Tiny Home Air Conditioning & Heating

Do you want a tiny home to reduce your eco-footprint, pursue a minimalist lifestyle, or get away from the hustle? You will have a lot of choices to make about how you choose to downsize. One of the big ones will be to find the best tiny home air conditioning units for your space.

Usually between 400 and 600 square feet, tiny homes by definition have limited floor space. Finding a tiny home air conditioning solution that is compact and can be installed without using valuable square footage is a major consideration. You need to make sure your tiny home air conditioning system gives you the most bang for the buck.

A ductless mini-split system is the best option to efficiently heat and cool your tiny home. They require a minimal footprint, are cost efficient, and provide both warm and cool air for all seasons. They're a tiny home air conditioning and heating solution all in one.

How Ductless Systems Work

Ductless mini-split systems have two components that work to keep your tiny home comfortable: an interior air handler and an exterior condenser.

The air handler is installed indoors, usually mounted on a wall, and distributes the warmed or cooled air throughout your space. If you have a larger tiny home or a loft, you may consider installing multiple air handlers to keep all the areas comfortable. However, a single mini-split will be sufficient for most tiny home air conditioning and heating needs.

The second component is the condenser, which creates the warmed or cooled air. The condenser is installed outside. It can be placed on the ground or on a wall mount.

While installation is minimal and some units are designed for homeowner installation, many mini-splits will require a certified HVAC technician for proper installation that meets local and federal legal requirements.

Ductless mini split systems do need electricity. You will have to connect to the grid or get your power from other sources like solar panels or a generator.

The Benefits of a Mini-Split System

A standard HVAC unit is too big and needlessly powerful for a tiny home, while mini-split systems offer a compact sized solution and just the right amount of capacity to keep a small space comfortable.

A mini-split system does not require ducts. With this type of HVAC system, you don’t have to worry about spending money to install ductwork or make sure the system is compatible with your duct size. Plus, space is a premium in tiny homes, so who would want to rely on bulky air ducts?

Since a ductless mini split system can both heat and cool your home, you don’t have to shop for and install multiple systems to keep your home comfortable. Mini-split systems don't make a lot of noise. You can relax or sleep uninterrupted by noise.

While you might consider purchasing a window or wall unit, consider that mini-split systems are more energy efficient. With a mini-split system you can reduce your energy usage, save money, and be kinder to the environment.

Mini-split systems are also easy to use. No need to stoke a fire in the winter, you can just push a button and control your home’s temperature to your liking. Many modern ductless units come with their own apps for smartphone control.

Major Tiny Home Air Conditioning & Heating Factors

There are many factors to consider when choosing the right tiny home air conditioning solution. Here are a few:

  • Location and climate: Depending on where you live, you may need a system specifically designed to handle below zero temperatures, high humidity, or salinity if you live near a coast. Consider the needs specific to your location to decide which system is right for you.
  • Electric or solar: Do you want to stay off the grid or are you planning to use the power grid to power your heating and cooling system?
  • Power and home size: How much heating capacity do you need? For example, a mini-split system with a heating capacity of 18,000 BTU can adequately control the temperature of a 400 to 600 square foot space. You can find BTU calculators online to help with this decision.
  • Budget: While mini-split units aren't as cheap as window units or portable heaters, they are better suited and safer for tiny homes. Plus, you can rely on one appliance for all your HVAC needs.
  • Indoor air quality: If your chosen HVAC system runs with a gas burning fuel, your installation may require venting to ensure your home is safe and the air you breathe is fresh.

Other Tiny Home Air Conditioning Options

A ductless mini-split is the best, but not the only tiny home air conditioning or heating solution.

  • Portable Air Conditioners & Heaters: You must make sure to operate portable units safely by providing adequate clearance, usually at least 3 feet from the front and sides. Portable HVAC units are typically inexpensive. So if you are on a tight budget, this might be an option to consider. The downside is that portable air conditioner takes up floor space, and you won't have much in a tiny home.
  • Wood stoves: There are compact wood stoves that would work well in tiny homes. One real drawback is fuel storage. Wood takes up a lot of space, and you can't take it with you. For roamers, this is an issue.
  • Window Units: A window units requires zero floor space and they're cheap. They can also be an eyesore. Finally, this cooling option requires storage space in the off-season. That's a premium commodity in a tiny home you may not want to waste on window a/c.
  • Fresh air and fans: The most eco-friendly cooling option for fresh air is an open window and a ceiling fan. In humid areas, this solution is not ideal and will not cool the air being brought in from outdoors.

Comments About Tiny Home Air Conditioning or Heating?

In short, invest in a ductless mini-split system for your tiny home air conditioning or heating needs. Ductless mini split systems are eco-friendly, compact, and efficient. Have more questions? Leave a message in the comments below.

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