One of the biggest appeals of living in a tiny home is that you cut down on water and electricity. However, this doesn’t mean that you live without it. One of the main questions people ask before switching to a tiny living life is how to get water and electricity.
In fact, there are many different ways to gain access to necessary utilities.
How do tiny houses get water and electricity? Tiny houses are often hooked like a normal house. When living off-grid, the most common ways tiny houses get water are through filtrating rain water. Electricity comes from power generators and/or solar power.
Here is everything you need to know about how tiny houses get water and electricity.
In order to choose which direction is right for you, there a few things to consider.
The amount of money you want to ideally spend will be the biggest factor in your decision. Also, how much you want to stay devoted to the green lifestyle will also sway your decision.
4 Benefits From Using A Power Generator
One route that tiny homeowners choose to take it to fit their tiny house with a power generator. There are many perks to using a power generator in a tiny home. Some of the reasons why this is the first choice for homeowners are:
Living off-grid is one of the bigger appeals to living in a tiny home. While plenty of people choose to keep their tiny home in one spot, others like options. Being able to pick up and move whenever they want is a perfect option for people who don’t want to stick to one place.
This is also why tiny homes are often the choice for people who want a home that moves but don’t want to live in an RV.
Using a power generator allows the homeowner to be able to move whenever they want.
This way you won’t have to deal with the power company each time you want a change of scenery. Simply pack up the home on the trailer and you are off to your next home adventure.
While a power generator can run you upwards of 2 thousand dollars, the money you save will be worth the cost. This is especially true for people who don’t use a great deal of power throughout the day. Most tiny homes are built to use the environment around them. Outdoor spaces become common living areas and decorations are replaced by breathtaking views.
Common uses for power like lights are replaced by large windows that allow the perfect amount of light in. When a tiny house is properly placed in conjunction with the sun, there is little need for electricity throughout the day. Along with lighting your home, the sun does a great job of keeping it warm. People who rely on power generators and who tend to not use daytime electricity find they save money.
It may seem counterintuitive to rely on a power generator while also trying to reduce your carbon footprint. However, newer power generators offer more options when it comes to fuel. Most generators use either a propane or gasoline style fuel. People who are trying to live a greener life prefer to use propane tanks.
While propane tanks run a higher cost than gasoline, the emissions are much easier on the environment. Also, since they won’t require as much power as they would with traditional homes, the cost won’t be too high. There are even some generators that run on clean energy. While these will be more expensive, it is the perfect solution to your green vs. energy problem.
If you’re still not sold when it comes to using a power generator, consider finding one that focuses on clean energy. There are several models of generators that use all natural and clean fuel. This way you can get the best of both worlds. Having a generator that will be there for you when you need it that also helps to reduce your carbon footprint.
4 Benefits From Using Solar Energy
One option that is among the most popular for people living in tiny homes is to use solar energy for their home. When you think about it, it isn’t too far fetched. Tiny homes are already using the sun in a multitude of ways. From heating their home to supplying enough light throughout the day, the sun is already a huge asset.
But, can you take the sun and harness its energy for more than just daytime lighting? Absolutely you can! If you are looking for a way to use green energy in your home, consider fitting your house with solar panels. While solar panels hit their popularity in the 1980s, they have since improved solar technology.
It may surprise you to know, that solar energy is being used already in your everyday life. From cities taking advantage of the sun’s power to national parks and zoos using solar energy as a power source. One thing is clear, solar energy is here to stay.
So, should you consider using solar energy for your tiny home? Yes, you should! Still not convinced? Here are some of the benefits of switching your home’s energy source from fuels to the sun:
Customers who use solar panels can generally save an average of 20%. While this may not seem like a huge break, it will add up quickly. However, installing solar panels on your tiny home can be a costly upgrade.
The good news is that clean energy companies want you to use their products and are prepared to offer huge incentives.
Many solar energy companies only require partial payments to begin the installation. You will only need to put down as little as 20% of costs out of pocket to begin work. With easy to follow payment plans, you can pay off your new energy system rather quickly. Most people find that the savings they get will help the panels pay for themselves.
One of the biggest incentives to make the switch to solar energy comes in the forms of special tax breaks. Energy tax laws allow for up to 30% of installation costs to be tax deductible. Also, you may see additional tax relief towards the end of the tax season. This is because solar energy is not only easy on your wallet but easy on the national power grids. The federal government uses incentive programs like this to encourage people to keep looking for more environmentally friendly ways to care for their home.
Natural Power Source
One of the main reasons why people make the leap to tiny house living is because they are looking to live a more reductive lifestyle.
From removing unwanted clutter for their lives to be cautious when it comes to their impact on the earth, tiny houses are plenty of perks. For some, tiny houses and solar energy go hand in hand.
It is one thing to want to live a greener life and it is another to put your money where your mouth is. In the case of solar energy, your money will be right where you can see it.
Because solar energy has no need for using fuels, the impact on the earth is less severe. The sun is the planet’s natural heating system, so why not take advantage of it for your own home?
Some people still are not ready to take the leap to solar energy because they simply think it will be a hassle. Living in a tiny home is already a big change and commitment. The thought of filling your little space with endless tools and installation workers may seem like more trouble than its worth. However, most people find the installation process rather quick and easy.
While yes, the installation can take several days to complete, you are in good hands.
Solar energy companies are pros at what they do. They want you to be absolutely satisfied with the work they are doing and most will guarantee it with a money back promise. It is only a small inconvenience for a lifetime of change.
How Do Solar Panels Work Exactly?
If you have decided to go the solar panel route, you may be wondering how exactly they will work for your tiny home. The first thing that will need to be done is your personal power grid will need to be converted over to solar energy.
It should also be noted that you more than likely will not be 100% reliant on solar energy to power your tiny home.
Most people find that solar energy is great to use during the day but it falls a little short once the sun goes down. While solar energy can be stored and used, chances are you will be using more power at night.
The solar panels can either be fitted directly onto the roof of your tiny home or in the yard. The placement will entirely depend on where the sun hits in your home.
Solar panel positions should be worked out before beginning installation. Your solar energy experts will be there to help guide your decision. However, there are a few things to keep in mind. You want to be sure that your panels have a clear connection to the sun. Luckily for you, tiny homes don’t tend to take up too much skyspace so your area of view should be fairly clear.
What is the Best Way to Store Water for Your Tiny Home?
The other essential you will need to think of when constructing your tiny home is how you are going to get water. Water for tiny homes is much more than a water tank and some pipes.
Because tiny homes are low on space, homeowners need to look for creative space solutions. Not only when it comes to water access, but to storage as well.
Using bottles and jugs of water is counterintuitive since the point of taking residency in a tiny home is to cut back on excess. However, there are plenty of ways to still store water for your family without sacrificing your greener outlook. The first thing to consider is to use what nature already has to offer.
Most people like to use water collection and filtration systems. If you are lucky enough to live in an area that is fruitful with rain, using one of these systems is perfect for you.
Water collection systems will gather rainwater and then it will pass through a filtration system so it is ready for use.
This water is not only great to clean and cook with, but it also does a great job of keeping your gardens flushed and thriving.
How does Plumbing Work in a Tiny Home?
Hybrid plumbing systems are all the rage among tiny home owners.
These top of the line systems work to allow you to store water in a 40-gallon tank. This same tank works to deliver water throughout your house using a simple pipe connection system. This means you can easily access clean water anywhere in your house at just a fraction of the cost.
Another system that is popular among tiny homeowners is the traditional pump and tank system.
This system uses a small water tank and a pressurize pump that will send water throughout your house. This is much like a system you will find in a larger home but perfectly customized for smaller house living.
The one problem that people run into when using a pump system is that they find that the tanks don’t hold much water.
This means that you will be needing to refill your tank often depending on how much water you use. While you can shell out money for a larger tank, find storage space can be problematic.
This is why some people like to use both systems for plumbing in their homes. Water storage and filtration systems work perfectly hand in hand with tank and pump systems.
This way you can always be sure to have clean water on hand without having to worry about finding outside sources for water. However, it is important to remember that what works for one family might not work for yours. Be sure to know how much water you will be needing before setting your sights on just one single system.
Common Plumbing Problems for Tiny Houses
Transition to a tiny home can be problematic for some, and that isn’t even factoring in common plumbing problems. When it comes to the plumbing in your tiny home, you should be prepared to face a couple of setbacks. Here are some of the most common plumbing problems that tiny homeowners face:
Every house, no matter the size, will face a leaky faucet or pipe at some point. However, in tiny houses, a small leak can quickly turn into a disaster. The avoid these types of problems, it is important to have your plumbing system regularly checked for leaks. Also, remember that the older your house gets, the most settled your pipes may be. This is why it is important to re-tighten connections every so often to avoid sudden leaks.
Everyone has experienced clogged drains. From showers that won’t drain to backed-up kitchen sinks, clogged drains are surely a hassle. In order to reduce the risk of clogged drains in your tiny home, be sure to frequently check drains for hair and other items. To avoid clogged drains, consider flushing your drains at least once a month. Using a simple and all natural solution of water, vinegar and baking soda will break up tough clogs while being gentle on your plumbing and pipes.
Low Water Pressure
You would think that pumping water through a smaller home would be easier. However, that isn’t always the case. Smaller pump systems mean that there will be less pressure. To avoid low water pressure, make sure that your system is calibrated properly to your home and your water needs. This way you can avoid the dreaded “slow trickle” shower and bathe like a pro.
Hot Water Shortage
Every household will fight over hot water. This is especially true for larger families living in a tiny house. But, did you know that fixing your hot water problem has one easy solution? Switching from a tank heater to a tankless heater can make all the difference in the world. However, remember that hot water runs through faster so using a tankless water heater may mean that you will be dipping into your water reserves more often.
Living Comfortably in Your Tiny Home
While there are many sacrifices to be made when it comes to living in a tiny home, there are some things you shouldn’t have to live without. Power and water are among those things.
Living in a tiny home does not mean you need to live in the dark ages. In fact, tiny houses are on the cusp of technological advancements and are the perfect example of how to live without excess.
As long as you have a plan in place for safely obtaining water and power, you are well on your way to living comfortably. Luckily for you, there have been plenty of people who have come before you to show you the ropes. Make sure to always seek professional help before setting up your new water and power systems. Nothing can crash the party quicker than improperly installed systems.
Sources:altestore.com, thetinyhouse.net, acehomeaz.com
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Maria is the founder of GoDownsize. While studying architecture in Denmark she became fascinated with designing living spaces for boats, tiny houses, RVs, and other small spaces.
She mainly writes about space optimization, interior design, and downsizing. She’s also in charge of our YouTube channel. Read more about Maria here.