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How to Inspect the heating and cooling systems in mobile homes, trailers, double-wides, multi-wides: how to spot common and dangerous defects in heating equipment incuding furnaces and boilers, inadequate heat distribution, freeze-ups, and safety hazards. How to save heating or cooling costs for mobile homes and trailers or multi-wides.
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Question: I was startled out of my skin to see a cat jump into the living room from a floor vent
(Aug 29, 2012) Maxine Payne said:
The red tag was apparently covered up when vinyl siding was installed. Now I want to sell the property, but I can't because I do not have the red tag number. How do I get the red tag number?
(Aug 29, 2012) Greg Filian said:
The flashing of the lights mentioned are they in the whole house or just one outlet? If it's just one outlet it may be just the outlet, if it's the whole house the problem may be at the main connection.
(Sept 8, 2012) Gail said:
I am looking at buying a double wide through an estate sale. The "trustee" of the estate is the deceased owners daughter, who know very little to anything about mobile homes (as I).
I am hiring an inspector, how ever he wont be available for 3 weeks and I have an immediate concern...
Yes I can tell you "it isn't so" - that is, it is not good practice to simply leave floor vents in a home open to the outdoors such that anything, including a cat (or worse, a raccoon) can hop in for a visit.
I can imagine a few reasons why you might have found the missing duct work and open floor vent, all adding up to some more trouble and work for you. For example most likely there was a heating or heating and cooling system that used air but that has disintegrated, been damaged, fallen off, or was simply removed and abandoned.
Sometimes too, when warm or cool air delivery into a home is poor in flow rate or quantity, people try to improve system operation by adding more return air to the system by just cutting an opening that lets outdoor air into the system somewhere. The problem is this is the most expensive possible way to heat or cool a home since it's a "one way" design - we take un-conditioned air from outside, heat it or cool it, then try moving it into the living area.
Really the most significant implication of the cat in the hat, I mean cat in the vent discovery in your possible future home's heating sysem is that it's a red flag to watch out for other work done or "problems solved" by the same person on that home - as you may find other amateur workmanship that lengthens the list of repairs and improvements needed to make the home safe and habitable to normal standards.
Keep me posted, and send along photos if you can (use the CONTACT US link at page bottom or top) - especially if ... the cat comes back.
I suppose a less ridiculous explanation that the owner could have invented might have been to explain
"Oh I forgot to tell you, that's just Marion, my mom's cat. Marion comes with the house. The hole in the floor is her pet door."
Common Defects in Mobile Home Heating Systems
Combustion Air Defects & Safety Hazards at Doublewide, Mobile Home or Trailer Home Heating System
Below our photographs illustrate several unsafe conditions at a house trailer's heating system inspected by D Friedman & S Vermilye during a mobile home site safety investigation.
In addition to the absence of return air to the heating furnace we notice that
Question: Why does my doublewide always feel uncomfortably warm
Why does my doublewide always feel uncomfortably warm especially at night when trying to sleep and even with the temperature at 70 to 71 degrees? - Daniel Phipps 4/16/2012
Daniel that question has me stumped. There are so many possible reasons:
General Characteristics of Mobile Home Cooling Ducts
Common Mobile Home / Doublewide HVAC Duct Defects
Question: my homeowners insurance covers "accessible ductwork" from the air conditioning - what does that include?
I have home owners insurance, and it says it covers "accessible ductwork from the air condtioning unit to the point of attachment at register" what does that mean? Is my ductwork under the house covered? - Anonymous 7/17/2012
Discussion of "accessible" building components vs inaccessible
Readers should also see MOBILE HOME PLUMBING where we further discuss oil tanks, oil piping, and water heaters for mobile homes. Page top sketch courtesy of Carson Dunlop.
Question: Mobile hiome furnace not working
(Dec 14, 2012) Sean Newcomer said:
I have a brand new thermo pride furnace for my moble home it ran fine for two months the furnace started cylcling, it would burn then the fan would come on after a couple minutes the call to burn would shut off, then the fan would shut off a few mins later, upon fan going off the burner would cycle for heat again and the fan would come on heat would stop and so on. but the heat keeps climbing it doesn't stop so i got ahold of the installer he told me it was the thermostat, i replaced it and still does the same its under warranty but i can't afford to pay a serve man 200.00 to come to tell me the problem. is it the burner control or is it the computer board can it be reset and how
IF the warm air output from a supply register is blowing right onto the room wall thermostat, then "the thermostat is the problem" could be a correct statement.
Otherwise I suspect a bad fan limit switch or improper installation of that control. For example, if the limit switch is mis-adjusted or if its sensor spring is binding, the system won't work properly.
Watch out: a fan limit switch that is bent, damaged, mis-handled, even mis-adjusted, can be dangerous, risking damage to the heating equipment or even a fire.
Diagnostic articles for heating problem troubleshooting are at More Reading below.
This topic has moved from an original placement here to a separate article at MOBILE HOME INSULATION
Ver.3.5 - 04/25/07, updated through 2014 - Steve Vermilye, New Paltz NY and Daniel Friedman, Poughkeepsie NY, Hudson Valley ASHI Chapter Seminar, Newburgh NY, January 4, 2000, NY Metro ASHI Fall 99 Seminar, Holiday Inn Crowne Plaza, White Plains NY, October 2, 1999.
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