Heating and Cooling Systems for Manufactured Homes: Important Tips You Should Know

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Finding a suitable home for our families is often the biggest choice and decision we can make. Our options include brick and mortar, an apartment, or a condominium. Another option to consider is manufactured homes. But what about the heating and cooling systems? Are they efficient and do they work well?

How Do Manufactured Homes Differ from Traditionally-Built Houses?

Living in a manufactured home is a great choice for lots of people! First, manufactured homes tend to be a less expensive initial investment, so first-time homebuyers are not out an exorbitant amount of money upfront. 

Second, some manufactured homes are easily relocated, which means if you need to move for a job, to be closer to family, or simply because you feel like it, you can in fact bring your whole house with you! (This is not the case with every manufactured home, as you will soon learn.)

Third, a manufactured home provides all the comforts of a traditionally-built one, so you aren’t missing out on anything by choosing this alternative abode. Those comforts include a heating and cooling system that keeps you warm in the winter and cool in the summer. HVAC systems in manufactured homes may be different from a traditional one, but there are plenty of similarities, too.

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What is considered a “manufactured home”?

Manufactured homes are houses built off-site and then assembled on the lot in the neighborhood where you live. Manufactured homes used to be called “mobile homes,” but today’s manufactured homes can look quite similar to one with a foundation and designed by an architect. Of course, the classic mobile home still exists, too, just like the sleek Windstream of yesteryear.

Manufactured homes could include:

  • Single-wide or double-wide trailers
  • Modular or prefabricated homes
  • RVs or camping trailers
  • Tiny homes on a trailer
  • Lustron houses from post-World War II

And it is important to note that even manufactured homes can be permanently attached to a foundation, so there is no hard and fast rule about whether a foundation differentiates these living spaces.

Is an HVAC system included in a manufactured home that I purchase?

In a manufactured home, you can expect an HVAC system to come with your living quarters. Modern versions have both heating and air conditioning systems, so you can be comfortable in all four seasons. And much like standard residential air conditioning, the condenser unit is located outside the manufactured home! 

Just as you would expect the house you purchase in a subdivision to have a heating and cooling system, you should expect your manufactured home to come with these, too.

hvac unit

What happens when the heating and cooling systems in manufactured homes must be replaced?

The useful life of a residential heating and cooling system is anywhere between 10 years and 20 years, depending on how carefully maintained they are, environmental factors, and the quality of the unit and its installation to begin with. You can expect the HVAC system of your manufactured home to need replacement at some point over the course of your homeownership, especially if it is something you’re living in long-term.

When you need to replace your heating and cooling system, you have two options, depending on the type of manufactured home you live in.

If you are living in something along the lines of an RV, travel trailer, Windstream, or similar,  you may need to take it in for repair to an authorized mechanic, who will have access to the specialty parts and equipment needed to install a new heating and cooling system. Or, a local heating and cooling company may know exactly what to do. Give one a call so they can come visit you, which is much more convenient than moving your house.

If you are living in a prefabricated or modular home, it is likely that your HVAC system is just like that of a “stick-built” home (one that is built completely on-site). For you, calling a local heating and cooling company will get you the resources you need for repair and replacement.

Do I need a professional when I have a heating or cooling issue in my manufactured home?

In short, professional installation is always recommended when you are dealing with a system of such importance as an HVAC. Professionals are trained to overcome any issues that may arise during installation, especially if the units you are replacing are older and out-dated. 

Heating installation must be properly done to ensure your home warms evenly, as should air conditioning installation. There are so many factors to consider when doing an installation: ductwork, the capacity of the equipment, venting, and more. If you do not know the ins and outs of these things, there is a chance your new unit may not last as long as it should had you gone with a pro. And, when a professional installs your systems, the HVAC manufacturer often will honor a warranty.

Maintaining Your Manufactured Homes HVAC System

Just like you would maintain an HVAC system in a traditional home, you will need to take steps to care for the system in your manufactured home:

  • Clean any exterior units thoroughly to remove debris, grass, and leaves, including your air conditioning condenser. 
  • If accessible, clean the evaporator coil.
  • Straighten the fins in the condenser unit.
  • Flush the condenser coil, if you know how.
  • Check all visible ductwork to ensure it’s free of anything that may block airflow – or worse – mold. 
  • Change your filter every month.
  • Listen for any strange smells or odors, which could mean you need a professional to check out your unit.

Annual checks of both your heating and cooling systems are wise, particularly before you turn them on for the season. A service agreement with a local heating and cooling company may be a smart investment to help you keep track of your maintenance schedule.

Learn some important tips about the heating and cooling of manufactured homes before you decide to buy

Manufactured Home HVAC Systems

Any heating and cooling system is privy to the same repairs and maintenance as what you might consider a “traditional” one installed into a stick-built home. They require a watchful eye and great care so that they will last you for many years to come.

To ensure yours does, consult with a professional and perform annual maintenance. This way, there are fewer surprises in the dead of winter when your heater stops working, or in the height of summer when you wake up in the middle of the night finding yourself sweating heavily because your AC is no longer working.

About the author

I'm a mama to four and grandma to six. Yankee born with a love of the south. I love old-fashioned ways with modern thinking. I'm a homesteader, gardener, blogger. I enjoy “from scratch” cooking, consider myself a crafty do-it-yourselfer, and animal rescuer.

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