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Tiny house heat pumps – Are they any good? (Solved)

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a tiny house heat pump in the denali tiny house by Timercraft tiny homes

Heat pumps can be a convenient way to heat and cool your tiny house. 

They’re relatively energy efficient compared to other heating methods and can even be run when you’re off-grid.

We’re here to answer all your important tiny house heat pump questions and present the pros and cons of using them in your small space.

Do tiny houses use heat pumps?

Yes, many tiny houses use heat pumps for heating and cooling.

They are an efficient way of providing air conditioning all throughout your home.

The Denali tiny house by Timbercraft tiny homes uses two mini-split air conditioners to act as a heat pumps for the whole house.

Are there small heat pumps?

Yes, small heat pumps are available such as mini-split heat pumps. You can also purchase standard design heat pumps that are small in size.

Heat pumps have internal and external parts, therefore you will need space for these in and outside of your home. 

The smallest heat pumps are around 9,000 BTU models.

How do heat pumps work in tiny homes?

Tiny house heat pumps work in a similar way to air conditioning units.

They move heat from hot places to cooler place, so that a steady temperature is maintained in your home. This means they also cool down areas that are too hot.

You set your thermostat to your desired temperature and the heat pump will move the heat in or out so that the temperature is reached.

Heat pumps can be a great heating option for tiny homes

There’s no additional heat source that’s required to make heat pumps provide your tiny house with warmth. In most cases, you won’t need to use electric or propane heaters in your tiny house at the same time.

However, some heat pumps do have heating coils if the overall temperature is too low to start with. This is useful in regions that are very cold for long periods of time.

Mini-split heat pumps are used in tiny houses frequently, as they don’t require air ducts to distribute heat.
They connect the fan on the outside of the tiny house to multiple pumps inside. You can have heat pumps in different rooms, such as your main living space and your bedroom.

They’re not as heavy-duty as other heat pumps, which require larger units and conduits to be able to work.

Can you run a heat pump off grid?

Heat pumps can be ran if you are off-grid or without a heat source.

You need to make sure you choose an efficient heat pump that suits your needs.

Furthermore, you must have an off-grid way to generate electricity, such as solar panels.

There are tiny house owners who live off-grid and use a mini-split heat pump system, as these generally use the least amount of electricity to run.

Tiny house heat pumps can be used as off grid options

Other ways of heating your home when off-grid, such as electric heaters, use too much electricity to be feasible.

If you live in a very cold climate, your tiny house heat pump will need heating coils or you will need an additional heat source so that the warmth can be moved around your home.

When choosing a suitable heat pump, look for the highest SEER rating and the lowest BTU rating that you can manage with. This will mean you’ll have less worries about powering your heat pump when off-grid.

Should I use a tiny house heat pump?


Wall-mounted design

One simple advantage of tiny house heat pumps is that they sit on your wall or ceiling, rather than being on the ground level.

This means no tripping over wires, or having to move your heater back and forth every day.

They take up no floor space and fit right in with your other tiny house appliances. They’re usually placed out of sight in areas such as the kitchen and bedroom.

The mini-split air conditioner above the refrigerator in the Denali tiny house by Timbercraft tiny homes

They can cool your home too

As we’ve spoken about, tiny house heat pumps can also help cool down your property by pumping heat away to cooler areas (air conditioning). 

Having a mini-slit air conditioner is a common solution to tiny house heating, where the heat can be transferred from outside and around your tiny house.

Low energy cost

Heat pumps are one of the most energy efficient ways of heating and cooling your tiny house.

This is because they allow you to easily regulate the temperature of your small space via a thermostat. 

Another reason is that most models do not use energy to create heat, only to transfer it in your home. 

Quiet design

Heat pumps are quiet appliances inside your tiny house, which some people really love.

However, the unit outside of your home is noisy at times.


Can’t be used in cold weather

Unless you’re on-grid and purchase a heat pump with heating coils inside, or have an additional heating system in your house, regular heat pumps are ineffecitve in cold climates.

In regions where the temperate consistently falls below 30 degrees, you may have to consider other options.

High initial investment

Heat pumps are relatively expensive to purchase compared to other tiny house heating methods.

Most will cost upwards of $1,000, however you can find some for around $750 to $900.

Compare this to electric heaters that are under $200 and it’s quite a big difference.

However, winterizing your tiny house properly is important and will help keep your property protected from the elements.

You will also probably have to pay a professional to install your tiny house heat pump, unless your tiny house hasn’t been built yet. In this case, ask your manufacturer to install one.