- Is it approved for mobile home use? Mobile home water heaters will have a H.U.D. safety approval. Anything else used for a mobile home is against the law, will void the manufacturer’s warranty, and insurance companies may refuse to pay a claim or terminate your coverage. Look for a replacement water heater that is made specifically for mobile homes.
Is the water heater gas or electric? Know what you have to work with before looking for a replacement water heater. If you select a replacement unit that is not the same as the existing one remember to include the cost of converting it over to your cost calculations. Also, take note of whether the converting is even an option. In some cases the electric panel may not support an electric water heater and in that case you have no other option but to use gas.
Note: Many mobile home water heaters will come with propane and natural gas connections but make sure before you buy because you do not want to be stuck with the wrong gas type.
Where is the water heater located? The location of a mobile home water heater is especially important if it is a gas unit. A water heater located inside a mobile home in a closet or alcove with no outside access will require a sealed combustion gas water heater. With these units 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 will give insurance companies a chance to refuse claims.
If the water heater is either a propane or natural gas unit and is located outside and has an outside access panel then you can use a standard gas water heater that is approved for mobile home use.
- How much space do you have to work with? To make sure the new water heater will fit into the same area as the old one take careful measurements before purchasing a new unit. Take note of the size of any door frames as they are sometimes smaller than the inside of a water heater closet. Also check where the water supply lines come out and where the gas valve is located and make sure the new water heater has the same inlet and outlet options for an easy installation or be prepared to re-pipe the water lines a little.
- What are the operating costs? - Before buying a replacement unit it is a good idea to do a little research on the available options for mobile home water heaters. There is the cost of purchase and the cost of operating that should be considered. Electric mobile home water heaters tend to be less expensive to purchase than gas units. The sealed combustion units are much more costly than the standard unit. Converting to an electric water heater could save you money if running the new electric line is not a big issue due to low cost of electric units.