Tiny homes are all the rage these days, with more and more people choosing to downsize the American Dream. Estimates show that companies have built over 10,000 tiny homes, with probably the same amount built privately.
And they come in all shapes and sizes - from smaller versions of traditional homes that are built on regular foundations to mobile ones built on trailers or out of old school buses and military vehicles.
Because they don't adhere to traditional building codes, however, and are built on a much smaller scale, there are some safety concerns specific to tiny homes.
Today, we break down safety issues for tiny homes, and how to mitigate the risk.
Especially for tiny homes built on moveable platforms, structural integrity can be an issue. Traditional materials and methods of building don't always work for these homes on wheels, meaning adaptations must be made.
The foundation upon which the home is built is the first concern. Making sure that the bones of the home are built on a solid structure that can hold the weight of the home while being over around is paramount to the structural integrity of the home.
For those building their tiny homes independently, a tiny home contractor can check out your build and offer suggestions for areas of weakness.
A smaller home means smaller clearances and limited space. This can be an issue for appliances like hot water heaters and stoves, and heating elements like propane heaters and wood stoves. While fire prevention tips for regular homes still apply, a fire extinguisher is your best bet.
While reduced clearances can be achieved with additional precautions and careful planning, the most efficient way to minimize fire safety concerns is with well-placed fire extinguishers and smoke alarms.
Because tiny homes are smaller, the number of exits compared to a traditional house is also generally smaller. Keeping a fire extinguisher in multiple places through the tiny home means you won't be cut off from one end of the home where the extinguisher is stored.
Further, it's important to note that tiny homes will be consumed by flames much more quickly than a typical home. In mere minutes, your entire home could be lost. A fire extinguisher can buy precious time until firefighters arrive.
Smoke alarms and fire extinguishers aren't the only safety tools tiny homes should have. The air quality in tiny homes can become an issue. And less airflow in a smaller space isn't just an issue for that fried taco smell that lingers for days.
Carbon monoxide, produced by propane appliances and heating devices, has no smell and isn't detectable. However, a carbon monoxide leak into a tiny space can quickly fill the air and poison the residents inside before they're aware there's a problem.
A CO2 detector placed near heating and cooking elements can help monitor air quality levels and keep your tiny home's air clean and healthy to breathe.
In a place where there's less airflow, condensation can be an issue. Along with air quality, tiny homes frequently have issues with mold.
A dehumidifier can help keep condensation down, especially for tiny homes that utilize propane heating systems.
Because mold can cause a myriad of health concerns, including cancer, it should be taken seriously. Frequent checks of spaces to watch for mold can catch potential problems early and ensure you can fix areas of concern before mold gets out of control.
Safety Issues for Tiny Homes
The safety issues for tiny homes require a little more thought and planning than a traditional home. Fire safety, air quality, structural integrity, and issues like mold are all considerations to keep in mind.
When it comes to fire safety, we've got you covered tiny home dwellers! Check out our line of Fireballs, from the mini to the standard sizes, to see how they're perfectly suited for tiny homes!