Frequently Asked Questions About Tiny House Living
How small is a tiny house?
- This is really the million dollar question, and depending on the websites you visit you may see anything from 140 square feet up to as much as 1,000 square feet (not tiny by our standards)! Our solar powered tiny house on wheels measures just over 200 square feet, and we're cozy with that! Click here to learn more about our tiny house.
How did you get ready for making the switch to a tiny house?
- One of our biggest concerns before making the switch was whether or not we could live in a small space. Our first apartment was a 400 square foot studio, and we picked it because it was pretty much the smallest space we could find in our area and we wanted to be sure that we could coexist in a small space over time. So if you're unsure if you can live tiny, we definitely recommend renting a small space for a period of time and trying it out before you make a bigger commitment.
After living in the studio for 9 months we really got a feel for what it takes to live in such a small footprint. And it wasn't easy (but it wasn't bad either). We were fortunate to have an outdoor patio space and lots of coffee shops and hiking trails nearby which were frequently used anytime either of us needed some, eh, space.
Why did you go tiny?
- Another million dollar question! It's a combination of our shared love for travel and wanting to see more of the world before we are too old to really appreciate it, along with the desire to own a home and be able to make it uniquely ours. A booming housing market in Austin pretty much crushed our dreams of living anywhere desirable in the city ($300k doesn't get you much, and definitely not what you'd expect for the money). Plus, since both of us are young-ish and can work remotely, we seized the opportunity to set out on an amazing adventure.
- Owning a home doesn't have to mean huge cash outlays, debt, and personal sacrifices. The tiny house movement is a minimalist alternative lifestyle that’s meant to be affordable and eco-friendly.
Why did you add solar panels to your tiny house?
- It's as simple as,"Why not?" Solar energy is an incredible resource that we as humans have relied on during our entire existence on this planet. Solar panel technology became popular during the environmental movements of the 1970s, but it wasn't until the past 10 years or so that the technology finally became affordable for the masses.
- Generating our own energy with solar allows us to minimize our carbon footprint, save money, untether ourselves from the local power grid (and in many cases power monopoly), and feel great! Plus, we want to set an example for others to see that solar is not a "technology of the future" but rather a technology of TODAY. Click here to learn more about solar.
Where will your tiny house journey take you?
- Right now we are planning on seeing more of America and maybe Canada. We are making stops at state and national parks, music festivals, trade shows, solar events, and other places where we can educate people on the ways of sustainable living in a tiny house that utilizes solar power. We are documenting our experiences from the road, and you can click here to see our latest updates.
What solar technology do you use in the tiny house?
- We have 6 photovoltaic (PV) solar panels on the roof of the tiny house. They're rated at 280 watts each (1.68 kW total or 1,680 watts) from a wonderful American manufacturer called SolarWorld.
- The solar energy that is absorbed by the panels is sent into a bank of 6 batteries which are connected together for 750 amp-hours (Ah) worth of energy storage at 12 volts (12V). They are sealed, deep-cycle AGM solar batteries (not golf cart batteries).
- We use a charge controller from Midnite Solar, another American manufacturer, to keep the batteries from getting overcharged. It regulates the voltage and current coming from the solar panels going to the battery.
- When energy is needed within the tiny house it goes through a Xantrex inverter which changes the electrical state from DC to AC and then sends it to whatever load or appliance needs it. We also use a cool little system meter from Xantrex in order to understand how much energy we have in the battery bank at any given point.
How did you size the battery bank for the tiny house?