Tag Archives: air quality

Overdue for an Update

I have started moving in!  I have been sleeping in the tiny house since my mattress was delivered at the beginning of the month.  It has been glorious to wake up in my loft, hearing the birds outside and feeling so very much at home!  The bathroom isn’t finished yet, there is no electricity and the propane hasn’t been installed yet, up until yesterday there was nothing to sit on and the floors were covered up with cardboard.

Here’s a recap of the work that has been done in the month since my last update:

The bathtub has been built!  The drain was installed, but leaked, so we had to head back to the drawing board and after some consultation and a new drain basket, fingers crossed, I will have a functional tub at the beginning of June.    Here are the tub progress pics.

The toilet bench has also been built.  The final coat of paint is drying as I type this.  The toilet bench also accommodates the winter grey water tank and the fancy grey water plumbing.  I have to attach the piano hinge for the two lids on the bench (one for the toilet and the other for the grey water compartment).  The sawdust will live in a bin that will rest on the grey water compartment.  The toilet will be ready early next week.

The kitchen counter has been installed!  I am really happy with the counter I chose and with the amount of counter there is in the tiny house.  The kitchen sink and faucet were installed and the freshwater plumbing is almost finished, with the exception of the countertop water inlet connection.  As it’s spring, I am all hooked with a potable water hose and I have running water.  The exterior grey water tank or french drain still has to be worked out, but as I am not living in the house full-time yet, it hasn’t been a problem yet.

The HRV units got their boxes, which we filled with spray foam, and then they were finished.  I am really happy with how the HRV units look and I get a bonus space above them to sneak in a knick-knack if the fancy strikes me.

Left to do (nb: this is not an ordered list)

  • Get a welder to come out and weld on the brackets for the propane tanks.
  • Get propane installed.
  • Install the stove and the furnace.
  • Finish the freshwater plumbing.
  • Install the drain and faucet on the tub.
  • Install the lids on the toilet bench.
  • Install ¼” plywood on the front edges of the rafters for the roofers.
  • Get a new roof.
  • Figure out my clothing storage.
  • Install the last of the trim in the bathroom.
  • Install the medicine cabinet in the bathroom.
  • Have a house-warming party!

Air Quality and Electrical

Construction on Tiny Refuge has gone from a weekend affair to a fully time occupation.  I will be living in Tiny Refuge in a matter of weeks.

The electrical is completed as far as it can until the bathroom is finished, the ceiling under the loft is put in and the floors are finished.  The Lunos e2 HRV (heat recovery ventilator) was hooked up and tested.  It took a little doing as there was a misunderstanding about how the switches needed to be setup.  The box we received with the HRV was a european one and it fit the transformer that controls the HRV units, so we installed it.  Oops.  The european box, that had the wires for the HRV running to it, had to be carefully excavated from the wall and a triple gang box was installed into the wall.  The Lunos e2 needs two switches, one switch turns the units on and the second switch controls the speed (low or high).  The switches needed a triple gang box because a double gang box doesn’t have enough space for the switches and the transformer.  In the third space in the box, a blank switch was installed and a hole drilled through it for the transformer’s LED.

With the switches and the transformer in place, the tubes were cut to size, the units were put in place and hooked up and then tested.  There was a slight delay as they started up, once they started they quietly purred and worked beautifully.  The Lunos e2 HRV must be installed in pairs.  One unit draws fresh air in as the other draws the “stale” air out, then after about a minute later, they switch.  They make very little noise, even on the high setting.  It was wonderful to hear them purr.




I checked on the tiny house this morning to see how the thinset was curing and to make sure that the floor wasn’t too cold.  It went down to -16 C (3 F) last night and the thinset needs to be at least 10 C (50 F) to cure properly.  The floor seemed to be curing but was still a little cool to the touch so I turned up the heater.  The windows and parts of the door were covered in condensation.  The condensation on the lock and door handle had frozen.  I do indeed need a heat recovery ventilator to for ventilation in the winter.  I didn’t have my camera with me to take pictures when I went in at first, so the photographic evidence isn’t quite as spectacular as it was when I first went in.

Ventilation and Tiny Housers

I have had concerns about ventilation for my tiny home.  With the current building technology, homes are pretty air tight, which keeps your heating costs lower.  The downside to the air tight home is that your house can’t breath – moisture, which can lead to rot,  and poor air quality, which can lead to illness, become a concern.  When building a larger home, there are mechanical aids which help to reduce moisture and improve the air quality.  Unfortunately, these mechanical aids – heat recovery ventilators (HRVs) and energy recovery ventilators (ERVs) – are too big for a tiny house.  BoneyardStudios have a great blog post about air quality (click here for the link for that blog post) and in that post they mention an ERV unit that is small enough to be used in a tiny house.  Unfortunately, that ERV unit is rated for a much warmer climate than mine.

In my quest to find some answers regarding ventilation this week, I contacted Yestermorrow Design/Build School.  They in the middle of a 12 day Tiny House design and build course.  I contacted the teachers of the course who were understandably busy, though busy they told me they would get back to me with some answers to my queries. Not only did one of the instructors answer my questions, but he also put me in touch with one of the students of that course who lives in Montreal.

I can breathe a little easier knowing that my plan to have exhaust fans for both my oven/range and bathroom should handle the moisture issues.    I also have 2 of the students from the Yestermorrow Tiny House course helping me this weekend with my build.  Reaching out and talking to people can be really wonderful.