For those working on transitioning to tiny home living, one of the concerns that top the list for most tiny home owners is how to maintain a comfortable temperature inside. While this may seem like a straightforward problem to solve, numerous factors can affect both your comfort and your wallet.
One key factor to start with is how mobile you plan your tiny house living to be. Will the home remain in a climate that’s more hot than cold or vice-versa? Or do you want to move around the country to places with a wide variety of temperatures and precipitation levels?
Whether you’re just getting into the tiny house movement or diving headfirst into homesteading, this article will cover your options and considerations for heating and cooling your tiny home, saving you time, money, and hassle.
Do Tiny Homes Have Central Air?
One of the first questions people ask when starting to think about buying a tiny house is whether or not they have central air conditioners. While some larger designs could benefit from a multi-zone central air conditioning system, most tiny houses use smaller, less costly methods of controlling the temperature.
Systems used most often in tiny homes include mini-splits, through-the-wall PTAC AC units, and in colder climates, wood-burning stoves. That said, plenty of other options are out there. Let’s cover each type of air conditioning unit that is practical for a tiny house.
Do PTAC Air Conditioners Work In Tiny Homes?
When you’re looking to keep upfront costs to a minimum, installing a window unit can sometimes be a viable option. The most significant drawback to going this route is the protrusion from the window whenever you move the tiny home, requiring removal before you hit the road. Another drawback is energy efficiency. Window ac units aren’t the most cost-effective for the electric consumption in hotter climates, negating the up-front savings.
Is A Mini Split System Good For Tiny Houses?
Mini-splits are a popular option for tiny house heating and air conditioning because of their efficiency and power. The main drawback to a mini-split is the initial cost. Not only is the required equipment pricey, so is the price of installation. The other factor to keep in mind is with a mini-split, a condenser unit must be placed outside, which can become a major hassle if you ever want to move the house.
Can A PTAC Unit Be Installed In A Tiny House?
One of the leading alternatives to mini-splits is packaged terminal air conditioners (PTAC units). These all-in-one systems can deliver consistent heat in the winter and ice-cold air in the summertime.
Which AC Unit Is Best For Heating And Cooling Small Square Footage Homes?
One way to determine your needs is by looking at the SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficient Rating), along with taking into consideration the amount of sunlight coming into the space, the climate of the area, and whether you’ll be using any other heating or cooling equipment in the home like a wood-burning stove, electric space heaters, or an indoor air handler.
Be careful of the Seasonal Energy Efficient Ratio (SEER) rating, as it only measures the cooling power of a unit in ideal conditions, separate from where your tiny house is located. So, if you live in an area where the summers frequently hover in the 90s, the unit will require more power to cool your home.
What Works Best For Tiny House Heating?
When you’re looking for the most energy-efficient method for heating a tiny home, your two best options are PTAC units and mini-split systems. Each comes with merits and drawbacks, but when you’re seeking the lowest overall cost, it’s hard to beat a PTAC unit.
A PTAC unit can be equipped with either a heat pump or a resistive electric heating element, enabling it to serve as either a heating or cooling unit. Compared with a window air conditioner, these air conditioning systems have far more cooling power, along with serving as an energy-efficient heating system.
Which Heating And Cooling System Is Least Costly For A Tiny House?
So what kind of costs can you expect when first installing an ac system in your tiny house? Here’s a quick breakdown to give you a general idea of what to expect.
Ductless Mini-Split Systems
Range from budget models at $1,800 to full-featured models around $8,250, along with a typical installation cost of $2,000.
A type of wall AC unit called a PTAC Unit are one of the most affordable yet powerful options. Starting at around $300 for smaller, more basic models, PTAC units top out around the $1,500 mark. Most notably, installation is a breeze, and you can do it yourself, saving you considerable expense over mini-split installation costs.
Window AC Unit
Another affordable but less durable option is the window AC unit. These range from $400 to $800, depending on the output. Just remember, these rarely provide heat, meaning you’ll have to buy another piece of equipment for that function, driving your overall costs and complexity higher.
Wood stoves are a quaint and cozy way to heat a tiny house. These can deliver some serious heat for areas that stay colder, all while saving you on electric bills. Wood stoves can have some shockingly high prices, with some reaching the $4,000 mark. There’s also the hassle of constantly sourcing and storing wood, so there’s a high degree of commitment to going this route.
Which Tiny House Air Conditioner Is Right For You?
Now that we’ve covered each type of air conditioner and heater for a tiny home, we hope it’s easier for you to make the best choice for the long run. When you’ve chosen a PTAC unit for your tiny home, PTAC4Less provides a wide selection of new and refurbished PTAC units to choose from. Whether you need a PTAC with a heat pump or just a super-powerful air conditioner for living in the southwest, we’ve got you covered. Call or Click today and find a PTAC unit that will keep your entire space comfortable year-round.