Mobile Home Heating Problems and Solutions
LESLIE: John in Montana, you’ve got The Money Pit. What can we do for you today?
JOHN: My wife and I had purchased a used double-wide mobile home and we’re out in the country and we get west winds. And we totally remodeled the inside but we’re curious; it seems like it’s just cold. What can we do to insulate this thing any better?
TOM: What kind of heating system do you have, John?
JOHN: We have forced gas.
TOM: Forced hot air?
TOM: OK. And are you getting good distribution of the air throughout the entire unit?
JOHN: Well, I don’t think so but … (Leslie and John chuckle)
TOM: Yeah. Because I suspect that this has more to do with a problem with the heating system than a problem with the insulation. Because, typically, when those homes are manufactured, the insulation is sprayed in between the walls and there’s not a whole heck of a lot that you can do to improve it. But what you can do is make sure it’s not drafty – which it sounds like you’ve already done – but, secondly, take a look at that heating system and find out why it’s not delivering. You might want to take a look at the duct structure from the furnace throughout the entire unit and just, first of all, check the airflow.
TOM: Make sure you don’t have any obstructions, any disconnected ducts. There could be dampers in the ducts that are partially turned off. I found ducts that were turned off that had been that way for years and nobody knew about it.
JOHN: Well, we’ve checked the ducts and they have air coming out of them. The problem is the whole underneath, you know, has all got a covering over the top of it so you can’t even see any of the duct work.
TOM: Yeah, but you could check the flow and you should have a good, strong flow coming out.
JOHN: OK. But if you don’t – we just put in a new furnace …
JOHN: … so it’s definitely not the furnace itself.
TOM: Well – alright. It may or may not be the furnace. How about the fan speed on the furnace? Have you had your HVAC contractor check that? Because if it’s too slow it won’t deliver enough air.
JOHN: Well, we had him come out and do the free service after we had it in for almost a year.
JOHN: They said everything checked out good.
TOM: Hmm. Well, something is not correct. Now you either have a defect in the furnace, you have a defect in the duct system; the furnace that they put in may not have been sized properly for the unit. But it sounds to me like you are not delivering enough BTUs into that space, based on the degree days; which is, basically, a way of fancy way of saying how cold it gets in your part of the country. And there’s a calculation for that and if they did it correctly, we should not be having this conversation; it should be working.
JOHN: (chuckles) OK. Alright.
TOM: So I think that the first stop is back to the HVAC contractor that put in that furnace and ask them, “Why am I still cold?”