Mobile Home Furnace Options and FAQs for Homeowners

mobile home furnace guide

If you have bought a mobile home and are looking for ways to refurbish it and make it as lovely and warm as possible, you have come to the right place. This mobile home furnace guide for 2020 will cover the most frequent types of furnaces used explicitly for mobile homes. So, let’s jump right in!

How should I heat my mobile home?

This article will focus mainly on different types of furnaces and their advantages and disadvantages. However, if you have heard good things about other types of heating options for mobile homes, be sure to investigate alternative solutions that are available on the manufactured home refurbishment market. 

Most mobile home owners opt for furnaces or heat pumps to provide a stable source of heat. Other popular choices are fireplaces and wood stoves.

Keeping your mobile home warm
A mobile house is a home only when it’s warm

When it comes to furnaces, the design can considerably vary. The primary difference is between types of internal combustion that generates heat in the furnace – so, we have up-flow, downflow, or sealed-combustion. However, the differences do not stop there. You can also choose between different energy sources, depending on your needs and your budget. In most cases, homeowners opt for electricity or gas to fuel their mobile home furnace.

mobile home fireplace
Be sure to find what the best furnace for your mobile home is – you wouldn’t want to rely on a fireplace or bonfires now, would you?

What is the difference between a mobile home furnace and a regular furnace?

Mobile home furnaces are usually smaller than regular ones since mobile homes rarely have attic space where the ducts that spread heat can be installed. Basically, the way they operate is the same, but the installation of a mobile home furnace differs from that of a regular furnace.

Can you put a regular house furnace in a mobile home?

Essentially, yes, because the difference between a mobile home furnace and a regular home furnace is slight.

However, note that heating and cooling systems in your mobile home have to be designed and rated according to specific safety standards. You will most frequently find a ‘HUD-Approved’ label on your furnace that guarantees that your heating system is ‘high static approved’, or otherwise an HVAC requirement that shows that the furnace you are using is mobile home approved. Of course, it is highly recommended that you purchase all of your appliances and gear from an authorized dealer.

How do mobile home furnaces work?

The distribution system is made up of the duct system and ventilation outlets. In general terms, the main trunk ducts inside the furnace take the heated air to your living space so that it can leave the so-called registers and spread the heat. Mobile home heating systems are most frequently made of sheet metal, and they are usually placed in the middle of the home. 

If you cannot visualize this hot-mess of technical terms in your brain, just think of your heating system as a bloodstream. In this analogy, you have veins that branch out from the central artery (main trunk duct, in this case), which serve to spread blood (heat). Some people even liken the furnace to a giant toaster. Whichever analogy you prefer, all you need to know from this is that due to them being made out of sheet metal, mobile home furnaces require maintenance from an experienced handyman from time to time. 

What types of furnaces are out there?

Now that you know the basics of how your new furnace should work, it is vital to compare furnaces in more detail. At first glance, it may seem as if it does not matter which one you purchase as long as they heat your home.

Types of mobile home furnaces
Although a furnace invokes imagery of cold winters and black coal flames, there are numerous types of furnaces to choose for your mobile home in this day and age.

However, it is not so straightforward since mobile homes are typically smaller and less robust than traditional homes in terms of materials and insulation. This is not to say that mobile homes are not phenomenal structures for the purposes for which they are intended. If you are seriously considering relocating to a mobile home, keep in mind that there are many perks to having a smaller house – among which are, of course, lower utility bills.

Natural gas furnaces

Natural gas furnaces use gas to produce heat. The burners in the combustion chamber are ignited by pilot lights, which in turn push heat into the heat exchanger. The heat is then forced into the ducts that edge the walls and then go out into the air.

These types of furnaces are extremely popular with mobile home owners because of their reliability and relative quietness when turned on.  

Oil furnaces

These types of furnaces burn derivatives of oil to produce heat. The fuel is ignited in a high-pressure combustion chamber, which turns the oil into a hot mist that heats the furnace ducts. These types of furnaces usually heat rooms through floor vents. 

Oil-based heating systems usually cost from $1,000 to $3,000, but some homeowners dislike that you have to replenish your oil supplies frequently in order to keep it running. However, this characteristic is ideal if you do not intend to live in your mobile home year-round. Another benefit of purchasing an oil furnace is that they will probably outlast any winter that comes their way but are potentially expensive to upkeep.

Electric furnaces

Electric furnaces work through cold air suction, which is then pushed out through a heat exchanger. The electricity-run machinery inside the furnace heats the cold air, and a blower then pushes the hot air into ducts. 

These furnaces are known for their efficiency – they operate at almost 100% efficiency. However, the operating costs make it overall more expensive than other types of furnaces (even though the furnace itself costs from $700 to $1,100), so mobile home owners who intend to move to a colder region are not advised to purchase this type of furnace.

Heat pumps

Depending on which part of your home you want to be heated, heat pumps push hot air from one room to the other. Heat pumps are considerably more expensive than other heating systems (more than $20,000), but they are also better at energy efficiency. 

Yet, the most significant advantage of buying a heat pump is that it can both heat up and cool your mobile home. So, if you plan to live or spend a lot of your free time there, this type of mobile home furnace solves all of your temperature problems at once. Note that these systems may not be ideal for colder regions since they are designed to regulate the temperature in moderate climates.

More Tips for Keeping Your Manufactured Home Warm

Looking for additional ways to prep your mobile home for the cold weather? Read up on our tips for how to winterize your mobile home, and check out our useful guide to making sure your manufactured home is properly insulated.