HVAC Design for Tiny Homes

HVAC Design for Tiny HomesTiny homes are a relatively new housing phenomenon that appeal to residents looking for a downsized, simplified lifestyle. While the official definition of “tiny” varies according to locale, generally speaking, it refers to a structure less than 700 square feet and constructed for portability in order to be built off-site and transported to the lot by truck.

Indoor comfort is just as critical for occupants of tiny homes as for anyone living in a conventional residence over 2,000 square feet. Existing options to stay cool in summer and warm during winter are more limited for a structure built on such a reduced scale, however. Here are two HVAC alternatives for staying comfortable in small surroundings:

Window Air Conditioners

A window A/C presents affordable cooling. Within the confined space of a tiny home, however, some window units may be very loud and cause distraction. Unfortunately, decibel ratings for noise produced by window units are not typically included in manufacturer’s specs. You’ll need to shop around at outlets where you can actually power up and listen to various models for the most low-noise option.

Since window air conditioners only provide cooling, you’ll need a separate source for warmth in winter. Electric space heaters are frequently utilized, however, they tend to consume excessive wattage. Ensuring that the tiny house has adequate insulation and is effectively air-sealed can help conserve heat and lower expenses.

Ductless Mini-Splits

This option provides both cooling and heating for limited spaces, without relying on a window A/C or installing ductwork. Consisting of a low-profile air handler on the wall or ceiling connected to a compact outdoor heat pump unit mounted outside, the two units are linked by a narrow-gauge refrigerant line that needs only a three-inch opening in an exterior wall. Like a full-size heat pump, the ductless mini-split system provides both summer cooling and winter warmth from a single, energy-efficient unit, without the need for a second heating source.

For more about HVAC options for tiny homes, contact C.R. Wolfe Heating & Air Conditioning.


Our goal is to help educate our customers in Middletown, New York about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about HVAC design and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide or call us at 845-367-4482.

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