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If you’ve hopped onto the minimalist train and are reaping the benefits of a minimalist life, odds are good you’ve heard, at least in passing, of the Tiny House Movement and how power efficient this houses are.
The tiny house movement is all about minimalist life style and pulling away from the consumer capitalism trend of big houses that come with big mortgages and big energy bills that end up taking up a third to a half of our monthly income. Tiny houses cost less and use less energy.
So how much power does a tiny house use?
If you compare tiny homes to the residential homes, you can expect that tiny homes will use about 7% of the electricity that it takes to power an average sized house. Tiny homes are generally set up for a 30-amp electrical capacity compared to the 100-200 amps required for average to large homes that have central heat and air conditioning.
Quite a large disparity, isn’t it? The idea of the tiny home movement is that you don’t have to have a big house, to live big. In fact, a tiny house can actually cut you such a big break on monthly living expenses that you can use that money in other ways such as traveling, restaurants, entertainment, and hobbies.
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How Much Power Does a Tiny House Use?
The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) tracks energy consumption both residential and commercial by state, region, and finally as a whole nation.
According to their data, in the year 2018 the average monthly electric bill for a U.S. residence was $117.65. The average monthly consumption (kWh) was 914. Electricity companies figure your electricity bill by charging a rate per kWh.
Difference between Watts and Kilowatts
Watts (W) are the energy required to run the item you are intending to use for 1 second. Every kilowatt (kW) is equal to 1,000W. The measure of kilowatts per hour (kWh) is how you measure how much energy is being used per hour.
How to measure your home power needs?
To forecast your power needs, you can try your hand at calculating your kWh for the appliances in your home that use electricity.
While for some of your items in your home, run 24/7 (for example your refrigerator is always on) other items you’ll need to estimate the hours and days running. That’s where the flexibility or room for error comes in with this exercise.
If you want an easier way to calculate your energy consumption, this Poniie PN2000 Plug-in Kilowatt Electricity Usage Monitor, you can find on Amazon, will help you monitor everything. Basically it tells you how much energy your plugged in electronics are using, even when you might not be actively using them.
How many lighting bulbs does a Tiny house need?
The point is to have a smaller impact on the environment, therefore tiny houses often have large windows to allow natural lighting from outdoors substitute for electric light during the daytime hours.
A tiny house needs on average six light bulbs, leading to an average of just 914kWh annually of power use.
Compare that to more average sized homes that usually have 20-40 light bulbs and on the topic of lighting alone you can clearly see the energy savings.
TIP: ou can save a lot of money by turning off lights when you have enough natural light through the windows, and surely when you aren’t in the room.
You mmight find interesting my related blog post: How long do smart bulbs last?
What kind of Heating and Cooling does a tiny house use?
Most homes in the U.S. are equipped with central heating and air conditioning. A tiny house is not going to have that same set up.
Windows are an important feature on a tiny house, and most tiny home residents gain warmth through the sunlight shining through them, and leave them open for cool breezes and fresh air.
Tiny houses uses space heaters, and a window air conditioning unit when the climate makes it necessary. The majority of space heaters use around 1500 watts. Window air conditioning units vary in size and power from 500 watts to 1,300 watts.
Although it is safe to assume for cooling a tiny house you won’t be needing an air conditioning unit on the high end of that spectrum.
How to use Appliances and Television in tiny homes?
The topic of TV and appliances in tiny homes varies widely among tiny homers. Depending on your financial ability to invest in energy efficient electronics, some homes will focus on energy conservation by doing without some appliances that others consider may necessary (i.e. microwave, television, stove top, coffee maker etc).
French presses instead of electric coffee makers are an adequate substitute, and you may be surprised to find you enjoy cooking with gas instead of electricity.
Being merely mindful of your use of said appliances can cut down on the energy use significantly. Perhaps you’ve had a habit of falling asleep to the television at night, either turn it off before sleeping, or set a timer for it to turn itself off so it isn’t on all night long.
Your energy costs also will be largely determined by your geographic location.
It should come as no surprise that electricity costs more in Hawaii than any other state. Other expensive states include Massachusetts, Connecticut, Alaska, and Rhode Island, while the lowest include Arkansas, Louisiana, and Washington.
How Many Solar Panels Do You Need to Power a Tiny House?
You would need at least 15 solar panels to power a tiny house if you want solar to power most of your electricity needs. That still may not be enough for heating or cooling, and would still have you relying on propane for cooking and hot water.
Only two or possibly three solar panels will fit on the roof of a tiny house, but even then, you have to consider if they’d get enough exposure to the sun. If you’re serious about solar power being a major source of energy for your home, you’ll want a serious set up on the land.
How many gallons od Propane does tiny house use?
Depending on the size and insulation of a tiny house and the climate of its residence, it will use 100 to 500 gallons of propane per year. That may sound like a lot, until you compare that to residential houses of 2,000-3,000 square feet that use anywhere from 888 to 1300 gallons of propane a year.
Propane use in tiny houses is primarily used to heat water; for your water faucets, washing machine, and shower. If you have a gas range stove, then you’ll use propane for cooking as well. Moreover, if you live in a particularly cold climate, a propane fueled space heater is a good investment because it simply heats better than most electric heaters.
How Tiny is a Tiny House and it’s cost?
Just how tiny is a tiny house? Let’s put it into perspective for maximum shock value. In the year 2018, the median size of a single-family home in the U.S. was 2,386 square feet. Now consider that tiny houses are usually of a size between 100 to 400 square feet.
In the year 2018, the median monthly mortgage payment in the U.S. was $1,556 and the full mortgage balance amount was $231,974. Generally, tiny houses don’t qualify for mortgages, but when you consider that most tiny houses cost between $30,000 to $40,000, you can see the financial benefits.
I should point out, you can find tiny houses for less than $30,000 but once you dip lower you start sacrificing quality and energy efficiency. One of the other big draws of the tiny house movement, aside from minimalism is the lure of having a smaller carbon footprint and living in a way that is more environmentally friendly.