Wiring the electrical service

We wired the tiny house electrical service today for the grid part of our on/off-grid tiny house. Having lived off the grid for over 10 years my interest in off grid living has always been just using the smartest solution available and I’m not sure there is a better alternative to the local cheap hydroelectricity we have here. Also I also don’t think of electricity as really making a huge difference in the energy consumption of a structure where the big energy loads will an energy efficient envelope, A variety of solar thermal inputs, and judicious use of a tiny woodstove. Plus, lithium batteries just keep getting cheaper and I want to hold off on that as long as possible before making that massive purchase. In the meantime I’m designing for versatility, flexibility and easy modification later.

It’s somewhat comical to run a 50 amp 220v service line to a house that will rarely pull more than 15 / 110, but it doesn’t cost a lot more to run the wire and it provides insurance against the annoying possibility of tripping the feeder breaker in the basement of the big house if someone happens to plug-in every possible high drain appliance at once. It wouldn’t be a huge problem for us but I’d rather that guests don’t have to deal with that.

While tiny living is still not technically legal in Portland, the city has adopted a policy of non-enforcement, and provides guidelines for legally connecting tiny houses to utilities, so we are trying to do everything we can to be compliant. This is an important step for Portland, and sets an example that shows other cities how they can create a legal path towards tiny house living.

We are setting up the electrical service with 6/3 wire coming off a 50a 220v breaker and feeding a standard temporary RV box that will feed an RV power cord going into a twist lock connection on the tiny house. If not for the rules I would probably just hardwire it but I appreciate what Portland is doing here and setting things up in a way that inspectors are likely to already be familiar with promotes good city/tiny house relations.

– Brian

Follow along with us on Instagram »

1 Comment

  1. Dion Bonnell
    July 12, 2019

    Hi Brian and Liz, stopping by today, hope you are around.


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll to top