Pat & Mel built this off-grid tiny house as a way to stop paying rent, and to start living a simple, minimalist lifestyle. They lived in it for 3 years while it was parked on a friend’s land, but they recently decided to sell the tiny home and buy a house because it was cheaper than buying vacant land.
Sound weird? Here’s why: the down payment on a piece of land in Ontario is often 35%, while the cost of a down payment on a home is often as low as 5%. So even though they might be buying a home that’s more expensive than just land, it’s easier to buy the home.
They built their tiny house themselves and designed it to be fully off-grid with a wood stove for heat, solar panels for electricity, propane for hot water and cooking, and they collected rainwater for all of their water needs. They used a composting toilet (Nature’s Head) since they didn’t have access to a septic system.
This is the first tiny house we’ve seen that used 100% rainwater collection and this is how they did it:
They added a gutter to the side of their tiny house and collected rainwater in 4 barrels that had screens to catch any leaves and other gunk that might wash down the spout.
Once the barrels were full, they used a sump pump to transfer the water from the outdoor barrels into a large holding tank inside a trailer beside the house. They had the water tank inside a trailer so that they could heat it in the winter to prevent the water from freezing during the winter.
To transfer the water from the trailer into the house, they used an RV water pump and pumped the water through an insulated and heated pipe.
To ensure the water was extra clean, they’d add a couple of tablespoons (approx.) of bleach to each barrel of rainwater before transferring it into the main tank.
Living in a tiny house allowed Pat & Mel to save money, and to live with the bare essentials, which they found very pleasant. They felt that they didn’t spend as much time and money shopping for things they didn’t need.
They did have some challenges, including a week without water during their first winter when the pipe between the trailer and house froze. And they also sometimes found it difficult to entertain large groups of people, or to host a dinner party in such a small space.
Thanks for watching!
Mat & Danielle
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Mat and Danielle of Exploring Alternatives
Mat of Exploring Alternatives
Tiny House Build Photos by Pat & Mel