Tiny House Systems Selection

Some of the most important items that Tiny House denizens have to choose for their house are the appliances and various systems within their house. But before you run off to the nearest home improvement or appliance store, first step back and consider what you truly need in your tiny house. What type of commode, hot water system, cooking appliance, cool/cold food storage, and depending upon your chosen locale, air conditioner (trust me, in the hot-humid climate of the southeast United States, AC is almost a necessity) or heater (conversely, up north, heat is much more a consideration).

Each of these individual appliance choices are worthy of their own blog posts (and will be written up in greater detail in the future), but for now I will touch on some of the primary considerations that should be made, common to all systems.

How will you be using the systems?

A tiny house set up (semi-)permanently on a piece of land will require different systems than one that is designed to be used more like a recreational vehicle / camper. If you are travelling and using your tiny house like a camper, you will probably want to have water supply tanks and if not wanting to dump waste water on the ground, holding tanks incorporated into the design, along with having storage for the various hoses (both supply and waste) needed for hooking up at a camp ground or in someone’s back yard. Another consideration is whether you have sewer or septic connections available to you.

Cooking style?

Backyard Dining
Photography: Sharon Brewer Photography, Decorations: The Architect’s Wife

If you are a very sociable person, who enjoys having people over for dinner all the time and cooking for them, or happen to be a gourmet cook, or both, your needs will be different from someone who prefers to eat simply and in solitude. Especially if they prefer microwave meals to cooking on a stove.

Are you living alone or with others?

Single guys (and girls) may require less space...
Single guys (and girls) may require less space…

This all boils down to volume. One person requires less food, supplies, and water than a family of four, and generates more waste (both trash and biological). The more that needs to be on hand and stored, the more room that needs to be allocated to said storage, and the more waste that will be generated that will need to be dealt with. Of course, your particular eating habits also will play a part in this, as will your skill (or lack thereof) in cooking.

What level of modern conveniences do you want / need?

Simplest option
Simplest option

Some people can be truly happy with a simple bucket with a pool noodle on the rim and a bucket of dry sawdust, while others will demand a flush commode connected to a holding tank / sewer / septic field. Some can be happy with a solar camp shower hung from a tree, others prefer a more traditional indoor shower, while others cannot live without a soak in their bathtub. Some are happy with heating water on a stove or campfire, while others cannot do without a hot water system just like in a typical house. Some will require a hook over a campfire, while others will be happy with a hot plate and microwave on a counter, while others will demand a full stove with oven, that simply must use gas.

None of the above choices are inherently wrong, as each person has their own level of comfort and modern conveniences that they require, but the choices made will inform as to what systems need to be included in your tiny house.

In my next few posts, I will delve further into the details of each system that need to be considered:

Tiny House Food Storage and Preparation found here

Tiny House Water Systems Part 1 found here

Tiny House Water Systems Part 2 found here

Tiny House Cooling Systems found here

Tiny House Heating Systems found here

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