It’s been a year now that we moved into our tiny house and we really enjoy it. And we’ve seen the weather change – from hot and dry when we moved in to humid and freezing cold in the high of winter.
It’s been an interesting 12 months and I want to use the post today to talk a little about appliances. More specifically about five appliances in our tiny house, I found to be either really helpful or absolutely essential. I’m excluding anything from the general kitchen department like a stove or oven because they deserve a post of their own.
Let me start with the most important appliance in our tiny house.
A heat-recovery ventilation unit
I’m a big proponent of opening windows and getting a fresh breeze in the house that way. Therefore a heat-recovery ventilation unit wasn’t an appliance in the tiny house I considered necessary. When we moved in we had our windows and doors open constantly. As time went and seasons changed, we realised that our indoor humidity was too high. In winter, we had condensation on the windows every morning and we had to open the windows twice a day to exchange all the air inside the house. So, the decision to have a heat-recovery ventilation unit installed wasn’t a difficult one.
As soon as we had the unit installed, we saw the humidity drop, we had no more condensation on our windows and we didn’t have to open the windows as much anymore. It was overall more comfortable to be in the house.
We also noticed that with the unit in place, we reduced our heating costs because we didn’t have to open the windows as much. Even though we can hear the unit working away from time to time I would highly recommend it. It’s a little inconvenience for a better indoor climate.
An on-demand water heater
One extensive discussion we had in the planning stages of our house was about the hot water appliance in the tiny house. Should we have an on-demand water heater or a small (tiny) hot water tank? There are very little tanks which would fit into a tiny house but, well, they are small. The smallest we came across holds 30 litres of water. That would be enough hot water for a shower of five minutes with our super water-saving showerhead. It’s certainly not enough for a family of four. So, the on-demand heater was a must for us.
In my research around this question, I also found that although water tanks are often believed to be more energy-efficient, modern on-demand water heaters are actually better. They heat the water as you need it and don’t store it. But, they require a lot of energy in a short time span. In our case, our lights usually flicker when someone has a hot shower.
A washer-dryer combo
I have never owned a dryer before and I always thought I wouldn’t need such a fancy appliance in my house. When we decided on a washing machine to put into our tiny house, we went with a washer dryer combo. I had read that it was a good idea for tiny houses but I never realised how important it would be.
The aspect to keep in mind when thinking about a tiny house is that you have no space to hang any washing inside. We have a little space to dry small items but no way would we be able to dry a full load. We do have lots of outside space though and when the weather is nice, that’s where we hang our washing.
However, winter in Sweden is cold and last year it was extremely humid with 99 per cent humidity for weeks on end. I tried to dry some items outside but even after two weeks outside it was still damp. Without the dryer, we wouldn’t have been able to do any kind of washing and drying at all.
A range hood
Something I also hadn’t used that regularly was a range hood. In my previous houses, the kitchen was usually somewhat separate from the living spaces so I rarely used a range hood. But, in a tiny house with a single multi-purpose living area, a range hood is absolutely essential. It keeps smells at bay and also plain steam. We turn it on every time we cook, especially when it’s something like potatoes or pasta which would produce a lot of steam.
An internal power meter
The last appliance is not essential, especially not if you are off-grid or with your own power supply. But when you park your house in a place with others and without a separate connection to the main power line, it can make a huge difference. We had our power meter installed as an afterthought but it’s been great to monitor our power usage. Although the numbers in winter weren’t always encouraging, it makes a lot of sense to us to know how much power we use in the various months of the year.