Heating solution for tiny house. Tough one!

Old 08-25-09, 07:41 PM
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Heating solution for tiny house. Tough one!

We have an 800 sq ft house with 2 small bedrooms. It's stucco with a flat roof (no attic), and a small crawlspace.

Our original furnace was a floor mounted type. While putting up some insulation in the crawlspace, I noticed that the thing had a huge crack in the manifold, so we never used it again. We don't want to replace it, as it was never a good solution to begin with (the bedrooms were ice cold, and the living room roasting).

We're in Northern California. Electric heat is definitely out as it's ridiculously expensive. We're thinking forced air gas, but here's the problems:

1) No attic
2) Crawlspace opening is 15 high by 22 wide. To open that up we'd be cutting right into the foundation or the bottom plate which of course we can't do. So we're stuck with the 15" max.
3) Crawlspace access is under bedroom. Past bedroom crawlspace slopes to only a 14 inches or so. Even if we could get the thing through the access hole, we don't want to mount it under the bedroom.
4) There is one closet and its 23w x 21 deep.

The smallest furnaces I could find were 17w x 26deep

We were toying with the idea of a floor hydronic system (on demand water heater mounted outside) but that would mean pulling down all of our insulation to install it. And then we had concerns about the hardwood flooring throughout the entire house.

Anyone have any other options or ideas? Has anyone ever seen an outdoor cabinet for a furnace?

Old 08-25-09, 07:49 PM
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Sounds similar to my first house only I had a pitched roof and an attic.

Although I don't recommend them gas-fired wall furnaces seem to be popular in smaller California homes.

What I did in my home was to install ductwork for a forced air system. My crawl space was as cramped as is yours and it was a nasty job but it beat freezing in the winter. I had to mount my electric furnace in the attic (I know, you don't have an attic) and run the main duct down the wall that originally held the wall furnace. I then built out the wall and made a tiny closet.

In your case I think you could use a packaged horizontal gas furnace that would mount outside your crawl space. You need to contact some heating contractors in your area and use them to explain different options.
Old 08-28-09, 07:49 PM
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Gas Pack

I agree. A package gas fired unit sounds like your best choice. Another option might be a ductless heat pump, some of which are very efficient these days.
Old 08-28-09, 08:04 PM
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Outdoor systems are common in the north for wood heat. Commercial units also use roof top units, same as outdoors.

If those bedrooms were that cold, sounds like some more insulation might be needed.

I've also seen apartments and mobile homes with small additions built on the outside of the home, accessible from the outside only.

Old 08-28-09, 08:13 PM
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I vote for the ductless heat pump. (mini-split) They are very efficient. Qualify for the government rebate (30% of the cost) and are very quiet. I just wired one up today and he bought a 12,000BTU unit for about $1400. That was for the inside unit, outside unit, lineset, base, without installation. This will give you heating and cooling too!
Old 08-29-09, 06:43 AM
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I'm with the Mini-split system as well. Get a system has has two unit, put one unit in your living room, and other unit in your bedroom or hall way to get both bedrooms. (Not sure how the floor is laid out)
Old 08-29-09, 08:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Jay11J
I'm with the Mini-split system as well. Get a system has has two unit, put one unit in your living room, and other unit in your bedroom or hall way to get both bedrooms. (Not sure how the floor is laid out)
I agree. But maybe go with the 3 box unit one for each bedroom and one for the main part of the home.

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