The furnace you choose for your mobile home will function differently compared to furnaces designed for traditional houses. Because of the unique design of a mobile home, the ductwork, bents, and installation process will be just as unique for your furnace as well. These are all in place in order to keep you and your home safe.
For this reason, it is very important to do your research and consider all the possible factors that go into choosing an efficient and secure mobile home furnace.
Below, we have prepared a handy guide to help you narrow down what kind of furnace you need, the systems that go with it, and how you can go about purchasing a new one.
What’s the best heat for a mobile home?
The best kind of heat source you can install for a mobile home depends on your own needs, preferences, location, and budget. There are generally two types you can choose from:
Furnaces operate on oil, gas, or electricity. These only provide heat and will require you to purchase a separate air conditioning unit if needed.
Heat pumps operate on electricity alone and draw in air from the outside – both hot and cold. They produce less heat compared to furnaces but are considered to be more versatile because they double as an air conditioning unit when needed.
Which is better?
Both types require a similar amount of real estate, depending on the unit you get. Both a furnace and heat pump also boast a lengthy lifespan when coupled with preventative maintenance. Lastly, a heat pump may be more energy efficient due to how it transfers energy, but the efficiency of a gas furnace is not too far behind.
All things considered, the best type of heat for your mobile home is the kind you are most comfortable with and one that utilizes resources you have easy access to.
What type of furnace do I need for a mobile home?
As mentioned, there are three types of furnaces: oil, gas, and electricity. To determine which on is best for you mobile home, here are the key characteristics of each that you must consider:
Gas furnaces operate by converting gas into heat. Once the burners ignite within a combustion chamber, the heat is then blown through the ducts and into your home. This is by far one of the most popular choices of most mobile homeowners because of its reliability and the ability to perform with little to no noise.
Oil furnaces operate on fuel that is sprayed into the combustion chamber at a high pressure. The mist is then ignited in order to burn and create heat, which is then pushed through the ducts and circulated around the home. While these may be more cost-effective upfront, you will have to keep a steady supply of oil in order to keep it running.
Electric furnaces are the next most popular type because of their 100% efficiency rate. However, they can be rather costly especially for mobile homeowners residing in colder climates. An electric furnace operates by pulling in cold air from outside and pushing it through a heat exchanger where the temperature then shifts. A blower then pushes the heated air through ducts and into the interiors.
Furnace Stages, Motor Speeds and Dual Fuels
When considering which of the three types of furnaces is best for your home, you must also take into account the levels of heating each unit permits, which are also known as the furnace stages:
A one-stage mobile home furnace is simple – it is either on or off. It operates on a fixed gas valve that releases gas in a singular speed and also a blower that disseminates air at a single speed.
A two-stage mobile home furnace, on the other hand, is built with a gas valve and blower motor that functions on two settings: fast and slow. This type of furnace stage and motor speed can save energy since you have full control on days that don’t need as much temperature control.
If you opt for gas furnaces, you can further modify the unit to accept propane or oil. This is where the term “dual fuel” comes into play. However, when choosing electric furnaces, there is no option to modify and it can only operate when electricity is present.
Regular Furnace vs Mobile Home Furnace
Traditionally built homes and mobile homes have different systems in place to ensure the property is safe and efficient enough for daily use. Because of this, mobile home furnaces have been specifically designed to adapt to the mobile home environment. These often use a specialized venting system, which ensures that no matter the type of heat you opt for, your mobile home remains safe and secured.
This specialized venting system consists of smaller, more versatile heating ducts that maximize the limited space offered by a manufactured home. If you try to put a regular furnace into a mobile home, the heat output may be too much to handle and could very well be a fire hazard.
Buying a Mobile Home Furnace
With a better understanding of the types of furnace systems you can buy, the heating controls to consider, and why you should now try to fit a regular furnace in your mobile home, it is now time to make that purchase!
To serve as a detailed guide, here is a list of things to factor in when choosing your mobile home furnace:
Energy Source and Usage Time
In considering a unit, you need to ensure it has what it takes to deliver and meet your needs. The amount of energy it offers and the usage time it can efficiently perform are greatly affected by where you are currently living and how much heat (or cold air) you would need on a regular basis.
Where you need to source the energy the fuels your furnace is another factor, Are you located in an area that has multiple electrical hookups? Or perhaps gas or oil is more accessible where you live and often travel around?
It is crucial to size your furnace before deciding on a heating system. This includes determining what BTU (British Thermal Unit) your mobile home requires in a furnace. The reason behind this is that installing a system that is too large can risk short cycling, or turning on and off too often. The system will then be less efficient and may even get damaged sooner.
Similarly, a system that is too small for your mobile home may not be able to meet your temperature needs and perform uneconomically. Either way, the wrong sized furnace will lead to poor performance, insufficient heat, and wasted energy.
The Noise Level It Reaches
Some heaters will let your next-door neighbor know whenever you’re feeling cold, while others are as discreet as can be. It is recommended to find a heater with noise levels that consistently stick to a minimum. Not only does this ensure a more peaceful use, but it can also help you in determining whether or not something is wrong with your unit.
If you have a relatively quiet mobile home furnace that suddenly starts getting noisier by the day, this is your telltale sign that something needs to be addressed. More often than not, noise can be caused by wear, damage to the fan, or even just the object it is standing on or put up against.
Maintenance and Warranty
Your mobile home furnace is built to last you a long time. One surefire way to get the most out of your unit is practicing preventative maintenance. By regularly checking and cleaning your furnace parts, you can effectively help the unit perform better, release any tension, and prevent it from overheating or catching fire.
It is just as important to not block out any vents and keep the area around your unit as spacious as possible – which we understand could be a bit of a challenge in manufactured homes. So long as the airflow is not obstructed, however, you should be just fine.
Lastly, check the warranty and take advantage of any free maintenance checks and repairs you are entitled to.
How much is a new furnace for a mobile home?
There are a number of factors that could affect the cost of installing a new furnace into your mobile home. The most common things that affect the price are:
How compatible the new furnace is with your duct and vents
When getting a new mobile home furnace, it is important to choose one that is fully compatible with your existing ducting and vents. Otherwise, you may either need to replace your entire duct and vent system, or switch to a different unit.
If the new furnace is a replacement or the first one installed
For those who do not have an existing furnace in place and are installing one for the very first time, the project may take a little longer. This is because the installation process will naturally involve more steps such as sizing up the furnace, cutting out necessary holes, adding insulation, and more.
The contractor you hire out
By outsourcing locally, you can cut down the cost of installation due to less transportation fees. Moreover, opting for quality work and notable professionals over budget companies can save you a lot in the long run. Companies that deliver high quality work but may charge a bit more offer better ROI since you can enjoy your unit for longer periods and at its most optimal state.
If you wish to go for the cheapest contractors in town, chances are you will have to spend more on repairs and maintenance along the way.
The cost of the materials to be used
Since mobile home furnaces require smaller ducts and vents, the materials needed are naturally smaller in size too. These are relatively cheaper than the traditional variants, but would still add to your total budget depending on how much of each material is needed for installation.
The cost of the furnace unit
Taking everything above into consideration, the cost of your furnace unit can greatly vary depending on the exact type you choose. Typically, all mobile home furnaces would cost around $950 to $1,200 each, with premium models costing even higher. One important part to remember is also considering how much you would need to spend on the energy source on a monthly basis.
You’re All Set!
An efficient furnace can really up your mobile home value and make it easier to sell for a great price. Enjoy the benefits of a furnace by installing one today!
Your mobile home is one of your best investments. You can protect your mobile home and its content from damages and loss through our homeowners insurance for mobile homes.