Currently, there are more than 10 million mobile or manufactured homes in occupancy in the United States, representing approximately 8% of the total housing stock in the country.
The mechanisms used to condition the air in mobile homes are virtually the same as those used in traditional homes, although due to certain characteristics of mobile homes there may be special distinctions in the installation of AC and heating in a mobile home.
Most mobile homes have pre-installed ductwork to be connected to a heating system, but not all mobile homes have this pre-installation. Especially in mobile homes designed for cities with a moderate climate, in warmer countries or cities, mobile homes are equipped without heating.
Inside the closets of some mobile homes, there is a space reserved for an indoor HVAC unit, but this space does not exist in all mobile homes, due to the reduced dimensions that characterize mobile homes it can be complex to locate additional indoor spaces.
Does a mobile home come with an AC unit?
Modern prefabricated houses come with a forced-air heating unit, they usually do not come with air conditioning, to optimize and preserve the interior space of the house the ducts are placed underneath the house, and you just have to buy and connect an air conditioning compressor.
In relation to air conditioning, Personally, I contacted several companies that specialize in selling mobile homes, located in the United States, and asked them if the mobile homes come with AC included, both companies replied that the AC must be purchased at an additional cost to that of the house and the BTU capacity will depend on the size of the house you choose.
Are AC and HVAC the same thing?
AC and HVAC are the acronyms used to define air conditioning systems used in homes and are completely different systems and concepts, the name HVAC refers to Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning and the term AC means Air Conditioning. Both terms are frequently misused to describe any type of heating or cooling device for the home.
The HVAC system is essentially used to control the temperature, as well as humidity and air filtration at the same time, while the AC system is essentially used to cool the temperature of the rooms, although there are also AC systems that can cool and serve as heating, however, the AC system does not control the humidity, unlike the HVAC system.
How many BTUs do you need to cool a mobile home?
Taking into account that the amount of BTU needed to cool a house will depend on the size of the house, it is necessary to highlight that the average size of mobile homes in the United States is between 1,184 and 1,200 square feet.
Taking an average measurement of 1,200 square feet for a mobile home, it will take between 5,000 and 6,000 BTUs to cool the entire space without problems. And for a mobile home between 250 and 400 square feet, it will take between 7,00 and 8,500 BTUs to be cooled.
How do you ventilate a mobile home if you don’t have an HVAC system built-in?
Ventilating an unheated mobile home can be a simple or complicated task, depending on the type of climate in the environment, the easiest option is to keep the windows open, but in very cold climates this is not such a good idea, however, here are some ideas that might work for you:
Open the windows
Yes, although I mentioned that this could be counterproductive in very cold climates, you can open the windows for a couple of minutes, between 5 and 10 minutes can be enough to ventilate the house, mainly in the morning hours.
Open windows in sequence
The ideal is that the ventilation in a mobile home is crossed and thus have good ventilation, but in a very cold environment the ideal is to open the windows in sequence in each space of the house and close the others, with this you get ventilate each space of the house, without cooling the entire indoor environment at once.
Using dehumidifiers and purifiers
While not the most cost-effective option, Air purifiers, and dehumidifiers use are effective alternatives, particularly in homes occupied by very young children or the elderly.
The filters capture toxins in the air that are harmful to the well-being of the environment for you and your family.
Different HVAC systems for mobile or manufactured homes
Forced air system
Because they do not have a space, access or attic to house a normal boiler, manufactured homes use a forced-air system.
This system instead has a cabinet where a fan with a motor which drives the hot air through the ducts, this air reaches the registers of each space of the house.
Then, the air returns to the furnace through a return duct and so the cycle repeats.
The forced-air cabinet has a vent door just like a normal furnace exhaust vent.
As the name implies, packaged systems have the air conditioner and heater in a single component; they are systems that contain the coils, compressor, and air handler together.
You can also opt to choose a system with gas heating, this system consists of a gas furnace and air conditioner, the packaged system is connected directly to the ducts of the house and installed on the roof.
One of the main advantages of the packaged system is that it does not require a lot of space inside the mobile or manufactured home due to its installation on the roof, there is also the advantage that it is composed of both heating and cooling air systems.
Packaged systems have a heater and air conditioner in a single component. They are all-in-one systems that contain the air handler, coils and compressor. If you prefer gas heating, you can purchase a “gas package,” which consists of a gas furnace and air conditioner.
Either packaged system connects to your home’s ductwork and is mounted on the roof. One of the advantages of packaged systems is that they do not take up valuable indoor space.
But some consider the roof unit unaesthetic and are also concerned about its exposure to strong wind, rain, and other threats.
The mini-split system is designed for a particularly simple configuration for mobile homes that do not have ducts, have an indoor air conditioner that is mounted on the wall for each room and an outdoor compressor/condenser.
A mini-split also consists of the power supply, a drain, suction and a refrigerant containing component.
You can split the temperature for each part of the house by installing these devices, for example, while one room is being cooled, the other can be heated.
A great advantage of this system is that it is a great saving in mobile or manufactured houses that do not have the ducts, it is much easier and cheaper to install the mini-split system than to install new ducts.
Central air and heat
Central air and heating is a very good option if the mobile or manufactured home has a dedicated area for ductwork from the start, although not all mobile or manufactured homes have the basement or attic space for an HVAC unit.
This is why, in modern manufactured homes, the air installation is conceived from the design to the construction of the house, having the necessary space for the HVAC installation.
Choosing the Right HVAC System for Mobile and Manufactured Homes
The appropriate HVAC system solution for your home may vary based on a number of factors. It is critical to understand the differences between a traditional split HVAC system and those designed for manufactured or mobile homes.
Because a traditional home is built on-site and a manufactured or prefabricated or mobile home is delivered to a site in pre-built pieces, the installation and design of the two HVAC systems are unique.
Although traditional and mobile homes have many similarities, are different in some significant ways that affect HVAC solutions, the most obvious difference being size.
Due to lack of space, mobile homes often have furnaces and air handlers that are physically smaller and narrower than traditional units.
In addition, most mobile and manufactured home systems are downflows because the ductwork is located in the underneath crawl space.
Mobile homes ductwork also typically have a smaller diameter ductwork system that is factory installed, You should be sure to check that the system you are looking for is compatible with the size of your ductwork, furnace, or air handler. In addition, the furnace or air handler will need a different-sized blower to be compatible with the smaller ductwork and mobile homes.
The air ductwork in mobile homes, results in higher static pressure (lower velocity or airflow), in a traditional house, it is easy because the ducts are wider and there is not so much pressure, however, in a mobile home, being reduced ducts, the static pressure is higher so they require a stronger blower.
The acquisition of a mobile home or manufactured HVAC system is similar to the purchase of a traditional split system.