Living off grid in a tiny house or cabin is a dream being realised by thousands of people in Australia. Having a small footprint and simple life in a beautiful off grid tiny home can bring huge rewards. When thinking of off grid living, heating, cooking, lighting and hot water are important considerations as they all consume energy and need fuel. The best source of energy is the sun, and running your lights, small electrical appliances and possibly an induction cooker off a solar battery system makes sense.
It is when you are considering the more energy-hungry appliances that can’t run off solar that diesel really works. We have listed some ideas and options for heating, cooking and hot water in your tiny home.
When compared to gas, diesel is lighter, easier to carry, safer, cheaper and more readily available. Installing diesel appliances does not require a license, so you can easily DIY. Having just one fuel (aside from the sun) with one fuel tank saves space, and diesel is much easier to top up when half empty than a gas bottle.
All diesel appliances have externally vented exhausts so do not bring any smoke, smell or moisture into your tiny house or cabin, helping to keep it dry, fresh and mould free.
Dieselheat offers 2 options for diesel hot water, we have our DH Hydronic Series which are stand alone diesel hydronic hot water systems or we have our Electric Solar hot water systems which provide the option of heating hot water from surplus solar power as well as boosting with diesel. Both these systems are capable of running optional hydronic air heating.
DH Hydronic Series
The Dieselheat DH Hydronic (which can also double as a hydronic air heating system) is very compact, has a fast heat up time (less than 15 mins) and effectively works as an instant hot water system once pre-heated. The insulated tank stays hot for quite a while between uses. Generally, you just turn it on when you need hot water so it is not using diesel when not needed.
Electric Solar Hot Water Systems
Dieselheat has developed a range of Solar Electric Hot Water systems to create eco-friendly solar hot water utilising surplus capacity in your existing solar system and then boosting with a diesel furnace when the sun isn’t shining or you need to run optional air heating.
These systems are superior to traditional solar hot water because they do not add extra weight to your roof (important in a tiny house that is on wheels), do not take extra roof space that can be used for solar panels and do not involve pumping or circulating water up on the roof so are lighter and more compact than other solar hot water systems.
Solar Electric systems are often custom quoted, contact us for assistance. See here for the full range of Electric Solar Hot Water Prodcuts, and below for the most common products used in these setups.
We also sell a Bricor low flow shower heads, which are perfectly matched to our hot water systems. The low flow rates (2L to 5L/min) are great to conserve water whilst still giving you the feeling of having a good shower.
As an alternative to direct diesel air heaters, Dieselheat also has a range of fan heating heads to link up to our diesel boosted hot water systems. These fan heating heads use coolant from the hot water system to heat the air in your cabin. Advantages of this kind of heating system include the huge saving on space, and the low cost as one device serves two purposes.
If you are creative, you can also use one of these systems for underfloor hydronic, heated towel rails or any other clever things you can create that can be heated with a flow of hot coolant.
Direct Air Heating
Diesel is ideal for heating off grid tiny homes. With 40-100 hours run time for a 2.2kW heater from a 10L fuel tank, it is cost effective to operate, has a fast heat up time and can operate overnight safely. Even if you have a wood fire, a diesel heater can still be handy for quickly heating up your home when you arrive late at night and don’t want to start a fire, or can be left on a low setting to keep things warm overnight. Because you can set the temperature, the heater won’t turn on until your fire is out and the temperature drops.
Dieselheat has a number of options to heat your tiny home. Firstly, we can provide a modified RV/caravan heater kit like the Belief 2.2kW diesel air heater. This can be hidden in a cupboard or placed outside. Typical kits are shown below.
The advantage of these heaters is that they are very compact, are relatively inexpensive, start up quickly, and pump out a lot of heat in a short time.
An alternative option is the Wallas range of cabin heaters, which are convection based diesel air heaters. These heaters are super quiet, consume almost no electricity, are easy to install and are made to the highest possible standards in Finland. Designed to heat Finnish winter cabins in temperatures down to minus 30, they operate continuously for months at a time with no issues.
For really compact cabins, Dieselheat has a range of diesel stoves that double as air heaters. Both the 800D cooktop fitted with a 220D blower lid and the 85 Nordic DT cooktop/blower lid combo can double as an air heater when the lid is closed. These cookers have thermostats to regulate the temperature when heating. This ability to perform two functions is especially useful in very small cabins where space is at a premium.
Off grid cooking can be a challenge, especially if you don’t want to use gas. Cooking using diesel has a number of benefits, including clean, dry, moisture-free heat, flat glass tops that are easy to clean, and the option of cooking and air heating in a single appliance. We also offer the Wallas 86D, the only non-gas off grid diesel oven available on the market.
Diesel cookers have a slower initial response time than gas or induction. One option that works really well is to have a small bench-top portable induction plate to use for quick kettle boils and small fast meals.
These can be powered by a modest solar system. Match this with a diesel cooktop for longer, slower cooking like curries, roasts, stews, etc. When longer cooking times would place a strain on solar batteries, the more consistent heat of diesel really works well.
We hope these ideas are helpful. Feel free to call us or contact us via this website to discuss your specific requirements.