Many tiny house owners want to know the best heating solution for winterizing their property.
Tiny house electric heaters can be a convenient way to quickly warm up your tiny house, especially if you’re connected to the grid.
We’re here to show you how electric heaters work in tiny homes, the pros and cons of using them and the best option to suit your preferences.
We’ll also compare them to other types of tiny house heating, such as propane or gas heating and tiny house wood stoves.
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Do tiny houses have electric heaters?
Yes, most tiny houses have the ability to power small electric heaters for a short period of time.
However, some people prefer to use other heating options instead and will not have one in their tiny house.
They are a great backup option, especially if you are living on-grid and electric supply isn’t an issue.
How do electric heaters work in tiny houses?
Electric heaters work by passing electrical current through a heating coil.
The electrical energy that passes through the electrical resistor turns to heat energy that radiates into the room.
Some electrical heaters differ from others because they use air flow in their design.
This is where a fan is used to draw air over the heating elements, increasing the air temperature before expelling it form the device. It is then pushed into the room, letting the warm air circulate around it.
The heating method here is convection and this helps you warm your tiny house quicker compared to other electric heater designs.
The other type of heating method that tiny house electric heaters use is radiant heat. This is also used to power tiny house floor heating.
This is where air passes from underneath the heating element and exits at the top. This is the same way a radiator or log-burning fireplace in your tiny house emits heat.
Using radiant heat in your tiny house will mean it takes longer to heat up, but it does come with some advantages, such as not having a noisy fan and the fact that the heaters can be more compact.
Best electric heaters for tiny homes
Portable air heater
Portable air heaters are a great option if you want to heat your tiny house in the winter months.
Here are a few pros and cons of portable electric air heaters for tiny homes:
- You are able to heat the living space in your tiny house more quickly than radiant heating devices
- They can be more compact than portable or wall-mounted radiant heaters as they require less surface area to heat the air and use a fan instead
- Noise from the fan can be distracting
- Some people report that they feel the air becomes more dry in their room
- It can be harder to keep your tiny house at a consistent temperature since you will need to keep adjusting the heat output
Portable radiant heater
Portable radiant heaters are also a popular option for tiny house owners.
Here are some pros and cons of portable radiant heaters:
- You have more temperature control
- Less adjustment is required to maintain the same temperature
- They don’t require as much electrical energy usually as air heaters
- Doesn’t heat your tiny house as quickly as air heaters
- They are generally larger and take up more space in your tiny house
- Some are not very aesthetically pleasing
Lastly, wall-mounted heaters can be used in tiny homes too.
The main pros and cons are:
- You won’t be tripping over any wires in your tiny house, since it is attached to the wall
- They are more aesthetically pleasing than portable heaters
- You have more control over the temperature settings – most can be hooked up to a termostat
- They can make your tiny house feel more ‘homely’
- Installation is required
- They are generally more expensive
Advantages of tiny house electric heaters
Easy to buy and use
Electric heaters are available in a lot of home stores, or you can buy them on online too.
They are easy to set up and use, simply plug your portable heater into your power source and turn it on!
There’s no need to install propane lines or a fireplace and venthilation in your tiny house if you opt for electric heaters.
Little to no installation required
If you choose a portable tiny house electric heater, then there’s absolutely no installation required.
However, you can opt for a wall-mounted heater which is easy to install, hook up to your power source and thermostat.
Custom options available
Tiny house electric heaters are available in many shapes, sizes with different output options and energy requirements.
A great customizable feature with some electric heaters is that they can be hooked up to a thermostat, just like radiant floor heating in your tiny house.
You can choose heaters with a wide range of BTU options, letting you warm your tiny house as quickly as you like and helping save on energy costs.
Disadvantages of tiny house electric heaters
How much energy do tiny house electric heaters use?
Most heaters use approximately 2 kwh.
This means, if you use your heater for 2 hours per day, this would cost $0.56 per day, equivalent to $16.80 per month or $201.60 per year.
This is based on one kwh costing $0.14.
Tiny house electric heaters are less cost effective than other heating methods such as gas or propane. However this may change if certain fuel prices increase.
Take up precious floor space
Many people find electric heaters to be an eye-sore in their tiny home and more importantly, take up precious floor space.
You’ll also have to be careful not to trip over any cords or wires if you’re using a portable heater.
Wall-mounted heaters, however, offer a solution to this as they are thin and take up no floor space.
Not suited for off-grid living
You can only really feasibly use electric heaters if you live on-grid.
If you’re using solar panels as your only electricity source, you will struggle to have enough to power a tiny house electric heater through the winter months.
Being on-grid will mean you can’t travel in your tiny house. However, if you have a hybrid model that can do both, then consider getting a portable heater for when you do connect back to the grid.
Electric heaters can be a conventient way to heat your tiny house if you’re connected to the grid.
If you have the capability to install propane, gas heating or a wood-burning stove, you should definitely compare these and find the right one for your situation.
This will depend on how cold the climate you live in is, how easy you can access certain fuel and how you want your tiny house interior to look.
However, we would say that having a portable electric heater as a backup can only be a good thing. You can purchase a small and compact heater that can be kept in storage to then use if and when you need it.