Propane Usage In A Tiny House

Downsizing to a tiny house you will automatically assume that you will use much less power that you ever did before, but how much do actually use when living in a tiny house?

We thought we would touch on that with each our Utilities (Water, Solar, Electricity and Gas) starting with Gas or in our case propane. Like Many Rvs, Tiny Houses and Off the Grid Cabins, we rely on Propane for our Gas Stove and on demand water heater (Many people rely on propane for a heater but we have a wood fire stove and a A/C Mini Split). We have been in our Tiny House for a bit over 6 months now so we have a pretty good idea of how much propane we use each month and we logged our tank refills since we have moved to our new spot. Let us show you our setup for gas

 

Propane Tank And Water Heater Closet

Propane Tank And Water Heater Closet

Here is our little Water Heater and Propane Tank “closet”. This setup provides easy access to our tank and hides it at the same time, it also provides protection for the on demand water heater next to it.

 

10 Gallon Propane Tank

10 Gallon Propane Tank

 

Our 10 Gallon Propane tank has a nice snug fit into the cabinet

 

Tank Fill Up Log

Tank Fill Up Log

 

On our first fill up on the big tank we started a log on the bottle to estimate our usage. as of now we pay about $22 a month in propane and plan for that cost to go down in the future. This also keeps track of the propane prices we pay. Following the price of propane is something we have never done but now we actively looks for prices just like standard petrol fuel rates.

 

The On Demand Water Heater

The On Demand Water Heater

Here is our On Demand Water Heater, Eccotemp FVI-12-LP High Capacity Propane Tankless Water Heater. I admit it took a bit of time to fine tune it to the perfect temp but after that it has been working flawlessly and we highly recommend it anyday.

 

 

Propane Uses:

We use propane in basically 3 different way: Hot Water, Cooking and Boiling Water in the Tea Kettle.

If you know my wife at all, you would know how much she loves coffee so the first duty of the day for the first person out of bed is to heat up a kettle of water for our french press coffee, no ifs ands or buts!

Boiling Water In "Chester" Copper Pot

Boiling Water In “Chester” Copper Pot

We pour some water from the tap in the kettle and set it on the stove on high for about 8-10 mins til the water boils then we are ready for some french press.

 

Chester At Work

Chester At Work

We realized that with just this little morning task, we end up using a good amount of propane during the month and we started to think of another way to heat up water for coffee and save a bit of money too. Using gas for boiling water is second nature to many campers out there because it is  either that or the campfire so it was kind of like second nature to use this method for making coffee in the tiny house also. The other option we decided on was to get a electric tea kettle and see if we can save some propane during the course of the month and on top of that they are very easy to use and shut off when the water is done boiling, so we gave it a shot.

After Searching and target and other local retailers we just couldn’t find any that we liked and didn’t cost more than $50. So like many people we turned to amazon and continued the search and thats when we came across this highly rated Ovente KG83B Glass Electric Kettle, 1.5-L, Black

This little kettle has been awesome and for only $25 it out performs ones that we have tried for double the price. Here is the little guy in action

Ovente Tea Kettle

Ovente Tea Kettle

 

My Only Request for when we buy a tea kettle was for a glass surround so i can see the water boil, many of the lower priced ones under $50 do not have glass and therefore you cant see the water boil at all.

 

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The Payoff: the Led Backlit Boiling Water. So far we have been please with this little kettle and plan to bring it with us when we go out of town (another benefit of a electric tea kettle when staying at hotels). Most importantly we look forward to see if this impacts our propane usage during the month because after all we will never shorten our hot water showers, there is just now negotiations on that!

30 Comments on “Propane Usage In A Tiny House”

  1. george cook

    I see you have a very good coffee machine behind your new kettle. That machine makes good coffee too. Cant the solar keep up the the good coffee machine for 30 min a day??? I think the coffee machine uses less power then the kettle You need a watts-up meter to test the power of all of your electrical appliances I think Amazon has them for under $20.00 . But there is nothing wrong with a good french press you wife is not wrong with it

  2. tinynest4us3gurlz

    That’s very interesting. I’m actually debating whether I can go completely propane-less in my Tiny Home. To be honest, gas of any kind freaks me out a little…it could leak and catch on fire or cause an explosion, at least in my mind….I know, I know. So, I have been researching convection cook tops and electric on demand water heaters, wondering if the cost for electricity would be so much higher than the cost for propane? I already own an electric water kettle for my morning french press and evening tea ๐Ÿ™‚ and plan on having one of those convection heaters on the wall. Having lived in a Tiny House for a while now and having the experience with propane, do you think I’m out of my mind for wanting to do everything electric?

    1. Joshua

      I think they fear of gas is a normal one and that is why i would recommend having a skilled plumber install all gas lines and pressure test for leaks to make sure you have all good fittings.

      Using electricity to heat water is very expensive and you will find your utility cost will sky rocket, Propane is more expensive than Natural Gas but it is still alot cheaper than using electricity for things like heating or cooking or drying clothes.

      I would highly recommend still using propane, there is nothing like cooking with gas over electric, i would just suggest turning your fear of gas into a respect for it and take care and hire qualified plumbers to install it and use quality components. we just purchased the electric kettle to soften the use of propane use for monetary reason because water heater with electricity and propane still taste the same… food on the other hand…

      1. tinynest4us3gurlz

        I agree with you on the cooking with gas…I definitely love this over cooking on electric cook tops. I do not have any experience with the convection cook tops, yet, so can’t really speak for that. But I definitely appreciate your input from someone who is living it ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. chad sullivan

    nice write up…. was just purchasing a eco-temp on demand water heater and was thinking that it had tobe installed inside and away from the propane tanks…. am i wrong about this? it seems to be the opposite of what your doing….

  4. Mike Bedsole

    Hey Joshua. What climate do you live in? I was about to hang this exact unit inside a TH but i would much rather put it in a box on the out side if I could. I worry about it freezing. Is your box insulated?

    1. Joshua

      we are in northern california outside SF, the boz we have is not insulated but if you are in a colder climate i think that would be a good idea

  5. Pamela Flowers

    Hi Joshua. I’m wondering what stove and fridge you are using and how they are working out so far. I like the look of your stove, but can’t tell what brand it is.
    Thanks!

    1. Joshua

      Hello! Our Range is a 24″ Gas/Propane Range From GE, the retail is about $750 on it. it truly has been a awesome little range and we are extremely happy with it.

      The Fridge is a 10.7 Whirlpool Fridge/Freezer, it also has been great and even with the smaller than normal size we have adjusted quite well to it.

      1. Pamela Robinette Flowers

        Thanks for the reply. I appreciate it very much. I’m definitely going to look into the stove and fridge. Deciding on appliances is so tough for me! Thanks again!

        PS If you any advice about what NOT to do or what you’d do differently, I and I bet others, would love to hear it. Be well.

          1. Pamela Robinette Flowers

            Yeah, you’re right, it is, but I don’t know anything about this so I’m interested in everything. And we start building next week! Yikes!

            For example, here’s a partial list of advice I’ve been given so far:
            Don’t buy the stove with the electronic igniter because it uses tons of electricity.
            I wish I’d used steel instead of aluminum in the shower.
            If I had to do it again I would install fewer but larger windows.
            Ventilation is super important. Be sure all or most of your windows open.
            Remember to plan where you’ll put your dirty clothes.

            And thanks again for the stove and fridge info!

          2. Joshua

            Incorrect on the statement about the electronic igniter, if used everyday the energy usage only amounts to less than 1 Kilowatt, still less than a electric stove and still less than a gas stove with a pilot light.

            I dont understand the statement about using steel in the shower? as in the shower surround? the only benefit steel would have would be price and gauge available, aluminum in a wet environment will not rust like its steel counterpart, steel can be galvanized but galvanized steel is only a sacrificial layer and will rust eventually but that process takes many years.

            More Windows the better.

            I agree with Most of the windows opening, if you cant reach a few of them, why make them open? we have 13 windows in our tiny house and only 2 are picture windows.

            We put our dirty clothes in a hamper…. ๐Ÿ™‚

            If i was only to give one piece of advice in the design of a tiny house i would say AVOID Hallways, any area that funnels the space into a hallway shape (i.e. a bathroom on the same end of a house and divided by a wall). hallways are very prevalent in Tumbleweed designs and they make the space feel even smaller than it is.

  6. Heather

    I have a question about your propane tank. Do you take it to get it filled each month or do you have someone come out and fill it?
    I am looking to do a gas tankless for one bathroom in my house and the gas company will only sell one that is 60 gallons and they charge a minimum of $20 on top of the cost of the gas to fill it up plus I have to pay for installation.

    Thanks

    1. Joshua

      We remove the 10gallon tank and get it refilled every month or so. That rate of $20 service charge does not sound bad at all considering the side of tank you can get.

  7. Pingback: Tiny house living: how much money can you really save? - LiveTiny.ca

  8. Shawn Rosvold

    Hi. We have a two story 500 sf (approx 250 sf per story) tiny house that is just a shell right now. I have read that using propane, especially for heating (it’s in Nova Scotia), causes interior condensation problems. What are your thoughts?

    1. Joshua Engberg

      If you are using a propane heat source it should be vented to the exterior. we use propane for cooking but its not being used regularly so the condensation is create directly from its use is quite little.

  9. Jeremy

    Hi. I have purchased the same water heater from Ecotemp for my tiny house and am preparing to run propane lines to both the WH and a 2 burner cook stove. Any tips for propane line installation and fine tuning the FVI-12 LP? Good to know that you recommend this unit.

    1. Joshua Engberg

      after two years of use with the FVI-12-LP it is very finicky, every season we need to readjust it and will probably plan to upgrade it in the future. it has worked well but it is very hard to dial in the right temperature.

  10. jennifer crum

    what climate do you live in? are you worried about the water heater freezing at all? I just purchased the same one, it is bigger then I thought so we are very limited as to where to put it.
    thanks

    1. Joshua Engberg

      We live in Northern California. we have not have any issues with the water heater freezing, we have a pretty mild climate. what type of climate are you in? hopefully you dont have freezing issues with the same unit.

    1. Joshua Engberg

      it is from a rv supply for a water heater, i believe a bbq one will have to low of pressure

  11. Kylie Dotts

    It’s interesting that you use propane just to heat water and to cook with. It seems to me that propane could potentially be a good way to heat up a home especially if it is on the smaller side. This kind of gas is particularly effective and is pretty stable so it could be a great way to stay toasty in the winter.

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