Heating a Tiny Home for a Colorado Winter

Heating a Tiny Home for a Colorado Winter

As a follow-up to my blog post on Tiny House Cold Climate Prep, I’m going to explain my Tiny House heating,  which is suitable for wintering in the frigid Rocky Mountains. I did a lot of research, and trial and error, before deciding on these heat systems. I hope it’s helpful for all you Tiny House cold weather lovers!

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You may also want to check out my FULL TINY HOUSE MATERIALS LIST

It’s important to have more than one type of heat source in any home, especially in cold climates. For my Tiny House heating, I use electric heat and a wood burning stove. This way, if one of my heat sources breaks, I always have a backup. Below I’ve listed my chosen heating appliances.

Tiny House Heating

Tiny House Heating – The Envi Heater

The electric Envi heater is a popular choice for Tiny House heating, and here’s why –

  • Efficiency – Uses only 450 watts and is rated to heat 130 square feet. For extremely cold climates, two units may be necessary.
  • Compact Footprint – It’s wall mounted, 2 inches thick and weighs only 10 pounds.
  • Affordable – Retails for $139.95
  • Easy to install
  • Silent
  • Built-in Thermostat

THGJ Envi Heater - 0002I mounted the Envi heater in my bathroom because my wood stove is located on the other side of our trailer. This helps distribute the heat evenly when I run both heaters at the same time. If you are only going to be using the Envi to heat your Tiny Home, I would suggest mounting it in a central location.

In the Rocky Mountains, I sometimes see temperatures as low as -15F.  I like to leave the Envi running 24 hours a day, while using my wood stove as a secondary heat source in the evening and early morning.

Tiny House HeatingTiny House Heating – Kimberly Wood Stove

The Kimberly is arguably the best wood stove for Tiny Houses, and here’s why –

  • Efficiency – Long burn times on a single load of fuel (dry seasoned hard wood or compressed saw dust)
  • Clean Burning – Produces just 3.2 grams/hour, less than half the allowed EPA emissions
  • Compact Footprint – For a wood stove, the Kimberly is tiny and weighs only 56 pounds.
  • Compact Flue – Many wood stoves require a 6 inch flue, where as the Kimberly requires only a 3 inch double wall pellet stove flue. This means the flue will be less expensive and it will save you space.
  • Free Fuel Source – If you have access to wood, you can heat your home for free!
  • Off-grid Capabilities – No power necessary
  • Dehumidifier – Condensation can be a problem when heating a tiny space. The Kimberly produces dry heat that will dehumidify.
  • Pulls oxygen from floor vent. This is HUGE. Many wood stoves pull oxygen from the interior of your house, and in a Tiny House that can be dangerous.
  • Cook Top Surface
  • The only wood stove certified to be placed in an RVIA certified RV
  • Ambiance & Awesome Factor

Is there anything better than sitting in front of a fire on a cold evening?

The Kimberly/Envi combo has kept my house toasty at 72 degrees when the temperature outside is in the single (or negative) digits.

The Kimberly retails for $3,995, not including the chimney pipe and floor pad. This is a huge investment, but it may be worth it for the energy savings and off-grid capabilities.

Tiny House Heating for ALL Temperatures

I use the Envi heater on days when the average daily temperature is 32 degrees or warmer. When the average daily temperature drops below 32 degrees, I use the Kimberly wood stove at night. By doing this, my Tiny Home maintains 60-75 degrees inside.

THGJ Heat Backup

I also have a third heat source – a small, cheap space heater. I don’t like to use this heater because it’s not energy efficient, but sometimes it’s easier to use the space heater and Envi together rather than chop wood and start a fire. That being said, when I am on solar power, the space heater would pull too much electricity.

Other Things to Consider for Tiny House Heating:

  • Insulation: Start with a high R-value
  • Trailer Skirt: Like insulation, a skirt will keep heat from escaping
  • Foam for Windows: We are placing foam boards over our skylights and a few windows to reduce heat escaping.
  • Human heaters: Each person puts off 100W of heat (and a bunch of moisture).
  • Pets put off heat as well (and moisture)
  • Cooking puts off heat (and moisture)
  • Heat rises: Your loft is the hottest part of your house; your floor is the coldest. Purchase slippers!

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34 Comments

  1. ekratovil
    October 2, 2018 / 8:59 am

    How is your hearth constructed, is it just wooden legs with a cement board and heat pad?

    • October 5, 2018 / 2:40 pm

      It’s wooden legs, but the top is a stove plate cut to size. The stove plate is something that you can buy at Home Depot or another hardware store, and it’s specifically for use at the base pad for a wood stove.

  2. EG
    August 30, 2018 / 11:29 am

    thank you for sharing! do you have a recommendation for a wall mounted system that is electric and propane? if you have one in mind that is also heating and cooling that would be even better! currently living in the north east US (yesterday hit 100 degrees and our coldest days go in the negative). I plan on having solar but would like the option to switch to propane to conserve if needed. thanks again!

    • September 5, 2018 / 10:01 am

      I’ve never heard of a heater that is both electric and propane. They might exist, but I don’t know of any.

  3. H
    August 5, 2018 / 3:01 pm

    Envi heaters were recalled in March, not the safest option apparently.

    • August 10, 2018 / 9:48 am

      The heaters in question were manufactured between July 2015- August 2016 and they were indeed recalled. My Envi was not manufactured during this time, and it has been great!

  4. Ty
    March 28, 2018 / 8:10 am

    Having fresh air for a wood stove is important, especially in a tight tiny home. But the reason is not because the stove will burn the oxygen in the air, it is because the the air pulled into the stove needs to be replaced with incoming air. If your house is real tight, this could create a slight vacuum in the house and thus the chimney effect of hot air rising would not work as well. Plus, it’s more efficient to use unheated outside air instead of air you already heated. All wood stoves are vented through a chimney, it pulls in the air and all of that air that is pulled into the stove goes up and out the chimney. A wood stove does not somehow magically “pull oxygen from the interior of your house” leaving the air with less oxygen, that is not how it works.

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