Off-Grid Tiny House living
To explain what I mean by connected, to have the Tiny House connected to the services.
As long as you are close to a house (the Tiny House in a garden) or a place that has an electric supply, you would need an armored cable run from the fuse board of the main building to the Tiny House. You can then have a fuse board to run the Tiny House.
It is possible to connect the drainage (Shower, Kitchen sink and Toilet) to the main drains of the house. This would need a 4-inch soil pipe to run underground from the Tiny House to the drains.
A blue water pipe feed from the house, underground (to stop freezing) to a connection point of the Tiny House that would then feed the kitchen tap, toilet and shower. However, the kitchen tap would only have cold water as fitting a boiler is not practical.
Lighting and power:
Armored cable from the house. The easy way but cant run high-powered appliances all at once. One at a time might be ok but too much drain on the power could result in blowing the main fuse or tripping the RCD. Laptop chargers, mobile phones, TV and video, stereo system and lamps are ok but Showers, Microwaves, Ovens, Electric fires, Hair dryers and kettles may trip the fuse box.
A standard WC (the same as you have in your house) can be connected to the drains by way of a 4-inch soil pipe and the cistern (to flush the thing) can be fed by the mains water from the house.
A wall mounted heater, Dimplex, convector heater or even under floor heating can be installed and connected to the mains power.
The most power pulled from a Tiny House (apart from an oven) can be connected to the mains from the house and have mains water feed. The plughole can run into the drains or a soak away (grey water).
A mains water feed from the house will run the cold tap but will not produce hot water unless you have a boiler fitted. (another issue, Gas). The plug can be connected to the drains or go into a soak away (grey water).
An oven would need a separate 30 amp cable run from the house! It can be done but it’s just not worth it. A microwave would be easier but can still draw high amounts of power.
This can be the costly part, not for running cost but the set up costs for the services.
We have 3 options available, Generator, Solar power and Wind turbines.
A generator can be used to run the main power (lights and power sockets) but may struggle to keep up the power demand if you try to run high powered appliance such as an electric shower, an oven, electric fire or a kettle. These are all high-powered items that drain a lot of power very quickly.
Solar power and or wind turbines, a costly set up but when it’s installed, it’s all free. However, as above, large powered appliances will drain the power quicker than it is produced.
For what we call “Grey Water” (shower and sink) a simple soak away can be used. This is a hole dug underground (approx. 1 meter deep) which is 80% filled with half bricks and rubble for the water to soak into the ground and lost forever.
This is the hard part. Where can you get water from?
a/ Borehole? (Companies can drill into the ground to find the water table) Costly…£10k +
b/ Rainwater harvesting? (Companies can install a huge tank underground that collects water from the guttering of the Tiny House (if you have gutters fitted), run through a filter system to give you usable water! Very costly… £10k ++!
c/ Plastic storage tanks and “Go Get” containers. Collect water in a bucket, a barrel or any means of collecting water from a tap. A pain in the arse I know but the cheapest method.
Lighting and power:
Solar power or wind turbines or a mixture of both is the obvious solution. The rays from the sun and wind produce power, which is stored in a battery. Bare in mind, the more power you use the quicker the batteries will run flat so you have to choose carefully. Take a light bulb for example. A standard 60w bulb will drain more power six times quicker than a 10w LED bulb but they cost more to buy.
In my opinion the best solution would be a composting toilet. It does not need a water feed, douse not need to be connected to the drains but would still need power to run the small fan to eliminate odor and to help break the solid matter into compost. Yes, I know, its sounds bizar but you will be surprised how well they work. All liquids from the WC will go into a soak away underground.
A log burner will give out a lot of heat very quickly and will stay warmer longer. You can burn sticks, small logs, coal or anything non-toxic that will burn. It’s also great for heating a pan of water or boiling a kettle.
This has always been the biggest problem for 2 reasons. Heating the water and where do you get the water from in the first place. The shower I recommend takes 2 Duracell batteries, is heated by a small BBQ gas cylinder and needs electric to power a small pump. You would need a bucket of water from a tap or stream, which is just about enough for a quick hot shower. The shower water would then go into the soak away as grey water.
If you had a kitchen sink you could not use the hot and cold taps. Its best to have an under mount sink which does not have tap holes but has a plughole to drain the water into the soak away. Water would have to be collected and hot water can be heated on the log burner or fill a pan of hot water from the shower. Bare in mind, collecting water from a stream is not drinking water and water through a garden hose may taste rubbery.
Log burner for boiling, camping stove, camp fire or the good old BBQ. If you are using solar power, a microwave oven will drain the power very quickly so not such a good choice.