Saturday, May 12, 2012

Getting Closer to smaller living: Stage 1.1 - Planning

I have been thinking about power consumption a bit more.  A microwave oven takes 1000 watts,  but a coffee maker does as well.  electric hot plate, etc... a LOT of appliances that would be used for cooking all take a LOT of power to run.   Granted, it's not for a long time, but even a Crock Pot draws 600 watts and people leave those on for 8 hours.

Cooking in a tiny home will have challenges,  going 100% solar increases the challenge quite a bit.  I need to see if a smaller crock pot uses less power. If I can find a 350watt crick pot that makes enough food for 3 people, that would be satisfactory, but solar needs to be scaled up by at least 35-40%   I am thinking 5 panels now to generate 500 watts per hour.  This can still be easily stored in the home when it is being transported.  The other advantage is that now the house will generate 200-300 watts of power on cloudy days.  electric cooktop is right out.  I will have to use a Propane 2 burner cooktop.  that means having to install a RV stove hood with vent fan.

I was looking at the all in one kitchens Like the Summit C301 or the Avanti CK301 but  I feel that a custom built kitchen with slide in dorm sized fridge is a better idea for serviceability.  and I still do not have any answers for bathroom yet.  it does seem that my 3' by 3' size is plenty large if I make it a wet stall where you straddle the toilet to shower.

I also still need to research heating.  The RV furnace is expensive and may still be overkill.  RV's are poorly insulated,   the typical tiny home will be better insulated and had fewer air leaks.  I need to find some HVAC calculations to see what kind of heat loss and heat gain the house will have.  I am certain that the smallest window AC unit will be overkill for the house.

I also have decided that the whole house audio will simply be a car stereo that has a remote.   Car stereos can drive 6 speakers easily, so that means 4 in the home to cover any and all areas, and two out on the porch with a switch to turn them on or off gives the tiny home a rich mans whole house stereo with patio speakers!  Car stereos run off of 12 volts so it will use very little power, and it will take up almost no space in the house.     Lighting will be via modified fixtures.   I cant find any house fixtures that look normal but have 12V light sockets.  So I will buy regular ones and change the sockets and wiring.  That way the porch can have a nice coach light that is LED and not use much power.   Inside Indirect strip lighting and  task lighting will be used to reduce wasted energy and power use.  RV Lighting fixtures  have very nice looking Wall sconces and other nice looking fixtures that will work very well in the home.

Finally, if you are looking for some basic tiny home plans for free, check out  They have a few sets of free plans to get you started.  They are not comprehensive, but they have enough detail that someone that is competent in carpentry can build the homes.  One that I find really cool is the 8X8 tiny home.  If you had permanent land, you could build that as a guest house, library or office separate from the main house.   Built as-is would be perfect for a single person.

Also watch out for the website  He simply harvests email addresses and mails you a link of other peoples information from their websites.  Do Not waste your time filling out his email link for any house plans, because all he will send you is the plans from  Honest sites will give you the info freely without making you sign up.  Stay away from ANY website that makes you give them your email to download something free.

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