Heating options for the tiny house

It may seem a little early to think about heating the wee house, but it’s actually pretty appropriate so I know how to alter the framing if needed.  Will a window be in the way, how will it vent, will it take forever to ship, etc.?  So I’m down to 3 options after a ton of research:

Tiny wood stove

Tiny wood stove: Jotul F602CB

Tiny wood stove: Jotul F602CB

  • Environment  (wood = renewable; used stove = awesome)
  • Society  (helping out someone who’s selling this on c’list; and it’s ADORABLE)
  • Economy (cheaper option for me; money in someone else’s pocket)
  • Logistics?  (nightmare to transport and install)

Tiny gas stove

Tiny gas stove: the Mini Franklin

Tiny gas stove: the Mini Franklin

  • Environment  (gas/propane = non-renewable; new stove = not awesome)
  • Society  (support a local business selling it; and it’s also ADORABLE)
  • Economy  (have you looked at the price??)
  • Logistics? (much easier to transport and install than the wood stove)

Electric stove

Tiny electric stove

Tiny electric stove

  • Environment  (electric = non-renewable unless it runs on power from solar panels; new stove = not awesome)
  • Society  (I’m saying no on this category since it’s from a big box store and shipped from who-knows-where)
  • Economy (super cheap)
  • Logistics? (easy transport and installation)

So far the Facebook poll I put up has the wood stove winning.  That’s the ideal choice in my head, but I’m not sure about reality.  If I can get the used one, I’m in!  But if it’s sold by the time I can make the 2 hour drive, then I’ll either have to buy a new one (ouch) or go with the gas one (also ouch).

The trailer is in and pallets have met their match…

Last weekend the trailer came in! This was quite a pleasant surprise, considering I was expecting it to take 4 weeks. For a trailer it looks like a decent size, but seems quite small when you imagine it being a house. Now that it’s in, titled and registered, dad and I are going to find a nice spot for it in the grass and level it this coming weekend. As this all happened so soon, I’m not prepared with lumber for framing! Time to scramble.

Tiny House Trailer

Freshly delivered tiny house trailer!

Other weekend happenings focused on deconstructing pallets.  In theory, it seems easy enough to just flip them over and take a hammer to the pieces you want to knock off.  Here’s what happens with this method:

Broken pallet after a failed attempt to dismantle with a hammer.

Broken pallet after a failed attempt to dismantle with a hammer.

😦

Plus, in order to hammer out the front pieces, you have remove the back ones.  It’s just a general mess that way and I didn’t want to waste time cracking perfectly usable wood.  After a few attempts, the best way was to saw through the nails.  Dad held the pallets at first, but it really needs to be a one-person job so we used clamps to secure the pallet to a work bench:

Tools for dismantling pallets.

Tools for dismantling pallets.

Clamps hold the pallet to a worktable so this can be a one-person job.

Clamps hold the pallet to a worktable so this can be a one-person job.

Me sawing through the nails on a pallet to get the usable boards off.

Me sawing through the nails on a pallet to get the usable boards off. Glamorous, right?

A stack of raw pallet boards.

A stack of raw pallet boards and the beginning of something exciting!

The first one took me about an hour to dismantle.  I managed to get the process down to a science by the fourth one which took only 20 minutes.  The sixth one took longer because my wimpy arms just gave out on me!  I’ll build up some endurance eventually.  I have a lot of pallets to go through…

Used pallets behind the hardware store.

Used pallets behind the hardware store.

A NOTE ON PALLETS: Only choose HT (heat-treated) pallets to use in, on, or around your home.  Chemically-treated pallets are covered in all kinds of nasty stuff that will off-gas or absorb into things and could cause some health damage.

Let the tiny house fun begin!

Well it has officially begun!  I’ve ordered the tiny house trailer and it should be here in 3 – 4 weeks.  It’s a 7 x 20 Leonard brand trailer, wood deck, no dovetail, no ramps, no sides, 10,000 # GVWR tandem axle.

I was determined to find a trailer from a Virginia dealer and this fit the bill.  Although it’s actually made in North Carolina, that’s way better than all the others made in Georgia or Florida.  I spent a grand total of 29 hours researching tiny house trailers from dealer sites and craigslist.  The quotes I received ranged from about $3200 to over $4400.  Yikes!  The only suitable trailer on craigslist within a reasonable distance was $2000 and had a bunch of extras I’d have to cut off.  Plus, as dad mentioned, this is the foundation of the house and needs to be solid.

Here’s how I weighed the pros and cons of my options, relating to the 3 sustainability categories plus my additional category:

Craigslist or used trailer from a dealer

  • Environment 
  • Society 
  • Economy 
  • Time 

New trailer from a dealer

  • Environment 
  • Society 
  • Economy 
  • Time 

I still think a used trailer would be the best option overall, but I simply didn’t have time to wait for the perfect one to show up.

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