If you've grown tired of maintaining your too-large home after your kids have flown the nest, you may be intrigued by the "tiny house" trend sweeping the nation. These homes are ultra-efficient and can force you to get rid of much of the random "stuff" you've spent time and money maintaining for years. However, adapting from a McMansion or large ranch home to a tiny home can be an adjustment when it comes to things like cooking, taking a shower, or working out—especially when it comes to maintaining a comfortable temperature and humidity level. Read on to learn more about some of the most efficient heating and air conditioning options for tiny homes, as well as what you'll want to keep in mind when ventilating your new home.
What should you keep in mind when selecting your tiny home's heating and air conditioning options?
For tiny homes, good ventilation is key—otherwise, something as simple as cooking a grilled cheese sandwich, taking a long, hot shower, or working out on a treadmill for 45 minutes can significantly raise your home's temperature during the summer months, forcing your air conditioner to work extra hard to maintain a livable climate. You may want to consider installing extra vents in the ceiling of each room (or an attic vent) along with high-powered fans in your kitchens and bathrooms to ensure you'll be able to quickly ventilate hot air before it raises the interior temperature beyond your thermostat's limits.
Even if you opt to heat your tiny home with an interior wood stove or other method that doesn't require interior ductwork, it's important to have adequate ventilation for each room so that your home's interior temperature doesn't rise uncomfortably high. If your home has been constructed without interior vents, you may want to enlist the help of an HVAC contractor to see what ventilation options would be best for your specific floor plan.
What heating and air conditioning choices are best suited for tiny homes?
A ductless mini-split is often the most efficient option for a tiny house. This versatile heating and cooling system takes up very little floor space, which is perfect for homes in which space is at a premium, and can have ducts placed in each room even without interior ductwork already installed. A mini-split is the perfect option for a home that was prebuilt without interior ductwork or that is on a movable foundation and is capable of being towed from place to place.
Alternatively, a small home can benefit from a geothermal heating and cooling system. This is ideal for homes that also take advantage of solar panels and other "off-grid" utility options, as a geothermal HVAC system uses very little energy and relies on the earth's own constant temperature to generate heated air in the winter and cooled air in the summer. Geothermal systems aren't portable like mini-splits, so they are an ideal option only for homes on a permanent foundation with enough land to bury several lengthy pipes used to generate the heat processed by the pump.
For homes in northern climates that don't require air conditioning for more than a month or two per year, an interior wood stove may be able to provide the heat you need during the long winter without costing you much more than gasoline and routine maintenance for your chainsaw or wood splitter. These stoves do require you to run a stovepipe through your roof or outer wall to ensure all smoke and fumes are properly routed away from your home, but they are otherwise fairly easy to install and get running.
For more information on your options, contact a company like A-1 American Services.