furthermore, 85-percent of major hurricanes strike either Texas or Florida. Central America is also a place of concern, given that most tornadoes in the country are formed in this area.

In this post, we will talk about the different preparations you can do to keep yourselves safe in an upcoming storm. Likewise, we’ll also discuss the experience and accounts of some tiny home owners during extreme weather conditions.

Are Tiny Homes Safe in Storms?

Generally, tiny houses are safe in storms that are categories 3 and below. Many small homes are built with light but durable materials that can withstand heavy rainfall and moderate winds. However, owners also need to perform precautionary measures to ensure their safety.

However, there are also several reasons why you should be concerned about living in a tiny home during a storm. Unlike traditional houses and buildings, many tiny homes on wheels (THOWs) do not comply with the building code.

Some of the guidelines of this code include design parameters that can help your home withstand different types of calamities. Tiny houses usually have thinner walls and weaker structures compared to traditional housing options. Hence, they might not be as sturdy during earthquakes, storms, and other natural disasters.

Tiny homes still offer some form of resistance during storms and will not easily stumble unless against a major hurricane. For example, TinyHouseTalk reported a tiny home made by ESCAPE Traveller that survived Hurricane Irma’s 100 mph winds in 2017. 

Photo by Melanie Magdalena on Unsplash

The Different Classifications of Storms in the US 

The United States is frequently visited by storms that range from weak tropical depressions to devastating major hurricanes. The US classifies storms a bit differently from the rest of the world. 

Below are the different classifications of storms in the US:

1.   Tropical Depression

A cyclone with 38 miles per hour (mph) or less maximum sustained winds. You can expect moderate winds and heavy rains that can cause minor flooding. While a tropical depression is not known for causing widespread depression, it’s rain can still cause significant property damage.

2.   Tropical Storm

When a Tropical Depression develops more power, it becomes a tropical storm. At this stage, it can have wind speeds between 39 to 74 mph. The amount of rainfall also increases, which can lead to massive flooding. 

Additionally, its winds can knock down branches of trees and even small structures. Everyone in the event should also observe emergency preparedness that power goes down. Everyone must be vigilant and be prepared to move into shelters when a public announcement for evacuation is released.    

3.   Hurricane

When the winds of a storm exceeded 74 mph, it is now treated as a hurricane. This type of tropical weather is known to cause significant destruction and can cause power outages that may last for days, even weeks. 

Hurricanes can also blow debris into your home and cause severe damage to even towering structures. Furthermore, it can also cause massive flooding in a vast area. As such, emergency preparedness should be kept as a top priority during these times. 

4.   Major Hurricane

When a hurricane’s winds get past the 111 mph marker, it’s now considered as a major hurricane. They are also known as category 3 and above storms. Hurricane Katrina, which struck Florida and Louisiana in 2005, belongs to this group. 

Major hurricanes can quickly devastate cities and cause large floods, storm surges, and massive damage to property. Its winds can quickly tear down homes and uproot trees. Evacuating your home is often recommended, especially when it’s on a direct path of the hurricane. 

Photo by Nikolas Noonan on Unsplash

How to Prepare Your Tiny Home for the Storm Season

Preparing for a storm starts even before the news of an upcoming storm comes up. 

1. File an Insurance 

The moment you bought or built a tiny home, your first action should be to insure it. Several insurance carriers can give you personal property policy. 

However, you also have to make some concessions, such as putting your unit on a foundation. Some insurance companies also require you to live in your tiny home full-time. The average insurance for a small home costs around $600 a year. 

2. Anchor or Tie Your Tiny House

One of the best ways to prevent strong winds from turning over your tiny home is to use an anchor system. This usually requires screwing anchors into the foundation of your tiny home. You can also tie your unit into trees and other stable objects or structures. 

Anchoring your tiny home can prevent strong winds and hurricanes to lifting it once a gust of wind gets underneath the trailer. Most tiny home manufacturers suggest that a trailer up to 40 feet long needs 3 vertical tiles and 2 diagonal side tiles per side. 

3. Secure Your Roof

Roofs are one of the most vulnerable parts of your tiny home during a storm. Put weights, such as old tires, into your metal sheet roof to ensure they won’t be easily be blown away. 

Check if you have tiles or shingles that are cracked or broken. Replace them immediately to ensure they won’t allow water into your home when it begins to rain. Some roof tiles can also be fastened to ensure better protection against strong winds and rain. 

4. Prepare Extra Provisions

If your area is expecting a Category 2 or higher storm, it’s best to have extra supplies of your necessities, especially canned goods and drinking water. Make sure that your rations and hydration can last at least 3 days. 

Aside from food and water, here are some other things you need to prepare during disasters:

  • A few sets of extra clothing
  • Basic hygiene kit
  • First aid kit
  • Flashlight
  • Whistle
  • Battery-powered radio

5. List Down Your Inventory

Make a list of every item in your home that is covered by your insurance policy. Some of the most reliable policies can cover up to 20-percent of the total amount of their homeowner’s policy. When listing down each item, provide details such as serial numbers for gadgets and a photograph of your jewelry.

Doing this will be quite helpful when you want to claim for your insurance policy. There are also apps that can simplify listing an inventory. Among the most popular ones include Sortly, Webgility, and Kintone. 

6. Secure Your Outside Items

Don’t leave any items that are outside your home. If you have a patio, wooden chairs, tables, and other exterior decorations, bring them inside. There is a good chance that they may get damaged through the storm or worse get carried by a tornado.

The general rule is that if it’s lightweight and can easily be carried, it should be stored inside your tiny home. Furthermore, don’t forget to bring in your solar panels and other removable add-ons as they are also susceptible to damage.

7. Prepare an Evacuation Plan

Leaving your home is always the last resort. However, there are times that it is necessary. As such, you need to know the nearest evacuation center in your area. Moreover, you need to know the safest route to get there.

If you live in Central America or anywhere frequented by tornadoes, you need to identify the location of storm shelters. Likewise, if you see a tornado approaching your place, the last thing you want to find shelter is inside your tiny home. Instead, get inside a sturdy building because it’s much safer. 

Photo by John Middelkoop on Unsplash

What to Avoid When a Storm is Coming Towards Your Area

Storms present different threats to your life and property. Just because it’s a low category storm, doesn’t mean you should not prepare for it. Aside from knowing what to do, you equally should know what you shouldn’t do.

Below are some things that you should avoid doing when a storm is on its way:

1. Don’t Park Your Tiny Home Near a Tree

When huge trees get knocked down due to strong winds, it can easily damage your tiny home. Hence, you shouldn’t park near it. If you are parking in a forested area, make sure there is enough distance between your tiny house and the nearest tree.

2. Don’t Stop Your Mobile Home Beside a Body of Water

If your tiny house on wheels is parked near a lake or sea, drive it out of there. Some storms can have a massive amount of rainfall, which can easily cause water levels to rise in these places. The best place to park is somewhere elevated and is not prone to flooding.

3. Avoid Using Your Phone Except for Emergencies

Storms can cause blackouts, which can last for days. One of the essential electronic gadgets you will need is your smartphone. During a storm, make sure to conserve its batteries because it’s the only means you have to contact for help or rescue.

4. Avoid Driving in a Stormy Weather

Never drive your tiny home during a storm. The heavy rains may lead to zero visibility on the roads, which can cause road-related accidents. If you have to move your tiny home, make sure you do it before the storm hits your area. 

5. Don’t Get Too Close to the Window

During a hurricane, you need to stay away from your windows. You’ll never know if a debris will hit your window and break the glass. As a safety precaution, make sure to cover your windows with thick blankets to protect yourself from broken glasses.

6. Don’t Be Stubborn

If the local government announced evacuation in your area, then you should comply. Leaving your tiny home and going through an evacuation center is much safer than being trapped in a storm. 

7. Never Leave Things to Chance

Finally, there is no such thing as being “too prepared” for a storm. Let go of the mentality of leaving things to chance. If you can do one extra step to keeping yourself and property safe, never hesitate to do it. 

Photo by LoboStudio Hamburg on Unsplash

Different Damages to Tiny Homes Brought By Storms

There are numerous ways where a storm can damage your tiny home. The mixture of high-velocity winds and tremendous amount of rainfall can do a significant amount of destruction to your property. 

Below are some of the different storm conditions and the damages they can inflict into your home.

1. Heavy Rain and Floods

A storm doesn’t need to have wind speeds to be damaging. Often, a storm that has lots of rainfall can cause floods and even power outages. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), flooding devastates homes more than any other weather damage. 

Below are some of the things that floods and heavy rain can do to your tiny home:

  • Wood damage
  • Electrical damage
  • Molds and mildews
  • Foundation cracking

2. Hurricane Damage

Tiny house owners are often advised not to live in places that are frequented by hurricanes and for good reasons. Hurricanes can tear down homes in two ways- through sheer wind velocity or flooding. On the flip side, if your tiny home is mobile, you can temporarily relocate your home and come back when the storm is over.

If you ever encounter a hurricane while living in a tiny home, here are some things you can expect:

  • Roof damage
  • Broken windows
  • Structural damage
  • Electrical damage
  • Damage home paneling 

3. Tornado Havoc

Tornadoes are most common in Central America because it is here where the cold northern air meets the warm southern winds. The most damaging aspect of tornadoes is its powerful winds that can even rip home apart. 

Below are some of the damages that your tiny home may incur when it faces off with this extreme weather condition:

  • Damages from flying debris
  • Roof damage
  • Broken windows
  • Structural damage
  • Uprooted trees may fall into your home

Can You Weatherproof Your Tiny House?

Absolutely, yes. Weatherproofing is usually done in areas that are most vulnerable to different calamities. The good news is that because of their small size, weatherproofing your tiny home won’t take much time, money, and effort.

Below are simple steps on how you can weatherproof your home:

  • Protect Your Electricity

During storms and other calamities, one of the most vulnerable parts of your home is your electric system. As such, check for unstable connections and exposed wires in your tiny home. Furthermore, convert all your connections and cords to those with a weatherproofing guarantee. 

  • Rethink About Your Insulation

If you live in a tundra-style area or a place that experiences snow, you may want to consider your insulation. If you expect heavy snow in the area you are in; you may want to switch from standard insulation to heavy-duty. This way, your home can hold heat better and prevent the cold from entering your dwelling.

  • Secure Your Windows

Windows are the most vulnerable spots of any home because they are made of light materials and have no flexibility to resist strong winds. A broken window can spread glass all over your home, which can harm any of its inhabitants. A straightforward solution is to reinforce your windows using a sheet of plywood.

Conclusion

The only way to be safe in your tiny home during a storm is to be prepared before it even hits. Weatherproofing your mobile house and following all the guidelines we mentioned will help you overcome such disasters. 

Related Question

What is the tiny home model that can survive a storm?

Tiny houses came in a variety of designs and made of different materials. Some are even hurricane-proof and storm-proof by using some of the most resistant building materials. However, if you want a reliable home that can dish it out during storm season, we highly recommend container-type houses.

Are there tiny homes that can survive Category 5 Winds?

Yes, there is. One such example is Cubicco’s Cabana 8 feet by 12 feet tiny home, which sells for $17,000. This small home features steel support legs, lifting brackets, and insulation. 

The house can withstand 180 mph hurricanes, which is compliant to Florida’s building code. 

How Many Solar Panels Does It Take to Power a Tiny Home?

How Many Solar Panels Does It Take to Power a Tiny Home?

solar panels tiny house

There are a lot of ways to power up your tiny house, but most tiny housers choose solar panels. Not only are solar panels more conservative but they are also perfect for off-grid tiny houses. But how many solar panels does it take to power up a tiny home? Many are asking, and now’s the perfect time to finally lay the answers straight. 

The number of solar panels you need to power your tiny home depends on a few key factors, including your location, size of your roof, orientation and shading of your roof, number of appliances, and you (or your household’s) electric usage. 

Clearly, there’s no definite answer to tell you how many solar panels you need. It depends on the variables presented above. So now, let’s dig deeper into these variables to help you out. 

But first, let us talk about how beneficial solar panels are for tiny houses. 

The Benefits of Solar Panels for Tiny Houses

Many people move into tiny houses in an effort to minimize energy usage. The tiny house movement has moved many, per se, to live a more sustainable and conservationist living, putting the environment first before anything else. 

Compared to traditional houses, tiny houses are much smaller. Yet, that doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t need energy. In fact, tiny houses need energy as much as conventional homes. They need power for heating, cooling, lighting, and other appliances. 

Tiny house dwellers choose solar panels because they generate clean and free electricity. This way, they cut their energy bills further and save money. 

There’s a lot of benefits you will reap from having solar panels on your tiny house. As mentioned already, you can save money on electricity bills. Plus, you can also help protect the environment and take control of your own electricity generation. 

If you have a solar panel system, it will help increase the value of your home if you decide to put it on sale in the future. You see, prospective buyers admire free and renewable energy. 

Moreover, tiny houses are mobile, meaning you’ll likely move from various places over time. So if you have (or are thinking about building) a tiny house on wheels, then a solar panel system is the way to go!

And because you have your very own electricity, you will not have to rely on power sources wherever you end up placing your tiny home for a bit of time. Instead, you can have a continuous source of energy no matter where you are. 

Plus, if the city experiences a blackout, you’ll be on your tiny house relaxing while your neighbors envy the solar power that’s powering your home. 

How Many Solar Panels You Need – Location and Orientation

Now let’s go straight on the factors that will determine how many solar panels it will take to power your tiny home. First on the list is your location and orientation of the solar panels.

Where you are and how your solar panels will be oriented can help you determine the number of solar panels you need. A solar panel will get the most power when the rays of the sun hit its surface perpendicularly. So it’s important that your solar panels face the correct direction and have the right amount of tilt to ensure they will be able to produce as much energy as it can. 

If you install your solar panels correctly, then you may need fewer solar panels than if they face the wrong direction.

solar panels sun

The solar production also varies by location. Is your tiny house in a place with lots of sun? Or is it inside the arctic circle that only gets 6 months of light time? Or are you in a place with lots of clouds? 

If your tiny house is in Yuma, Arizona, then you’re in a good place to use solar panels. Arizona, apparently, is among the places in the United States with the most sun. Interesting fact: Arizona gets 4300 sunny hours a year. 

States like Nevada, California, Colorado, Florida, and New Mexico also get a healthy dose of sunlight every day. While states like Alaska, Connecticut, West Virginia, and Michigan are among the cloudiest states in the US. 

But regardless of where you are, either in Nevada or New England, you’ll still be able to get enough power to cover your energy needs. Take note, however, that if you live in a place that gets less sun, you will need to have a larger system. 

The good news is that many solar panel companies have been able to create solar panels that are capable of producing energy no matter the weather — be it cloudy, sunny, or even rainy. 

Solar panels with this feature are usually pricier than the standard panels. So unless you have the $$$ to purchase topnotch solar panels, you won’t have to worry about your location or the weather. 

How Many Solar Panels You Need – Size of Your Roof and Solar Panels

You can install your solar panels virtually anywhere that the sun hits. The most common place to set them, though, is in the roof since it is substantially exposed to the sun. 

Logically, you can’t fit too many solar panels if the size of your roof doesn’t allow it. A typical residential solar panel has a size of 65” x 39”. That’s 5.4 feet by 3.25 feet. A standard tiny home that’s 8 by 20 feet can only have up to 6 solar panels of that said size in the roof. 

Solar panels are usually able to produce 250 to 400 watts of power. Say your tiny house is exposed to 5 hours of sunlight a day and your solar panel is able to produce 250 watts, you’ll compute it this way =  5 x 250 watts. In this case, you’ll produce 1,250 watt-hours per day or 1.2 kWh. That’s roughly 430-450 kWh of energy per year. 

A 1.5kW solar panel system will need about 6 solar panels, assuming each panel produces 250 watts. In this example, a 1.5kW solar system will perfectly fit a standard tiny house (5.4 ft. x 3.25 ft.). 

Assuming a 1.5kW solar panel system isn’t enough to 100% power your home. You would need a solar system with higher kW production. A 3.5kW solar panel requires up to 14 solar panels, which wouldn’t fit in a standard-sized tiny house. 

[Check out: A Guide to Tiny Home Sizes (What Makes A Tiny Home Tiny)]

The amount of power your solar energy system can produce depends on your location. Again, your location is a key factor in regards to solar production. 

If you’re in an area with less sunlight, then you might need high-efficiency solar panels. With high-efficiency solar panels, you’ll need fewer solar panels (which is good if you have limited roof space). 

Refer to the table below.

System SizeNumber of Solar Panels (Estimated) *250-watt panels
1.5 kW6
3.5 kW14
5 kW20
7 kW28
10 kW40
12 kW48
15 kW69
appliances in a tiny house

How Many Solar Panels You Need – Appliances

A tiny house isn’t always a guarantee that you will be less energy. A tiny house could be small in size but is full of appliances. Or maybe you have a few appliances, but most of them are high-powered, like blender, heaters, or aircon. 

[Must read: The Best 10 Portable Heaters for Tiny Homes]

So, the number of solar panels you need depends on how much power your appliances consume. 

How many solar panels do you need for your household items? The best way to determine this is by listing down all your appliances and see how much energy each of them consumes. 

ProductWattsUsage (hours)Energy in watt-hours
Space heater1,00088,000
Refrigerator180244,320
Air conditioning unit1,00088,000
Blender1,5005 minutes125
Internet router624144
Laptop charging42284
Laptop running148112
Led lights (5)64120
Incandescent light604240
Cellphone5420

In this example, you’ll be using 21,165 watt-hours per day. That’s 21kW a day x 30 days = 630 kW per month, which is 7.6kW per year. 

A 250-watt panel that’s exposed to the sun for 7 hours can produce 1,750 watts per day. So assuming you use 21kW a day, you will need 12 solar panels. 

The fewer the appliances, the less energy you need. And the less energy you use, the fewer solar panels you need. But then again, you also need to consider how much power a panel can produce. 

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

If you choose a 100-watt solar panel, then you’ll likely need about 30 solar panels to cover your 21kW usage. Or if you choose 300-watt solar panel, you will only need 10 solar panels. 

You probably cannot use 10 solar panels in a 120 sq. ft. tiny house. So the best solution would be to use a high-efficiency solar panel system that can cover your energy usage with fewer solar panels. 

Several factors come into play when it comes to energy usage. You see, the size of your household needs to be considered. The more people living in your house, the higher your power usage will be. 

And also, the quality of your appliances can also affect your power usage. For example, an incinerating toilet requires energy, unlike a composting toilet system. Old appliances also tend to use more energy than newer models. 

To reduce your power usage, we recommend using energy-efficient household items. They’re pretty easy to identify. Energy-saving items usually have an Energy Star sticker. 

[Check This Out: The 3 Best Toilet for Tiny Houses]

Here are some other tips on how you can reduce your power usage:

  • Open your windows

Opening your windows to let cold air in is one of the best ways to save energy. Instead of turning on your air conditioner, why not let the cold breeze fill your room? Of course, this may not be very ideal if the heat outside is too intense. 

  • Use LED light bulbs

LED light bulbs are energy-efficient and longer-lasting. They look like normal bulbs, except they use minimal energy and more affordable. 

  • Perform your tasks during the day

It’s best to finish all your tasks while the sun is still up, so you’ll only use your light bulbs at night for a short period. 

  • Spend more time outdoors

Instead of staying in your room with the aircon on, why not go outside and enjoy the cold wind? Besides, the tiny house movement inspires people to spend more time outdoors. Are you living with a dog? Why not give your pooch a walk in the park?

Solar Panels – Tiny Houses VS Traditional Homes

Solar panels aren’t just for off-grid tiny homes. Traditional houses also use them because they’re convenient and can help save a homeowner from spending more on electricity bills. And as mentioned, solar panels allow you to get clean and free electricity. 

And you know what else is great about solar panels? Even if your city or town experiences a blackout, you’ll still have power (mind you, this is a great advantage if the town experiences power outage on SuperBowl). 

A typical house that’s 1,500 square feet usually needs about 16 panels to cover the entire electrical power needs. Of course, to fully determine a home’s average energy requirements, it’s best to check past utility bills. 

You can calculate how many solar panels a traditional house needs by multiplying the household’s hourly energy usage by the peak of sunlight hours in the area. Then divide the product by a panel’s wattage. 

The lower the wattage, the more panels you need. For example, to generate 11,000kWh in a year, you will need 17 370-wattage panels or 42 150-wattage panels. 

Take note that solar production, your location, roof size, and battery storage are factors to consider. 

A small home in a pleasant climate might use about 200 kWh per month. A larger home, on the other hand, might use about 2,000 kWh per month or more (considering air conditioners, especially if the home is located in the south).

Meanwhile, an average house uses about 900 kWh per month. That’s 30 kWh per day or 1.25 kWh. 

A traditional house that uses 30kWh per day will need about 10 to 15 solar panels, assuming the panels are 350-wattages and are exposed to sunlight for 6 to 7 hours a day. 

Tiny houses may use 20 to 25kWh per day. Such a tiny house may need 7 to 10 solar panels. 

Which of the two uses more solar panels?

It’s easy to assume that the bigger the house, the more solar panels it will use. While that may be quite true, we should not forget the variables that determine how many panels a house must use.

Just because a traditional house is bigger than a tiny house doesn’t necessarily mean it will require more solar panels. 

For example, a small house with one or two occupants may use less energy than a tiny house with 4 to 6 occupants. Or, a small house may have fewer appliances than a tiny house. 

Again, we need to consider the key factors, including the size of the household, the number and quality of appliances, the location, and where the solar panels face. 

Are Solar Panels Worth It?

Many people have started to install solar panels, and now you might be wondering if they are worth it. 

The price of solar panels has exponentially lowered over the years. Almost a decade ago, a 50-watt panel cost around $215 (or $4.50/watt). But now, you can purchase a 50-watt panel for only $1.50/watt or $75. 

However, the panels aren’t the most inexpensive part. What really costs an arm and a leg are the components, including the inverters, mounts, and wirings, which, in an average house, can cost up to $6,500 on average. 

An average homeowner will pay anywhere between $2,000 and $5,000 to pay for the installation, permits, and also inspections. 

In tiny homes, it’s best to ask your local government about the rules or codes it has regarding the installation of solar panels, especially if your tiny house is on a foundation. 

The upfront payment for solar panels can be overwhelming. So you’re probably thinking if it’s worth the pay. Well, yes. With electricity prices continuing to skyrocket across the United States, many have opted for solar power to reduce their utility bills, especially now that solar panels have become more affordable. 

solar panels electricity grid

Is Your Tiny House Connected to the Grid?

On the grid tiny houses (or those that are situated near or within the city) are able to connect to utility power lines. 

The electrical setup works similar to standard residential rooftop systems. As you produce solar energy during the day, it will cover your home’s electricity needs first before sending excess energy out the grid. 

Several utility companies have net metering incentive or NEM. It is a solar incentive that lets you store energy in the electricity grid. So if your solar panels produce more power than you need, the excess energy will be sent to the grid in exchange for credits. 

And if your solar panels are underproducing, you pull energy from the grid. Then you can use these credits to offset the costs of that energy. 

Solar Options for Your Tiny House

No doubt, tiny houses can really benefit from solar power, especially those that need low electricity needs. If your tiny house uses only a minimal amount of energy and you only need a few panels to cover your energy usage, it’s best if you do a DIY solar panel installation.

There are a lot of companies out there that sell out solar kits. If you don’t know that much about setting up your solar panel system, then we recommend hiring a professional electrician to do the work. 

It’s also best to consider working with a solar installer that can help you go through the nuts and bolts. Most solar panel companies offer packages that include the entire solar panel system, labor, permitting, and more. 

How to Shop for Solar Panel System

Here are a few tips that can help you when shopping for a solar panel system. We understand how the market is already bombarded with solar panel companies that choosing one has become rather overwhelming.

So when picking your solar panel system, consider these tips:

research quotations
  1. Research, research, research

Shopping for a solar panel system requires a lot of research and consideration, just as how it is when you’re making big-ticket purchases. 

There’s a lot of companies out there, and each company has offers that, at first glance, are hard to resist. It helps if you conduct thorough research and review of the companies in your area. 

Don’t just take it from the company. Instead, look for reviews from real customers. Sometimes it’s best to choose the products that your friends or neighbor recommended. Chances are they are using the product already and are satisfied with it. 

It’s best to compare as many solar options as possible so you can avoid paying inflated prices offered by large companies in the solar industry. 

A lot of solar companies offer free quotations via their website. 

2. Large companies don’t usually offer the best prices

It’s time that you believe that the bigger isn’t always better. When choosing a solar panel installation company, don’t just stick on brands that are large enough to pay for advertising. According to a report, large solar companies are $2,000 to $5,000 more expensive than small solar companies. 

If you receive offers from big installers, ensure that you compare the bids with quotes from local installers. This way, you can avoid overpaying for solar. Again, do your research. 

3. Compare your equipment options

Big solar companies do not just offer higher prices. Sadly, they also tend to provide fewer solar equipment options. This can have a major impact on your system’s solar energy production. 

So, collect as many solar bids as you can, compare the cost, and calculate the savings you’ll get on the different packages available to you. 

Remember, investing in a top-dollar solar panel system doesn’t always guarantee higher savings. The best way to save money and get the best solar option is by evaluating quotes and doing a thorough review. 

The Effect of Solar Panel Size

If your roof has limited space for solar panels or if it has an unusual shape, the size and the number of panels are a primary consideration. Clearly, if you have a large usable roof area, you can buy low-cost larger panels. 

However, if you have a limited roof area, you can opt for a few yet high-efficiency panels so you can get the most possible power over the long term. 

Yes, the size of your solar panel matters, but what’s more important is the efficiency and output. 

Now, if you’re having a hard time determining how many solar panels you need and how you must install them, we suggest calling a professional installer to help you throughout the process. They can help you from assessing the right number of panels to your roof to installing the solar panels in the right direction and orientation. 

You must also consider net metering if you want to get ROI (return on investment) for your solar system. With net metering, you’ll get credits for producing excess solar energy (especially if your solar panel system is overproducing). 

With the credits, you can use a conventional power grid at night. This is essential if you do not have a solar battery storage system. 

Related Questions

How long do solar panels last?

The durability of solar panels differs depending on its make. Film panels can last for only 2 to 5 years. Photovoltaic and crystalline solar panels can last up to 25 years. 

How much electricity does a tiny house use?

The amount of energy a tiny house use depends on several variables, including the energy usage, number of appliances, size of household, location, and weather. Guaranteed, tiny homes use only 7% of energy compared to traditional houses.

Do solar panels work at night?

Solar panels need sunlight to generate power for your home. If you need electricity at night, you can use your net metering credits or pull electricity from your solar battery storage.

Comparing Tiny Houses and Mobile Homes: A Practical Guide

Comparing Tiny Houses and Mobile Homes: A Practical Guide

rv on the road

We’ve been asked this question several times: what’s the difference between tiny houses and mobile homes? First, take note that a tiny house doesn’t necessarily have to be mobile. You can build it over a foundation or on wheels, whichever you prefer. Of course, one has advantages over the other. 

The differences between tiny houses and mobile homes go beyond that, from aesthetics to philosophy, to environmental impact, to efficiency, to finances. 

Without further ado, let’s talk about why tiny houses are better than RVs/mobile homes. 

Why Tiny Houses are Better Than RVs

Mobility

Tiny houses on wheels and RVs both offer mobility. They allow you to move around the country and enjoy a nomadic lifestyle.

RVs are more lightweight, and they can be transported easily with their aerodynamic design. On the other hand, tiny houses are heavier and have lots of places for the wind to catch and slow them down. 

So if you want to move your home frequently, then RV is the better choice. 

However, unlike RVs, tiny houses can also be built over a traditional slab foundation. 

Tiny houses built on a foundation are more homy. It also allows you to enjoy the perks of being in a community, and vice versa. Though immobile, tiny houses on foundation have a lot of advantages. 

First off, permanently affixed tiny homes can easily hook up to electricity, water, sewage, and other utilities like WiFi. You can also expand your room freely, and enjoy the freedom of being able to add a fenced garden or lawn. 

Yes, mobile homes offer mobility, but so do tiny houses! But unlike RVs, you can put down roots in a tiny house.

comparing tiny house and mobile homes

Aesthetics

When designing either a tiny house or a mobile home, it’s important to consider not only the design but the overall structure as well. You need to come up with a design that maximizes every inch of your home while also giving it a nice touch. 

Mobile homes and tiny houses can be attractive for different reasons, but most people choose the warmth and aesthetics of tiny houses over mobile homes. After all, tiny houses look homier. 

You can also add a garden, deck, or a porch in a tiny house if it is built over a foundation. 

Tiny houses allow you to build it according to how you like it to be, but that doesn’t make RVs any less attractive. The RV industry has been building RVs for several years, and now they have developed lots of great designs. 

Though RVs are not customizable, they have been receiving good press from customers. RV makers also observe what units sell best and what doesn’t so they can fine-tune their offerings. 

Also, there’s a lot of companies out there that convert cars into campers. Most of these companies allow you to customize your mobile home. 

One of the best innovations in almost every RVs has been the slide outs. These are the sections in RVs that extend out to double your interior living space. 

Slideouts, however, come up with several, if not major, problems. They may easily break down and leak. And they are often expensive to repair. But still, a lot of people choose RVs despite all the issues that come with it. 

But why don’t tiny house use slideouts? Some do, but many believe that slide outs are only a temporary solution. Since tiny houses are designed to be a permanent residence, every part of their construction and must last and hold up for many years — probably over a decade. Slideouts, however, just aren’t made for that purpose. 

That doesn’t necessarily mean that tiny houses cannot use slideouts. In fact, they can. 

So how do you expand your space in a tiny home? Others build a sleeping loft to get space for an entire room without the need to add any length to the house. 

But let’s face it, a loft is not a bedroom. Yes, they can be roomy, but you can’t stand in them — and there’s no substitute. 

Also, senior tiny housers don’t prefer climbing a set of stairs to go to bed (let alone to come down in the middle of the night to use the bathroom).

Lofts are a great feature that you can’t find in an RV, but they aren’t really that perfect. 

Quality

One of the major differences between tiny houses and mobile houses is quality. Mobile homes are built for mobility, and with that in mind, the weight of the materials used in them is a significant factor. 

Tiny houses, meanwhile, are not intended to be moved as frequently as RVs, so the materials used in them are usually those with higher quality. 

RVs aren’t designed as a full-time residence, so manufacturers don’t necessarily need to build them to hold up to the hardships of full-time living. 

For example, an RV is (for the most part) used for vacations only. And the season for vacation occurs for just a few months of the year as most people don’t camp in the winter. Then, perhaps you’ll only be using your RV a few weekends each of those months. 

And because an RV is only used in a very small percentage of its lifespan, its interiors — the doors, cabinet, and other moving parts — are less likely to get damaged. 

Also, RVs usually cost top dollar because most of its materials are lightweight yet strong. Materials of this quality typically cost more than wood, shingles, and concrete fiberboards. 

Tiny houses, on the other hand, are like traditional houses, but tinier. And since their designs are for full-time living, the materials in them are usually of higher standards and are durable enough to last much longer under higher usage.

A lot of tiny housers move their home around often, but then again, tiny houses are not necessarily built to withstand the oil, water, wind, dust, and debris that can be kicked up when zipping the road. 

RVs, however, are made to take those long hauls and extensive adventure.

But, it’s not unusual to find a tiny home that’s been over 20 years old, but it sure is far less common to find an RV of that age. 

So when it comes to quality, we put our two hands down to tiny houses. 

comparing tiny house and mobile homes rv

Price

Both tiny houses and mobile homes can range considerably in price. Though on average, a tiny house can cost several times an equivalently sized mobile home.

For example, a 24 feet tiny house can cost around $65,000, while an RV of the same size costs only about $25,000. But then again, you get what you pay for

If quality is what we focus on, then the pricier the house is, the more durable and topnotch the materials are.

But of course, it’s also a matter of how much you intend to pay for. If you’re on a budget, then an RV is a good option. 

Maintenance is also a factor to consider. 

Compared to traditional houses, RVs and tiny houses are more susceptible to wear and tear. The harsh weather can cause damage to your place, and so does hitting the road. 

Basically, since both tiny houses and mobile homes are more likely to get wear and tear, the two require more maintenance than a conventional home. 

The average price of a tiny house is approximately $75,000. For this price, you’ll get a fully-functioning tiny home with all the features you need so you can live comfortably. 

But it goes without saying that there are other hidden costs in a tiny house. Gas tank, parking fees, and towing and trailing all can up the costs. 

Keep in mind, as well, that you are using your car to tow your tiny house and that you will need to factor in gas as well as regular maintenance cost.

On the other hand, a mobile home can cost as low as $25,000. Nicer and newer models, however, can cost up to $60,000 or more. 

For that price, you’ll get a mobile home that has a full eat-in kitchen, bathroom, sleeping area, and a common area. 

And like tiny houses, mobile homes have hidden costs.

RVs do not have a trailer to tow. However, RV dwellers will need to spend big time on gas, and with the gas price hike, this is a huge factor to consider. 

RVs also need to access dump stations, which is another factor that could add up to the costs. The annual fee of dump stations is usually $250. 

You also need to consider regular maintenance of the total costs. Since RVs hit the road more frequently, they are more prone to damages. 

Availability

Tiny houses have become very popular nowadays, but RVs are still easier to find than them. 

If you’re looking for an RV, you can simply find them on classified ads and local sales papers and find a lot of RVs in all designs and sizes. 

Bathroom

Which of the two do you think has a better bathroom and toilet system?

Most tiny houses use alternative bathroom setups and composting toilets. These are all good, but some tiny housers may not be as comfortable as they would with a traditional toilet system. 

RVs usually use an upgradable bathroom, which most of us are used to. However, this toilet system uses more water. Thus, if you want to go greener, then this may not be the best choice. 

Incinerating and composting toilets are excellent options, too. But, if you do not take good care of them, they may leak, smell, and cause other problems. 

kids education in tiny house

Family and Education

If you’re thinking about living in either a tiny house or a mobile house, you may be wondering which one is a better choice not only for you but for your household as well. 

This is an important factor to consider, especially if you have kids living with you. 

We need to weigh in the pros and cons of mobile homes and tiny houses and see how they will work for your household. 

Not everyone fancy downsizing home for the family, but those who want to do so need assurance that it works. 

Families with children often have a hard time picturing themselves living in a tiny house, and that’s probably because tiny homes are new, albeit their growing popularity. 

When you live in a tiny house with your family, it allows the entire household to bond and spend quality time. Families who spend time together do not just get closer, it also teaches the children to grow up in a nurtured environment. 

Tiny houses are also almost clutter-free. Living in a small space encourages you and the family to be tidier and more organized, giving no room for clutter.

But there are problems. One is that tiny houses usually only have one bathroom, meaning showering and nighttime routines need to be scheduled. 

There is also a limited space for the kids to play. But then again, a tiny house inspires dwellers to enjoy the outdoors and go with nature. 

Now let’s talk about mobile homes for families. 

Living in a mobile house is way more different than living in a tiny house. Stability is a major concern in a mobile home, especially if you live with kids. 

Also, when you’re always on the road, you don’t have that much option when it comes to the education of your kids. Yet, that doesn’t mean that it’s impossible. 

Many parents choose to homeschool their children while they’re on the road. Another option is to travel only during the off-months of a school year.

Environmental Impact

In tiny houses, you use both nature and technology to provide you the best comfort using very little carbon footprint. Most tiny homes use solar power or natural gas as a source of power

It’s not only how tiny houses get the energy that has a positive environmental impact. Most tiny housers use repurposed and recycled materials to build their homes. This way, they’re able to reduce the amount of waste that comes with building a house. 

On the other hand, mobile homes also have a positive impact on the environment. But then again, RVs are not for a permanent dwelling place, but only as a vacation vehicle. 

RVs are mostly reliant on gas, and they sure use a lot of it when you hit the road. So, in this case, mobile homes are less environmentally friendly than tiny houses. But the good news is, you can now purchase mobile homes with eco-technology.  

How Tiny Houses and Mobile Homes Similar

Despite the differences, both tiny houses and mobile homes share a good amount of likeliness. For example, both allow you to travel around the country without ever living your comfy home. 

Also, they both let you escape from building codes and taxes. They also offer financial freedom. What’s more, tiny houses and mobile homes inspire you to live a minimalist, clutter-free lifestyle. 

Final Thoughts

Tiny houses and mobile homes both have upsides and downsides. While the setbacks are deal-breaker, you have to consider as well what you will be gaining. 

The bottom line is, both offer a lot of benefits that traditional houses cannot offer, such as mobility, financial freedom, and the opportunity to travel and get closer to the family.

Related Questions

Are tiny homes also mobile homes?

Tiny homes are houses under 500 square feet. Meanwhile, a mobile home falls under the federal HUD code — a national standard that overrides all local building codes. 

Can I put a tiny house on my land? 

Yes. However, you must follow building codes and other regulations (depending on the size of your tiny house and the rules in your community). 

The 10 Best Portable Heaters for Tiny Homes

The 10 Best Portable Heaters for Tiny Homes

Photo by Achudh Krishna on Unsplash

Spending your winter months inside a tiny house can be quite challenging. Fortunately, tons of portable heaters can keep your home warm.

We researched online and found out that several types of heaters use different heating elements. Based on their functionality, we could say that portable heaters are best suited for tiny houses. These small heaters can easily be stored away once winter is over.

This post is about how to heat your home during the cold months. We also have listed the best portable heaters for tiny houses. Here is the list:

The Ideal Portable Heaters for Your Tiny House

1. Lasko 754200 Ceramic Portable Space Heater

Heating your tiny home doesn’t need to be expensive. At just $35, the Lasko 754200 heater is one of the best budget-friendly space heaters in the market. While small in stature, this compact heater gets warm quickly in just a few minutes. 

It’s one of the few smaller sized heaters that operate up to 1,500 watts. While the grille can get hot pretty quickly, the housing around the unit remains relatively cool. With that said, you can easily change its position or move it around the tiny home. 

The left dial at the top of the unit controls four settings: low heat, high heat, fan only land off. Meanwhile, the right dial is used to adjust the thermostat. Furthermore, it runs quietly, and the sound it produces is barely noticeable when you are holding a conversation. 

The Lasko 754200 also has built-in safety features called “thermal overload protector.” This feature allows the heater to turn itself off when it reaches a temperature which could cause it to overheat. 

Pros

  • Fan only feature allows it to be used all year round
  • Adjustable thermostat allows you to set up your preferred temperature
  • Compact size and carry handle lets you quickly move the heater
  • Fully assembled when you take it out of its box

Cons

  • Does not oscillate and heats only one direction
  • Thermostat can’t  set a specific degree Celsius

2. AmazonBasics Portable Eco-Smart Space Heater

Who would have thought that a non-branded heater could this be good? The AmazonBasics Space Heater is a reliable looking heater with a wood finish. It’s ideal for heating your tiny home because it doesn’t need a thermostat to keep the warmth in a small space.

It has two power settings at 1,000-watts and 1,500-watts. According to its manufacturer, it can operate up to 80,000 hours and is proven durable. It uses a dual heating system that combines quartz tubes and PTC to heat the space.

The heater is almost 15-inches high and quite easy to store thanks to its rolling coaster.  This product also has an LED display and a 12-hour timer. It also has a remote control just in case you want to make changes from a distance. 

Furthermore, this heater features an auto-shutoff feature, which prevents it from overheating. The heating elements are also not exposed, making it safe to touch even by your children or pets. 

© www.amazon.com

Pros

  • Wood finish matches perfectly with most furniture or décor
  • Several power settings including cold outer surface and auto-shutoff
  • Smart ECO feature allows heating up to 1,000 square feet
  • Quite affordable

Cons

  • Heater’s underside gets warm fast
  • Standard heating temperature is just average

3. Mr. Heater MH9BX Propane Heater 

Keeping the cold away from your tiny room doesn’t need to be difficult with the Mr. Heater Portable Heater. This item can efficiently heat a small room so you won’t need to use your tiny home’s central heating system.

Mr. Heater MH9BX uses dual ceramic burner tiles to regulate heat and fueled by a propane canister located in its swivel regulator. The front is protected by a high-temp coated wire guards to prevent you from touching the heating mechanism. 

Moreover, this machine has a heat output of 4,000 BTU to 9,000 BTU, which is enough to heat a 200 square feet area. It also has two fire-safety features- a low oxygen shutoff and a tip-over safety shutoff. The unit automatically shuts down when it has tipped over or if it detects low levels of oxygen in the room. 

Finally, the folding handle can easily be folded when you don’t have to carry it. The ceramic burner tile may need replacing now and then. 

Pros

  • Made of durable materials
  • Very light and portable
  • Equipped with several safety features
  • Compact size doesn’t take too much space 

Cons 

  • Heating real estate is a bit small
  • Propane is more expensive than electricity

4. Stanley Heavy-Duty Electric Heater

If you need a workhorse to heat your tiny home, then this electric heater from Stanley is perfect for the job. It weighs only 3.5-pounds, which makes it easy to carry around. The space-saving design allows it to fit even on a desk. 

At first glance, you can tell that its design is pretty solid. The honeycomb grille protects the user from the heating element inside. Meanwhile, the carry handle is durable and has an excellent grip.  

Despite being only 10-inches tall, it can heat an area of 165 square feet thanks to its 5,100 BTU rating. It has two heat settings, including a thermostat that allows you to choose how much heat your home needs. 

It’s manufacturer also equipped it with a safety switch which immediately turns off when the heater turns over from its base. And at just under $50, this one is a steal!

Pros

  • Affordable price
  • Tough looking build
  • Fits almost anywhere even in the tiniest spaces
  • Big handle for better grip

Cons 

  • Heats only a small area of your house
  • Doesn’t heat as fast as its competitors

5. Homegear 1500W Infrared Electric Portable Space Heater

Some heaters can significantly impact your electricity bill; this one doesn’t. The Homegear Infrared Heater has an eco-mode that efficiently regulates the heat at around 86 degrees Fahrenheit. Thus, saving a significant amount of energy and lowering your electric bill.

Consequently, this machine also has a built-in timer that automatically shuts down the unit when the timer runs down. It’s also easy to use and has a large LED screen, which quickly tells the room temperature. 

Homegear also provided a remote control so you can easily change its settings from a distance. It also boasts a cool-touch casing, which makes it safe to touch the unit even during its operation. 

With a 5,1000 BTU output and 1,500 watts of power, it can efficiently heat an area of 1,500 square feet, according to its manufacturer. However, this heater is a bit bulky and weighs 11.5 pounds. You also need to find the perfect spot in your tiny home for this 17-inch tall heater. 

© www.walmart.com

Pros

  • Energy-efficient thanks to its Eco mode
  • Heats a large area of your tiny home
  • Noticeable temperature display
  • Comes with a remote control

Cons 

  • Quite bulky and hard to move around
  • A bit noisier than its rivals

6. Dyna-Glo Wall Mounted Natural Gas Heater

This machine is perhaps the closest you could get to a central heating system for your tiny home. The Dyna-Glo Wall Mounted Heater uses Blue Flame technology to convect heat and warm the inside of your house. 

With a heat rating of up to 30,000 BTU, this machine can quickly warm an area of 1,000 square feet. You can also control the temperature through a knowledge that has three settings- low, medium, and high. 

Because it uses natural gas, it’s not entirely dependent on electricity, which is excellent if you want to go off the grid. Furthermore, it has an oxygen depletion sensor that shuts it down when detecting too much carbon dioxide in the air. 

The only gripe we had about this product is that some of its crucial upgrades are sold separately. It’s quite a hassle to buy the optional base legs and wall heater fan on a different transaction.

© www.ghpgroupinc.com

Pros

  • Heats an ample space using convection technology
  • Very economical 
  • Has anti-fire safety feature
  • Suitable to use during power outages

Con

  • Upgrades are sold separately
  • Not as durable as its rivals

7. ClimateRight CR-7000 MAX

Most of the heaters in this list are for indoor use, but not the ClimateRight heater. This unit is meant to be installed outside your tiny home and regulates the heat inside your dwelling. It’s got plenty of power to maintain an average temperature of 60 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. 

It’s one of the more powerful heaters in the list with a 7,500 BTU rating that passes through a dual hose system for intake and outflow. It has a variety of uses both indoors and outdoors. You can even use it to heat sheds, cabins, tents, and even your pet’s house. 

Consequently, you can also use this as an air conditioner. Thus, it’s a machine that you can use all year round and not just during the winter.  Despite its bulkiness, it’s quite portable given it only weighs 11 pounds. 

However, the main issue with this heater is the installation process it has to go through. Furthermore, you need to strategically place it in a spot where it can equally heat your tiny home.

© www.climateright.com

Pros

  • Heats a large portion of your tiny home
  • Doubles as an air conditioner
  • Doesn’t take space inside your home
  • Quite easy to move around the house

Cons

  • Not very reliable according to user reviewers
  • Needs to be installed

8. VIPEX 1500W Electric Heater

It’s easy to mistake the VIPEX electric heater as a giant speaker. But make no mistake, this device can help you go through even the coldest winters. It’s one of the lightest heaters in the list at just 4 pounds despite having an 18-inch frame. 

It has two heat settings- low at 900-watts and high at 1,500 watts. Using the remote control, you can adjust the room temperature between 41 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Moreover, it has an 8-hour timer that automatically shuts down the unit.

For safety purposes, its manufacturer also equipped it with falls safe and overheating protection. The machine shuts down when it tips over and if it reaches an unsafe temperature.

Additionally, it also has an LED display that tells the current room temperature. Its control module is also a touchscreen and quite user-friendly.

© www.amazon.com

Pros

  • Very light and portable
  • Has a remote control and touchscreen panel
  • The unit has an oscillation setting to better heat distribution
  • Noticeable room temperature display

Con

  • Appearance is a bit confusing
  • Missing an instructional manual

9. Pelonis Oil Filled Radiator Heater

Aside from electricity, there are numerous energy sources that a heater could use. In this case, the Pelonis Radiator Heater uses oil to generate heat. This type of heater is one of the quickest to heat your tiny home. 

While it uses oil, the Pelonis heater also needs electricity to operate. It has three heating options, namely a low 900-watts, a high 1,500-watts, and an Eco mode. The customized settings allow you to perfectly control the temperature inside your dwelling. 

It also has an LED screen that displays the room temperature and other control options. This unit also has a programmable thermostat, which you can also set using a remote control. 

Pelonis also equipped with an auto-shutoff feature whenever it tips over or detects overheating. Moreover, it also has a wide-angle oscillation to control the flow of warm air better. 

© www.walmart.com

Pros

  • Heats the ai very quickly
  • Has rollers or casters under the unit
  • Wide-angle oscillation 
  • Energy-efficient thanks to its Eco mode

Cons 

  • A bit pricier than its competition
  • Heat real estate is decent

10. BAYKA Portable Space Heater

They say great things come in small packages. It’s probably the best way to describe the BAYKA portable heater. At just over 4 pounds, this machine can quickly heat a small home in just a few minutes.

It has six settings that can help you get the temperature just right. The temperature range it produces is between 900-watts to 1,500-watts. Furthermore, it also has a fan and an oscillation feature. 

Its manufacturer also equipped it with a thermostat for better temp control. The ceramic heater is well-enclosed that you can safely touch the surface of the heater when moving it. The BAYKA heater also has a 1.8-meter cord that extends its placement range.

Finally, it’s a quiet worker that has a 50 decibel noise level when operational. One of our main gripes, though, is its invisible handle design is not too convenient. 

© www.amazon.com/

Pros

  • The oscillation has a full 70-degree angle
  • Lightweight and easy to move around
  • Works quietly 
  • Multiple temperature setting

Cons 

  • Doesn’t have any safety feature
  • Awkward invisible handle

What to Look for in a Portable Heater?

When searching for the right portable heater for your tiny home, there are several things you need to consider. Ideally, you want the heater to be reliable enough during its long hours of operation. 

Aside from that, you may also ask these questions before buying a particular heating product:

  • Is the heater able to adequately heat your room or tiny home? 
  • Does it operate quietly and not produce any unwanted noise?
  • How much would it cost you to operate the heater? 
  • Does it have safety features to keep it from becoming a potential fire hazard?
  • Are there any notable features that are unique only to this product?
  • Is it getting good or bad reviews from its current users?

Ultimately, you want a portable heater that is well-rounded and highly reliable. It’s also a prerogative that it has safety features to ensure it won’t start a fire. 

Conclusion

Portable heaters are best in keeping your tiny house warm because you can quickly move them around. While they may be smaller than central heating units, these heaters are going to help you cope during the winter months inside your home.

Related Questions

What are the different types of heaters in the market?

Heaters are usually classified depending on the heating source they use. The different types of heaters include:

  • Electric heaters
  • Radiant heaters
  • Infrared heaters
  • Fan heaters

What’s the cost of using an electric heater?

Electric heaters have different wattages, which determine the cost to run them. Portable heaters usually have a range of 500-watts to 1,500 watts. Below is their break down:

  • 250-watts- 6 cents an hour
  • 500-watts- 13 cents an hour
  • 1,500-watts- 25 cents an hour
  • 2,400-watts and above- 60 cents an hour

A Guide To Tiny Home Sizes (What Makes A Tiny Home Tiny?)

A Guide To Tiny Home Sizes (What Makes A Tiny Home Tiny?)

The tiny home movement has made a significant rally these past few years as it continues to disrupt the housing industry. Today,  there are roughly 10,000 tiny homes in the US alone. While this figure is not that impressive, it’s proof that people are open to the idea of downsizing.

But what makes a tiny home err… small?

Tiny homes got their names because they are much smaller than your traditional housing. An average tiny house only measures 200 to 400 square feet. In contrast, the average American dwelling is 2,687-square feet, according to the 2015 census by the US government. 

While that might be a bit cramped for most people, some homeowners saw value in small living spaces. The majority of tiny homes sits on a trailer, which allows them to be hauled almost anywhere.

In this post, we will let you in with everything you need to know about tiny homes. You can use this guide to help you decide whether the tiny home lifestyle suits you or not.

What is the Largest a Tiny House can be?

A tiny house can’t exceed precise dimensions . In the US, tiny houses on wheels should not exceed 40-feet in length, 8.5-feet in width, and 13.5-feet in height.

Because of these restrictions, very seldom does a tiny home exceed a floor area of 500 square feet. 

Consequently, most mobile small homes usually have at least 120 square feet of livable space to exempt the unit from getting a building permit.

Much of the limitations for a tiny house on wheels are there to make them road-worthy. The total length of the unit and the tow vehicle should not exceed 65-feet when using the roads or highways.

However, if you plan to build your tiny house on a foundation, you can exceed the dimensions that we’ve just mentioned. In most states, it can be considered as an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) to the primary residence.

 The floor space of a tiny home also varies depending on its number of floors. A small house can have up to two levels of livable space. However, it can also have a third floor meant for storage purposes.

 A Tiny Home is like an RV, Only More Homy

You can say that a tiny home is quite similar to a recreational vehicle (RV). However, the main difference is that RVs still closely resembles a vehicle, while small homes are simply dwellings on wheels.

Most tiny homes resemble traditional housing closely. The only difference is that the former uses lighter materials such as plywood for walls and thin metal sheets for roofs.

Things inside a tiny house are also downsized to accommodate the essentials of a traditional house. Most tiny homes usually have:

  • Living room
  • Bedroom or two
  • Small kitchen
  • Small refrigerator
  • Bathroom with shower
  • Laundry area
  • Air-conditioning
  • Heating System

Another thing that tiny homes have that RVs don’t is the feeling of a home. The facade and design of a tiny home resemble a traditional house. Meanwhile, an RV can feel a bit boxy both from the outside and inside.

 Factors that Determine the Dimensions of a Tiny House

When designing your own tiny home, there are several factors you need to consider. Based on these factors, you can quickly establish the size, shape, and design of the tiny house that best suits your needs and preferences.

Here are the things you need to evaluate before finalizing the blueprint of your small house:

1. Zoning Laws

Different states usually have varying laws when it comes to tiny homes. If you build a tiny home on a foundation, it must cover a minimum land area and must comply with the city’s building code.

Only a few dozen cities in the US cite tiny houses in their regulation handbooks. Hence, if you are not from those cities, you need to build your tiny home under the local law. Aside from size restrictions, the building codes also stipulate strict guidelines like having at least two directional exits for each room.

2. Individual Needs

 We all have different needs and preferences when it comes to our dwelling. Some people may prefer a larger kitchen, while others favor more space for their living room or sleeping quarters. The individual needs of the residents of the tiny home can affect much of its design.

 Another factor to consider is the number of people who will live in it. A couple may share the same bed, but a family with two children may need at least two separate bedrooms. If the tiny home owner expects a regular guest, they may want an additional loft where their visitors could stay.

3. Modes of Transportation

If you plan to build a tiny mobile home, the first thing you need to consider is the tow vehicle. For example, if you own an SUV, can it haul the entire weight of your tiny home? If not, do you need to buy a new one to pull your vehicle?

The length of the towing vehicle can also significantly affect the length of your tiny home. For example, full-size pickup trucks are about a foot or two longer than crossover SUVs. Manufacturers have also produced “gooseneck” tiny homes to maximize the area on top of towing vehicles.

4. Length of the Semi-Trailer

 Tiny homes on wheels usually sit on top of a semi-trailer. For this reason, you can say that the size of the trailer may also limit the length of the tiny home. Consequently, the trailer makes up for roughly 20-percent of the building cost of a tiny home.

If you plan to use a double axel flatbed trailer, it can only hold 7,000 to 10,400 lbs of weight. A single axle flatbed can carry half of that. If the tiny home exceeds 24-feet in length, it will require additional tires and axles.

5. The Size of the Lot

Some jurisdictions allow people to build tiny homes on private property. However, their houses must be made on a foundation, much like traditional residences. The good news, however, is that a tiny home doesn’t usually conform to the lot sizes of a conventional home.

You can own a rural lot that has an area of half an acre to 1.5 acres and still build your tiny home in it. However, it can be quite complicated to build a tiny home in a lot meant for traditional housing, especially in urban areas.

Different Ways to Increase the Size of a Tiny Home

One of the main issues that homeowners have with their small house unit is there is often no room left for your new stuff. If you are unhappy with the current size of your tiny home, you can actually increase its size without having to tear its walls apart.

1. Connecting it to Another Tiny Home Unit

Tiny homes built on a foundation can be extended by connecting it to another tiny home unit. There are numerous ways to do this, but the most typical one is to build a common deck between the two neighboring units.

Aside from a shared deck, you can also connect two tiny homes via another room or structure. The Ohana house is an excellent example of such innovation. In the middle of its two tiny homes is a transparent sunroom that also serves as a common room for its residence.

Container-type tiny homes can also be connected by merely attaching the front or rear of the home to another container unit. In some cases, you can also bore a hole in one of the walls and connect another tiny home unit from there.

2. Installing a Slide Out

Installing a slide-out is another way to increase the real state of your tiny home. These mechanisms extend individual sections of the house to increase the space inside significantly. In some cases, it may even double the livable space of a tiny mobile home. 

A tiny home can have one or more slide-outs depending on the preference of the owner. When installed in a living room, it can add more legroom or extend the walkway. Consequently, adding it to a bedroom can also provide enough space to add a closet.

Sections with slide-outs can also be used for storage purposes. However, slide-outs are also quite expensive, especially when they added to an already complete tiny home unit.

3. Adding a Second Floor 

Mobile tiny homes usually need a ceiling height of only 7 feet, which leaves another 6.5 feet before it reaches its maximum allowable height. For this reason, some tiny home owners choose to add a second floor to their unit.

There are also plenty of design options you can choose when adding a second floor. Some prefer a fully floored second floor because it provides vast living space. While some only install a partial second floor to utilize more vertical space for chandeliers and other decors.  

However, the main challenge with adding a second floor is keeping the structural integrity of the mobile home. The added weight can also result in replacing the current trailer with a larger one. Furthermore, some jurisdictions also don’t allow the second floor on tiny homes on wheels.

How to Maximize the Livable Space in a Tiny Home

You might be wondering how tiny homes can have all of the amenities of a traditional home despite its limited space. The answer lies in maximizing the livable space so you can put in more stuff inside the house.

Below are some ways which tiny home owners have used to fit all the necessary rooms and appliances inside:

1. Downsize Everything

One of the best ways to fit a lot of things inside a tiny home is to downsize everything in it. That means instead of getting a 6-feet tall refrigerator, you may have to settle with a smaller 3-feet high fridge.

Almost everything you see in your house has a smaller version of itself. Washer and dryer combos, for example, can be as little as 1.5 cubic feet. Consequently, flat-screen TVs, too, can be as small as 24-inch.

2. Prioritize Necessities Before Wants

Ultimately, your tiny home can’t have everything that a residential house can offer. And yes, more often than not, compromises need to be made.

When designing your tiny home, you need to weigh necessities and wants. You need a toilet in your tiny home, but should it come with a bathtub? Stuff like this is often taken into consideration when living in a small home.

Often, mobile tiny homes also use batteries or a generator to power everything inside. Most tiny home owners prefer to be off the grid and use renewable energy, such as solar. Hence, they often have fewer electronic appliances and gadgets than your average home.  

3. Get Multi-Purpose Furniture

Saving space inside a tiny home is almost an art. Getting multi-purpose furniture is one sure-fire way of getting more functionality around your tiny house without eating away too much room.

Some couches are foldable and can quickly turn into a bed. There are also chairs with a compartment enclosed in its legs that doubles as a storage bin. Furthermore, some sinks rapidly transform into a tabletop just by putting a wooden plank on top.

 You can find similar dual-purpose products on most home depots, and they are also available online.   

 4.   Add a Loft Whenever Possible

 Tiny homes often have some sections with a lot of headspaces. So, what do you do with them? Adding a loft is a great option to consider.

Most tiny houses can accommodate roughly two to three residents at most. However, if you add a loft over a free spot, then perhaps you can accommodate one more person. The loft can also serve as sleeping quarters for your guests.

 Moreover, you can also use the loft to store some of your stuff. Just make sure that the access to the loft has a secure foothold.

5. Replace Traditional Doors with Sliding Walls  

Traditional doors consume a significant amount of space if you put into the equation their turning radius. For this reason, it’s highly recommendable to instead use sliding walls in most entry points in the house.

Sliding walls also offer a significantly larger doorway than conventional doors. This feature is quite welcome, especially in a cramped environment like a mobile house. Moreover, sliding walls are also generally cheaper and much easier to install.

 Curtains are also used to divide a section of the house. They can also be used to provide a bit of privacy when needed.

 6. Utilize the Outdoor Space

Depending on the weather, you can also utilize the space outside your tiny home for a variety of purposes. For example, you can create a makeshift patio when it’s sunny outside. When parked in a shady area, it’s an excellent opportunity to go on a picnic without leaving your home.

Some tiny homeowners whose unit sits on a foundation also use a vacant piece of land to place their solar panels. Consequently, you can even barbecue outside of your tiny home when it is allowed in the area where you are currently parked.

Conclusion

A tiny home is considered “little” because its size is almost incomparable to the colossal dimensions of a traditional home. While they may be small, it can be significant in other ways, too, such as giving its owner a chance for financial freedom.   

Related Questions

 What is the Smallest a Tiny House can be?

The smallest tiny home that is currently on the market is only 70-square feet. It’s called the XS House from Tumbleweed Tiny Housebuilders, and Jay Shafer designed it. The house is 7-feet wide, 11-feet long, and has a height of 12-feet and 9 inches. 

 Is a special license required when driving a tiny house?

Most states consider tiny homes as RVs, especially when its registered as such. Hence, towing an RV doesn’t require a commercial vehicle license (CVL). Your driver’s license will suffice, provided that your tiny home does not exceed 26,000 lbs, which is rarely the case.

Do Tiny Homes Hold or Lose Value? What You Must Know

Do Tiny Homes Hold or Lose Value? What You Must Know

tiny house lose or hold value

Tiny homes have been growing rapidly popular this year. However, many wonder if tiny homes are reasonable. Typically, people buy a house with a plan to turn it into an investment and make a profit. But can you hold on to the same plan with a tiny home?

So, do tiny homes hold or lose value? 

Unfortunately, tiny homes depreciate at the same rate as mobile homes and cars lose value.

A tiny home could hold (or appreciate) value only if it happens to be unique that there is a high demand for it (like a collectible car), which is very unlikely. On top of that, you also need to keep it in peak condition over a long period. 

But why exactly do tiny homes lose value? And when it comes to appreciation and depreciation, how do tiny homes and small houses differ? 

Why Tiny Homes Lose Value

Tiny homes are basically houses on wheels. With that in mind, they are similar to RV or a trailer, and banks treat them as such. 

Automobiles don’t last long as much as homes. The longer they are used, the more run-down they get, meaning if you put them back up for sale, they will make less, if any, profit. 

Technically speaking, tiny homes are vehicles. And vehicles, as we all know it, depreciate in time. Sadly, tiny homes depreciate faster than any vehicle. That’s because unlike cars that you only use for driving, you don’t just drive around in your tiny house, you live in it. 

Do Tiny Homes Hold or Lose Value: Wear and Tear

If you live in a traditional house, you’ll eventually notice little damage here and there. You might see a scratch in the paint, stains on your carpet, or a dent in your marble countertop. 

These things can be easily overlooked if you live in a big house, especially if you always take good care of your home. It’s hard to avoid wear and tear. 

The same is true with a tiny house. But unlike in big houses, damages in tiny homes are visible. Because you have a smaller space in your tiny home, “little” damages may look so much bigger. 

There’s also another problem with living in a smaller space. The smaller the room is, the messier it will look. Also, there’s not much room to spread out without the chance of punching a hole in the wall. 

A tiny home can easily look dirty, damaged, and crowded. And if you try to sell a home like that, how much profit do you expect?

Tiny houses are also not intended to withstand a lot of weather. RVs and cars can last long only if you store them in a garage. And if that’s the case, they usually depreciate slower. 

This applies to tiny houses, as well. But of course, you intend to use your tiny home, not just to store it in a garage. Chances are, you will be driving around the country with your tiny house, have a blast, withstand heavy rain, snow, wind, hail, or even falling rock. 

That tiny house of yours will surely experience a lot of wear and tear, and eventually, you will have to start looking for a new home.

But there’s still a problem… you will have a hard time selling your tiny house to finance your new search, and that’s because you possess damaged goods. 

Sure, people don’t like to buy a damaged tiny house that’s been zipping the road and got beaten by rather devastating hail storms. 

tiny house lose or hold value bank loan

Do Tiny Homes Hold or Lose Value: Banks and Loans

You also need to consider how banks see tiny homes. Most people turn to banks to get loans to buy or build a house. Banks usually hand out loans if the blueprints, payment plan, and credit score look excellent.

Banks don’t invest money into things that they know that won’t outlast them. They only invest in things they know that will pay off. And for them, tiny houses are not worth it. 

You also need to consider how banks would see someone who wants to get a loan to buy a tiny home. Chances are, the bank will think that you aren’t in a situation to pay the loan back. In case you aren’t able to pay your obligations, they can’t flip your home and sell for a profit. 

Banks are more likely to approve loans to rich people with good credit scores. And if you’re rich, then you won’t be needing a loan anyway, so this case is just a fiction. 

tiny house insurance

The Differences Between Tiny Homes and Small Homes

Small homes and tiny homes have a lot of differences. 

And this section forward will explain their financial, physical, and functional differences.

Tiny Home VS Small Home: Financial Differences

Tiny Home

As discussed above, tiny homes, like cars, RVs, trucks, trailers, and boats, depreciate as time goes by. And one of the main reasons is that tiny homes get worn out over time, aren’t a safe investment for banks, and aren’t as durable as traditional houses. 

And it’s not only banks who have a strong objection against tiny houses but also insurance companies. Tiny houses are a hard sell for these companies to shell out insurance for. And if in case you’re able to convince them, the monthly payment will be extremely enormous anyway. 

Tiny houses are fragile, especially that they are more susceptible to damage both from weather and damaging effects of simply driving it around. 

The chances of your tiny home to get damaged or destroyed are pretty high, which means there’s a high possibility of the insurance company to pay you. Something as simple as a hail storm could lead to the insurance company paying you a lot, and that’s something they don’t want on their plate. 

And for insurance companies, tiny homes are far worse than cars. Cars are also relatively fragile, but then again, unlike tiny homes, you don’t actually live in them. 

When you live in a place, the chances of that place getting damaged exponentially increases. And besides, it’s not like you’re only going to store your tiny house in your garage, where it would be protected against hail storms, thieves, and vandals. 

And remember, when you hit the road with your tiny house, the risk of a crash significantly increases. 

In 2013, the motor vehicle deaths totaled 33,804 for a death rate of 10.7 per 100,000. And the odds of an American driver dying as a result of automobile crash is 1 in 77, according to data

This is to say that anyone on the road is at risk of road accidents. Collisions can cost insurance companies thousands of dollars. So several companies just avoid insuring tiny houses. 

small house

Small Home

The price of building tiny houses and small homes are almost the same. The average cost of building a tiny home is anywhere between $15,000 to $23,000. Small houses, however, can cost a bit higher, considering you have to purchase a property and lay a foundation. 

Still, small houses are far cheaper than an average home (approx. 2,500 sq. ft.) that costs anywhere between $210,000 to $310,000. 

Unlike tiny houses, you can insure small homes (and insurance companies are willing to do so). Small houses are more durable and can last longer. They could even be around for generations (i.e., several small stone houses have been around for centuries. Check this out!)

Insurance companies see small houses a safe investment. Apparently, banks and insurance work hand in hand. 

If you go to a bank to ask for a loan to build a small house, you’ll likely to exit the bank with a huge amount of money in your pocket (provided, of course, that you have a good credit score, practical payment plan, and reasonable building plan). 

For banks, small homes are a much better investment. Plus, they know that small homes are much more durable and appreciate in market value (as long as you take good care of them). 

Small houses are also easier to remodel, update, and repair with a much better result. And if you add a garden and lawn, it would have an added appeal. Since small houses are immobile, the house and its inhabitants can contribute to a community, which also helps with appreciation. 

Tiny Home VS Small Home: Physical Differences

Tiny Home

The average size of a tiny house is about 500 square feet and are usually no bigger than 20 by 8 feet. Tiny houses usually have 120 square feet of living space. 

Tiny homes are intended to be only this tiny, so they can be easily transported from one place to another. Some tiny houses are simply perched on a trailer and towed to different places, depending on the season. 

Most tiny housers equip their homes with furniture and fixtures that have dual purposes. The couch can also be used as storage, and the stairs could also be a drawer. You get the idea. 

But sometimes things with dual purposes aren’t always practical. For one, you usually cannot use both of its purposes at the same time. For example, a couch could be turned into a bed. But you can’t use both purposes at the same time.

Since you want to save space, almost everything in your house has a purpose. While there are some that like a minimalist lifestyle, many start to feel overwhelmed by it after some time. 

The limited space in tiny houses makes it hard to decorate and keep sentimental items, which could be an issue for some people. 

But there’s a silver lining that we tend to overlook. The tiny house lifestyle inspires us to keep only the things that we really need. Plus, you can build your tiny home to fit your every need for a relatively affordable price. 

Small Home

Small homes can be the same size as a tiny house, but they are usually as big as 1,500 sq. feet. 

And unlike tiny homes, small houses have a foundation and are affixed on a piece of land. You could build a garden, porches, and even a basement. 

When it comes to decorating, you’ll have more freedom in small houses. You can use items without the need for dual functionality. You can keep sentimental items like pictures, centerpieces, and that huge wooden closet you got from your dad. 

Tiny Home VS Small Home: Functionality Differences

Tiny Home

Unlike small houses, tiny houses are marketed as a way to live a conservationist lifestyle. This has a lot of merits. You can use solar panels and hook up to a generator to power up your tiny home. Self-composting toilets are also a great way to conserve water and “go green.” 

You’ll also have a lesser carbon footprint if you live in a tiny home.

And if you’ve been wanting to live a nomadic lifestyle, then a tiny house is a good option. They are typically on wheels, meaning you could go anywhere you want to go. 

Tiny houses on wheels allow you to explore various places and cultures without having to commit to staying anywhere. 

Other great things about tiny houses are there functional kitchens and bathrooms. A tiny kitchen can have dishwashers, ovens, stoves, toilets, sinks, showers, etc. It’s like living in a house, but smaller.

But worrying about the weight of your tiny home is a setback, at least to some people.  When you need to travel between states, you need to weigh your trailer on a scales. And there could be fines if you exceed some pounds than what’s only allowed. 

So, if you’re thinking about the tiny house movement, then you need to think about everything that you’re going to put into it. Are you ready to let go of some of your valuables? 

And because weight is a major concern in tiny houses, you have to contemplate your design — both interior and exterior. Like, choosing between a porcelain sink (which looks undeniably fancy) and a stainless steel sink. 

That’s not the only concern. Since your tiny house is not situated in a permanent spot, you will have to find a place to park it wherever you go. 

There are already a lot of RV parks or trailer parks in almost every state. However, the parking fee is usually as much as spending a week in a hotel. 

Small Homes

When it comes to carbon footprint, size does matter. Basically, the smaller your house, the lesser carbon footprint you’ll have. 

And because small homes are (mostly) the same size as tiny houses, it takes less to heat, cool, and power it. Like tiny homes, you can use solar panels and generators to power your small house.

Small homes, since they are perched in a permanent spot, could easily hook up to water, electricity, and even the internet. 

You can also contribute to the community if you have a small house. When you stay in a place for a long time, you get to know your neighbor and the culture around you. 

With a small house, you don’t have to squeeze yourself in a loft or use a fold-up kitchenette because you now have a full-size kitchen. 

Hold up! The fun doesn’t stop there. Unlike tiny houses, you can expand your small home. A tiny home may not be able to accommodate a growing family. 

Final Thoughts

Tiny homes depreciate like cars and RVs, while small houses appreciate in market value. While this may be a major setback, there are still a lot of things tiny homes offer that small houses don’t, such as being able to go greener, live a minimalist lifestyle, and being able to live a nomadic living. 

Related Questions

How much does it cost to live in a tiny house?

Living in a tiny house can cost anywhere from $10,000 to $200,000. 

Can you legally live in a tiny house?

If your tiny house is on a foundation, you must follow the same building codes as residential homes. Tiny houses on wheels may fall under the recreational vehicle code

A Tiny House Can Have Slide Outs. Here’s How

A Tiny House Can Have Slide Outs. Here’s How

There’s only so much space to go around in a tiny home. For this reason, some manufacturers thought of adding slide outs to a mobile tiny home. And it worked! 

When done right, slide outs can increase the floor space of a tiny home by a few dozen square feet. In some cases, it may double your tiny home real estate, depending on its design. This feature allows the tiny mobile home to have additional space when needed while keeping its street-legal size. 

The idea of adding slide outs is nothing new. The first ones to popularize this concept are, you guessed it, recreational vehicles (RVs). Although similar, the construction of slide outs for RVs and tiny homes also has a slight difference.

In this post, we will discuss more how a tiny home can have slide outs. Let’s get started.

Can a Tiny House Have Slide Outs?

You can integrate slide outs into a small home. However, it’s an arduous process that requires diverse skills in engineering design, carpentry, electrical installation, welding, and more. 

Because it’s a complex project, most people choose to hire professionals to do the work, instead of doing it themselves. However, the additional materials and amount of labor involved also make a slide out retrofitting or installation quite expensive. 

Slideouts can be installed in a variety of ways. 

It can be integrated on the sides of the tiny home, in the front and the back. Multi-floored tiny homes can also have it on any floors, provided that it doesn’t compromise its structural integrity. 

Initial Steps to Take When Adding a Slide Out

  1. Design a slide out rig that won’t structurally weaken your tiny home. You can consult a structural engineer to point you where to weld support beams. Choose a method to insulate the walls of your slide out. 
  2. After this, decide how to seal the “joints” so moisture won’t enter your home. Sealing the joints also prevent cooled or heated air from escaping. 
  3. Determine what the added space will be used for. Will it be used to accommodate furniture, a large appliance? Or will it be used for a particular part of the house such as a bedroom?
  4. Buy a motor and gearing mechanism with positive locks. Pick a drive system that is watertight sealed. Decide whether to use a manual rocker switch or drive electronics for your slide out panel.  
  5. Choose which one to use – a hydraulic drive assembly or a gearing or rack system. Plan where the actuation system will be mounted and if it needs to be welded into the chassis. 
  6. Pick the orientation of the glide system between a floor-mounted and a side-mounted. You may need a unique mechanism if you choose to install a ramp system. 
  7. If you have furniture currently inside your tiny home, take it out temporarily. Remove any components that sit underneath your vehicle, such as the fuel tank. 

Things You Need to Install a Slide Out

  • Awning
  • Carpentry toolkit
  • Composite wall panels
  • Drive and actuating assembly
  • Electrical toolbox
  • Metal tubing
  • Plumbing toolkit
  • Windows in frames

Best Examples of Tiny Homes with Slide Outs

Tiny home manufacturers recognized the value of slide outs to their customers. As such, several companies have offered tiny home on wheels (THOWs) that are equipped with a slide out features. 

Below are some of the best examples of THOWs with slide outs:

1. The Aurora

The Aurora is a 26-feet long mobile small house developed by Canadian design firm Zero Squared. At a push of a button, it transforms from an 8.5-feet wide mobile home to a 15-feet wide dwelling when parked. 

The Aurora’s floor space measures 374-square feet when its slide outs are expanded. The vast amount of space allowed the designers of the unit to incorporate an urban apartment layout. The floor space is enough to accommodate a queen Murphy bed on the main floor.

The house also features a full-size couch and a built-in entertainment center. It also has its own kitchen complete with a 30-inch stainless refrigerator and stainless steel range with exhaust hood.

To regulate the desired temperature, the manufacturers installed R-26 wall insulation using structural insulated panels. Meanwhile, they use R42 insulation in the tiny home’s roof. A 50-amp hookup powers the house, but it can also go off-grid by using solar panels.

2. The Sawtooth Toy Hauler

Tiny Idahomes built this 34-feet long tiny home with a 6-feet wide slide out in a bedroom located on the gooseneck of the trailer. The custom-built Sawtooth Toy Hauler is 8.5-feet wide and 13.5-feet tall. It seats on a 34-inch fifth-wheel trailer that can be pulled by a full-size SUV or pickup truck.

Because of its humongous floor space, it can accommodate a living room, two bedrooms, a kitchen, and a bathroom. Its manufacturer also installed a 6-gallon propane tank for its water heater. 

The rear end of the tiny home also has a fold-down ramp door for extra storage space. It can fit an all-terrain vehicle or a buggy while still keeping plenty of livable space. Moreover, the gooseneck bedroom can easily fit a queen-size bed. 

Its manufacturer also offers a wide variety of additional features and customization. This includes making the unit completely off the grid. 

3. Double Slide Outs Tiny Home

This tiny home can transform into a spacious living area matched with a beautiful interior at the touch of a button. Created by Mint Tiny Homes, this 36-feet long stationary small house has two slide outs.

The house’s exterior is made of board-and-batten siding paired with a metal roof. It has two doors, one leading to the main floor bedroom and the other into the living room. 

The first slide out adds space into the downstairs bedroom. The extension brings in an extra room around the bed and places to put, say, a closet. Meanwhile, the second slide outstretches the living room space. 

Its manufacturer also loaded it with amenities such as a gas cooktop with oven, refrigerator, dishwasher, and a breakfast bar. The bathroom has a tile shower wand has a solid surface counter. Above it is a small loft that you can access via a ladder. 

4. Jamboree

This 250-square-feet Jamboree tiny home is another offering from Tiny Idahomes. It was first introduced during the 2016 Tiny House Jamboree, which was held in Colorado Springs. The house features, among other things, three slide outs. 

It’s been certified by the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) and was deemed road-worthy. Among its many amenities is a living room that has a built-in sofa bed and a dining room for two persons. 

The main floor bedroom has built-in cabinets and storage shelves. It also has two large windows that provide excellent ventilation. Furthermore, its kitchen features Corian countertops, a refrigerator, mahogany cabinets, and a 22-inch gas range. 

Going into the exterior of the house, it is a mixture of the modern and country-style layout. Furthermore, it’s equipped with 55 gallons and 38-gallon holding tanks. It connects to the grid through a 30-Amp cord.  

5. Ray McCue’s Tiny Home

Ray McCue, a 57-year-old engineer, designed a tiny home for his retirement. The house features an innovative gable slide out, which has numerous purposes.

The largest slide outs serve as his entertainment center and office, while another turns into a dining room table. Meanwhile, the couch also turns into a full-sized bed using sliding mechanisms. Not to mention, a smaller slide out serves as storage for his barbecue and solar batteries. 

It took Ray, roughly two years to design and another year to build his tiny home. He also sold his house so he could afford a few extra luxuries into his tiny retirement home. But, according to him, everything was worth it.

His tiny modern home now has amenities such as a spa shower with jet system, two-basin kitchen sink, and a 4- burner stove and oven. The house also has a loft for storage and can be used as a sleeping area. 

Pros and Cons of Adding Slide Outs in a Tiny Home

Tiny homes don’t necessarily need to have slide outs. But having them added to your house solves a lot of problems related to living in a house. However, installing a slide out in a tiny home is an arduous process, especially if you do it yourself. 

Below are the advantages and disadvantages of adding slide outs in your small house:

Pros

  • Provides additional living space where you can add a lot of stuff or amenities
  • The added space can also transform into a functional room or walkway
  • Slide outs can also be used to store things such as solar batteries and even a bicycle
  • It also eases some pain points when your tiny home transitions from mobile to fixed and vice versa  

Cons

  • Requires a lot of funding, especially if you want it added to a complete tiny home unit
  • Insulating a slide out is very difficult. Filling the gap between the exterior wall and slide out requires the services of an expert builder.
  • Water can also penetrate the gaps of a slide out if not done properly
  • Some slide out mechanisms are prone from breaking and requires constant maintenance

Overall, slide outs offer a lot of opportunities to the homeowner, especially in terms of living space. However, it also poses some serious problems when not done right. Hence, you need to measure the pros and cons before you install them. 

Deciding on Which Part of the House Should Have Slide Out

You can install a slide out virtually on any part of the house that has walls. You can install a slide out on the front, rear, or sides of your unit. Deciding where to put it is usually tricky and there are several things you need to consider first.  

Planning where to put the slide outs also entail careful planning. It all starts with what part of the house do you feel need additional space. Is it the living room, the bedroom, or perhaps you want a storage space?

If you plan to build a slide out over an already completed tiny home unit, you first need to consult a structural engineer. They can tell you whether it is plausible to implement your idea or if the plan will compromise the unit’s structural integrity.

Slide outs are usually placed next to the walls of the tiny home. However, you need to add support beams and other building components to make it more stable. Be sure that the added materials and the total weight of the home won’t exceed the current limit of the trailer it’s on.

Hiring a Professional or Doing It Yourself

You can hire a professional to add a slide out, or you can treat it like a Do-It-Yourself (DIY) project. However, there are pros and cons to each route. 

Hiring a professional slide out installer or retrofitter is more expensive than making it a DIY project. However, their craftsmanship and the end product is likely much better than what you could produce. 

Moreover, if you hire the right team for the job, it would only take a jiffy to finish the project. 

On the flip side, doing the project yourself can be quite cheaper, especially since you won’t have to pay for labor. However, some of the installations can be quite complex; it would take you longer to finish. 

Some projects also require specific knowledge which can’t be learned by merely watching tutorial videos online. If you DIY the installation, you need to pack a lot of patience during the trial and error phase.

Installing the Slide Out Before or After the Tiny Home is Built

Ideally, you want to install the slide outs before your tiny home is fully built. Doing so will allow you to carefully plan the floor design and where things will be placed ahead of time. This procedure will also ensure structural integrity and compliance with the building code. 

Slide outs can be quite tricky to add in a tiny home. Unlike RVs, most mobile small homes do not have a unibody chassis or frame. Instead, it follows the design perspective of a typical house—albeit with thinner walls and lighter materials.

However, if you already have the tiny home fully furnished, you can still add slide outs. Very few tiny home owners have tried this because of its labor-intensive. 

The challenging part about this procedure is removing most of what’s inside your tiny home. Furthermore, you might also need to disassemble several places in your small home, including its walls. 

Hence, if you want a tiny home integrated with slide outs, make sure you add them during the construction of the unit and not after. 

Conclusion

Limited space is one of the main challenges that persist in tiny homes. For people who want additional living space, adding a slide out is the optimal choice. It might be quite expensive, but the comfort it brings is rewarding. 

Related Questions

Is slide out legal to have in a Tiny Home?

Yes, they are. But you also have to abide by precise measurements prescribed by the building code and the road user’s law. For example, a tiny home on wheels must not exceed 8.5-feet in width for it to be road-worthy.

If your tiny home is going to be built on a foundation, it must comply with the jurisdiction’s building codes. 

Is it Expensive to Install Slide Outs?

Yes, it’s costly. Hiring a professional will cost you around $4,000 to $8,000 depending on the materials used and labor fees. If you plan to do it yourself, it will cost you anywhere between $1,500 and $2,500. 

If you want more bang for your buck, the best route is to buy a tiny home installed with slide out from a manufacturer. This move will save you tons of time and money compared to adding the slide out to a complete tiny home. 

How Long does it Take to Add a Slide Out?

It depends on the complexity of the project and the mechanisms to be used. A professional installer can finish it in a month or two. However, doing it by yourself may take several months to even a year, depending on your schedule. 

Get Your Tiny Home Connected: How to Get Internet

Get Your Tiny Home Connected: How to Get Internet

get your tiny home connected surfing the web

The tiny home movement is a practical campaign that inspires people to live a more affordable and sustainable living. While many have already joined the movement, a lot of people are still skeptical about the tiny house lifestyle because of the challenges it imposes. 

One of the concerns of tiny house aspirants is how to get fast and reliable internet service to their tiny home. 

This article will go through the ins and outs of how to get your tiny home connected. 

Get Your Tiny Home Connected

Sure, when your tiny home is near or within the grid, connecting to the internet is easy as pie. It’s even easier for tiny homes that are affixed in a permanent property and is on the grid. 

If you live in the city, you have a lot of internet options to choose from. However, the farther you are from the city, and the closer you are to living off-the-grid, the more difficult it is to get connected. 

And chances are, once you connect to the internet, the experience would not be as smooth as it would be in a regular home within the city. 

If you live in someone’s backyard, then the easiest option would be to share their service — only, of course, if they agree to it. More on this will be discussed later. 

How to Get Internet Connection for Your Tiny Home

The good news is that you can still connect to the internet even if you’re living off-grid. There are a few internet options you can pick, but take note that each has its pros and cons. 

Wired Cable Internet

If you live within a city or other developed residential areas, you can connect to the internet via a traditional cable hook-up (or DSL). It is the easiest and most affordable solution to get connected. 

wired connection tiny house

Wired internet connection has some advantages over WiFi. There’s no denying that WiFi has gotten so much faster over the last few years. And besides, WiFi helps us handle most of our everyday tasks. 

Wired connection is way slower than WiFi, but it excels in some ways. A DSL connection can transfer files faster between devices on your network compared to WiFi. This is because your internet connection won’t matter on this, but only the speeds your local network hardware can provide. 

Local speed is important in some aspects, including:

  • If you have devices streaming from a media server of your network, a wired connection will give you a great boost in terms of the quality of the stream.
  • Backups are way faster over a wired connection. This is helpful, especially if you have a lot of devices that back up to a backup server or shared hard drive. 

When it comes to the internet connection, it’s not only the speed that we should consider but also the latency. 

Latency is an important factor. In case you don’t know, latency pertains to the delay or the amount of time it takes to send traffic from one device to another. Latency, in speed tests, is referred to as ping rate and is usually measured in milliseconds (ms). 

Pros

  • Faster transfer speed
  • A good option for a home office
  • Connection speed is usually faster than wireless
  • Offers more security than wireless

Cons

  • Can be expensive and difficult to set up
  • Your location is limited as you need to connect to a cable or port
  • Sharing files can be less convenient as you must be cabled
  • Requires lots of cables and ports
  • Not convenient for public use

Wireless Internet

Wireless internet has become widely used all around the globe. It offers prestige convenience and fast connection, making daily internet tasks seamless. 

You can connect several devices to your wireless network without the need for cables and ports. You can connect your laptops, tablets, and smartphones to it with the freedom to move around freely while still maintaining a strong connection. 

Using your mobile phone to get a wireless connection is the most common option, especially if you have a good mobile data plan. This is called a hotspot. 

The only problem with using your phone to get a wireless connection is that you cannot simultaneously use it as a phone. But of course, in every problem, there’s a solution. You can use 4G LTE or data-only plans wireless routers to free up your phone for regular use. 

Pros

  • You can move around your tiny house while still connected to your wireless network. 
  • The wireless network does not require cables 
  • Several devices can connect to your wireless internet connection
  • You can use phones as a mobile hotspot, saving you money
  • Most establishments (like cafes and restaurants) offer free wireless connection
  • You can transfer files to other devices connected to the wireless network without the need for cables

Cons

  • Transferring files is usually slower than a wired connection
  • You may experience slow connection if there are too many devices connected to the network
  • Wireless connection has higher latency. 
  • Items in your tiny house may block the signal and cause lowered speeds
  • Interference from other electrical devices can also slow down your internet speed
  • The wireless connection usually loses signal. When streaming, dropped signals may cause your media to buffer. 
  • In mobile hotspots, the strength of your wireless connection depends on your location. If you’re in a secluded area, getting a signal may be hard. 
  • Using your phone as a hotspot means you cannot use your phone simultaneously. 
  • A wireless connection is less secured. Hackers may access your information and bandwidth. 

There are things you can do to reduce interference and enjoy seamless browsing. 

Wireless connection works like magic, but it is not. It’s basically radio waves. And there’s a lot of factors that can interfere with radio waves, which causes your wireless connection to become slow, weak, and unreliable. 

The common cause of interference is to remove obstructions around your router. Here are the things you can do:

  • Put your router in the middle of your house. 
  • Position the antenna of your router vertically. 
  • Place your router in an elevated area. You’ll get a better reception if the router is on your table, not on the floor. 
  • Household appliances like cordless phones and microwave ovens can cause interference. Do not place your router near household devices that may interfere with your signal.

Satellite Internet

Satellite internet is probably one of the best internet options. As the name implies, your connection will come directly from a satellite up above the skies, which means no problems here on Earth can affect your connection. 

get your tiny home connected satellite internet

Also, what’s best about satellite internet is that you can still get reliable internet connection no matter where you are — be in on top or bottom of a mountain. The only downside is that you won’t get internet connection if the signal is blocked, say if you’re underground. 

Satellite connection is perfect for tiny housers who want to put down roots in a secluded area or a place far from the grid. 

However, compared to wireless and cabled connections, the speed of a satellite connection is still far worse. Satellite connections may not be the best option for modern-day users. The slow bandwidth is not suitable for streaming videos or even for playing online games. 

Many companies offer satellite internet. The plans are usually tiered like mobile data plans, but cheaper. 

Pros

  • Satellite internet is available in most areas, especially in places that cable and wireless connection cannot reach. 
  • The prices are more affordable.
  • If you use satellite connection in a basement, you may experience dropped signals or slow bandwidth.
  • A satellite connection can accommodate several devices, so everyone in the household can connect to the internet all at the same time. 
  • It is easy to use. Your service provider will set up your account and install a receiver outside your tiny house. Once finished, you’re ready to go. 
  • Satellite internet does not require additional equipment. 

Cons

  • The Fair Access Policy (FAP) limits the speed of a user’s daily internet use. That means during peak hours of use, you will experience a slower connection that it would be if you’re using DSL or cable connection. 
  • The weather can cause your network to slow down. Rain, snow, clouds, and even high winds can contribute to lost data signals, which causes an interruption in your connection. 
  • The strength of your internet connection will depend on the placement of the receiver. There must be no trees blocking the receiver. 
  • Rain can cause interference referred to as rain fade. This can lead to slower download and upload speeds and intermittent connections. 
  • Acquiring satellite internet can be expensive. The installation can also add to the total cost, unless if it’s provided by the service provider.

Connect to a Neighbor or Host

Sharing internet connection with your relative, friend, or landlord who lives near you may be the easiest solution to stay connected. 

This is the best option if you live in their backyard. Connecting to your neighbor’s wireless connection is a good option, but because of the distance, you may get a slower connection.

The best and most reliable method would be to string an ethernet cable from their house to your tiny home. With that cable, you can set up your wireless router for your house. 

Using this method, you do not have to piggyback to the main router since you already have a direct cable to your home. You also don’t have to worry about the signal strength. As long as the modem in the main house is functioning, then you’re good to go. 

Of course, this option is only viable if your neighbor agrees to this kind of set up as this would affect their internet usage. 

A few reasons why your neighbor might not agree to this set up are:

  • Sharing their internet connection means sharing the bandwidth. The more devices connected to the network, the slower the connection and the higher latency there will be. 
  • Whatever the reason they have an internet connection — be it for business, work, or entertainment purposes — they do not want irritating internet interruptions, which will likely happen if there are too many devices connected to the network. 

Pros

  • Connecting to a neighbor’s internet network means you do not have to subscribe to a new service. 
  • You’ll be able to save money by sharing an existing connection. 
  • It is the cheapest and easiest solution to get your tiny home connected. 
  • You can connect to their internet connection wirelessly.

Cons

  • If the wireless connection is slow, you may need to use a cable to connect to their network. This requires an additional cost and setting up. 
  • You will have to rely on your “host” keeping their router working. 
  • If a problem occurs, you will have to rely on your host to get the problem fixed. 
  • If the host has already a lot of users in their household, then you may only be getting a slow bandwidth, which can affect your overall surfing experience. 
  •  This may not be the best option if you need an internet connection for work or business as interruptions and speed are not reliable.

How Much Data Do You Need?

Internet providers usually offer network connections in a tiered plan. So before getting an internet connection, it helps if you determine how much data you will actually need. 

netflix data usage

Here are some ideas to help you determine your data usage:

  • One gig of data lets you send 100,000 emails without attachments.
  • One gig of data lets you stream music for 10 hours. 
  • You can watch a lot of YouTube videos, but the number depends on the quality of the videos. 
    • 6 hours of 240p videos;
    • 4 hours of 360p videos;
    • 2 hours of 480p videos;
    • 1 hour of 720p videos; and
    • 30 minutes of 1080p videos
  • In one gig of data, you can stream on Netflix or Hulu for several hours, again, depending on the quality of the movies. 
    • 3 hours of movie per gig on low quality
    • 2 hours of movie per gig on medium quality
    • 30 to 45 minutes of movie per gig on high quality

As you can see, streaming videos uses a lot of data. You can cut your bill down pretty big if you can control that. To save data, you can turn off the autoplay feature of your browser or social media apps like Facebook.

And if you’re going to watch videos, you can reduce your data usage if you watch them on low quality. 

Do You Really Need an Internet Connection?

The internet has made several tasks easy and convenient. 

Thanks to the internet, you can now easily connect with your loved ones who live far away, shop without leaving your home, watch countless movies and TV series, work remotely, or manage your business in the comfort of your home.

surfing internet

Could we live without the internet? We guess not. The majority of people and businesses use the internet to perform everyday tasks. 

To have an internet connection or not is entirely your choice. Maybe you need it for your business or work, or maybe you just want it for entertainment or to stay connected with everyone else. Or maybe you don’t see it as a necessity or want to avoid the internet of things. 

An internet connection is not obligatory, but it sure is a nice thing to have. 

Conclusion

There are lots of ways to get your tiny home connected to the internet regardless if you live on or off the grid. 

Each option has advantages over the other. 

Cabled connection offers a more secure internet experience and faster file transfer between the devices connected to the network. Wireless connection, on the other hand, offers mobility and wider accessibility. 

Satellite internet gets your tiny home connected regardless if you’re in a secluded place. And if none of these options fit the bill, you can ask your neighbor if you can connect to their internet. 

Related Questions

What is the fastest satellite internet? 

The speed of your internet connection depends on your area. In some places, Viasat offers speeds up to 12 Mbps, and HughesNet, another satellite internet provider, delivers speeds up to 25 Mbps. 

How can I access free internet?

You can ask your neighbor if you can connect to their network. But if that’s not an option, you can go to cafes and restaurants that offer free WiFi connection (usually only for customers, though). 

Most public libraries offer free internet access.