Keeping the Heat In
One of the main challenges of a tiny house on wheels, especially in variable or cooler climates, is heating. Specifically, keeping the small space warm and maintaining that warmth. People can often make the mistake of overestimating or underestimating what they will need for heat, resulting in an inefficient installation, either providing too much heat or not enough. Although the heating and cooling system installed is important, it is equally important to match an efficient system with an efficient design. There are three main elements to a tiny house that need to be taken into consideration when it comes to your heat situation.
- The Sub-Floor
The floor of a tiny house on wheels can prove to be a sore spot for some tiny house owners because they did not consider the heat loss variable of having open air underneath the floor. It is important to take this into consideration and make sure that the floor will be adequately insulated when designing. Opting for in-floor heat on top of your insulation layer can greatly reduce the difficulties in keeping the floor warm.
- Thermal Break
Something that many independent builders may not consider when building a tiny house is something called thermal bridging. Thermal bridging occurs when there are uninsulated structural components that “bridge” between the interior and exterior of the house. These bridges allow thermal energy to cross from the interior of the home to the exterior. In the case of tiny houses, these are the wall studs and the roof and floor joists. This can be mitigated by installing a quality thermal break between all possible bridges and the exterior of the house. By fully “wrapping” the entirety of the framed structure with a thermal break, such as graphite polystyrene, you can effectively eliminate a large portion, if not all the heat loss through the structural members.
- Insulation Type
The last thing to consider when it comes to heat is your insulation in your walls and roof. Though fiberglass batts and blown-in do offer decent R-Values and affordability, they simply do not stand up to a spray foam insulation. Spray foam insulation seals the cavities it is sprayed into through expansion. As such, it is excellent at eliminating drafts and moisture infiltration. It also provides the highest R-Value in comparison to other standard options and adds to the structural integrity of the tiny house.
So wherever you might be parking your tiny house, whether you are in a permanent location or travelling around, consider these three factors when it comes to your build, and you will never have to worry about thermal efficiency again.