The Ultimate Guide to Heating Your Tiny Home



What are Tiny Homes?

Tiny homes are small, portable dwellings with a minimalistic design. They are typically 400 square feet or less in floor area, excluding lofts. Because of their small size, tiny houses often display clever ways of utilizing space. They may also be self-sufficient (or mostly so), meaning that they generate their own power and water and use sustainable materials. While some tiny houses are mobile, not all are, and it is not a requirement.


Are Tiny Houses Legal in New Zealand?

Yes, tiny houses are legal in New Zealand. However, the specific regulations that apply to tiny houses can vary depending on the local council. In general, tiny houses are considered to be either vehicles or buildings.

Tiny houses that are considered vehicles must be registered, insured, and meet size and weight requirements under the Land Transport Act 1998. Those that are considered buildings must be designed and constructed to certain standards under the Building Act 2004, and be inspected by a qualified building inspector before occupation.


Benefits of Energy-Efficient Heating in Tiny Homes

Heating your tiny home efficiently can have tons of perks!

  • Help reduce carbon footprint.
    This is because when you optimize your heating system, you minimize energy waste and maximize energy conservation. That means, you're using less energy, thus, producing less pollution.
  • Save money on your utility bills.
    The smaller structure of tiny homes means energy-efficient heaters are the go-to as they use less energy to heat your home.
  • Create a cozy and inviting environment
    An energy-efficient heating system ensures consistent warmth, eliminating cold spots and drafts that can be common in tiny homes.


What we Consider the Best Heater for a Tiny House

  1. Underfloor heating
    Underfloor heating refers to a heating system that is installed underneath the flooring of a home or building. Unlike traditional heating systems, such as forced air furnaces, underfloor heating does not take up any valuable space within the living area. This feature is particularly beneficial in small homes or spaces where every square inch counts.

    One significant advantage of underfloor heating is its ability to directly heat the floor itself. This means that the heat is evenly distributed throughout the room from the ground up, resulting in a more efficient and comfortable heating experience. In contrast, traditional heating systems often rely on forced air, which can create uneven temperatures and waste energy.Another advantage of underfloor heating is its compatibility with various flooring materials. Whether it's tile, hardwood, or luxury vinyl, underfloor heating can be installed beneath any type of flooring. This versatility allows homeowners or builders to choose their preferred flooring material without worrying about compatibility issues with the heating system.

  2. Radiant heaters
    Radiant heaters are an excellent choice for tiny homes due to several reasons. Firstly, the compact size of a tiny home demands efficient use of space, and radiant heaters fit perfectly in this scenario. These heaters do not require any bulky ductwork or extensive installation processes. Instead, they can be easily mounted on walls or ceilings, taking up minimal space and blending seamlessly with the overall interior design of the home.

    Secondly, radiant heaters provide focused and targeted heating, which is particularly advantageous in small living spaces. Unlike traditional forced-air systems that heat the entire room indiscriminately, radiant heaters emit infrared radiation that directly warms objects and surfaces within their reach. This means that occupants can experience cozy warmth in specific areas without wasting energy on heating empty spaces.Moreover, the heating mechanism of radiant heaters offers increased comfort compared to other heating options. By emitting heat radiation, these heaters eliminate the circulation of dry air, which can lead to dry skin.

  3. Panel heaters
    Panel heaters are a great heating choice for tiny houses because they are small in size, energy-efficient, and operate quietly. They save space by being mounted on the wall and provide direct heat to the room, which reduces energy waste.

    Redwood WiFi panel heaters go even further with their advantages. They have 3 x Mica Heating Elements that cover the entire Aluminium frame, ensuring efficient and equal distribution of warmth. The built-in thermostat automatically controls the temperature and combines convection and radiant heat delivery for maximum comfort and energy efficiency. Redwood panel heaters are slim and fit perfectly in tiny homes, offering both wall-mounted and free-standing installation options. They offer reliable, quiet, and user-friendly heating solutions that enhance the cozy atmosphere of small living spaces.


Alternative Heating Options for Tiny Homes

When it comes to heating a tiny home, there are several alternative options available that can efficiently warm up the space while being both cost-effective and environmentally friendly. In this section, we will explore three popular alternative heating options for tiny homes: wood-burning stoves, propane heating, and mini-split heat pumps.

  1. Wood-Burning Stoves
    A wood-burning stove is a traditional heating option that has been used for centuries and is still a popular choice for many tiny homeowners. These stoves provide a cozy and rustic ambiance while effectively heating the space. One of the main advantages of wood-burning stoves is that they can rely on renewable resources such as firewood, eliminating the need for fossil fuels. They are also relatively inexpensive compared to other heating systems, making them an attractive option for those on a budget.However, it's important to note that using wood-burning stoves requires effort and maintenance. Regularly chopping firewood and ensuring proper ventilation are vital to ensure safe and efficient operation. Additionally, the installation of a chimney or flue system is necessary to vent the smoke outside the tiny home.

  2. Mini-Split Heat Pumps
    Unlike traditional HVAC systems, mini-split heat pumps consist of two main components: an indoor unit and an outdoor unit. The indoor unit is typically mounted on a wall or ceiling and is responsible for distributing conditioned air within the living space. The outdoor unit contains the compressor and other necessary components for heat exchange with the environment. The two units are connected by refrigerant lines, allowing for efficient heating or cooling.Mini-split heat pumps are an excellent option for heating and cooling tiny homes. One of the primary benefits of mini-split heat pumps is their energy efficiency. These systems operate using inverter-driven technology, which means they can adjust their speed based on the temperature needs of the room. This ability to modulate the output ensures that the system only uses as much energy as required to maintain a comfortable environment. Compared to traditional HVAC systems, mini-split heat pumps consume significantly less electricity, resulting in lower utility bills and reduced environmental impact.


Pros and Cons of the Different Heating Options

Ultimately, the best heating system for your tiny home is the one that best meets your needs and budget. If you are unsure which type of heating system is right for you, it is a good idea to consult with a heating contractor.


Heated Towel Rails: A Luxury You can Afford in a Tiny Home

Heated towel rails, also known as heated towel racks or heated towel bars, have gained popularity in recent years for their practicality and functionality. Although often associated with larger bathrooms or luxurious spa-like settings, these innovative bathroom fixtures are equally ideal for tiny homes.

First and foremost, one of the key advantages of heated towel rails in tiny homes is their ability to maximize space utilization. Traditional towel racks tend to occupy valuable wall space that could be utilized for other purposes. On the other hand, heated towel rails not only provide a designated spot for your towels but also offer the added benefit of warming them up. By combining the functions of a towel rack and a heating element into one unit, these fixtures eliminate the need for separate devices and streamline the overall design of the bathroom.

Another significant benefit of heated towel rails in tiny homes is their energy efficiency. As space is limited, so are the resources needed to power and heat it adequately. Heated towel rails typically come with low wattage elements, making them energy-efficient options for heating towels. They consume significantly less energy compared to traditional room heaters or radiators, ensuring that.


Tips for Optimal Heating on Tiny Homes

Insulating and weatherproofing your tiny home is essential to ensure optimal heating during the cold winter months. Here are some valuable tips:

  1. Choose the Right Insulation Material
    Selecting the right type of insulation material is the first step towards achieving effective heat retention. Consider using materials such as insulated underlay, rigid foam insulation, spray foam, or mineral wool batts as these materials have high R-values which indicate their ability to resist heat flow and provide excellent thermal insulation.
  1. Insulate All Areas
    It's important to insulate not only the walls but also the ceiling, floor, and windows of your tiny home. Poorly insulated areas can lead to thermal bridging, where heat easily escapes through gaps or spaces.
  1. Pay Attention to Windows and Doors
    Windows and doors are common points of heat loss in any dwelling, including tiny homes. Invest in energy-efficient windows with double or triple glazing that provide an additional layer of insulation and consider using thermal curtains or window films to further enhance insulation. Weatherstripping and caulking around doors and windows can also prevent drafts and reduce heat loss.
  1. Seal Gaps and Cracks
    Inspect your tiny home thoroughly for any gaps, cracks, or openings that may contribute to air leakage. Use sealants, such as silicone caulk or expanding foam, to seal these areas and prevent cold air infiltration. Areas around vents, pipes, electrical outlets, and any other potential sources of air leakage are worth checking.
  1. Utilize Skirting and Underbelly Insulation
    If your tiny home is built on wheels or has an elevated construction, skirting can help create a barrier against cold winds and moisture. Additionally, insulating the underbelly of your home with materials like closed-cell spray foam or rigid foam insulation boards can further improve thermal performance.
  1. Install a Programmable Thermostat
    A programmable thermostat allows you to set specific temperature schedules for different times of the day. This not only helps maintain comfortable heating levels but also reduces energy consumption by automatically adjusting temperatures when you're away or asleep.
  1. Use Insulated Curtains or Blinds
    In addition to weatherproofing your windows, using insulated curtains or blinds can provide an extra layer of insulation to keep cold air out and warm air in. Opt for thick, thermal curtains or blinds that have a high insulation rating.
  1. Ventilate Properly
    While insulation and weatherproofing are crucial for heat retention, it's also important to ensure proper ventilation in your tiny home. Adequate ventilation helps remove excess moisture and stale air, preventing condensation and mold growth. Consider installing heat recovery ventilation to maintain a healthy indoor environment.
  1. Conduct Regular Maintenance
    Regularly inspect your insulation and weatherproofing materials for any signs of damage or wear. Replace worn-out caulking, sealants, or insulation as needed to maintain optimal performance. Additionally, clean your heating system regularly to ensure it functions efficiently.


Remember that every tiny home is unique, so it is essential to assess your specific needs and requirements. Consulting with professionals or experienced individuals is highly recommended.

If you require professional help with the heating systems of your tiny home, the Heating Company is an outstanding choice for Auckland and the rest of New Zealand. We are committed to delivering dependable service that you can rely on. Please feel free to reach out to us at 0800 432 846.