Heating Your Tiny House

Heating Your Tiny House

As is the case with many aspects of tiny house construction, the smaller the space is, the more challenges that one must solve. Finding a heating unit that would work in hOMe turned out to be a major undertaking eating up at least a dozen hours of research, visiting showrooms, and connecting with other tiny house owners. The biggest challenges we faced were finding a propane heater that didn’t require electricity, that needed very little clearance space so that we could place it in a small corner, and that would put out just the right amount of heat without blasting us out of our house. It needed also to be reasonably priced, not too heavy, and have a programable thermostat. Who knew heating your tiny house could be so hard?

In the end we went with the Hampton H27 and we have been 100% satisfied with it. Even in the -10F spell we had this winter we stayed toasty warm. In this Tiny House Minute we talk about how to calculate your BTU needs to make sure you end up with a system that is large enough, why the marine stoves aren’t cutting it for most tiny house owners, and the benefits of the Hampton.

Want to learn more about tiny house living and how to build a tiny house? Want to do so for FREE? Sign up for our totally free 7 Day Tiny House eCourse! Find out more HERE.

74 Responses to Heating Your Tiny House

  1. Tim March 17, 2014 at 10:23 am #

    Interesting video———how many BTUs is your heater. Your site is a great resource. Thanks——-Tim

    • Gabriella March 17, 2014 at 12:15 pm #

      Hi Tim! You will find all specs about it here: http://www.regency-fire.com/Products/Hampton-Wood-Gas/Cast-Iron-Stoves,-Fireplaces—Inserts/H27.aspx

      • AJ Saunders March 8, 2015 at 5:34 pm #

        Ceiling mounted radiant heaters solve heating issues in tiny houses.

        Here is the site for specs http://www.sshcinc.com/enerjoy1specs.htm#specs

      • EK January 31, 2017 at 10:01 am #

        You posted this 2 years ago, wondering how happy you are with the Regency H27. I am having a problem with very find dust that sticks to the windows and every thing that I have in the room where I installed Hampton H27. It lasted every winter for 3 yrs, they gave me a brand new one and still doing it, not as much but the very find dust accumulates on my ‘everything’ in a week. I don’t know what to do with it – I just don’t want to inhale the dust.

        • Gabriella January 31, 2017 at 4:34 pm #

          Hi Ek! We are still very happy with it. Has also been 3 years for us. No issues with fine dust and we live on a long dirt road. Hope you figure out what’s causing that! Sounds like a drag πŸ™

          • EK February 1, 2017 at 1:03 pm #

            Thank you very much for the quick response. Yes it has been a drag – the dealer is a good dealer trying their best. The 1st one was a faulty welding inside that let the combusion dust out into the room, they exchanged it after 3 yrs of continued problem, and still the same, colder it gets the worse the dust (in Michigan). it develops film over things and you can see it in just one week. My cats sneezes as they are more sensitive to dust. It puzzles me as it is a good reputable brand. sigh… will keep seeking for the resolution. Your website and info are good. thank you!

  2. Patrick March 27, 2014 at 6:42 am #

    Great video, I noticed your heater has a chimney, I am seeing vent free heaters at the local hardware store, is there a reason you didn’t go with on like that?

    • Gabriella March 27, 2014 at 8:21 pm #

      Hi Patrick! We went with a direct vent heater which requires venting. The venting allows for air flow exchange (in and out flows). With vent free heaters like you are referring to there are a couple of issues: 1) they are not terribly safe in small spaces. They use air from within the house/cabin to combust and heat the space. In time, there are potential dangers of high carbon monoxide buildup. Plus, they kind of smell badly. 2) they create a significant amount of condensation inside the space they are heating. In a tiny house this is something that must be factored as all that extra moisture will cause water issues in your walls in time. We have had a couple of vent free heaters and have always felt very nervous that they weren’t safe in a small space. Hope that helps!

    • Charles Henry August 10, 2016 at 1:20 pm #

      My wife and I at one time had an invented propane fireplace in our house an the safety warnings on it said don’t operate for more than 8 to 10 hours before turning off for 3 to 4 hours to insure that carbon dioxide emissions don’t become dangerous. Also warned should not be left running when no one was home or overnight for the same reason.

      • /bob August 10, 2016 at 6:56 pm #

        That kind of venting I would never have in a home. Just asking for trouble there. Many propane units now have direct venting which has an intake vent pipe that is larger, with a smaller exhaust vent pipe inside of it such as Gabriella mentions above. Both are open to the outside and none are open to the inside. The unit itself is sealed so no actual air exchange happens inside. Vent intake air comes in the bigger pipe and is heated by the exhaust air going out. In a tiny house I would consider gas for a heating unit (not fireplace unless like the one in Gabriella and Andrew’s hOMe here). Also gas for a water heater and MAYBE for a dryer if it is a direct vent on both units. I am kind of preferring an electric stove/oven (due to the venting and moisture from burning propane issue) and solar power sufficient to provide for that.

  3. Marge April 4, 2014 at 8:17 am #

    Is there this same type of stove, that would also be able to burn wood?
    I thought this would save on gas use, if one happened to be in the woods.

    • Gabriella April 4, 2014 at 8:35 am #

      Hi Marge! Do you mean one that runs both gas and wood? If so, then no, I don’t believe that there is a dual stove like that.

      • Marge April 4, 2014 at 10:01 am #

        Ok, thank you.
        This finally came through. I need more patience πŸ˜‰

        • Gabriella April 4, 2014 at 10:45 am #


  4. Maria April 8, 2014 at 6:02 am #

    Hi . Will you sale the blue prints for this tiny house and if so I would love to purchase it

    • Gabriella April 8, 2014 at 1:36 pm #

      Thanks for connecting Maria! Yes! We will be launching the sale of our hOMe plans on April 18. πŸ™‚

  5. samuel anderson April 16, 2014 at 6:49 pm #

    Hi Gabriella
    I would like to know about the specs on the chassis like how long and weight capacity and width ect.about how much would it cost, we live in new jersey.

    Thanks Sam

    • Gabriella April 18, 2014 at 6:22 pm #

      Hi Sam! We will create a detailed article about this soon. Come on back and visit our site from time to time or sign up for our newsletter. πŸ™‚

  6. Alan Johnson April 22, 2014 at 6:07 am #

    Wonderful website!

    Looking forward to your blueprints.

    What provisions are there for cooling and reducing humidity for tinyhousebuild homes in climates like humid Florida?

    By the way, some ritzy non-air conditioned (and very old) homes in Charleston SC are very livable due to superior ventilation systems taking advantage of ocean breeze.

    • Gabriella April 22, 2014 at 11:35 am #

      Hi Alan! For sure you will want to install an ERV. That will mitigate all the humidity. Tiny houses, being tiny, have condensation issues bc there isn’t much space for created moisture to escape. Plus add on top of that the ambient humidity of tropical FL and that could be an issue. But an ERV should take care of all that. Keep us posted on what you decide!

  7. David Hall April 22, 2014 at 8:54 pm #

    Thank you for sharing so much useful information.
    I noticed in your video that you have a tankless water heater. Is it electric or propane? I’m about to build a tiny home and would like it be as self sustaining as possible, but I will plug in to the grid sometimes. If you were to be plugged into the grid what tankless hot water system would you recommend? And if you were off the grid what water heating system would you recommend?

    • Gabriella April 22, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

      Hi David! It’s a propane tankless water heater. We are totally off grid. The hot water heater requires a small amount of power but not much. To answer your other question below, we have two 100 gallon propane tanks outside of our solar shed.

  8. David Hall April 22, 2014 at 8:59 pm #

    Where is your propane tank located? I’m assuming your Hampton H27 has a propane line connected to a propane tank.??
    Thank You

  9. David Hall April 23, 2014 at 6:44 am #

    Thank you Gabriella. What make/ model tankless water heater do you have? Or maybe another one you recommend?

    Is your refrigerator powered off of solar??

    • Gabriella April 23, 2014 at 7:42 am #

      The hot water heater is EccoTemp FV112. It works great! No complaints at all. The fridge is a regular electric fridge. We thought about going propane but they are so much more expensive and propane is expensive as well!!

  10. Josh April 27, 2014 at 2:45 pm #


    I had no clue about tiny houses until I saw this site and I am glad this was where my fascination began! Just wondering, is your roof vented in any way for heat to escape or do the windows work for that? I live in South Carolina where it gets pretty warm in summer and I always find it hotter on the second floor of my home than the first. Is that an issue for you since you are sleeping in a loft? Also, I read you have two 100 gallon propane tanks, about how often do you have to fill those? Thanks.

    • Gabriella May 1, 2014 at 2:35 pm #

      Hi Josh! We don’t have a system like that for venting hOMe. Our climate is mild enough that our evenings are about 20 degrees cooler than the day so opening the windows at night sufficiently cools the house down. We fill our tanks every few months (5-6)? Haven’t been here quite long enough to know how much propane we are using.

  11. Michelle April 30, 2014 at 2:10 pm #

    Hi, I live in Fairbanks, Alaska. Our winters are pretty extreme — sometimes dipping into the -60F temps. Would a tiny house stay warm enough here? I love this idea so much! Thanks.

    • Gabriella May 1, 2014 at 2:13 pm #

      Wow…no question that is real bona fide cold up there! You would for sure need to make some changes and increase your framing lumber to 2×6 and insulate as much as possible. The 2×10 ceiling joists may provide enough space for the amount of insulation you would need up there. Best thing would be to contact your building department and ask what code requirements are for framing there as well as minimum RValues for your walls, floors and ceiling. Then make modifications for your tiny house to reflect that. Keep us posted! A lot of folks are asking the very same questions.

      • Judith August 15, 2015 at 6:10 pm #

        There is a company called Leaf House out of Whitehorse, Yukon that builds tiny homes specifically designed for the weather in Northern Canada – you might want to check them out for info. on how to build for the cold.

        • Gabriella August 17, 2015 at 11:51 am #

          Great to know Judith!

    • Troy April 19, 2015 at 1:31 pm #


      I am also in Fairbanks. For our area I would recommend a Toyo stove. As long as the building is properly insulated you’ll have no problem heating it. I would not put any plumbing inside the walls as Andrew uses in his hOME. This would be disastrous here and guarantee to freeze. Try to design your home so that all the plumbing is on interior walls or surface mount your plumbing inside the building. R-19 walls and R38 ceilings are about the min. I would use. 3.5″ walls combined with rigid foam will work. Bear in mind that if you use six-inch walls you are reducing your interior space by 1 foot, and that is pretty substantial. I am using 3.5″ + 1″ of EPS rigid foam on the exterior. R-38 for the roof. About the same for the floor. Don’t forget window coverings! Heat loss is huge there. Warm window is a good product for that.

      The biggest issue with propane in extreme cold areas is the byproduct of heating is moisture. That moisture will cause major problems with combustion starting at about 20 below zero. You don’t want propane for heat here!

      Still with the Toyo and you’ll have no problem. I would look for something like the OM23. Total Toyo off of Bager road will service it.

    • Cara September 30, 2015 at 4:38 pm #

      Hi Michelle, check out the Leaf House tiny houses up in the Yukon, built specifically for cold Canadian (and American!) climates: http://tinyhousing.ca/

  12. AndrΓ© May 4, 2014 at 5:20 pm #


    My girlfriend and I are in love with your design and are seriously looking into building our own version of hOMe within the next year! We would be building it on the north shore of New-Brunswick, Canada. The winters here dip in the minus 30 Celsius, sometimes more. Would you recommend getting a bigger stove like the H35 and beefing up the insulation? Thanks again for sharing this with the world! You guys rock!

    • Gabriella May 4, 2014 at 9:55 pm #

      Awesome to hear that Andre! Yes, that is really cold up there. I have to say that our heater puts out SO much heat it’s hard to imagine you needing anything more. Even when it was -10F here it was only on medium. In other words, we didn’t have up full blast and we certainly weren’t close to being cold. That said, you should consult someone who is a pro in that company. I’d beef up the framing to 2×6. The 2x10s may be enough. Check in with local building codes there and see what their Rvalue requirements are and work from there. Don’t want you cold in hOMe! πŸ˜‰

  13. David Hall May 9, 2014 at 10:15 am #

    I purchased the Eccotemp FVi12 LP tankless water heater today and now I’m trying to figure out which water pump to purchase. I’m planning on using a 200 gallon water tank designed to collect rain water. I will need to pump the water from this tank to my tiny home and tankless water heater. Do you have any advise on which water pump to buy?
    Thank You

    • Gabriella May 10, 2014 at 11:58 am #

      Congrats! Nothing like reliable hot water. I actually don’t have suggestions for water pump products. We use a pump to get our water out from 260′ in our well all the way up to a holding tank that sits 75′ above us vertically on a hill. Gravity then supplies us with water until our 1,500 holding tank runs out and then we have to run the pump again. I can say though that our pump was not really expensive. I think it was in the $800 range. I know there are some for thousands. Have you connected with the folks at backwoodssolar.com? They are great and may be able to get you in the right direction.

  14. Erin June 30, 2014 at 6:04 pm #


    Definitely considering buying dvds and maybe plans. I looked up this Hampton H27 and priced it at $1900 is that about what you payed?

    • Gabriella July 1, 2014 at 8:44 am #

      HI there Erin! We paid $1775 for ours. We got it on sale and got the flat black rather than enamel. We bought it locally. Hope that helps!

      • Robert August 27, 2014 at 3:17 pm #

        I just got a local (Canadian) quote today.
        $3700 for this same unit, with wall mount control and blower fan. :/
        I’ll be driving down to the US to buy!!

        • Gabriella August 27, 2014 at 6:17 pm #

          Yikes Robert…yeah a drive to the US would be worth it!!

  15. David Hall July 20, 2014 at 8:19 pm #

    Hi, I’m about to install the Eccotemp tankless hot water heater and was wondering if you had any tips for the installation??
    Thank you

    • Gabriella July 21, 2014 at 7:50 am #

      Awesome! I wish I did but Andrew did the install and he is gone teaching a workshop this week and out of range. I think it was straight forward though and he just followed the instructions that came with. Their customer service is excellent so don’t hesitate to call them if you run into a snag!

    • Troy April 19, 2015 at 1:45 pm #

      Bear in mind that the Eccotemps require a minimum of 30 PSI’s to operate properly. I’m mentioning this because if you go to a mixing valve ( like in the shower) you may reduce the pressure when you introduce cold water, and get a nice blast of cold water as the hot water pressure drops, and the unit shuts off. So, my tip would be to use a two valve faucet wherever possible. Go full hot. IOW, don’t set your temp too high to began with so you have to use cold water to get a nice working temp.

      I also suggest you read the reviews on the Eccotemp on Amazon. The general consensus is everything is fine until they break, and then they leave you in the cold. A real common comment on Amazon is they claim the problem is due to freezing.

      I use one of their units ( I think L5) for camping purposes and it’s been fine, but I’m going to use something else for my Tiny home. I’m told that RV gas heaters are very well suited to the task, and they have a small reservoir ( 6 to 10 gallons). These have been known to last 20 years. You just want to check into the type of ignition as some require a 12 V source. You could always go with a transformer (120 to 12volt) to solve this issue as well.

      Good luck. Check for gas leaks and use a propane detector!

  16. David Hall August 1, 2014 at 7:46 am #

    Thank You Gabriella, How do you have your propane tanks set up? Low pressure regulator needed? If i use two 40 pound propane tanks, is it better to run off both at the same time or run off one until it is empty and then switch to another??? I only have space for 40’s, and i’m going to be running the eccotemp, a propane stove, and a dickenson 1200 heater.

    • Andrew August 2, 2014 at 1:44 pm #

      Hi David. Thanks for your message. I’m not a propane expert, but I can share with you what our propane guy told us. It is best to combine the two tanks as they will run down equally and thus last longer. That said, if you want to have one in place and working while you fill the other, then a single attachment is the best approach. The regulator is required for pretty much every application I know of, so that one would be important to include.


  17. Courtney August 5, 2014 at 7:59 am #

    Hi Guys!

    My husband and I just purchased your plans and are super excited to start planning our build!

    I am wondering if there is a specific reason that you chose this “free-standing” fireplace over one that is wall-mounted? I know that there were a lot of specific things that you were looking for in a heater – were you unable to find everything you needed in a wall-mounted model? Or did you just prefer the look of the free-standing fireplace?

    Thanks for all the inspiration πŸ™‚


    • Gabriella August 5, 2014 at 2:07 pm #

      Hi Courtney! I honestly think that if we had a grid tied power source that we would have gone with a wall mounted mini split system. We were limited to having a propane unit (we didn’t want wood) and the marine ones don’t put out enough heat. We did find a couple wall mounted style propane heaters but they literally cost $5k. We also didn’t want a wall mounted propane heater (like the old style). There were very few units that fit in our space. Hope that helps!

  18. Robert August 27, 2014 at 3:24 pm #

    I was advised today to get the optional blower fan installed with the unit. I was told it would increase efficiency in heating by 10%. Sales person suggested I would save on propane with it.

    I live in a land where winters are -20 to -30C but at the same time, I can wear slippers and the place will be, tiny! Also, I have to consider the additional draw on solar power… A fan was not part of my initial calculation.
    Any thoughts on the fan option?

    • Gabriella August 27, 2014 at 6:18 pm #

      Interesting to hear that they think it will increase efficiency. In terms of keeping you warm though, even in hOMe which is on the larger spectrum of tiny houses, we stay toasty warm even when it’s -10F. Granted we don’t go all the way down to your temps but perhaps you can try it without first and see how it goes? How much are they charging for the blower?

  19. Cara October 3, 2014 at 12:04 pm #

    Hi there! I love the idea of living off grid. What kind of well pump to you use? How is it powered?

    • Gabriella October 4, 2014 at 10:01 am #

      Hi Cara! We have a 1/2hp well pump that is tied into our solar system, though when we run it (once every 6 weeks or so), we turn the generator on as it draws quite a lot of power out of our batteries and we run it for about 3 hours to fill our 1,500 gallon tank.

      • Ivan krakow October 4, 2014 at 8:46 pm #


        we live in cold NH, and am planning to build a tiny house on 20 acre plot, on the side of a mountain. My problem is that I would really like to use wood, as I am surrounded by forest, and have been heating or supplementing with wood for 40 years. The idea of hauling gas bottles on my sled, seems wrong . The big problem I see is having to much heat? I can put in a fireproof corner. the other issue is that most small stoves don’t have a long burn time,, But I would like to hear what you thoughts are on wood as well.
        Thanks ,Ivan

        • Gabriella October 6, 2014 at 4:25 pm #

          It makes perfect sense for you to go with wood Ivan. In terms of too much heat, I know that some tiny housers have wood burning stoves. There are some really small models out there like the Jotul 602. There are also marine wood burning fireplaces such as the Dickinson. If you stick with one of these smaller models you should be OK with the temp in there. However, as you mention, you’ll need to stoke the fireplace more often so for that reason you may want to lean more on a model like the Jotul which has some bulk to it for slow release of heat even after the fire has gone out.

  20. Michael December 18, 2014 at 8:13 am #

    Hi Andrew! Hi Gabriella!

    My girlfriend and I decided to make the switch to tiny living a few months ago, and i just wanted to say thank you very much for putting up this site and sharing so much with us! We know almost nothing about building a house, and the information you have so kindly provided has been a great help to us!!

    Thank you again!

    Michael and brittany

    • Gabriella December 19, 2014 at 9:18 am #

      Thank you so much for taking the time to write Michael and Brittany! We wish you the very best in this new adventure. Keep us posted! πŸ™‚

  21. Malcolm January 8, 2015 at 8:49 am #

    Do you all have any insight into using electric Radiant floor heat to heat a tiny house ? I’d like to calculate the electric usage drawing from solar vs. cost of propane heat…wonder if this would kick up the power requirements to too high a strain on a solar system for off-grid living?

    • Gabriella January 9, 2015 at 2:03 pm #

      I’m sorry but I don’t know much about it. We looked into it to see if it was an option for our solar system however we quickly gave up when it looked like it was going to draw more power than we would be able to generate. Sorry to not be of more help!

  22. Malcolm January 8, 2015 at 8:53 am #

    Thank you btw for doing the free e-course ! It’s very helpful on getting an early idea of what I’m really looking at for planning this project…Looks like I’ll need to save up at $10k just to get materials to get started on this !

  23. Brian March 17, 2015 at 9:40 pm #

    Hi! I’m considering buying the plans for hOMe. if I want to use it ON-grid, is that possible?
    How hard/easy/pricy would it be to connect to power and water? Also, I live in Houston and definitely need to cool the place in the summer. A/C ideas? Thank you!

    • Gabriella March 31, 2015 at 6:26 pm #

      Hi Brian! Yes, for sure you can be on grid with a tiny house (hOMe included). The fittings are basically those for an RV so if you can plug into a power and water supply with an RV, you can do it with a tiny πŸ™‚

  24. candy reinke April 18, 2015 at 6:34 pm #

    Hello Andrew & Gabriella! Just starting my quest for information on Tiny House living! I’m learning a lot from both of you! I see a lot of tiny house questions pertaining to heating a small space, any help on what it takes to cool a tiny house? …say if you’re living in Arizona!!!!:)
    Thank you.

    • Gabriella April 24, 2015 at 11:50 am #

      Hi Candy! Awesome you are jumping in. To cool and heat a tiny, if you have grid tied power, the very best option seems to be mini-split units that can handle both heating and cooling. They are very energy efficient and take up very little space.

  25. Troy April 19, 2015 at 1:13 pm #

    For folks in really cold climates (I live in Alaska), propane is not such a good choice. A by product of heating with gas is moisture. That moisture causes problems at extreme cold temps. A good two stage regulator is also a good ideal (avoid one stage) as they can be a real problem.

    Here in Alaska we use TOYO stoves. These run on #1 fuel or kerosene. A model like the OM23 would be ideal for a tiny home. Around 96% efficient too. I use one in my rental cabin, and also one in my garage. Very dependable units and worth a look.

    While these units are typically hooked up to a larger fuel supply, they can also be run on a 3 gallon tank that drops into the unit. These essentially would be using diesel fuel that can be picked up at any gas station. The better way of course is to use a larger tank. 100 gallons or larger.

  26. Anna May 2, 2016 at 8:59 pm #

    I have what is probably a bit of a dumb question, but I’m just starting to get into this tiny house business. You said that the Hampton H27 has a direct vent. So, it draws air from the outside? So in the case that I have an air-tight, super insulated house there will be no instances of the fire stopping because it couldn’t get enough oxygen, right? (I’ve read it happened to Brittany Gibeau http://www.tetongravity.com/story/surf/how-to-build-your-dream-mountain-town-tiny-house)

    • Gabriella May 3, 2016 at 7:12 am #

      Hi Anna! That is right, with a direct vent heater, the vent stack provides the heater with necessary oxygen. So no worries there. Thanks for the link to that tiny house…it’s awesome!

  27. Corinne November 10, 2016 at 9:38 am #

    Hello Andrew and Gabriella! So, I am not super knowledgable about propane stoves and am just beginning to understand the options. I am wondering, how does your stove work without electricity? Do you have to use some sort of generator?

    Also, what clearance, may I ask, does your stove require? Thanks for all your help!

    • Gabriella November 11, 2016 at 6:25 pm #

      Hi Corinne! The stove has no moving parts to it. The propane is delivered via the gas line and a combustion process ignites it. There is a fan option as an add on and that would require power. The stove requires very little clearance which is why we got it. I think it was only 6″ or so from the corners which allowed us to squeeze it into it’s current parking spot. πŸ™‚

  28. Corinne Garrett December 1, 2016 at 8:14 am #

    Thanks for taking the time, Gabriella!

    • Corinne December 3, 2016 at 10:06 am #

      I’m back πŸ™‚ I’m wondering about your thermostat, does that require electricity? I purchased a stove (found a great deal on Craigslist!) but it doesn’t have a thermostat. And lastly, How necessary is a thermostat, do you feel?

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