The Tiny house Blog

Air Conditioning for Your Tiny House: Your Essential Guide

Updated on:
June 9, 2023
Nest Thermostat

When living in a tiny house, there are many things you need to consider. Understandably, it is not always easy to create a comfortable environment when you have a limited space to work with. The good news? While challenging, it can be done!

One key factor that can affect your comfort is the temperature. If you live in a tiny house, you are most likely wondering what your air conditioning options are and how you can pick the right one that will suit your needs.

When choosing an AC unit for your tiny house, keep the following basics in mind:

1. AC Styles

When shopping for the right air conditioner for your tiny home, one of your first considerations should be style. It is crucial to keep in mind that the style you choose can impact your tiny house from the beginning.

Case in point: if you are considering installing a central air system, it needs to be factored in during construction. Below are some of the air conditioning styles you can choose from:

Stand-Alone Unit

Stand-alone air conditioning units are considered ideal for small spaces because they can be moved and stored when not used. In other words, you won't have to deal with a huge and bulky system all year round.

With proper care and regular AC maintenance, stand-alone units can last for a long time. One thing you need to remember when it comes to stand-alone units is they would require their own window access, and finding the right spot can be a challenge.

Central Air

Many homeowners also prefer central air systems for their tiny houses. This is because there is no need for bulky units to be placed inside the home. This system comes with a large AC unit that is set outside the tiny house.

What's great about these systems is they work with your heating system at home. This means you will only need one thermostat to control both the air and heat. Another enticing perk is you have control over your home's overall temperature.

The one draw back for tiny homes, is they generally don't have central air, so it makes this a difficult option.

Window Systems

A window cooling unit is considered a cost-effective option by many homeowners. However, it is crucial that window systems are correctly placed in the window's frame. This can be challenging since most tiny house windows are not conventional.

Fortunately, there is a way around this. Smaller window units can fit small vented windows perfectly. So you can still cool down without spending a fortune. However, you need to ensure that this cooling system is vented outside accordingly.

Mini Spits

These are likely the most popular option for tiny homes. They work extremely well, they are efficient and pretty quiet. Most of the unit is installed outside, and the inside unit is mounted on the wall up high, making it the best space saving option.

2. Size Matters

There's the misconception that finding appliances that fit tiny houses can be difficult. Luckily, there's no truth to this. Nowadays, appliances are getting sleeker and smaller. This is also true when it comes to air conditioning units.

Ideally, your AC unit should be able to cool your home perfectly without taking up too much space. Once you can figure out the AC unit size that fits your tiny home perfectly, you can easily pick the style to go for.

3. Utility Fees

It is important to remember that using AC in a tiny house can come at a cost. The cost can be reflected in the amount of propane you purchase or in your power bill. You can also expect utility costs to be higher during high and low-temperature months.

This can be attributed to the fact that you will be using more air during summer and more heat during winter. On average, people shell out $4 each day to cool their homes. However, this is for houses that are 1,500 square feet on average.

If you live in a tiny house, the average cost can be around $2 a day. If you reside in a standard weather area, you will be running your cooling system for three months each year on average. This translates to around $90 a year in terms of cost.

4. Unit Cost

Another primary consideration is the price tag of the unit. In line with this, you need to examine your lifestyle. Start by figuring out how often you will use your cooling system. If you are a part-time occupant, you won't be relying much on your cooling system.

If you are a full-time homeowner, you will need more than a tiny cooling system for your home. You need to also factor in the cost when choosing an AC system for your tiny house. Below is the average cost of AC units based on style:

Standing Units

Standing units are ideal if you are looking for quick comfort minus the commitment. Most portable systems can cost an average of $200. There are also smaller and more affordable options available. Remember to look for units with a warranty and high eco-friendly rating.

Window Units

One great thing about window units is you have several options. Often, tiny houses need less than 7000 BTU to fill up a smaller space. On average, smaller units can run from $300 to $400. While a bit more expensive than portable units, you can leave the unit all year round and won't have to pull it out when the weather kicks off.

Central Cooling Systems

A central cooling system is the most expensive option available. For starters, you will need to have an outside unit installed professionally. You also need to fit the entire home with temperature-controlled thermostats and floor vents. On average, a central system can cost around $3,000 or more.

Mini Split

These can be a little more expensive, but still average around $2,500 for a tiny home. There are also cool DIY options too! You'll want to make sure you purchase the appropriate sized Mini Split set up, depending on how many sq ft you space is. You also may need multiple head units if you have closed off rooms, which adds to the cost.

5. Carbon Footprint

One of the concerns homeowners have when it comes to air conditioning is the impact it will have on their carbon footprint. Minimizing carbon footprint is something that's important to many people, including owners of tiny houses.

Fortunately, you have plenty of options nowadays. If reducing your carbon footprint is important to you, start by using appliances that are backed with eco-friendly technology. You can also opt for appliances and AC units with the Energy Star certification.

Over to You

Contrary to popular belief, you won't have to sacrifice your comfort when you live in a tiny house. If it's any consolation, there are plenty of ways you can keep your tiny house cool and comfortable without compromising your space and economic boundaries.

Installation of an air conditioning unit, ceiling fan, insulation, and other measures of temperature control can keep your tiny home comfortable in any weather. An air-con unit can make a huge difference in how warm or cool your tiny home is. If you are living in an area with extreme weather, installing ceiling fans can provide additional cooling during hot days and help circulate air throughout the tiny house.

However, it is important to have it done in an efficient and cost-effective manner. 2nd City Gas Plumbing and Heating are experienced and reliable professionals that can help you install the best cooling system for your tiny house. Contact them for more information on how to keep your small home cool and comfortable!

About the author

Sara Olsen is the Content Marketing Manager of Emergency Air, Arizona’s premier HVAC repair and service company with NATE-certified technicians and the best HVAC service in the quickest time. When not writing articles, she makes the most of her time with her family and gives back to the community.

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