Can a Tiny House Be Your Dream House?
July 8, 2016
I’ve been thinking lately about Tiny Houses. They appeal to me. Maybe they remind me of when I was a little girl playing with the miniatures in my neighbor’s doll house. The definition of a tiny house is one that is between 100 and 400 square feet. Considering that the average square footage of the American home is around 2,600 square feet, that’s quite a significant difference!
What motivates people to choose to live in a tiny house?
- The desire to live simply and more efficiently-Get rid of the useless stuff; consume only what is needed.
- Concern for the Environment-Using less square footage for homes saves land (they’re not making any more of it, as my dad always said) and, most tiny homeowners use reclaimed or nontoxic products for building.
- Downsizing for retirement-Who needs all of that junk? Give it away now and be done with it.
- Financial realities-The average cost of owning a typical American home over a 30-year period can be as high as $1,073,000! That’s certainly a motivator!
But there are drawbacks to walking down the tiny house aisle. Land can be very expensive and getting a loan from a bank for tiny house construction is typically not an option. Complying with codes is another roadblock since cities have minimum habitable structure laws that can exclude tiny houses. It’s a bit ironic that the desire for less can be so fraught with obstacles.
Suppose, however, that you’ve leapt over all of the barriers to building a tiny house, and are making choices about the major systems that your tiny house requires…plumbing, wiring, heating and cooling. Tiny homeowners are awakening to the benefits of installing a Ductless mini-split system for their little nests. The systems are energy-efficient, easy to maintain and provide year-round comfort. And, they cost significantly less to operate than other systems. The systems are easy to install, but doing it yourself is not recommended. Using a professional installer, and the heat pumps that they purchase from reliable vendors, helps guarantee that your system will work as efficiently as possible. Most professional installers will not agree to install a system that they did not purchase from their own vendor…not to make an extra dollar, but to ensure quality and control of the product.
So, would I ever choose to live in a tiny house? I certainly do not need a lot of space. I don’t collect things and am not much of a consumer. I like the idea of reducing my footprint on this Earth.
My ideal tiny house scenario goes something like this: It might be a tad bigger than 400 square feet (I’m claustrophobic); it would be located in a climate where I could live most of my days outside… Hawaii; no toxic building materials would be used; the roof would be covered in solar panels and I would sell all of that extra electricity back to the utility company; and the heating and cooling would be provided by a Ductless mini-split system.
To my husband I say, ‘That’s all I require for my dream house… Now aren’t you glad I married you?’