Mobile/Manufactured Home Water Heater Replacement
At ABC Mobile Homes, we are frequently asked by mobile home buyers and sellers, if a conventional water heater can be installed in a mobile/manufactured home. The straightforward answer is No. Manufactured homes have very specific requirements for code compliance on mobile home water heater replacement water heaters, and for good reason.
The Mobile/Manufactured Home Water Heater Difference
Mobile/manufactured homes are constructed according to a code administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD Code). All transportable sections of manufactured homes built in the U.S. after June 15, 1976 must contain a certification label. The label certifies that the manufacturer has built the home in accordance with HUD’s Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards. These Standards cover several items including: Body and Frame Requirements, Thermal Protection, Plumbing, Electrical, Fire Safety and several other parts of the manufactured home including the water heater.
According to H.U.D, only H.U.D-approved water heaters can be installed in manufactured/mobile homes in order to avoid potential fire risks. Mobile/manufactured home water heaters will have a H.U.D. safety approval sticker. Anything other than a H.U.D approved water heater used in a mobile home is against the law. Installing a water heater that is not HUD approved will void any manufacturer’s warranty, and insurance companies may refuse to pay a claim or may even terminate your coverage.
Always be certain that your replacement water heater is made specifically for mobile/manufactured homes.
Why and how are manufactured home water heaters different?
According to HUD, all manufactured homes must have water heaters with a non-adjustable temperature and a pressure-relief valve. Any water heater installed in a mobile/manufactured home must also comply with the local building codes of the state in which it is located.
What is the difference between a mobile home water heater and a regular water heater?
Size matters: Conventional water heaters like those found in site-built homes are typically located in areas with much more room while mobile home water heaters generally need to fit into a designated closet that’s either inside or outside of the manufactured home. For this reason, the water heater needs to be sized to fit those existing dimensions. It’s common to find site-built homes with 40 to 60-gallon water heaters, but most mobile home water heaters typically have 30-gallon tanks. This is another reason why you can’t just install a standard water heater in a mobile home. It might not fit.
Mobile home water heaters differ from regular water heaters in several other ways:
- All manufactured homes must have water heaters with a non-adjustable temperature and pressure-relief valve.
- Mobile home water heaters have interchangeable gas and propane orifices so that the water heater can be converted from natural gas to propane gas operation. This is the main reason that they typically cost more than residential type water heaters.
- Mobile home water heaters have the cold-water inlet connection on the side and the hot water outlet connection on top. Residential water heaters have all connections on the top of the tank.
- A mobile home heater often comes with a securing strap kit.
This is where the “local building codes” we mentioned previously come into play… Yes, even some home improvement projects may require a permit and according to the NEVADA DEPARTMENT OF BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY -MANUFACTURED HOUSING DIVISION, replacement of an electric or gas water heater is one of those items that will require a permit prior to installation and an inspection after installation. It is also stipulated in the State’s guidelines that the water heater must be rated for use in a mobile/manufactured home. If it is not a H.U.D. approved unit, it will not pass inspection. In addition to HUD requirements, an approved water heater installation in Clark County, Nevada will also require the following:
- Straps must be installed on the top- and bottom-third of the water heaters vertical dimensions to resist horizontal displacement due to earthquake motion.
- A water-tight drip pan made of corrosion-resistant material must be installed underneath the water heater with not less than ¾ drain to an approved location. This is especially important because even the smallest of leaks could cause a lot of water damage.
- Shut-off valves are required and must be accessible. A cold water shut-off valve must be installed on the incoming water line. The gas shut-off valve must be installed on the incoming gas line ahead of the gas connector.
The location of a mobile home water heater is especially important when it comes to choosing the right water heater for your manufactured home… especially if it is a gas unit. A gas water heater may be located inside of the mobile home in a closet or in the utility room with no outside access. This application would require a sealed combustion gas water heater. With this type of water heater, air is drawn into the combustion chamber through the air inlet at the base of the water heater. Not using this type of unit where it is required is against the law and dangerous, not to mention that it will void any warranty- and once again would provide your insurance company an excellent chance to deny claims.
If the water heater operates on either a propane or natural gas unit and it is located on an exterior wall with an outside access panel/door, you can use a HUD approved standard manufactured home gas water heater.
Who can install a water heater in Las Vegas, Nevada?
As the homeowner you have 2 options:
- Pull the necessary permits and Install an approved water heater yourself following all of the guidelines set in place by HUD and the State of Nevada then, get the installation inspected by the Nevada Division of Manufactured Housing.
- Hire an installer that is licensed and approved by the Nevada Division of Manufactured Housing. They must obtain a permit and all related inspections through the Nevada Division of Manufactured Housing. Please contact NDMH for installation and inspection information at 702-486-4135.
If your water heater needs to be repaired or replaced, we recommend hiring a licensed, qualified professional so that you can be sure your water heater is repaired or replaced properly and safely and that it also meets all the necessary codes. It is also good to know that in the event you sell your home, it will pass with regard to home inspections and insurance requirements. If you’re considering selling your home and it has a water heater installed that is not HUD approved, your home would be considered non-HUD compliant and as a licensed reseller of mobile homes in Nevada we could not legally list your home for sale as a result.
Please feel free to contact ABC Mobile Homes at (702) 641-4444 if you have any questions regarding water heater replacement or any other HUD compliance issues. We’ve been serving Las Vegas and Henderson Nevada Mobile home buyers and Sellers for over 30 years. abcmobilehomes.com