So when it comes to major systems here is what I am talking about: water, hot water, heat, solar, composting toilet. Of the major investments when I built the Cottage was my BioLet Composting toilet, $1600, Dickinson 12,000 BTU boat stove at $1200, next behind that was the Precision Temp instant on water heater at $1100. I kind of exclude the cost solar system as that is an "extra" and not really a key system but I will discuss it in this post. For your info though the cost of the solar at this point is $3,160, my electrical bill is around $15 to $20 off the grid this past summer.
So on this soon to be hot summer day, I will start with the heater. I like the ambiance the heater gives, it does a reasonable job, is quiet but at 192 sq ft it is not going to "bake me out". Knowing I used a radiant heater during the cold spells last winter, I chose to purchase and install an Envi Heater. It was touted pretty strongly by someone I respect in the Tiny House community Lina on her blog This Is The Little Life. I have yet to put it to the test but I like the design and reviews. I still really dig my Dickinson but realize that I need some different options on the heat side of things.
On the hot water side of things I installed a Precision Temp water heater. During the winter I did have some issues with hot water as the tank temp was cold and a system like this really is only able to raise the temperature about 40 degrees. So if the incoming water temp is 40 then best case scenario is "hot" water at 80 degrees. I was able to slow down the water flow that made showering a bit more pleasant but no worries about getting burned. Once we got out of the really cold mode the Precision Temp heater has been excellent, reliable with no challenges so far. I have had to turn it down a couple of times as it became warmer outside. I am really really pleased with the service and functionality of this unit.
On to the Composting toilet. While I was not aware and did not enjoy the idea of having a fan running 24/7 I have moved past that issue. The fan is not loud and it does not consume a lot of energy (I run it off the solar system so it is not an electrical hog) but it is still "on" and I am aware of it. That being said, the functioning and operation of the toilet has been excellent with no problems or concerns. I have emptied it twice without trauma over the year. When I emptied the compost it was half full and really nothing more then dirt. I am sure the Rhododendrons enjoyed it. I am a single guy who has a job so it is really under light use as I am not home during the day. Bottom line to me is this is a great option and I would feel comfortable using this type of technology the rest of my days and we should all get ride of water flush toilets, what a total waste of good water.