Buying a tiny home is the first step towards a new way of life but deciding how and where to get your tiny home utilities plugged in is your next big decision.
Many people’s motivations for buying a perfect tiny house are to reduce environmental impact, save money, and become less reliant on the larger system. So, hooking up utilities to your cool little cabin can be a great way to keep up with the kaupapa and decide if off-grid is a viable option. If not, no worries! A tiny home’s utility use is far lower than a normal home’s, so it’s making an impact no matter what!
Tiny house builders in NZ have used myriad ways to power and water their homes. From solar power to water tanks and choosing a clean energy company, we’ve put together a guide to make hooking up your wee abode quick and easy.
Choosing the Main Lines or to go Off-Grid
Whether your tiny home utilities use council-provided power and water or operate completely off-grid will depend on your goals and the plot of land the home will sit on. If you’re keen to connect to the mains, ensure your land has the appropriate sewerage, plumbing, and electrical connections installed. It’s no good wiring a tiny home and perfecting the plumbing only to find out there’s no way of using main lines.
Although going off-grid might sound achievable from anywhere, you must also consider your tiny home’s positioning. Will the solar powers pick up enough rays? Will your water tanks be quenched throughout the year or are you stuck on a run-off slope?
Investigate all the options when setting up for your tiny home adventure. Many tiny home builders in New Zealand cater to both on-grid and off-grid options; just make sure you’ve done your due diligence on the land ahead of the game to make your tiny home adventure as successful as possible!
Dial into the Grid – Connect Your Tiny Home to Power
The first port of call after settling into your tiny house should be a good power connection. Without power, it’s hard to be a functioning 21st Century human; You will have no hot showers, water, or electrical light. So, if you’re not keen on a Wim Hof-style bathtub and prefer dimmer switches to striking matches, let’s get your lights on!
Power Up Through the Mains Lines
First up, choose a power company. In New Zealand, there are power companies that operate on 100% renewable energy, those that pay back dividends, and those that let you pre-pay your power each month.
Whatever you choose, make sure your power line goes directly into the power panel provided by the council.
Top Tip – Don’t DIY. A professional electrician will be worth their weight in gold at midnight when you’re searching for a power grid with a tiny torch.
Soak up the Solar Power
If going off-grid is your tiny home modus operandi, solar panels are a viable option for power. Panels might seem expensive, but you recuperate the upfront costs over time.
Though it’s optimal to capture the rays, they don’t have to sit on top of your tiny home. Instead, you can mount the panels around your garden or land if you’re out of roof space. If you decide to attach panels to the roof, make sure you’ve checked how much load the tiles can take, or beware of a panel potentially piercing into your mezzanine!
Another factor with solar panels is how much electricity your tiny home uses. Think about the gadgets and appliances you use regularly and the amount of sunlight your section gets; these will impact your power usage. From here, you can choose the solar panels right for your home. It’s also worth investing in a battery that stores the solar charges, so you never run out of juice even in a rainy spell!
Every Tiny Home Needs a Generator
Be prepared, have a backup generator on hand just in case. Although you may have perfectly wired and grounded your power system, tiny homes can be more susceptible to weather due to their size.
For peace of mind, it pays to have a wee generator on hand, should you need to fire it up and wash away the black-out blues!
How to Hook Up to a Water System in a Tiny Home
Now that you’ve hooked up your power, it’s time to welcome water into the mix. There are several ways to do this, both on and off-grid, or as a hybrid. It’s up to you, but—like planning for power utilities—do a few calculations to know roughly how much water you’ll need every month. From there, getting the water flowing will be smooth sailing!
Connecting to Services and Mains Water
Tiny homes have to operate under New Zealand’s Building Act if they are immovable and permanently occupied. Do your due diligence to make sure the tiny house is compliant. If your tiny home is a granny flat or considered an ‘extension’, make sure you have clearance from the council to hook up another water source.
To connect to the mains, your tiny home might simply need a food-grade hose or pipe for the water to go through, and a pressure pump is a good idea. Garden hoses are not suitable as they contain toxic chemicals that may leach into the water.
Running Your Own Water Operation
Run your water with a self-sufficient water tank system. Have at least two tanks, a pressure pump, and a backup plan if you’re going off-grid. Most plumbers should be able to hook the system up with ease; you just need to make sure to consistently check the fullness of the tank and have a go-to water company should you get low, especially in the summer months!
Get Advice on All Things Tiny Homes with Tiny Home HQ
If you’re looking to purchase a tiny home ready for whichever utilities you choose, Tiny Home HQ can help! Designed for you to make your tiny home dreams come true, we have a range of cool cabins, granny flats, studios, and baches to choose from.
You can even get smart with your money and purchase cabins on finance, to give you the wriggle room to suss your studio from head to toe. Take your first step onto the property ladder without the burden of a large mortgage.
Contact Tiny Home HQ to get expert advice and start your big journey into the world of tiny housing!