Upon buying or building a tiny home, one question that may pop up in a new homeowner’s mind is “what is the best way for me to cool and warm my house?” There are many ways to go about this, and the best option is usually dependent on the homeowner’s budget and desired aesthetic as well as the tiny home’s square footage.
Here is a list of seven different HVAC options for tiny homes:
Ductless Mini-Split Air Conditioner
The ductless mini-split air conditioner is the most popular HVAC system for tiny homes. This is due to the very small amount of space that it takes up. It consists of two parts—an indoor handling unit mounted on an indoor wall and an outdoor condenser.
This type of AC unit requires a fan that will keep air moving throughout the house. This is important for removing odors from the home and keeping windows from fogging up. Any fan or air exchanger can achieve this.
Through-the-Wall Unit (TTW)
A through-the-wall unit, also known as a window unit, is a type of HVAC that is positioned on the wall in such a way so that the exhaust vents face the outside while the cooling vent faces the interior of the room. As it is essentially just a fan, it is one of the cheaper options on the market. However, it does use a large amount of energy which makes it one of the least efficient options.
A wood stove provides a great opportunity to save space in a tiny home as it can be used for both heating and cooking. The two main types of wood stoves are cast iron and welded stoves. Like the ductless mini split, the wood stove needs a fan or air exchanger, as well as a range hood to keep the windows from fogging.
It is important to note that some tiny homes are actually certified RVs. There are no RVIA-certified wood stoves on the market right now so be sure to check that you are not violating any local regulations before proceeding with installation.
Portable Air Conditioner
As the name suggests, the portable air conditioner is one that can be picked up and moved from room to room. As opposed to being the primary air conditioner, the portable AC unit actually works better as a supplement to the primary air conditioning unit. It is a less efficient option and tends to have trouble with air flow in extreme temperatures. Portable AC units are most effective in small spaces and are commonly found in office buildings.
Packaged Terminal Air Conditioner (PTAC)
There is a good chance that you’ve come across a PTAC quite a few times. They are the off-white, rectangular boxes most commonly found under the windows in apartments, hotel rooms, dorm rooms and hospital rooms. There are electric options and heat pump options.
Regardless of the type of PTAC, you can count on a lengthy life span of about ten years if maintained properly.
Vertical Terminal Air Conditioner (VTAC)
The VTAC air conditioner is a large unit that is usually installed in closets or other hidden places. The size may be a potential disadvantage for some tiny homeowners who would rather use their space for other purposes. They are a great option for people who want a quiet air conditioning unit that does not ruin the home’s aesthetic.
Central Heating and Air
The central heating and air conditioning unit is the type that most people are familiar with. It comes in either a split system or a packaged unit and uses ductwork to evenly distribute air or heat across the entire home. These air conditioning units are more costly upfront but give you more bang for your buck as it works the most efficiently.
As you can see, there are many options available on the market for heating and cooling tiny homes. Be sure to consider home location, size and budget to determine the best option and whether a professional should be hired to help with the installation process.
In many areas of the county, legislation is changing or updating to encourage homeowners to think differently about their living space. Tiny homes offer the opportunity to own a home at a fraction of the typical price and the freedom to spend time and money living a life of adventure and ease instead of upkeep and maintenance. It’s a great opportunity for trade professionals to widen the scope of their offerings to include the specific needs of tiny home owners.
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