Going mobile: A great way to get out in 2020!
Social distancing and taking a vacation seem at odds with each other during this pandemic. Perhaps a mobile lifestyle, where you take the comfort and privacy of home with you, is the way to go - whether you are going minimalist for staycations in your tiny house or planning more time exploring through RV living. Wherever your small space on wheels takes you, we’re sure you’d like to bring along the warmth of home. As experts in electric heat, we’re sharing the key benefits of choosing electric. And, we’ll recommend the best heating products for small spaces to keep you comfortable all year or simply to extend your summer season.
Why go electric for tiny living? Let’s be practical.
Tiny home design shows are nearly an obsession and with RVs taking glamping to a new level, it’s easy to get excited about the look and feel of this experience. But there are more practical considerations for mobile living - especially for those of us in four-season regions. A critical consideration to staying comfortable and managing costs is safe and efficient heating. For a smaller home there are plenty of reasons why electric is a smart choice.
Electric: Accessible and cost effective
Electrical power is the easiest to access for tiny homes on grid and at RV campgrounds. Many tiny homes are stationary, as getaways or simply alternatives to larger homes, but still on grid (meaning access to electric power). If you are planning for life off-grid, electric heaters are still an efficient and worry-free option if you opt for solar-powered storage batteries. For RVs, many campgrounds offer a flat rate for full-service hookups, including electric, so it makes sense to save the propane you need while mobile and enjoy the greater warmth and convenience of electric.
Relying on wood or propane sources obviously requires more work. Everyone loves a wood-burning stove, but imagine the daily logistics of getting wood, preparing it and waiting for the heat to get going. And, while propane is a necessary backup for RVs, nothing is easier than plugging in and flipping a switch - especially after a long day of driving or adventure!
Electric: Adjustable, precise heat where and when you need it
Setting up the right amount of heat is critical for a small dwelling. Too much heat means you’re constantly opening windows and too little leaves you and your family uncomfortable. BTUs is a standard measurement unit that helps us size the right heat output for our space. You can find easy-to-use BTU calculators online or talk with your builder or DIY store professional to get their advice considering your space size and configuration. With electric heaters, the BTU output is well-defined, and you have precise thermostat control - giving you confidence in your product selection and consistent performance. It’s much more difficult to control the heat output of wood and propane heaters, particularly if you just want to take the chill off. With electric, you have maximum control and flexibility to set your comfort level.
Electric: Easy to incorporate with space-saving options.
If you are building new, it’s straightforward to plan the location of heaters for your tiny house when you do your electrical plan. We recommend that you start with your main living area and also consider those spaces where you want temporary heat boosts, like the bathroom or near doors. For RVs, aftermarket heating is also easy to incorporate. With space always at a premium in tiny homes and RVs, our built-in electric heaters mean no cords or loss of valuable floor space. Our low-profile (slim) wall-mounted heaters and discrete kickspace heaters are great options that can be installed in cabinetry, kitchen islands or under cabinets.
Electric: Simple, safe and maintenance-free.
Cadet electric heaters are designed for easy, everyday use at the flip of a switch, push of a button or turn of a dial; compare that to chopping wood or lugging propane tanks. Plus, you can enjoy thermostat-controlled heat for consistent comfort, including lower settings for nighttime or when you’re away. (For those of us in cold climates, these automatic settings can prevent winter damage like frozen pipes). Electric heaters are also more out of the way and you certainly don’t have the clearance or safety concerns that come with a wood burning stove. With electric, there’s no cleaning, no combustibles, no emissions and no maintenance.
Good to know about voltage when selecting electric heaters:ADUs (Accessory Dwelling Unit)
ADUs or small secondary dwellings on a main property are becoming increasingly popular. These small homes - in backyards, in basements or above garages - have access to normal 240V residential service (and a perk if you would like a normal sized oven or dryer!). So if you are building or renovating an ADU with regular service, you should select 240V heater models.
Remote tiny homes & RVsThe typical remote tiny house electrical setup is with a 30-amp RV plug or twist-lock 120-volt input. While normal houses have 240V wiring, tiny houses and RVs are normally 120V, so select 120V product options. We also recommend 8.3-amp heaters on a 120-volt system.
The following products are 120V models (and most are available in 240V, if needed). These amazing electric heaters offer quick, quiet, reliable, and cost-effective heat:
Main Living Areas:
Com-Pak (CSC101TW): This versatile, space-saving wall heater can be installed horizontally or vertically and provides quick, efficient and quiet heat (1000 watts). Includes built-in dial thermostat.
Perfectoe (UC101B): A discrete, kickspace heater installs under cabinets; a kitchen island is an ideal central location (750 watts). Requires a separate thermostat.
Energy Plus (CEC163TW): This smart heater uses up to 30% less energy with automatically adjusting wattage and fan speed; it features a built-in digital thermostat and Night/Away button to pre-set a secondary lower temperature (1000 watts).
Bathroom Heater (RBF101): A stylish stainless-steel front, this compact heater provides gentle, even and quiet heat (1000 watts) and an easy-to-use on/off switch.
Com-Pak Bath (CBC103TW): Set the timer and say goodbye to chilling mornings; the Com-Pak Bath is low profile and features a built-in thermostat and 60-minute autotimer (1000W).
Please be sure to obtain the required permits from your municipality and comply with all building codes that apply to your area, whether you are building new or renovating.