Tiny Homes: HVAC Design Considerations

Tiny Homes: HVAC Design Considerations

The architects of tiny homes work hard to pack in a tremendous amount of functionality in these little structures to make them livable. While it’s possible to live without every single convenience of modern life, it’s hard to forgo the comfort that comes from a cooling and heating system. If you’re designing or building one, consider one of these two options:

Horizontal Air Conditioners

These appliances are similar to window or wall air conditioners in shape and function. Instead of hanging, they sit on the ground and blow air into the home through a circular hose similar to a dryer vent. Some contain an electric heating coil that provides some warmth for winter heating.

The benefits of such a cooling appliance include easy installation. These units plug into a 120-volt outlet and require a hole in the wall slightly larger than the venting hose. In the cooling mode, these units are fairly efficient, but relying on them for heating, expect electric bills to skyrocket. They use electric resistance coils to generate heat, the most expensive and least efficient way to heat a space.

Ductless Mini-Splits

Available as air conditioners alone or heat pumps, ductless systems offer all the energy efficiency benefits of central HVAC systems for tiny homes. They use a separate indoor air handler and an outdoor condenser that connect by a narrow conduit that supplies the power, refrigerant and drainline.

Instead of delivering conditioned air through ductwork, mini-splits blow it directly from the air handler. Mini-split heat pumps provide high efficiency heating in temperatures well below freezing.

Mini-splits must meet thesame efficiency standards for cooling and heating that central HVAC systems do. They also get a boost from their lack of ductwork. All the air they condition goes directly into the interior space.

Either of these systems would provide plenty of comfort for life in tiny homes without compromising the livability and appeal of the indoor space. For more information, contact Valley Heating, Cooling, Electrical or call us at (408) 868-5500. We provide HVAC services for homeowners in South Bay Peninsula and Santa Cruz.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the South Bay Peninsula and Santa Cruz areas of California about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).