Tank water heaters vary is size and capacity (6, 10, 12, 16 gallons, etc)
Tank water heaters keep the water hot within the tank at all times, which can use substantial energy
Make sure, no matter which model you choose, that your heater is covered under warranty for DIY installation or hire a professional to install your water heater.
Electric Water Heaters & Solar Power
If you plan on powering your Tiny House RV with solar energy and prefer electric water heaters, your solar system needs to be able to accommodate your chosen appliance. Many of our solar customers choose to go with a propane RV water heater to conserve electricity.
Brittany Yunker's Electric Water Heater in her Tumbleweed
Brittany's Electric Tank Water Heater
Brittany Yunker owns a Tumbleweed Cypress with a six gallon RV tank electric water heater. This model retails at $270. In an effort to conserve energy, she switches her water heater on before showering and switches it off immediately after. It takes about twenty minutes to heat the water in the six gallon tank, therefore planning your hot water needs ahead of time is necessary with this method.
Jeff and Megan from Room To Spare Tiny House just produced a detailed video on their compact tankless electric water heater: the Heatworks Model 1. This product retails for $469. The price, specs and size make this model a real option for Tiny House RVs. We can't wait to hear how it's working out for them.
Propane water heaters require propane tanks to be stored on the exterior of your Tumbleweed. One model that we recommend is the Precision Temp RV-550NSP, which retails at $1,150. The major advantages of this water heater, aside from its ability to heat water in five to ten seconds, is that it provides 80 degrees of temperature rise and has an internal function that prevents freezing (more on that below).
No matter if you choose to have one propane appliance or more, we recommend storing at least two propane tanks on the exterior of your Tiny House RV - one in use and one as a back up. Maintaining full propane tanks requires some effort, but once you have a routine in place, it’s easy.
Most RV propane water heaters require a side vent, which can be an eye sore on the side of your Tiny House RV. Venting to the outside means that some piping will be exposed to freezing temperatures. The water inside the pipes can cause the pipes to burst if frozen. This particular problem is usually not covered by the warranty. Some models need to be mounted outside the Tiny House RV and are even more prone to freezing.
The Precision Temp propane water heater has a built in thermometer (available optionally), triggering the unit to fire up when the temperature falls below freezing. It also vents through the floor, so the vent hole will be hidden from sight.
If you're interested in building your own Tumbleweed but find yourself restricted due to time, skill level, tools, etc. a Tumbleweed Barn Raiser might be the best choice for you!
When you purchase a Tumbleweed Barn Raiser, we deliver a partially built Tiny House RV that you can finish yourself! Design your Barn Raiser using our interactive builder and sleep easy knowing that the foundation of your Tiny House RV will be built by professionals.
We estimate that our Barn Raisers save 100-200+ hours on your total build time. We offer 10 different designs / lengths for you to choose from, now including our modern design - the Tumbleweed Mica.
Our Modern Mica - NOW AVAILABLE AS A BARN RASIER!
Financing Now Available!
We're excited to announce that financing is now available for Tumbleweed Barn Raisers.
No Money Down
Get funded in 72 hours
Interest rates from 3.99% to 8.99%
Payments from $213 to $500 per month
Sales Tax, registration and shipping costs can be financed too!
Get a free quote on your Barn Raiser anytime between now and August 31st, 2015 and receive $500 off* the total price! Our specialists are waiting to assist you and answer any questions.
*discount valid for 30 days after quote is received
Barn Raiser Customer Stories
We like to check in on our Barn Raiser customers occasionally to see how their builds are coming along. It's amazing how every Tiny House RV is different! After delivering the shell, we find that our excited new barn raiser customers infuse their passions and preferences into finishing the build. This really makes their Tiny House RV come alive! See for yourself in a few featured Barn Raiser stories below.
"JStalls Tiny House"
Jonathan and his Tumbleweed Barn Raiser, after he installed the windows himself!
Jonathan Stalls customized his 24 foot Elm Barn Raiser to have a side door and no porch. He also choose to have Tumbleweed install the metal standing seam roof. Since receiving his Barn Raiser he has installed the windows, cedar siding and front door himself!
Look at this beautiful and sophisticated Tiny House RV basking in the Colorado sunshine! Follow Jonathan's Build on Facebook.
"Tiny House For Three"
Maighen, Brandy, and their son R.A.D. with their new Tumbleweed Barn Raiser
Using a mixture of materials, Maighen, Brandy and R.A.D have given their Tumbleweed Cypress Barn Raiser uniqueness and flare! We love seeing how creative they've been with their build. A canvas was delivered, but what they've created is a piece of art!
Chris Schapdick lives in New York City but wanted his young daughter to have a connection to nature. He purchased property in upstate New York and decided to build a tiny mobile cabin for weekend getaways. A Tumbleweed Linden Barn Raiser was perfect for his situation because Chris was limited on time, but wanted the experience of building his own tiny retreat.
Chris's Picturesque "Tiny House in the Country," Winter 2015
It's so nice to follow a project and see it come to its fruition! It all started back when Vancouver artist Zee Kesler attended one of our weekend workshops two years ago and purchased plans to build a Tumbleweed Cypress. Zee wanted to share her Tiny House RV with others and do something unique, so she decided to convert her Cypress into a rolling classroom on wheels! With the help of her friends, she spent last fall and this spring building her modified Tumbleweed. Watch the full tour here:
Being that the space will be used as a classroom for up to twelve students, a few modifications needed to be made to the original plans. Zee added a wheelchair accessible side door, increased the width by building over the wheel wells, changed the roof pitch to allow more vertical interior space and converted the bathroom into a photo booth (students will use the park facilities)!
Did we mention that Zee did all of this under a limited budget? She searched Vancouver for construction waste and recycled materials from the film industry and then collected those items over the last two years. She also had many materials donated to the project, arranged sponsorships, and organized a multi-week workshop that partially funded the project while teaching others Tiny House RV construction. All of these factors helped the Tiny Community Center reach finalization without breaking the bank!
Since the completion of the Tiny Community Center, Zee has been awarded an artist residency at Trout Lake Community Center in Vancouver, British Columbia. She'll be parking her Tumbleweed at Trout Lake starting this July and will open it up to the public. Get involved and/or take an art class in Zee's Tiny Community Center this summer here.
Where can you park a Tiny House RV? There are many different ways to answer this question, but the simple answer is that you can park your tiny abode wherever it is legal to park a regular RV. Laws differ regarding RVs in every county, so you'll need to research your preferred parking location.
If you plan on traveling with your Tiny House RV, you will have the opportunity to park in campgrounds, National Parks, State Parks, overnight parking lots, rest stops, etc. Always read signage to make sure that "RV overnight parking" is allowed before setting up your Tiny House RV. If you are visiting a friend or family member in a county that allows RV parking, you might be parking on private land or in a residential driveway. There are many options out there, just ask any RVer!
You can design your Tiny House RV for "off-grid" or "on-grid" parking. Your future parking location may depend on your choice of utilities. It's a good idea to plan ahead and determine how flexible you'd like to be with parking and utility maintenance.
Ask yourself: Will I always have access to water and electricity? If you'd prefer to have off-grid electricity, you might consider designing your Tiny House RV with propane appliances to limit your electrical needs. If water will not always be available, you'll need to estimate how large of a fresh water tank you will need. The same goes for your grey water and black water tanks.
Ask yourself: How hands on do I want to be with my utilities? Being off-grid might mean emptying your compost toilet, rotating your solar panels and filling your fresh water tank every week. If this does not appeal to you, perhaps a parking spot with full connections is more suitable to your needs.
Watch this video for a full explanation of parking and setting up a Tiny House RV, whether you are off-grid or on-grid:
If you are interested in the products used in this video, here are details (in order of appearance):
If you’re a Tiny House RV lover, then you have probably seen pictures of Brittany’s Bayside Bungalow during one of your internet searches (I know we did). In fact, we took some inspiration from Brittany’s style and her house is one of the major reasons we painted our walls. Watch our full tour of the Bayside Bungalow:
It’s hard to imagine a petite woman like Brittany building a Tumbleweed Cypress all on her own, but the more I meet the women in this movement, the more I believe women can accomplish anything.
I like to say Guillaume built 60% of our Tiny House RV and I built 40%, but I might be exaggerating my contribution just a tad. I learned a lot from our build, but there is no way I could have done it without Guillaume's help and patience. I simply don't have the mental or physical strength to complete a project that large. I would have lost my mind! By the end of the year, I was using a table saw with ease (when we began I wouldn’t go near it). When we started on the interior, I was finally pulling my weight. I insulated the walls. I put up paneling. I did the trim work. I finished the counters and built the cabinets. And, of course, I decorated. If I had to do it again, and I was all on my own, I would purchase a barn raiser.
When I stepped inside Brittany's Bayside Bungalow, I marveled at the immaculate craftsmanship. I was already impressed that she was able to build a Tiny House RV on her own, but this structure was pristine! After further conversation, I realized Brittany completed the Bayside Bungalow without the resources we had during our build, that she had to repurpose an old trailer because Tumbleweed was not yet making Tiny House RV Trailers, and, finally, that she did it in HALF of the time it took us!
There’s no doubt, Brittany’s construction of the Bayside Bungalow was an act of pilgrimage for the movement. Today thousands of DIYers are building their own Tiny House RVs all over the country, and I think the pioneers (like Brittany) deserve some credit for the sudden popularity.
*Brittany has now opened her Tiny House RV as a vacation rental. If you're considering building tiny, I suggest trying the Bayside Bungalow out for a weekend.