Best Ways to Heat Your Tiny Home:
If you live in a cold climate you will need to heat your tiny home. Heating a small area like a tiny home is relatively easy. A tiny Home can become overheated quite easily even in cold climates. That being said: I recommend you have two types of heating guaranteeing you will have heat if one of your energy sources fails.
Straight from the RV industry these miniature furnaces are a tried and true method to heat your tiny home.
Advantages of a propane gas furnace
- A propane furnace supplies immediate steady warmth which is thermostatically controlled.
- It can run safely for many hours without supervision and can be used as a primary heat source.
- The heat can be ducked to different parts of the structure.
- Using gas removes this task from your other energy systems. It requires 12 volts to run the igniter and the fan.
- They are relatively light weight and inexpensive and clean to use.
Disadvantages of a propane gas furnace:
- The propane furnace needs to be built into a cabinet reducing valuable storage space.
- You will have the expense of propane and the necessity of refilling a propane tank. If you are staying in the same place for a long time a propane company will bring you a large tank then come monthly to refill it.
You have probably seen the Dickinson Marine Newport P9000 Propane Fireplace on the wall of many a tiny home. Designed for yachts and sail boats it bolts right to the wall. With excellent thermal efficiency if provides a pleasant atmosphere viewing the flame thru a glass window. It does not have a thermostat and can’t be modified to have one. You open the door and use a long lighter to start it. The control knob ranges from low heat to high. Cost is around $900.00. Produces between 5,000 and 7,500 BTU.
I love everything about wood stoves from gathering firewood to kindling the fire. I love the soothing ambiance watching the flame thru the window. Luckily, I also like the burned wood smell it adds to the entire interior of the tiny home.
Most wood stoves will produce way too much heat for a tiny home. But this Cubic Cub Mini Wood Stove would be just the right size. It measures only 11 x 12 x 10.5. and produces 6000 to 14000 BTU’s. You will need to cut your wood into very small pieces.
A wood stove should not be your primary tiny homes heat source. It works well in tandem with a propane heater that can kick on via the thermostat when the wood stove runs out of fuel in the middle of the night. If you are living off-grid burning wood will lower your dependency on other energy sources.
One guy I talked to uses Duraflame Fire Log, 5 lb, 6-Pack for fuel in his mini wood stove. He easily cuts the logs to the right size and says they burn for hours.
Other versions of wood stoves run on other solid fuel like Wood Fuel Pellets –. The pellet stove usually has a system to feed the fuel in slowly. My pellet stove burned a large bag of pellets every two days. The mechanism needed to be cleaned of tar and gunk regularly.
Note: With any heater using combustion you will to ensure a source of fresh air. This can come directly thru an air intake duct to the appliance or thru a passive air duct. See my page on proper venting for a tiny home.
In-Floor Radiant heat:
In-Floor Radiant hot-water heat is comfortable and quiet. You will never have cold feet again. However, unless you have serious plumbing skills it will need to be professionally installed and can be pricey. They require an area for the plumbing shown here.
There are electric in-floor radiant heaters that do not require plumbing. Rather a wire or panel is laid under the flooring. These are easier to install and while they claim to be “energy-efficient” you will want to be tied to the grid for a good source of electricity.
Radiant-heat floor mats (shown below) slip under area rugs and plug into a standard electrical outlet. These small units might be all you need in a small space like a tiny home.
A Mini-Split is a type of ductless air conditioner more properly called a heat pump. These can produce both heating and cooling. They also dehumidify the air reducing the risk of mold. The inside and outdoor unit are connected with a refrigerant pipe. This piping is easier to install and require less space than traditional heating ducts. Both units need to be connect to electricity. A Mini-Split, while considered energy efficient, uses a good deal of energy so it might not be suited for off-grid living. But, for homes on-grid these are a good choice for heating your tiny home. You can connect more than one inside unit dispersing the airflow evenly throughout the structure. Click here to find out more.
There are a variety of other electric heaters that work well to heat your tiny home.
Radiant Floor Mats. Oil-filled radiant heaters. Baseboard heaters. Electric fireplaces. Electric Space Heaters.
Other types of electric heaters:
Here is a good YouTube video about heating your tiny home:
Here is a link to a site that will help you calculate the amount of BTU’s your heater will need to produce to properly heat your tiny home.