Purchasing a mobile home furnace requires careful consideration and research. Furnaces designed for mobile homes function differently than those designed for traditionally constructed houses. Mobile homes furnaces require unique ductwork, vents, and are installed differently than standard residential furnaces in order to keep the residence and its occupants safe. But choosing a high-efficiency mobile home furnace can be challenging if you don’t know what you’re looking for. In this article, we’ll review the different types of furnaces, their costs and some of the top brands on the market. You’ll also learn how to save money on your mobile home furnace and installation costs.
Brands of Furnaces Built for Mobile Homes
Many of the same manufacturers that make furnaces for traditional homes also sell models for mobile homes. Some brands that are available include:
Purchasing a new furnace for your mobile home will cost, on average, $1,075 according to ImproveNet. You can, however, expect to spend anywhere from $800 to $1,100 on mobile home furnace installation, with the average cost in 2019 averaging out around $950.
The installation fee usually covers the cost of the HVAC contractor’s labor, job setup, required fabrication of material, finishing, and installation of the unit itself. In certain circumstances, the complexity of the installation can increase the cost. If your mobile home is brand new and having its first furnace installed, more time will be required of the contractor to establish the initial fittings, thus increasing labor costs.
Despite the high cost of installation, it’s important to work with an HVAC professional throughout the furnace installation process. A trained technician will make sure that the furnace is installed correctly, the materials are functioning as they should be and that the heating system is working properly. Before hiring an HVAC professional, make sure that you speak with references for the contractors that you are thinking about hiring. Shop around for quotes from different contractors, and ask for a free estimate. Read this helpful guide on choosing a heating or cooling contractor before making a final decision.
The total cost of installing a new furnace includes the labor cost and the equipment cost. Equipment costs include:
- Oil furnaces operate at about 80% efficiency, and cost around $1,500
- Natural gas / propane furnaces start at around $800 for an 80% efficient furnace, and range up to around $1,300 for a 95% efficient furnace
- Electric furnaces for manufactured homes start at around $600
Types of Furnaces
Natural gas furnaces
Natural gas furnaces work by converting gas into heat and are the most popular choice for the majority of mobile home owners. This type of furnace has a pilot light that ignites burners inside a combustion chamber and drives heat into the heat exchanger. From there, blowers propell the heat through the ducts and into the air. Natural gas furnaces tend to be very reliable and are more quiet than other types of furnaces.
Oil furnaces rely on the fuel being sprayed into a combustion chamber at high pressure and ignited. This oil mist burns, creating heat to be distributed. The heat is then sent through ducts and released into the home, most commonly through floor vents. Oil heaters come with a few tradeoffs. They tend to be cost-effective, but homeowners have to buy oil regularly to keep it running. Oil furnaces are also long-lasting, but are generally more costly to fix when parts need to be replaced.
Electric furnaces are highly efficient, operating at close to 100 percent efficiency, but can be more expensive to run than a gas equivalent. An electric furnace works by drawing in cold air and pushing out the air through a heat exchanger. The electric components heat the air and the blower propels it into the air through ducts. Keep in mind that homeowners in colder climates will likely see their electricity bill rise quickly in the winter months if they have an electric furnace.
Heat pumps transport warm air from once place to another depending on where it’s needed (even in cooler air, heat energy is present and can be used for warmth). Heat pumps are more energy efficient than other systems but can be more expensive to buy – mostly due to the fact that they include an air conditioner as well. So total heating and cooling costs may be lower with a heat pump. You should also consider that these units work best in moderate climates and additional heat sources may be needed in cooler regions.
Mobile Home Furnace Accessories
Your HVAC contractor may recommend additional accessories to maximize the output of your furnace, such as:
- Concentric Vent Kit – Allows air input and the exhaust vent to pass through one single roof or sidewall hole.
- LP Conversion Kit – Switches your furnace from natural gas to propane. Check to see if this kit is included with any natural gas furnace you might purchase as many manufacturers include it in the box.
- High Altitude Pressure Switch – Depending on where you live, you might need this switch on your furnace so it operates safely.
- Blower – Transports warm air from the furnace throughout the mobile home. The blower is the part of your furnace that works the hardest and regular maintenance is crucial. Should your blower break down, you will need to replace this promptly with prices ranging between $245-610 depending on your furnace.
- Roof Jack – Vents emissions from the furnace. Varying in size, you should discuss your requirements with your HVAC contractor. A hydroment sealing is used to fill the gap between the roof jack and your roof.
- Duct Connectors – Join two pieces of ducting together and are designed to isolate or minimize noise and vibrations.
Buying a Furnace
The most important criterion when buying a mobile home furnace is the type of fuel source used (natural gas, oil, or electric). From there, you will need to decide what furnace is right for you based on the size, efficiency, and cost. Manufactured home furnaces range in efficiency from 80% – 95% AFUE. It’s important to have your furnace sized before choosing a heating system.To determine exactly what BTU your mobile home needs in a furnace, you’ll want to work with an HVAC contractor who can advise you on size, efficiency, and estimated costs. Be sure to also discuss furnace compatibility with your existing ductwork and ventilation.
Can You Install a Regular Furnace on a Mobile Home?
Mobile homes have various unique features, which require the installation of a furnace designed specifically for them. A furnace intended for a traditional home could be potentially dangerous within a mobile property due to their higher heat output. Mobile homes tend to have smaller heat ducts, and the warmth from a regularly sized furnace could be too much to handle.
Furnaces built for mobile homes will have a label or a metal data plate stating that they are approved for use in manufactured homes — don’t buy a furnace that doesn’t have the label.
Saving on Purchase and Installation Costs
There are various resources available to help drive down the cost of your new furnace. For instance, you can search by state for available incentives for efficient HVAC systems. Also, manufacturers sometimes offer rebates or special promotions to alleviate some of the cost of a mobile home furnace.
Some manufacturers of mobile homes will offer a warranty that covers the performance of not only the structure but also the factory-installed plumbing and heating systems for a specified period. You should ask your retailer for details of warranties prior to purchase, as it is important to know where to turn if you discover defects. Additionally, certain appliances, such as your furnace, will be covered by their own manufacturer warranties.
The best way to save money on the installation cost of your new furnace is to comparison shop. Contact multiple HVAC contractors about estimates and compare them. Ask friends, family, and coworkers for HVAC contractor references to avoid working with someone who might overcharge you.