As the days and weeks seem to blur into one another, it’s hard to say how long it took to complete the wiring in the tiny house, but for me personally, it was one of the most enjoyable phases of the build so far.

Research and Planning

Electrical in a tiny house is an interesting subject due to the the red tape and safety concerns governing electrical wiring.

Here in Canada, when wiring takes place in a grid-tied home, a qualified electrician must pull a permit from the relevant authorities in order to be granted permission to conduct the work. If a homeowner is going to conduct the work themselves then a different, yet similar process is required.

When building on a trailer, there is no process currently in place to govern this procedure and so, money is saved, but the safety risk increases.

The cost to pull a permit can add hundreds of dollars to any installation. But as one is not ‘necessary’ in a tiny house, this saves a lot of money. Having said this though, it appears that it is currently impossible to install an officially ‘approved’ electrical system in a tiny house in Canada. Perhaps there is another way that this can be done, perhaps through RV regulations, but my research has not yet led me to this discovery. (If anyone reading knows of an official process, please share in the comments)

Despite this lack of approval processes, there are still many codes and practices that can be observed when installing electrical. I recommend spending as much time as possible to find the relevant safety information when installing electrical. I’ve mentioned them before, but has some excellent resources, especially if you sign up for the monthly pass to more in-depth articles.

Some other great sources of information that helped me a great deal are the electrical videos on youtube from Tiny Nest and Life inside a box.

There are many things to consider when wiring your house and it’s just too involved and lengthy to get into it here and as I am not qualified to teach electrical, I will not. But there are many other training videos available.

Practical Installation

Just to give you an overview of what to consider I’ll offer you the following list. I have also created a small series of videos to give you an overview of my own processes. The list is in no particular order, but will at least give you an idea of what you need to think about and research.

  1. 120v or 240v
  2. Type of breaker box (main panel / sub panel)
  3. Location of breaker box
  4. Wiring sizes (20 amp  15 amp)
  5. GFCI’s in wet locations
  6. Location of outlets
  7. Outside outlets?
  8. 12 volt systems
  9. Renewable energy
  10. How to connect to mains power
  11. Where your light switches will be placed
  12. Installation of extractor fans
  13. Separate circuit for a fridge
  14. Separate circuit for heaters or air conditioners
  15. 20 amp circuit for kitchen receptacles
  16. 3 way switches
  17. Wiring routes through studs
  18. Protective plates for studs
  19. Wiring hole sizes
  20. Low voltage wiring being separate from standard voltage
  21. Receptacle box sizes & allowable wiring inside boxes
  22. Pig tailing
  23. Safety testing
  24. Breaker types
  25. Grounding / bonding all metal
  26. Vapour barriers if necessary
  27. Height of wire in the walls
  28. Attaching wire to studs within a certain distance of boxes
  29. How to thread wire around the corners of the house
  30. How many circuits you want
  31. Getting it checked by a professional
  32. Using certified wire for all voltage types
  33. Adding conduits for installing additional circuits later
  34. Access panels
  35. Not hiding junction boxes

This list maybe long, but it is not exhaustive. Please do your research and don’t simply do what I do, I’ve only created this as inspiration and for some considerations to document the process for myself.

Tiny House Electrical Overview Video

The video below is the first in a series of videos, that at the time of writing, have yet to be published. To be notified of the new videos, subscribe to the youtube channel.