Guide for Mobile Homes
Mobile homes, also called manufactured homes or prefabricated homes, have numerous advantages that make them very desirable to potential buyers. As a matter of fact, they’re so popular that they numbered 8.5 million in the United States in 2019.
However, one of the challenges that mobile homeowners contend with is limited space. This can make the installation of regular HVAC systems difficult or impossible. Luckily, there are air conditioning and heating systems that are tailor-made for manufactured homes. We’ve put together an HVAC guide for this equipment.
First, let’s answer the question, “What is a mobile home?”
Mobile homes are prefabricated structures built entirely in a factory on solid steel frames and then transported to their designated location. Sometimes they’re made of partially built pieces that are then assembled on your property. Contrary to their name, they’re made to be moved only once: from the factory to their destination.
Many years ago, mobile homes were little more than trailers. They were small, no-frills dwellings on wheels that could be easily moved from location to location. Inside and out, they were generally equipped with only the bare necessities.
Today’s manufactured homes are a far cry from their predecessors. Often, they’re indistinguishable from site-built homes. They can be spacious and encompass an array of floor plans, with goodies such as walk-in closets, marble countertops, fully equipped kitchens, and hardwood floors. Some even have decks, garages, and porches.
They also have modern HVAC equipment, which is designed for compatibility with a manufactured home’s unique dimensions. Here is our HVAC guide to these systems.
Packaged systems have a heater and an air conditioner in one component. They’re all-in-one systems that contain the air handler, coils, and compressor. If your preference is gas heat, you can get a “gas pack,” which is a gas furnace and an air conditioner. Either packaged system is connected to your home’s ductwork and is mounted on your roof. A benefit of packaged systems is that they don’t take up valuable indoor space.
However, some people think the rooftop unit is unsightly and are concerned that it is vulnerable to wind, rain, and other threats.
Forced Air Systems
Manufactured homes typically use forced air systems since they don’t have an attic or crawlspace to hold a regular furnace. Instead, they have a cabinet housing a motorized blower that drives, or “forces,” warm air into the ductwork, through the registers, and into each room. The air is then pulled back into the furnace via a return vent, and the cycle continues. Like the exhaust vent on a regular home’s furnace, a forced-air cabinet has a vented door.
Mini-splits are cooling and heating systems ideally suited for mobile homes lacking ducts. They have a simple setup: a wall-mounted indoor air handler for each room and an outdoor compressor-condenser. A mini-split also includes a component that contains the refrigerant, power source, suction and a drain. These devices can be installed throughout your home, and their temperature can be zoned for each area. As a matter of fact, one could be heating a room while the other is cooling another.
It’s easier and less expensive to add a mini-split to a mobile home that lacks ductwork than it would be to install new ductwork in that home.
Central Air and Heat
If your manufactured home has a dedicated area for storing an indoor unit and enough space for ductwork, central air and heat is a convenient, economical option. However, many mobile homes lack the crawlspace or attic space necessary to accommodate an HVAC unit.
For newer manufactured homes, the air conditioner and furnace are installed while the home is being put together on site.
Mobile homes have come a long way from dwellings that resembled glorified railroad boxcars. They’ve got all the amenities of a regular home, and that includes state of the art HVAC systems.
Our highly skilled technicians at Progressive Air are familiar with the idiosyncrasies of heating and cooling systems that are specifically designed for manufactured homes. Please contact us today so we can install them properly and provide you with year-round comfort!