Posted on: 3 January 2017
Tiny homes give you a chance to travel the country or make the most of a small piece of land, but unless you stick to exclusively warm climates, you'll need some heating inside the structure. A ductless heat pump system makes a lot more sense than the usual electric baseboard heaters recommended for homes with no ducts. Find out how a heat pump can help you make the most of a tiny house in the winter.
First, the registers that deliver warm air with a ductless heat pump can be placed almost anywhere on a wall or ceiling, while baseboard heaters are always mounted along the floor. When space is at a premium in your tiny house, losing even a few inches of floor space in each room can cause frustrations and cleaning challenges. By mounting heat pump registers along the ceiling line and maximizing placement, you'll get more space in each room without sacrificing warmth.
Heat pumps, especially modern ductless systems, are well-known for their energy efficiency. This means you'll stay as warm as you would with baseboard heaters while paying a smaller electricity bill. If you want to go off the grid and add solar panels or a battery bank to your home, the fact that you can save up to 40% of your heating energy really makes a big difference in how much equipment you must purchase.
Baseboard heaters aren't difficult to install, but they do require professional wiring due to the high voltage required for generating heat. In contrast, many tiny home builders who create their structure from scratch install all or most of their ductless heat pump systems with an inspection at the end by a technician. If you have cut window openings and framed walls to build your own home, you can likely at least mount the indoor registers in these openings and prepare the site for the outdoor pump.
Since the elimination of ducts makes installation so quick and easy, it's also less expensive when you need professional help to get it right. It does pay to choose professional installation because an experience heat pump expert can help you place the registers to optimize heat mixing and minimize lost living space. At least consult a professional during the planning stages to make sure your system can handle what you're planning to use it for.
Most tiny home lovers are concerned about sustainability, so they don't want to purchase home materials or equipment that wears out after a few years and generates waste for landfills. Ductless heat pumps are known to last upwards of 12 years, and most manufacturers set their warranties at the 10, 12, or 15 year mark. When your heat pump does give up the ghost, most of its components and casings are recyclable if you take them to the right facility.
Taking care of your heat pump helps it last as long as possible. Make sure you have it professionally serviced at least once a year, but preferably twice a year if you're using it for both heating and cooling. Change filters regularly, especially when traveling through or staying in dusty areas.
Finally, check out what kind of heating appliances are recommended or preferred by the state and area you're building the tiny house in or moving to eventually. Many states and municipalities reward homeowners who choose efficient equipment like ductless heat pumps with rebates that reduce the costs of their property and income taxes. Baseboard heaters are not considered very efficient, so they rarely qualify for any kinds of tax rebates or direct voucher programs.Share