Mobile home oil tank (C) Daniel FriedmanTroubleshoot Mobile Home Heating Systems Heating/Cooling Mobile Homes, Double wides, Trailers

  • POST a QUESTION or READ FAQs about how to troubleshoot & fix problems in manufactured home or mobile home heating systems: furnaces, electric heaters, heat pumps for manufactured homes, mobile homes, trailers, RVs.

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Mobile home heating systems:

How to Inspect the heating 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. Mobile home or manufactured home heating ductwork defects. Mobile home insulation defects and remedies to reduce heating costs.

How to save heating costs for mobile homes and trailers or multi-wides. Page top sketch was provided courtesy of Carson Dunlop Associates, a Toronto engineering, education, and home inspection company.

We also provide a MASTER INDEX to this topic, or you can try the page top or bottom SEARCH BOX as a quick way to find information you need.

Manufactured Home & Mobile Home Heating System Problems

Mobile home oil tank (C) Daniel Friedman

General Characteristics:

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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...

While standing in the living room I was startled out of my skin to see a cat jump into the living room from a floor vent ( vent cover was pulled off) I looked into the vent and it appears to be completley open - no duct work - just a view of the ground beneath. The daughter said that that was common and is there for ventilation. LOL Tell me this isnt so!


Thank you SO much for the wonderful cat - HVAC system question.

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.

Daniel Friedman

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."

Checklist of Common Defects in Mobile Home & Manufactured Home Heating Systems

Unsafe heating chimney on mobile home (C) Daniel Friedman Unsafe heating chimney on mobile home (C) Daniel Friedman

Oil burner in bath vanity (C) Daniel Friedman

Mobile home furnace (C) Daniel Friedman

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.

Mobile home furnace (C) Daniel Friedman Mobile home furnace (C) Daniel Friedman Mobile home furnace (C) Daniel Friedman

In addition to the absence of return air to the heating furnace we notice that

Question: Mobile home 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


Question: fixing or replacing mobile home or doublewide ductwork invaded by rats

23 January 2015 Chuck said:

I have a doublewide mobile home with the air ducts in the cieling. A rat has gotten into the air duct and chewed insulation and now insulation is blowing through the vent. I am going to have a company put a camera up there to find the break so it can be fixed.

My question is would it be easier for me once I knew exactly where the break was to just go in from the roof. It seems alot faster and less expensive than tearing out the cieling and replacing sheetrock, tape and bed and repainting, not to mention the mess in the house. What are your thoughts?



If your doublewide has a conventional continuous metal roof over an inaccessible space then you won't do well trying to cut into the roof and you risk creating a point of future roof leaks. I'd be inclined to work from the interior. But then I haven't seen your home.

If there is an attic access (which some doublewides have) then of course it'd make sense to get into that space and remove and replace the ductwork and any contaminated insulation.

Further, if there were rats in the ductwork, you want to replace ALL of the ductwork and insulation where rats were nesting lest their pee and poop and other debris become a health concern later on.

Mobile Home & Trailer Home Insulation & Ventilation Defects, Diagnosis, Repair, Improvement

This topic has moved from an original placement here to a separate article at MOBILE HOME INSULATION & VENTILATION

Manufactured & Mobile Home Heating Standards & Codes

Full text of the manufactured and mobile home heating standards can be found in

PART 3280—MANUFACTURED HOME CONSTRUCTION AND SAFETY STANDARDS [PDF] newer copy retrieved 2017/07/13 - faster-loading

See Subpart H, Heating, Cooling and Fuel Burning Systems in that document.

Ver5 - 2018 01 13 updated through January 2018 - 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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Or see MOBILE HOME HEATING REPAIR FAQs - questions & answers about troubleshooting the heating system in manufacatured homes, mobile homes, doublewides, trailers, campers


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Heating System Repair Articles

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