Mobile Home Heating and Cooling FAQs
A short list of frequently asked questions follows, providing you a guide to making your mobile home comfortable, energy efficient and safe, all within a tidy budget.
Carefully determine your square footage with a tape measure. Don’t simply rely on the manufacturer’s stated size. For single-wide mobile homes, plan on 25-30 BTUs per square foot in warm and temperate climate zones and up to 45 BTUs per square foot for northern climate zones.
How does mobile home HVAC work?
A mobile home HVAC system works the same way as a traditional system, but with airflow modifications designed for small spaces with less insulation. In the summer, heat is removed from the living area using refrigerant. The heat is then expelled to the atmosphere. If the system includes a heat pump, the process is reversed, with heat absorbed from the atmosphere and released indoors.
What is the most efficient way to heat/cool a mobile home?
The most efficient way to heat or cool a mobile home is through a central HVAC system. A central HVAC system includes a condenser, which sits outside on a slab or platform; evaporator coils, which are typically housed in the same cabinet with the air handler, which distributes air to the living area via ductwork that is installed under the floor. The system may include a heat pump (an ability to run in reverse, not a separate component) or a furnace/heating coil.
This Revolv System that has superb capacity for most mobile homes. It meets SEER requirements for the states that have them (mostly southern and western states) and represents outstanding value for the consumer:
Can you add central air to a mobile home?
You can add central air to a mobile home if it has ductwork installed. Even if a mobile home originally lacks an AC for summer use, if it has a forced-air furnace, a central air conditioning system can easily be installed. The best air conditioner for a mobile home handily out-performs window units in both comfort and efficiency.
If your mobile home does not have ductwork installed, consider a ductless mini split system for your heating and cooling needs.
Can a mini split cool a whole mobile home?
A mini split can cool a whole mobile home. These are a good option for those without preinstalled ductwork. Mini split systems have a condenser outside, just like a regular mobile home central system, but the condenser feeds one or more air handlers inside, each responsible for a zone (usually a room and its adjacent area). The air handlers in these systems do not need ductwork, distributing cool and heated air directly into the room.
For mobile homes, some options for air handler mounting are limited. Wall mount units are quite popular for use in mobile homes.
Can I install a mini split myself?
You can install a mini split yourself with a basic level of handyman skills. Many manufacturers produce DIY packages, with easily accessed bolts and screws, refrigerant lines that are charged with refrigerant at the factory and complete installation and mounting instructions. DIY mini splits gain in popularity every year, and many consider them to be the best HVAC for mobile homes.
See our full list of mini split options.
How many BTUs do I need to heat a mobile home?
You need 25 to 30 BTUs per square foot for a mobile more in most climate zones in the US. For more northern climates, additional BTUs may be required for the greatest comfort level.
How many tons do I need to cool my mobile home?
You need three or slightly more tons of AC capacity to cool a mobile home.
Most mobile homes can be kept comfortable in the summer with a 3-ton AC system, but mobile homes in the south and west may have days where the system could need a bit more power.
Why are mobile homes so hot?
Mobile homes are hot, primarily because they don’t have as much insulation on the exterior walls as a full-size home would. Air leaks around doors and windows, portals for utilities and joints between mobile home sections can add to the problem.
Can you put a house furnace in a mobile home?
You can not put a house furnace in a mobile home without creating a fire hazard. Traditional furnaces are too hot for the smaller ductwork of a mobile home, and the heat cannot easily be dispersed.
How do I keep my mobile home warm in the winter?
You can help keep a mobile home warm in the winter by sealing all air leaks around doors and windows, especially those that face north. Caulking and weather stripping can make a big difference in comfort levels and heating bills. In short, any place where gaps are noticeable needs attention – even under the unit - and it is well worth the effort. This will add to your efficiency.