Going off-grid with your Tiny Home is one of the most enjoyable experiences if you do it properly. It can also be one of the worst experiences if you don’t. What we want to try and convey here is what going off-grid looks like and how to prepare for it when you do. First let’s define what going off-grid means. It means you have no utilities. No water hook ups, no electrical hook ups and no sewer hook ups. You are completely on your own and in a self-sustaining situation.
There are two sources of electrical power when going off-grid. One is solar and the other is a generator. Most solar solutions will not maintain a 24-hour power supply to your house for long extended periods of time. The reason being is the source of regenerating your power supply is the sun. The sun may not shine for a day or days on end. If that’s the case, then you have no way to recharge the batteries on your system and you will run out of power. Solar panels capture the suns energy and bring it into the solar unit. The solar unit will then store the energy in batteries and draw upon the battery power when needed. If the sun goes away, so does your energy. You can also outwork your solar unit by not having enough battery capacity. Electric heaters and air conditioners are the main power drains on a solar system. Your lights, microwave and refrigerator all draw power but not all that much. One thing to always keep in mind when using solar. If you allow your solar batteries to be in a cold or freezing climate for any extended period of time, you could do damage to the batteries. These batteries are very expensive so you must not allow your solar unit to be idle in a cold or freezing climate.
Having a backup generator is crucial in making sure you always have power when you need it. Relying on one source of energy for electrical power is not smart for electrical or any other need your home has when going off-grid. Always have at least one other source of energy for any need.
Heat is also very important. Making sure you have several options for heat is a must when going off-grid in a colder climate. The three main sources of heat will be electrical heaters, propane heaters and wood burning stoves. Using all three of these items together is essential especially when you are in a colder climate. You need to always keep the home warm. Here’s a perfect example of how to keep your home warm in the wintertime. Your main source of heat should be propane. Make sure you have enough propane for your heaters to operate as the main source of heat. Your back up heat can be electrical heaters or a wood burning stove. You can use electrical heaters as your main source of heat if you are not off-grid and plugged into power. But they are not a good idea as the main source when going off-grid because they are a big power drain to your solar unit if that’s what you have for power. If you are planning on running your generator all the time for power, then an electrical heater is fine. But if solar is your power source, the electrical heaters should be your back up source of heat. Propane should be number one, wood burning number two and electrical heaters number three if you are in an off-grid situation with solar.
Let’s say your house is off-grid and you’re not with your house all the time. How can the house stay warm in the wintertime in this situation? The first option is to winterize your water lines with an RV anti-freeze product. This will keep your water lines from freezing and causing damage. If you want to use your water in the wintertime but will not be staying at your house full time, then here’s a suggestion:You can’t leave your house unattended for more than a week or ten days at a time. If you have an off-grid home, you need to be able to spend time at your property to make sure everything is operating properly. If this is not possible, the suggestion is to winterize your home to keep it safe. Let’s say you can be at your off-grid property every week to ten days. Your first source of heat needs to be propane. Get larger propane tanks to handle the workload. Set your propane heaters to a lower setting as to not use up all of your propane by keeping the house at 75 degrees when you are not even there. Keep your house around 55 to 60 degrees and then raise the heat settings when you are in the unit. When using propane heat, make sure to crack your window enough to allow oxygen into the home. If you don’t do this, your propane heater will intermittently shut off due to lack of oxygen. A three-to-four-inch opening in a window should suffice. The backup source of heat will be your electric heaters. Set those heaters at approximately 55 degrees. Five degrees less than your propane heat capacity. That way they will kick on if for some reason the propane fails while you are gone. Hopefully you will have some way to monitor your heater and solar units with Online Remote Access capabilities. There are several good Online Remote Access solutions for off-grid situations. This way you can see if your electric heaters are over working and be notified of your battery levels on your solar unit.
You will need to have an adequate water tank in your Tiny Home. A 46-gallon tank is easily installed and provides a large amount of water. The tank also needs a top fill spout to fill the tank while being off-grid. Most Tiny Houses fill their water tanks with a hose when not in an off-grid situation. But that’s not possible when in the middle of nowhere. A top fill spout along with extra 5-gallon jugs of water are very helpful when using water when there’s not an option to fill your water tank while off-grid.
Going off-grid is much more than just taking your tiny home out to the middle of nowhere and hoping it works. You need to prepare, and you need to monitor its operation.
Living Tiny offers a unique and distinct way of living. It involves downsizing every aspect of your life, which can be a significant adjustment for some individuals. It’s important to manage expectations and understand that Tiny Living is not a direct lateral move from living in a larger house or apartment.
In a Tiny House, space is limited, and this means there will be reductions in closet space, drawer space for clothes, kitchen working area, and the size of bathrooms. The sleeping area may also be smaller and less private. These changes can be easily adapted to if you are prepared for the transition. It’s crucial to recognize that a family of six, for example, cannot expect to maintain the same lifestyle in a Tiny Home as they did in a four-bedroom house. To successfully embrace Tiny Living, one must adopt a mindset of thinking small to go small.
Once you grasp the principles of Tiny Living, you can truly enjoy the lifestyle. Minimizing your living area makes maintenance much easier, as there is less space to clean and organize. It simplifies your life and offers a more manageable way of living.
Living in a Tiny House can be approached in two different styles. One option is to live completely off-grid, creating a self-sustaining home that requires no power, sewer, or water hookups. The other option is to live a simpler RV life, residing in a campground, ranch, or someone’s backyard with access to utilities and septic systems. Both approaches allow you to experience the benefits of Tiny Living in different settings.
Regardless of the style you choose, embracing Tiny Living means living big in terms of the freedom and fulfillment it brings.
One of the most desirable features for your Tiny House is a high-quality solar package. Many Tiny House enthusiasts enjoy the freedom of going off-grid, and having a reliable solar system makes it incredibly convenient. Imagine immersing yourself in the tranquility of nature, surrounded by the soothing sounds and breathtaking starlit skies, while still having the ability to power your lights and keep your refrigerator running without the constant noise of a generator.
A solar package typically consists of solar panels installed on your roof, which capture the sun’s energy. These panels are then connected to Inverter/Converter units, where the power is stored in batteries located nearby. It’s important to note that it’s the batteries, not the solar panels, that actually power your home. The solar panels continuously charge the batteries, while the Inverter/Converter brings the stored power from the batteries into your home for energy.
For the best solar package option for your Tiny House, we recommend considering Hysolis. Their packages include an all-inclusive Inverter/Converter and high-quality batteries, providing a comprehensive solution. By adding an additional battery to your system, your Tiny House can remain powered throughout the day and night. This solar unit seamlessly integrates with your existing 30 amp, 110 power system. In the event of a power outage, your solar batteries automatically kick in, ensuring you’re prepared for any situation while enjoying the benefits of off-grid living.
When it comes to solar packages, it’s important not to settle for cheaper alternatives. Solar by Hysolis offers exceptional quality and reliability, keeping your Tiny House powered up consistently. While solar power is not a requirement, it is a luxurious addition to your Tiny Home, providing you with the convenience and independence that fits your budget and lifestyle.
Enhance the heating capacity and ambiance of your Tiny Home with the addition of a wood-burning stove. Experience the cozy warmth, comfort, and beauty of a crackling fire right in your living space. Snuggle up on the couch and enjoy the inviting atmosphere that a wood-burning stove brings to your Tiny Living experience.
Unlike regular wood-burning stoves, the Cubic Mini Stoves designed for Tiny Houses are smaller in size, making them a perfect fit. Avoid the common mistake of using a regular-sized stove in a tiny space, which can lead to discomfort in the sweltering one hundred twenty-degree climate. The Cubic Mini wood stove, specifically from their Grizzly collection, is designed for spaces of four hundred square feet or less. It provides just the right amount of heat for your Tiny Home, ensuring a comfortable environment.
Indulge in the unparalleled charm of a brightly burning fireplace in your Tiny Home. Discover the benefits that a wood-burning stove can bring to your living space.
One of the most commonly asked questions pertains to the functioning of composting toilets. Allow us to provide you with a comprehensive answer. When it comes to the best composting toilet available in the market today, Nature’s Best stands out. Their toilets boast an exceptional design that ensures ease of operation and maintenance.
A composting toilet consists of two distinct compartments. The first compartment is dedicated to handling liquid waste, commonly referred to as the pee trap. The second compartment is responsible for managing solid waste. It is crucial to avoid mixing the two when using a composting toilet. These toilets are specifically designed with separate compartments that are most effectively utilized while sitting down. Yes, gentlemen, you will need to sit to urinate when using a composting toilet.
The reason for keeping solids and liquids separate is to prevent the formation of a composting “moosh” pile. Such a mixture would be challenging to maintain in terms of odor control.
The urine trap has a capacity of up to two gallons, efficiently containing liquid waste. Depending on usage frequency, you’ll typically need to empty it every three to four days. As for solid waste, it drops into a compartment partially filled with peat moss. Using a simple turning spool on the toilet’s side, you can effortlessly mix the solid waste with the peat moss, much like churning butter (though not as appetizing). The peat moss then works its magic, drawing moisture out of the solid waste and drying it. Dried solid waste emits minimal odor, contributing to the composting toilet’s overall freshness. Typically, a composting toilet in regular use will require emptying about once a week.
You have a couple of options for disposal. If you have a designated composting area, take your solid waste there for proper disposal. Over time, this will yield high-quality soil for gardening, just like in the movie “The Martian,” where Matt Damon used a similar method when stranded on Mars. Alternatively, if you lack a composting area, use a sturdy garbage bag. Seal the solid waste securely in the bag and dispose of it along with your regular garbage.
Composting toilets do require some maintenance, making them ideal for off-grid living or in areas where traditional septic systems are unavailable.