The Differences in HVAC Units in Mobile Homes & Regular Housing

Mobile and manufactured homes are delivered to a home site in partially constructed pieces, unlike a traditionally built home that is constructed completely onsite. This requires a few differences in the way the HVAC unit of a mobile home is installed and designed. Understanding these differences is important when troubleshooting HVAC problems on a mobile home.

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Mobile homes are not actually mobile, but they can be moved if taken apart.

Installation Process

The installation of an air conditioning or heating unit in a new mobile home is a very different process from the process used in a site-built home. The experts at the Mobile Home Doctor website say that an independent contractor or crew usually install the air conditioning unit and furnace when the mobile home is being assembled on the property. The ductwork may be installed while the unit is built in the factory, or another contractor may come to install it. An electrician might also connect the unit, making it possible that three or four different independent contractors have installed your HVAC system.

Small, Enclosed Furnaces

The most common furnace installed in a mobile home is a forced air unit, according to Mobile Home Repair. This is because a mobile home does not have the extra crawl space or attic space for a different type of furnace to safely fit into. This unit sits in a small, enclosed furnace cabinet featuring a vented door. Homeowners must be careful not to cover or block the vents around the furnace in a mobile home, or the unit will overheat. Unlike larger units, most mobile home furnaces must be taken apart to access the ignition or thermocouple.

Adding Air Conditioning

Adding a new air conditioner to a mobile home can be a challenge. The Mobile Home Repair website explains that some mobile homes may lack ductwork and floor or ceiling vents, making a window unit or self-contained air conditioner the only choice. Other homes feature ducts running to the furnace, in which case cooling coils can be installed inside the furnace cabinet itself. Newer mobile homes that come with a full air conditioning unit installed simply require replacement of the unit outside the home, unless the thermostat or ductwork is damaged.

Crossover Ducts

Many mobile homes feature crossover ducts, which are large flexible ducts that run under the house, says Mobile Home Doctor. These ducts transfer warm and cool area to level out the overall temperature in the house. Due to limited attic or ceiling space, most installers run these ducts in the crawl space. Unfortunately, this leaves them susceptible to damage from water and rodents. If your mobile home's heating or cooling vents are not putting out the amount of air that they used to, check the crossover ducts for leaks or disconnected sections.