With the cold season around the corner, most people will be prepping their mobile homes to get them ready for a few weeks of heavy use. As you do so, don’t forget to fine-tune or altogether replace the heating system.
The good news is that you don’t need to spend over the odds to obtain a powerful-enough mobile home heating system. Many are priced under $500, with some costing as little as $200 or lower.
Also, once brought in, the mobile home heating system can serve you for several seasons. A few manufacturers offer replacement warranties lasting 3+ years.
Wondering which heating system would be a good pick for your mobile home? This guide will help you learn how to make the right choice.
Best Electric Heater For Mobile Home
1. Miller E6EB Series 15KW Electric Furnace for Mobile Homes
The E6EB is a 15KW (53,000 BTU) heat only furnace featuring Nichrome elements. It comes in a fully insulated cabinet (white) and supports both downflow and up-flow of heat.
Down-flow heat distribution works best when the heater is placed on a raised platform. However, most people prefer to set down the heater for up-flow distribution.
The unit features a 4-speed capacity for up to 4 ton A/C or heat pump performance. An A/C transformer and A/C heat pump relay is included. It also features a built-in evaporator coil for A/C and heat pump operation.
It’s a simple cabinet heater, with the no-fuss housing more about functionality than looks. The unit is backed by a one-year warranty that becomes void if the unit isn’t installed by a professional.
- Up to 15 kilowatts
- Down-flow/up-flow heat distribution
- Comes in a fully insulated cabinet
- Built-in evaporator coil
- Thermostat sold separately
- Grill assemble sold separately
2. Dr. Infrared Model DR968 portable Space Heater 1500 Watts
The Model DR968 cabinet heater is a product you’ll come across a lot – because it’s one of the most outstanding standalone space heaters. It combines PTC and Quartz Infrared Element technologies to deliver gently, healthy heat with very minimal noise (39 decibels). The blower is also very quiet.
It has two energy settings, i.e., high and low, and an energy-saving mode. You’ll also appreciate that the cabinet is cool-to-touch, meaning you can use the heater around kids and pets without much worry. Remote control and a 12-hour programmable timer are other standout features.
About safety, the DR968 features overheat protection and tip-over shutoff. It’s approved by the Underwriter’s Laboratory and backed by a 3-year warranty.
- Multiple safety features
- Dual heating PTC + infrared quartz tube
- IR remote control
- 3-year warranty
- It’s not as quiet as the manufacturer says
3. Vornado AVH10 Vortex Heater with Auto Climate Control
The AVH10 is one of Vornado’s next-generation whole-home heaters. It features modern styling and in-built auto climate control to adjust and maintain a balanced room temperature automatically.
An LCD screen and push-button controls allow you to choose your desired heating settings conveniently. It has two heat settings plus a fan-only option.
While the heat output is powerful enough to keep the entire room warm, the unit’s exterior remains cool to touch. It also features overheating shutoff protection.
An integrated carry handle for easy portability and a hidden cord for safe storage are the other vital features. A 5-year warranty backs the heater.
- Modern styling
- Gentle but fast heating
- Auto tip-over shutoff
- Intelligent temperature monitoring
- 5-year warranty
- No timer
- No remote control
4. Honeywell HCE322V Digital Ceramic Tower Heater
The Honeywell HCE322V is designed with dual motors and oscillation for powerful 1500-watt heating at maximum capacity. A second setting (low) delivers 750 watts.
It’s a ceramic heater, so you can expect significant savings and plenty of heat even several minutes after the heater is turned off.
Aside from the standard safety requirements, including overheat protection, UL-rated power cord, visible power light, and flame resistant plastic, the HCE322V gives you tip-over protection, a cool-to-touch housing, and an auto-shutoff timer.
Other key features of the heater include the attractive slim design, dust filter, programmable thermostat, and a sturdy oscillating body. The digital control panel is located at the top of the tower.
- Powerful convective heater
- Attractive tower design
- Multiple safety features
- Guaranteed energy savings
- No remote control
- No smart control
5. De’Longhi HCX911E Convection Panel Heater, 1500 Watts
This DeLonghi is a stylish panel heater perfect for most applications, especially in modern decors. It delivers instant heat, with the unique dual-fan system ensuring that the room quickly warms up. It’s rated for whole-house use and provides gentle heat without any noise.
A manually programmable timer allows you to walk into a warm room. The heater also features an ECO function that automatically adjusts the heat output and power settings for perfect comfort at the most economical rates. Safety features, including thermal cut-off and an anti-freeze setting, help to prevent freezing in the pipes.
The HCX911E is primarily designed to stand on the floor and even comes with the requisite wheels. However, it can also mount on the wall.
- Dual-fan system
- Adjustable thermostat
- Removable feet
- Three heat settings
- 1-year warranty
- No remote control
- It’s fairly pricey
6. E-Flame USA Regal Freestanding Electric Fireplace Stove
Finally, the E-Flame EF-FS2213B is a 1500-watt fireplace stove. Unlike the other heaters on this list, it offers some ambiance, a game-changer when shopping for a heating system.
The realistic wood-burning effect and dancing flames can dramatically improve your mobile home. Remember that you can dress the firebox to reflect your style.
A quiet, fan-forced heater, the unit has easy-to-adjust settings. You can also use the flame alone without the heat. During heating, overheating protection and anti-tip-over protection ensure that you’re safe at all times. The heating process is odorless and smokeless.
The unit uses two 40-watt bulbs and has a 6-foot cord that plugs into the standard household outlet. It’s recommended for spaces up to 400 square feet.
- No-heat option available
- Remains cool to touch
- Features functioning doors
- Available in multiple colors
- Multiple safety features
- 1-year warranty
- Requires significant assembly
- Most expensive on this list
Heating a Mobile Home
There are four basic ways to heat a mobile home – using heat pumps, a cooling and heating window unit, portable heaters, or a furnace.
- Heat pumps move heat instead of generating it. During the cold weather, the heat pump will extract heat from the outside air and dump it indoors, effectively raising indoor temperatures. The reverse process happens in the hot season. The heat pump will remove heat from indoor air and expel it outside.
- Heating and cooling window units are typically window air conditioners that also provide heat. They are an energy-saving option that can create a comfortable indoor environment the entire year. However, they can’t work on their own. Indeed, these units are typically only used to supplement the primary heat source.
- Mobile home portable heaters are typically electric heaters, though a few also run on gas. These heaters are light and can be carried around from one location to the next with ease. But, they are also low-capacity heaters that may only serve one room at a time. Therefore, you’d need several of them to serve the entire mobile home.
- Mobile home furnace. The furnaces function differently from those designed for the main home. They require unique ductwork and vents and are installed differently. But, once installed, they are – by far – the best mobile home heating solution. They are powerful enough to serve the entire mobile home and very low-maintenance.
How Electric Furnaces Work
Mobile home furnaces are either gas-powered or electric powered. Gas-powered models run on either propane or natural gas, though the majority use the former.
They work by burning the gas fuel to produce a flame and dispersing the resulting heat energy throughout the home. The units typically feature a pilot light to ignite the burner inside the combustion chamber.
Electronic mobile home furnaces, by comparison, run on electricity. Electric current is forced through a high-resistance heating element inside a heat exchanger, causing the element to become hot.
The heater then draws cold air and pushes it through a heat exchanger to absorb heat from the heating element. This now-hot air is then pumped out of the furnace and distributed throughout the house.
What Are the Different Types of Mobile Home Electric Furnaces?
There are two broad categories – forced air and down-flow furnaces. Forced-air electric furnaces are the more popular of the two options though down-flow models are just as effective. Here’s what you need to know about each model;
- Forced air furnaces: Drive air through ducts with a motorized blower. The warm air is pushed out of the furnace and into the ductwork. It’s released through registers or vents into the home. The furnace then sucks in fresh air via a second (return) duct, warms it, and releases it in a similar fashion. It’s a closed system.
- Down-flow furnaces: Down-flow furnaces are designed to blow heated air in one of three directions or orientations – up, down, or horizontally. Mobile homes typically use the downward orientation because the furnace sits in a small closet in the middle of the home such that the ductwork is located below it. The blower helps push the heated air down those ducts. These units pull air from the top.
How Many BTUs Do I Need for an Electric Home?
You’ll need to do a few calculations to determine the exact number. Fortunately, the process of sizing a mobile home heating system isn’t different than that of any other indoor space. Proceed as follows;
- Calculate the mobile home’s square footage: If you’re not sure, you can always check with the manufacturer. However, mobile homes range from 900 to 3,500 square feet. Newer models may be slightly larger.
- Calculate the furnace storage area’s size: Pretty much all mobile homes feature a small closet that serves as the furnace’s housing. You can only bring in a furnace that can fit in this location.
- Decide the type of furnace: Gas and electric heaters typically vary in size even when they offer the same heating capabilities. It’s always wise to stick to the type of furnace that you’ve used in the past.
- Calculate the BTU requirements: The exact BTU value will depend on multiple factors, especially the region’s climate. In average temperatures, you want 25-30 BTU per square foot. However, those in areas with colder winters should consider up to 45 BTUs per square foot.
- Remember that efficiency counts too: No mobile home furnace is 100% efficient. Even the best electric models are only about 99% efficient. As a result, a 60,000 BTU heater will only deliver 54,000 BTU at peak capacity. Don’t forget to adjust your BTU requirements accordingly to reflect this factor.
The number and style of windows, natural shading/lighting, ductwork size, and the number of people who use the home will also affect the final BTU requirement. To this end, experts recommend buying a furnace that’s 40% higher than the value calculated in step #4 above.
Factors to Consider When Choosing an Electric Heater for a Mobile Home
Choosing the right mobile home electric furnace can be a challenge given the endless options in the market. The following considerations should help you make the right decision;
- Ducted vs. ductless: Mobile home can be ducted or ductless. Ducted systems can be connected to ducts in the house to deliver heat to each room. The ductless model, meanwhile, doesn’t require ductwork. Though more difficult to install and even more expensive, ducted furnaces are more efficient at heating large spaces.
- Heating capacity: An electric furnace’s heating capacity is measured in kilowatts, though you can easily convert the numbers to BTU for convenience (1Kw = 3,412.14 BTU). A few professionals have developed calculators that you can use to determine the right BTU heater for your needs. But, in the absence of such calculators, remember that you need 25-30 BTU/square foot.
- Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency: AFUE is a grading system used by the Department of Energy to measure how well a furnace converts fuel to heat. For instance, an 85% AFUE furnace converts 85% of the electric power to heat energy, losing 15% of the fuel in the process. Find the highest AFUE value possible.
- SEER and HSPF ratings: Besides the AFUE rating, you also need to consider the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating (SEER) and Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF) rating. In both cases, the higher the value, the better.
How to Winterize a Mobile Home
The nature of the mobile home means that it’s likely to lose substantial amounts of heat. Consider the following winterizing tips to make the place more energy efficient.
This may be a pretty obvious tip, but it’s essential to realize that the mobile home is naturally under-insulated. One way to tell that your mobile home is in an even worse state is to study the temperatures throughout the day. A poorly insulated mobile home tends to have wildly fluctuating temperatures. Adding installation can help.
Mobile homes without skirting are also likely to experience higher temperature fluctuations. Why? Because the absence of a skirting leaves a wide-open space underneath the house for air to escape. This can also affect the hot water system. Installing skirting as a line of defense helps keep the warm air in and cold air out.
Seal Air Pickets in the Doors and Windows
Doors and windows, especially as they get older. It’s in your best interest to check for pockets of space or cracks in these two areas that may serve as entry points for cold air. Caulking is one solution if you notice any openings around the windows or doors. Another potential solution is installing draft stoppers at the bottom of the door.
Regular Furnace Maintenance
Finally, a clean, well-maintained furnace is an energy-efficient furnace. Take a vacuum cleaner, blow out the debris, clean those hard-to-reach areas using the vacuum system’s brush attachment, and clean/replace the filters regularly. Excess dirt on the filters makes it harder for air to circulate. Above all, schedule regular professional inspections before the onset of every heating season.
- How Much is an Electric Furnace for a Mobile Home? The average mobile home electric furnace costs $1,075, including installation costs. The price of the furnace alone is around $600.
- How Much Does it Cost to Put Central Air in a Mobile Home? The cost of installing a central air system in the mobile home, including purchase costs, ranges from $3,000 to $7,000. Expect to pay $3,500 to $4,000 for an average-size 2,000 square-foot mobile home.
- Can You Put a Heat Pump in a Mobile Home? Yes. Indeed, heat pumps are the most efficient form of heating in mobile homes. However, they work best in moderate climates. Additional heating may be needed in cooler climates.
An electric heater could be just what you need to turn your mobile home into a little paradise. With proper heating, you may even be able to spend the entire winter in the mobile home.
The even better part – electric mobile home heaters-comes in various styles and options to fit everyone’s needs and budget. As you prepare for the cold season, it’s something that you should strongly consider.