There are lots of unseen costs when it comes to living in a tiny house. One common question that homeowners have is, how much propane does their tiny house need?
How much propane does a tiny house use? Tiny houses can use anywhere from 100-500 gallons of propane a year. But it may vary depending on weather conditions and the size of your house. Another factor is how well insulated your house is.
While this may seem like a huge amount, when you consider that traditional homes use upwards of 1500 gallons a year, consider yourself lucky.
While there are many different ways to power your tiny house, propane will still be needed more than you think.
From keeping running water hot to making sure the coffee is ready each morning, propane will become a part of your daily life. But, before you head out to the hardware store, there are a few things to keep in mind.
Here is everything you need to know about using propane in your tiny house.
What Will You Use Propane For?
You may be wondering why you will be using so much propane for your tiny house. It may be discouraging since most people set out to live in a tiny house because they desire to live a greener life. However, when you consider you will be using far less for a tiny home than a traditional home, it may bring you some relief. Here are the different reasons why you will need propane for your tiny house:
The most common use of propane in a tiny home is for hot water. Tiny homes are perfect for small water heaters since size is limited. These type of tanks depend on propane to properly work.
This way you can quickly and efficiently heat water in your home.
While the way you will store and collect water may be different, the common uses are the same. This is the hot water that you will be using in your shower, washing machine as well as your water taps. The good news is that tiny homes use far less water than traditional homes. It should also be noted that you will be using most of your propane to heat your water.
The thing that you will mostly be using your propane for is cooking.
Homeowners prefer to use gas range stoves and ovens in their tiny home. This is because the idea is to cut down on energy use. Electric cooktops and stoves run 100% on energy which can be counterintuitive.
Here’s more info about electricity consumption in your tiny house.
Using propane for cooking offers a greener option when it comes to cooking. This doesn’t have to be seen as a compromise either. Using gas ranges are highly preferred in professional kitchens. If its good enough for chefs, it is good enough for your tiny kitchen too!
One of the last things you will be using your propane for is heating your tiny home. We say its one of the smaller usages because there are other ways to heat tiny houses more efficiently.
However, on those especially cold nights, nothing beats a propane run heater.
Keep in mind, that since your home is quite smaller compared to traditional homes, it will take far less propane to heat your entire house.
How To Hook Up Propane in Your Tiny House
The first thing you will need to determine before installing propane in your home is how large of a tank to get.
The average size of a propane tank in a tiny home is 10 gallons.
These 10-gallon tanks snuggly fit into tiny houses without overwhelming the space. However, it should be noted that you will be running through a 10-gallon tank on average every month.
Once you have found the propane tank of your dreams, you will need to figure out where to place. While most gas tanks and furnaces live in basements, this isn’t an option for tiny houses. Obviously, since most tiny homes are on wheels, there will not be a basement.
Many homeowners choose to hide their propane tanks within the walls of their home. Here are some tips for storing your propane tank in your tiny house:
Under The Stairs
By now you know the difficulties that come along with finding creative space in your tiny house.
However, if you have a multi-level tiny house, there is one sweet spot where your tank can easily fit in. You can construct a little closet type area under the stairs which can hide your unsightly tank.
If you have smaller children in the house, it will be important to keep the tank hidden from wandering eyes. At the end of the day, propane tanks can be a danger. This is especially true if they are improperly played with. Finding space to tuck away your tank where little hands cannot easily access is a must.
The most important thing to remember is that safety should come first!
Take it Outside
If you have a tiny house that has found a permanent residence, consider building an extension onto your tiny home. Some homeowners choose to build a smaller shed-like structure that attaches to their home.
This way they can have easy access when it comes to refilling but also allows to keep the indoor space open and clear. However, it is important to keep any construction on your tiny house legal and within your state’s laws.
This is why you should also make sure that your property is permitted before building on the space.
What Are Some Ways to Reduce Propane Usage?
Do you think that 10 gallons of propane a month is too high?
Your propane usage will totally depend on how often you use your propane. While using propane is almost unavoidable, there are some ways you can reduce your usage.
Here are some tips and tricks to best reserve your propane for when you really need it:
Nothing beats a cup of coffee in the morning.
With limited space in tiny house kitchens, people prefer to use compact brewers like French and air presses. However, these types of appliances require the use of hot water from a kettle.
Consider making the switch to electric kettles. Instead of using propane each morning to heat up water for your coffee or tea, use an electric kettle to boil your water. While it may not seem like much at first, the propane savings will add up over time.
Solar energy has come a long way from bulky panels.
Now there are even appliances that work 100% with solar energy. You can find appliances like space heaters and coffee makers that use solar energy to run. This way you will not only be eliminating some of the need for propane but also traditional energy as well! If you want to take it one step further, consider using solar energy storage banks.
Some appliances allow you to “store” the energy so that you can use your favorite items even when the sun is shy that day.
Old School Heating
If your tiny house has the space for it, smaller fireplaces are great for heating up small homes! There are plenty of electric run compact fireplaces that can fit snuggly into your living space.
Nothing beats kicking back on a cold day with a cup of cocoa in front of a fireplace. The only thing better is knowing that you’re saving your precious propane for when you need it most.
Check out this article for more energy saving tips!
How Much Does Propane for a Tiny House Cost?
Using propane for your tiny house is much different than buying a pre-filled tank from the gas station. You will need to work with certified propane dealers to either have them fill your tank or bring your tank in for a refill. Depending on the type of service you require, the price will be different.
Propane is a type of fuel so expect the price to fluctuate with the market.
On average, the cost of propane for a 10-gallon tank is anywhere from $18-$32 depending on the type of service you require.
This means that your fuel costs can be upwards of $300 a year. While this may seem high, in comparison for larger homes, it is a steal! It is also important to remember that this cost is part of your annual expenses for the house which includes energy and water as well. So, you may be able to get tax breaks depending on how you use your propane.
Ready to Go?
Once you know how to use and store your propane, you are ready to start enjoying the perks of smaller living. However, there are a few things to keep in mind once you set up your propane system.
The number one thing you want to remember is that safety is the most important thing. While much of living in a tiny house is “do it yourself”, it doesn’t hurt to get an expert opinion.
Make sure that your propane system is properly inspected for leaks. Making sure that your system is correctly hooked up and sealed is one of the best ways to keep you are your family safe.
You will also want to make sure that the tank is properly stored away from heat and fire.
The last thing you will want to do is to keep a record of how much propane you will be using.
This is important not only for your home records but also a great way to look for ways to reduce your propane usage. Study the trends of your energy use and find creative ways to cut back on fuel. Most people also choose to write directly on their propane tank each time it is refilled so they can keep track of usage. Good luck.
Morten is the founder of GoDownsize. He has filmed and interviewed people living in tiny houses and RVs since 2011. He grew up on the coast where his dad took him boating from a young age. He has completely rebuilt two RVs in which he travels with his family for months at the time. Read more about Morten here.