Many people today opt to downsize into tiny homes, which typically measure between 300 and 500 square feet. They are easier to maintain and less expensive to live in than traditional homes. There are tiny home DIY kits that allow homeowners to build their own homes without much building experience. However, if you do choose to build your own tiny home, it is best to use a professional HVAC contractor for your heating and cooling systems.
HVAC professionals will take into account that there are special considerations when installing heating and cooling systems into tiny houses. Tiny home HVAC systems can differ from what a traditional home needs.
Determining the Best System
There are different HVAC systems for use in tiny homes. These include a furnace with duct work, mini split systems, wall-mounted electric heaters, and air conditioning units. There are pros and cons to each system and an HVAC professional can work with you to determine which is the best based on your location. For example, needs in Arizona are different than in Pennsylvania. The size of the tiny home and your budget also make a difference. If you choose a traditional furnace, you may still need to investigate air conditioning options.
Traditional Furnace and Ductwork
If you choose a traditional heating system, you’ll need to have ducts installed. This can be tricky because ductwork is bulky and can take up valuable space. Besides considerations for the ductwork, furnaces require indoor space for the furnace itself plus clearances around the unit. A professional HVAC technician can provide the optimal layout of the ducts as well as offer suggestions on the type of furnace that would best heat the space without overheating it.
Installation of Ductwork
Proper duct design and installation is critical to your system working properly according to the US Department of Energy. Ducts that aren’t sealed can cost you hundreds of dollars per year on wasted energy and may result in uneven heating. An added concern in tiny homes is the location of ductwork. When not properly planned, ductwork can severely affect storage space.
You might find a ductless system, or mini-split, the best option. Mini splits are mounted on the wall or ceiling with an outdoor heat pump and provide heating and cooling. They take up less space and are energy efficient, without requiring ducts. Mini splits must be installed by a professional, certified HVAC technician who has a refrigerant license. These are only available for tiny homes that are stationary.
No matter which heating and air conditioning system you decide is best for your situation, a professional HVAC technician who is familiar with tiny homes is a must. Tiny homes have extra considerations, such as location, size, budgeting considerations, and personal preferences.
Whether your tiny home is stationary or on a trailer that can be moved also impacts the type of system you can use. An HVAC technician can help you select the right system, plan where the system should be installed, install ductwork that doesn’t interfere with valuable space, and maximize your comfort all year.