Heating Your Tiny House With Propane

Since the amount of propane needed is far less in tiny houses than for a traditional sized home, propane is an ideal source of heat for tiny house dwellers. And also since a higher percentage of folks living in tiny houses have at least considered off the grid living. Propane solves a number of challenges associated with living off the grid, particularly heating your home. Even if you’re near an electric power source, propane is ideal simple because of it’s low price.

While propane isn’t free like the wood you can collect and chop yourself for heat, it can be an inexpensive heating solution for a tiny or small house. Unlike wood burning heat stoves, propane heaters are highly controllable and usually quite efficient. The most popular propane heaters used for tiny houses are made by Dickinson and are the ones used by The Tumbleweed Tiny House Company. And for good reason. They are high-quality, look great and are vented to prevent low oxygen issues that are common to propane heaters.

The Newport propane heater by Dickinson being used inside a Tumbleweed Fencl. Photo © Tumbleweed Tiny House Company.

There are other heaters out there that will do a nice job of heating your tiny or small house. Here are three that I believe would be ideal. Here here and here. While most modern propane heaters have a low oxygen cutoff switch, be sure to install a carbon monoxide sensor.

Once you have a propane heater, you need a container to hold your propane. To prevent having to frequently change your tank, using a 100 pound propane tank is a good idea. It’s also a good idea because most places charge less per pound when you refill larger tanks. Once your tank is empty, you simply take your tank to a store that refills them. U-Haul refills propane tanks and so do most barbecue equipment stores. After calling around and comparing prices, I found that (at least in my area) Costco offers the lowest refilling prices by a considerable margin.

While heating your tiny house isn’t the only method available, it’s certainly one worth considering. Have anything to add? Please share with us in the comments section.

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5 Comments → “Heating Your Tiny House With Propane”

  1. Naima

    Feb 18, 2012

    I have an Avion Silver Palace (named by me) and am chemically sensitive, so heating with propane is not comfortable for me, though the Newport heater you show is lovely. I have solved my heating issue with the Envi heater, after much research. You can google it or go to http://www.eheat.com. This heater is VERY environmentally friendly at 4 cents an hour to run. It is also made in the USA. But especially for folks who are not able to live with propane, it’s ideal because there is no fan to blow allergens and dust around, there are no EMF’s, no plastic offgassing, and they are completely silent. They work by convection and mount easily on the wall. The ambient, soft heat does NOT pull any oxygen out of the air either. Of course, there is not the same “instant” heat as with fan-driven space heaters, but this little baby, at just 475 watts, heats up my 25′ trailer (about 200 sf) in less than an hour, and as you maybe can tell, I am crazy about it. Just wanted to pass along my experience in case there are others who can’t consider propane. Thank you.


  2. Les

    Feb 18, 2012

    This link (http://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/product_200362081_200362081) will take you to a direct vent ( combustion air from outside and exhaust to outside) , it is much safer than vent free. I use this and the next size bigger in my LittleCabins. It is very safe and less than $ 400.


  3. Sully

    Sep 14, 2013

    There is no way you are doing anything more than taking a chill out of the air with the Newport. I own one. It is just enough to heat the inside of a Sprinter based rv and it takes a long time to get moving heating that. The space in the pics with the large number of windows will not be heatable in winter with the Newport.


    • jason

      Sep 21, 2013

      Unlike an RV a properly built tiny house has a high level of thermal insulation, insulated windows and insulated underside.


  4. Al Coppa

    Mar 11, 2015

    The price of propane is less in most cases when you buy 100 gallons NOT 100 pounds. A gallon of propane weighs about 4.24 pounds per gallon so you are talking about a very large tank. Al


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