Tiny House Electrical: How to Wire a Tiny House for a 50 AMP Main

Wiring a tiny house can be challenging. You must ensure you have the right fixtures to get the best results. If anything goes wrong, your tiny house may lack power. At worst, it can lead to electrocution or a fire outbreak. How do you avoid this?

The best way is to follow the proper guidelines and ensure due diligence when wiring your tiny house. But how do you go about that?

This article will show you how to wire your tiny home step by step. This guide will cover all the answers to your questions about wiring and powering tiny houses. Keep reading to get all the information that you need.

How Does a Tiny House Get Power? 

Power is one of the most vital utilities to keep your tiny house running. If the weather outside is good, you can go on without power for days, like camping. If you plan to take a hot shower, use lighting and electronic systems. Live as if you’re in a conventional home. You will need to use power sources for your tiny house.

Here are some power sources that work:


Tiny House RV Hookups

Most tiny homes on wheels have RV hookups. There you can plug in an extension cord. This is because the side of the house has an adapter. This connection type is most functional for people who want to use electrical appliances. These include washers, ovens, and dryers, among others.

You may plan to anchor your home. In cases like this, you can request your builder to fix a permanent power receptacle to your home. This will go near the roof as overhead wires or underneath the floor if you want the cables hidden.


Solar Power Systems

Solar power systems are also a good option. It can be expensive to install a solar power system upfront. As a result, some plans allow you to pay for up to ten years.

You have a good choice if you want a solar system that powers your entire house and is off the grid. You need to create enough outdoor space for the solar panels. You also need indoor space, such as a battery closer and a control center.

You’ll need to choose the ideal appliances to work well with solar power. For instance, use a gas fireplace instead of an electric heater. It will help you conserve energy.

Some people prefer grid-tied solar systems. Here, it supplements power from the power lines and then sells energy to the grid when it’s not in use. It means that your meter starts to run backward.

Another benefit of grid-tied solar is that you won’t run out of energy on cloudy days. It is because your system automatically switches to grid power if your battery depletes.


Permanent Power Connection

The primary difference, in this case, is that professionals wire the power line to a panel without using any plug.

The first thing is to install the power box and the power access. After installation, inspect it to ensure you have done a good job. Then you can connect the power to your tiny house.

A power company will be in charge of this. Usually, the same people bring the line to your house and connect it to your power box. Depending on your location, the process will be a little different, and inspection will still have to follow.


How Much Power Does a Tiny House Need? 

Tiny houses only consume very little energy in comparison to conventional homes. For instance, a tiny home can consume only about 300kW per month. This sums up to about $27 monthly in energy costs. Yet, we base this calculation on energy usage by homeowners.

If you are wondering how to calculate energy consumption for your tiny home, here is how:


First, let’s define power.

Power= current x voltage

Most tiny house appliances will run on 120V. If your builder wires your tiny house this way, then:

Power = Current x Voltage

Let’s assume your electric cooker uses about 20A of current. It means that the power usage is:

Current x Voltage = 20A x 120V = 2,400W (2.4kW)


Looking at their manual, you can find out how much current your appliances consume.

Knowing how much current your house consumes in total is simple. Plug all the power consumption of all your appliances, then hook up an amp meter.


Here is a table of how much power some appliances consume




Power (Watts)


Energy in Watt-Hours (Wh)


Window air conditioner – 500W to 1500W (depending on size)

8kWh (averaging)

Well pump – 1HP 750W 750Wh

Radio – 1W 6Wh

Blender – Powerful 1,500W 125Wh

Blender – Conventional 500W 41Wh

Space Heater – Low/ Medium/ High

600W/1000W/1500W 8kWh

Solar Booster Pump (for Water Pressure)

100W 50Wh

Ultra-Energy Efficient Fridge 180W surge 168 Wh

Full-Size Fridge 83W 1000 Wh (1 kWh)

Internet Router 6W 72Wh

Cell Phone 5W 15Wh

Laptop – Charging/Running 42W/14W 168Wh

Incandescent Light 60W 240Wh

LED Lights 6W 24Wh


For most tiny houses, using a 6000W service is enough to power. It is because you will only use some devices at once. You only have to separate your appliances into groups.


Once you can learn how much power you consume, you know your tiny house needs. You can also use a solar sizing spreadsheet. It will help you figure out the size of the solar system that will be ideal for your home.


You can work with a professional to help you make the right decision if you find this process difficult.


Can I Wire a Tiny House Myself?

You can wire a tiny house yourself if you have basic electrical knowledge. You don’t need to attend college or have an engineering certificate to do that.

But you need to know enough about what you are doing. You can take courses or watch online videos that show you how to wire a tiny house.

If you cannot wire your tiny house, you should hire an expert to do the work.


Tiny House Electrical Basics

Let’s look at how to wire a tiny house (basics).


The way you wire your tiny house depends on usage and design. But people often wire their houses like this:


  • The right side of the main floor
  • The left side of the main floor
  • Loft
  • HVAC
  • Kitchen
  • Appliances
  • Other important areas


Ensure that you design each circuit to carry expected loads plus extra 25% power. Each circuit breaker in your house requires a 20-amp line circuit. It excludes heavy-draw appliances like HVAC.

You will find shorthand symbols when you read a diagram of your tiny house plans. These are electrical symbols that tell you how to wire them. They can also let you know what is happening in your tiny home.

Several components go into wiring a tiny house. Ensure you choose the right parts and connect them the right way. It helps you with safe installation and prevents hazards. Ensure you follow appropriate guidelines also.


How Does Electricity Flow Through a Tiny House?

  • Electricity flows through a tiny house in the following order:
  • An electrical outlet – (RV outlet, solar from off-grid, an outlet from an existing home).
  • RV electrical cord (rated for 50A)
  • Electrical inlet (it carries power from the intercept to the electrical box. Has a rating of 50A)
  • Electrical panel (carries electricity from the supply line. It then distributes it to several electrical circuits. Has a rating of 00A)
  • Electrical circuits (transmission of electricity to the switches and outlets)
  • Switches/Fixtures/Outlets (endpoints for electricity usage)

Electricity flows into a tiny house through the above order. Most tiny houses use a 50A 120V setup. If you have a lot of equipment, a 100A sub-panel with six breaker slots is enough.


How Do You Wire a Tiny House For 50A Service?

You will first need to consider the National Electrical Code (NEC). It is a set of rules and guides that puts you through the electrical wiring in a building.


We inform you about every rule for your protection. For instance, the circuit around sinks needs ground fault protection. It is so that getting electrocuted is difficult.


The National Electrical Code

The National Electrical Code (NEC) is a standard that is adoptable by region. It ensures the safe installation of wires and other electric equipment in the United States.

NEC is a part of the National Fire Code Series published by the National Fire Protection Association, a private trade association. Although NEC is national, it is not a federal law. Instead, states and municipalities adopt the code to standardize their enforcement of wiring. It also helps them to promote safe electrical practices.


In some instances, the NEC undergoes amendments and alterations. Sometimes rejection from some regions. It all depends on the governing body of that region.


In regions that accept NEC, the jurisdiction authority carries out an inspection. It is to ensure compliance with relevant standards.


The following are two different entities:

The NEC and the National Electrical Safety Code (NESC), which the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE). The NESC oversees electric power and communication utility systems. It includes underground lines, power substations, and overhead lines.


Now, let’s see how to wire a tiny house for 50VA systems.


The Basics: Understanding Amps, Volts, and Watts

You don’t need a thorough engineering understanding. You don’t need to memorize electrical theories to wire your tiny house. But if you do so, you must understand the basics. Knowing Amps, Volts, and Watts will make the whole process more manageable.

You can see signs like this on your electrical wiring equipment: W, V, A.


  • W stands for watts
  • V stands for volts
  • A Stands for amperes


This is easy, but you’ll need to do one basic math. It is because you’ll need all three at different steps of the wiring process. But you’ll only have two sometimes.


The situation can demand that you have your watts and volts but not the amperes. Or you have the watts and the amperes but not the volts. Sometimes, you have the amperes and volts but need to find the watts. It is simple math. Basic math, too, not algebra!


Multiplying your amperes by the volts will give you watts, i.e

A x V = W

where A = Amps, V = Volts, and W = Watts


Let’s assume you know the watts and the volts, but you need to find the amperes.

W ÷ V = A


What if you have the amperes and watts but need to find the volts?

W ÷ A = V


One way to go around this formula is to understand that these three are variables interconnected. They play around with each other.


Let’s look at the primary example:

If your electric stove is about 1,800 Watts and you need to know the amperes, you can calculate it.


Most houses run on 120-Volt circuits. It means you know the watts and the volts. Now, you need to solve the amperes.


1,800 Watts ÷ 120 Volts = 15 Amperes


Your election stove may not be up to 1,800 Watts, of course. Since you live in a tiny house and power your home on 50Amps.


Calculate the Electrical Needs of Your Tiny House

You will have to decide how much electricity you will use in your tiny house. Consider if it is going to be mobile or stationary.


Both types of tiny houses may have the same wiring gauge if both share the same size main panel. But if you get it from a power source, the service panels will differ according to location.


You will also need to make a complete list of all the electrical items in your house. Use a column spreadsheet. Mark out the equipment, amperes, volts, and Watts.


Plan the hours you want to run your electricity if you use solar power. If this is the case, add an extra column on the spreadsheet.


Then fill in all the details about each item you will be using. There are several ways to find this information. You can:


  • Check the website of the manufacturer. You may find a manual or spec sheet for the item.
  • Check the label. Some usually come with electrical numbers.
  • Use a clamp meter or plug-in meter to measure it.


Bring the Power From Pole to Panel

It’s easier to do this with a tiny house on wheels. Install an electrical inlet port. The port enables you to hook up to an extension cord outside your home.


Then, wire the electrical inlet to the panel of the system service. It can be the fuse box or breaker box.


Finding a service panel that is the appropriate size for your tiny house may take time and effort. It is because, unlike a conventional home, you don’t need a 200 Amps main breaker or several circuits.


You can save yourself stress by getting a panel that has the label of a sub-panel. It will get you down to a reasonable size.


The primary breaker is a switch that enables electricity to enter the service panel and power other circuits.


A vital safety measure is turning off the main breaker when working on a circuit.


Further safety protection includes:

  • Unplugging
  • Turning off the circuit that feeds the plug.


Plan Your Circuitry

You’ll need to plan the different circuits in your house next. These circuits will interweave through the electrical system of your tiny house.


While it may be possible to fit everything onto one circuit, it’s not advisable. Especially if the electrical system of your tiny house is small.


It is crucial to shut off a single circuit and not shut down the electricity in the house. Even more so when you need to troubleshoot some areas of the house.


If you also overload a circuit and throw the breaker, avoiding being in the dark is vital.


As a result, you need to break things down into circuits. Base the breakdown on the type and replacements. Your tiny house may have four electrical circuits, including the following:

  • Kitchen Receptacles
  • Outdoor Receptacles
  • Other Indoor Receptacles
  • Lighting


Each circuit should have wires that run from the service panel through your house to complete the circuit line. You should also ensure the appropriate sizing of these wires to meet your electrical needs.


Important Note

The measurement of wire sizes is in different gauges. The wires get bigger as the gauge size gets smaller, meaning that a ten gauge wire is larger in diameter than a 12 gauge wire.


A wire gauge determines the amount of current it can carry throughout a circuit. So, a 14 gauge wire can transfer about 15 Amps. A 12 gauge wire can carry about 20 Amps. A 10 gauge wire can transport approximately 30 Amps. To make it easier, they all have color codes that you can work with.


The next step is to plan what each circuit will carry. Your lighting circuit can include the following:

  • Kitchen Lights
  • Bathroom Light
  • Loft Lights
  • Porch Lights
  • Living Room Lights
  • Bedroom Lights


You’ll need to do the same with each of the other circuits. When planning, determine the number of receptacles and where you plan to locate them


Knowing these locations will help you plan out the materials you’ll need for the electrical system of your tiny house.


Check the Electrical Work of your Tiny House

You can make mistakes in the wiring process, so you need to cross-check your work. Ensure you maintain your electrical systems and use suitable circuit breakers.


Also, tiny living does not mean you should give up luxury. It means focusing on what you enjoy and eliminating the excess. So, if you need air conditioning in your tiny house, you can calculate the power consumption while preparing for your wiring.


Wire Stripper

A wire stripper is a portable tool that workers, especially electricians, use. It is handheld and helpful in removing the protective coating of an electric wire to repair or replace it.


It is also helpful for stripping the end portions of an electric wire so that an electrician can connect them to other terminals or wires.


A wire stripper is a vital tool for professional electricians and other personnel in related fields.


Wire strippers fall into two major categories:

  • Manual wire strippers
  • Automatic wire strippers


Manual Stripper

A manual wire stripper is the most versatile kind. You must rotate it and apply pressure around the insulation when cutting and adjusting the wires.


Automatic Stripper

An automatic wire stripper will hold one side tight while cutting and removing the other. An automatic wire stripper can help novices and DIYs cut wires faster. But it only works for specific sizes and wire ranges. It may break small ones, but large ones may not fit into its jaws.


You can find wire strippers in various sizes and shapes. Their raw material is usually steel, and they have serrated teeth, which help strip wires. The handles may be straight or curved, with rubber coating to assist in firm grips. Wire strippers also often have wire cutters.


120 volts wires vs. 240 volts wires


Most houses in the United States run on 120 volts circuits. You may find three-phase in-line circuits 240 volts. But the homes that use this amount of volts use larger equipment such as HVAC and other appliances that draw high power currents.


People often refer to it as 220 Volts, 230 Volts, or 240 Volts when referring to these circuits. There are a few disparities, but they mean the same thing and relate to each other.


When dealing with 120 Volts, a wire connects to the various power outlets. A 240 Volts outlet will have two wires connected in parallel to it.


When dealing with wires that carry 240 volts, you’ll find a black wire and a red wire, which are the hot leads, and a white, the neutral one. The single neutral wire may be white or bare ground copper wire.


Electrical Material List for a Tiny House

Several elements go into wiring a tiny house. The key to a safe installation is understanding how to choose and connect the right components. You can follow your region’s NEC guidelines and considerations, which will prove very helpful.


Here are some key elements to consider for wiring your tiny house. We will also include a few helpful recommendations.


Tiny House Breaker Box

Another name for the breaker box is the electrical panel. The breaker box is the central power hub. It controls your entire tiny house and gets its power from a power source (solar panels, the grid, a battery bank, or a generator). Then, it breaks down into smaller runs called circuits.


You have up to ten spaces in your sub-panel for a 100 amperes breaker box.


In some situations, the utility power company in your region will use a 200 Amperes service by default. You can request a smaller one.


Having a larger box and a higher Amperage service than what you estimate you’ll need is a good idea. It is advisable to have something larger for future needs. The difference in costs is a little.


Wire for Your Tiny House

Most likely, you will use a Romex when wiring your tiny house. Another name for this wire is a non-metallic sheathed wire. Professionals often use it for wiring residential houses.


Note: Romex is a brand name that describes this brand of wire.


You need to understand the difference between wires and cables. A wire is a single solid copper conductor. A cable entails a bundle that contains several strands of smaller copper conductors.


Most people often use the word “wire.” But it would be best if you understand that when they say “wire,” they refer to a cable.


Cable Sizing

A cable comes in several sizes. A wire gauge helps take wire/cable measurements. Here is a typical example of a wire gauge, the amperage by rating, and the common uses.


Wire Gauge


Rated Amperage


Common Uses


10-3 Romex – 30A

Electric Clothes Dryer 10-2 Romex  30 A

Baseboard Heaters, Electric Water Heater 12-2 Romex 20 A

Refrigerator, Lighting & Outlets 14-2 Romex 15 A

Lighting Circuits


What Are Romex Labels?

Romex has different numbers of conductor strands. These strands bundle up to make a wire. Usually, most Romex will have two conductors, including a ground conductor. You may also come across some that have three conductors, including a ground conductor.


You will find labels on the packaging of Romex wires. These labels combine the wire gauge and the number of conductors that make up the cable.


For instance, a cable with two conductors, including a ground conductor, and a gauge size of 14, will have the label 14 – 2.


Color Coding of Conductor Wires

In most cases, manufacturers make wire conductors using standard colors. But only sometimes assume that this is the case with every wire.


Usually, the conductors in the wire are the same. Yet, the color coatings differ so that you can tell them apart.


The most common method for color coding wires are:

  • White for the neutral lead
  • Bare copper or green for the ground
  • Black for the hot lead
  • Red for the second hot lead in 240 volts.


Major Exceptions for Color Coding

The colors of wires do not usually differ from each other. When you come across a wire, there is every likelihood that the wiring is perfect and correct. But since you did not perform the wiring, you cannot be too sure. As a result, you need to be careful.


There are certain cases where the colors of wires will be different from conventional colors. For instance, you may find a three-way switch. Here, the white wire will represent the “traveler,” and the three-way circuit may even be hot!


The standard way to do this is to wrap the paper tape around the white wire. This wrapping around all the boxes will present the proper signal for future purposes. While this situation is not usually a common occurrence, you now have an idea of what to do.


Circuit Breakers 

By simple definition, a circuit breaker is an automatic protection system for circuits. Electricians install breakers in an electrical panel. Another name for this electrical panel is the breaker box. Here, you will find each line circuit dedicated to a single breaker.


The function of the breaker is to track the circuit. If any complication occurs, the breaker will shut off that circuit immediately. For instance, in overload situations. Laymen often refer to this situation as a “breaker trip.” It usually happens when appliances act up. It can also occur when too many pieces of equipment draw large amounts of power. This is a sure sign of circuit overload.


Assuming a home outlet has a television, space heater, and vacuum plugged in at once, this would be too heavy. Indeed, the breaker will “trip off.” Then the access and operation of the circuit will shut off until the electrician or any personnel fixes the issue. Once they reset the beaker and place it back into position, everything starts to work again.


Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCI)

Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCI) are electrical safety devices. It functions to protect people from electrocution and electric shock. Usually, you can find GFCIs in areas where electricity and water are close to each other. It includes tiny house areas like the kitchen, basement, bathroom, garage, and outdoors. They are helpful for appliances and equipment with cord connections beside the water.


GCFIs help prevents deadly shocks. It shuts off the power to the circuit if the electricity that flows into the line circuit differs from the one returning. It doesn’t matter if the difference is only a slight one. What it indicates is a loss of current, so it shuts off.


Arc Fault Circuit Interrupters (AFCI)

Another name for an arc fault circuit interrupter (AFCI) is an arc fault detection device (AFDD). A circuit breaker cuts the circuit whenever it detects the electric arcs. It signifies a loose connection in the wiring of your tiny house.


Loose connections can develop with time. They can sometimes become hot and be the cause of house fires. An AFCI differentiates between a harmless arc and a potentially harmful one. A harmless spark can be incidental to the ordinary operation of plugs, switches, and brushed motors. A dangerous spark waiting to happen, for instance, can be a lamp cord with a broken conductor.


Grounding a Tiny House

Grounding is a backup pathway that enables the flow of electricity from the source to the ground for proper dissipation. Grounding your tiny house is easy. You can achieve this by connecting the breaker box ground bar to the trailer and then a grounding rod.


A grounding rod goes into the earth and has a conductor that ties to it. This rod is usually 10-feet copper. You should ensure a free and direct flow from the ground outlets to the ground bar in the breaker box. Then make sure it flows from the breaker box to the ground rod.


You can also ground the house to the trailer to ensure all safety measures are in place. It means that the current can flow into the trailer when you’re on the road, driving your tiny house. The current flow can then either dissipate through the hitch foot. It can also arc a closer proximity from the trailer to the ground.


12 Volt Wiring for a Tiny House

If you decide to live in a tiny house that is off the grid, you may be wondering about a 12 Volt wiring for your tiny house.


If you stay off the grid, you will connect to an alternative power source, such as solar energy.


It is generally acceptable to use 12-volt wiring for solar power systems. Manufacturers design many solar panels and other components in a solar power system to operate at 12 volts. Many solar power systems use several 12-volt panelboards connected in series to create a higher voltage system. The purpose is to ramp up  24 and 48 volts.


Ensuring that the wiring used in your solar power system is suitable for the intended application. You must install it the right way. It is always a good idea to consult a qualified electrician or solar installer to ensure you have safely installed the solar power system. Ensure it meets all local building and electrical codes.


You may have encountered discussions that 12 volts of DC – direct current power are more efficient than AC – alternating current power. Usually, this can result from converting the energy from DC to AC.


Using 13-volt wiring for your tiny house will work if you do not use efficient inverters. Yet, solar energy is now a modern power solution, so it is improving.


You cannot use the same wiring application from many years ago.


DC wiring is also more efficient. You may choose the DC wiring on a 12 volts setup. This may be true, but not in its entirety.


Assuming you wire your tiny house for 12 volts, it means that all your appliances will need to be 12 volts. You will spend more than you bargain for on tiny house appliances. You will also need many options when choosing the best equipment for your tiny home.


If any inefficiency occurs from the DC to the AC, you can deal with the conversion process by adding an extra panel to your solar array.


Using AC power gives you a vast range of options for a fraction of the amount you will spend on DC appliances. You will be saving a lot of money which is one of the objectives of going tiny.


Thus, it would be best to choose AC power when wiring your tiny house.


DC wiring is also more efficient. You may choose the DC wiring on a 12 volts setup over an AC. This may be true, but not in its entirety.


Assuming you wire your tiny house for 12 volts, it means that all your appliances will need to be 12 volts. You will spend more than you bargain for on tiny house appliances. You will also need various options when choosing the best equipment for your tiny home.


If any inefficiency occurs from the DC to the AC, you can deal with the conversion process by adding an extra panel to your solar array.


Using AC power gives you a vast range of options for a fraction of the amount you will spend on DC appliances. You will be saving a lot of money which is one of the objectives of going tiny.


Thus, it would be best to choose AC power when wiring your tiny house.


How Much Does It Cost to Wire a Tiny House?

The cost of wiring your tiny house differs according to your chosen materials. Also, if you hire a professional electrician or someone in a rated field, it will have an impact on the cost.


Generally, it would be best to spend about $500 to buy materials. If you hire labor, you should spend between $1,000 and $3,000. All these costs exclude appliances and lighting fixtures with different price points.


Here is an estimation of what you will need and their price points:






Estimated Costs


Bath fan  1  $24.56

Led puck lights  3  $29.43

AFCI Breakers  1  $52.31

GFCI Breakers  2  $46.15

Breakers  10  $4.18

Breaker Box  1  $43.67

Wire Staples – 225 pack  1  $4.83

Electrical Boxes  15  $0.68

Outlet/Switch Covers  15  $0.49

Outlets/Switches  15  $14.49

Romex-250 feet  1  $42.65


Estimated Total $625.31

Frequently Asked Questions


Can I Wire a Tiny House Even If I Don’t Have Any Experience?

Yes, you can wire a tiny house even if you lack any form of experience with wiring a building. If you follow the NEC rules and guidelines and observe all safety precautions, you will be fine and get good results.


This article already gives you background knowledge about how to go about wiring a tiny house. But if you are unsure of doing it yourself, it is better to call a professional.


How Long Does It Take to Wire a Tiny House?

Wiring an entire tiny house wouldn’t take much time. Everything, including:

  • Pulling Wire
  • Drilling Through Studs
  • Installing Outlet Boxes

should take about three to four hours.

If you want to do it faster, put together your electrical diagram ahead of time. It will help you create the most efficient wiring flow in your tiny home.



Wiring a tiny house is relatively easy. You can achieve good results even if you do DIY with experience. Ensure you follow the NEC codes available in your region. Also, follow all safety precautions.

Wiring your tiny house should only take about 3-5 hours if you put together your electrical diagram ahead of time. The estimated cost of wiring your tiny house is between $1,000 and $3,000. It excludes the cost of fixtures and lighting materials.