Mobile Home Wiring: Tips For Taking A Look Behind The Scenes
Much like traditional homes, mobile homes have intricate wiring systems. You could be enjoying your favorite television show when suddenly the power goes out! The heat is pulsing intensely on a summer’s day, but your air conditioner is no longer providing you with proper cooling! For some unknown reason, your phone charger will only work in select sockets, which can be a considerable inconvenience. Another problem people often run into is flickering lights. When there is a problem with your mobile home wiring, you may even notice sparks igniting from your outlets.
If ignored, electrical problems could be costly and extremely dangerous. So what should you do? Here are some basic facts about mobile home wiring, and what you can do to help maintain a properly functioning electrical system.
What is my electrical wiring made of?
Up until the year 1971, all mobile homes had aluminum wiring as it was much cheaper than copper. This light gray colored wiring has phased out, but you can still find it in old mobile home wiring. Unfortunately, aluminum wiring can cause a lot of technical difficulties. Contact with oxygen creates a coating on it that makes it resistant to the flow of electricity. Additionally, repairing aluminum is extremely costly. In short, if you are looking at buying a used mobile home, make sure it has copper wiring.
Electrical wiring in mobile homes built after 1971 is copper. Copper is the best to use when it comes to conductivity, reliability, and strength. It is also very economical. Copper wiring is encased in a titanium material to keep all of the pieces together. Even though it is expensive, titanium is a low density, high strength silver-colored, water-resistant metal. It helps prevent corrosion which is vital for your wiring in the long run.
Where can I find my electrical wiring in my mobile home?
Inside of your mobile home, you will find a main electrical panel. This panel connects to four parts: a pair of grounding electrodes, a metal water pipe entering the building from outside, a metal strip footing that connects into the earth and the metal casing of a private well. Your grounding system provides space for electrical current to flow within your mobile home, and also helps to prevent a fire from happening in case a circuit shorts. All electrical wiring connects to a central energy meter.
What are the licensing laws for repair and replacement?
If your electrical wiring has blown a fuse or has shorted out, there are a few guidelines to follow when choosing the appropriate solution to your problem. The National Electrical Code (NEC) provides the most definitive guidelines. Some of the areas covered by the NEC are listed below. Consult the NEC guide for more specific instructions before you proceed with any repairs. Remember that the proper permits must be obtained before any repairs are completed, whether you hire a professional engineer or you do the work yourself.
Required element codes:
- necessary service equipment
- ight fixtures
- round fault protection
- arc fault
- kitchen receptacles
- smoke detectors
- appliance branch circuits
- electric heat
- job procedures
- ground conductors
- wire sizes
The NEC guide also requires two separate inspections (a rough and final).
How do I safely troubleshoot problems with my mobile home wiring?
If you have blown a fuse in your mobile home, we suggest going to your circuit box and turning each circuit off and then on to identify exactly where the problem is coming from. Labeling each circuit with the corresponding area in your mobile home will prove to be useful and will save you time. Make sure you avoid tampering with any wires that are not white, gray or green.
When you are installing new light switches, be sure to use the proper conductors. And don’t forget to put everything back in the same place after moving around the wires and switches inside your electrical box. Most importantly, if you are making any electrical repairs on your own, you should do so during the day when there is light outside. Attempting to locate the proper circuits, flashlights, and wires in the dark will only complicate your situation further. If you have any hesitation about fixing the problem yourself, it’s best to call in a professional.
Here are a few DIY guides to help you with some common repairs:
You’re all set!
Now that you understand your mobile home wiring, we hope you can take care of some of those troublesome electrical problems. Once you finish, you may want to see what you can do about your mobile home drain system!