manufactured home furnaces

Manufactured Home Furnaces Guide: Stay Warm During The Cold Weather Months

What’s the worst that could happen during the festive season? Being holed in your home without a furnace or any heating equipment (wood stove, space heater, baseboard heater, etc)?

The winter cold bites differently. As such, this is probably the right time to buy yourself a sizeable energy-efficient manufactured home furnace to keep your residence warm during the winter.

For a person who lives in a manufactured home with a temporary floor, not just any furnace would be great for you. The accumulation of the snow beneath your home can make the rooms above it exceptionally cold. So, you need the most effective furnace you can ever lay your hands on.

It is important to note that mobile homes work best with furnaces specifically made for them. This is because the ventilation and the duct systems aren’t necessarily the same as those found in site-built homes.

This is a perk in disguise because furnace installation projects involving mobile homes cost less than those completed in site-built homes – the average cost of installing a furnace in a manufactured home is about $1,000.

First Of All, Know These Two Terms…..

To choose the best furnace, you need to pay attention to features that are found in all furnaces and which can be used to determine the effectiveness of the appliance.

1. AFUE rating

AFUE, or Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency, is a grading scale applied by the Department of Energy to measure the efficiency of furnaces.

Basically, it is used to find out how good the furnace is at converting the fuel into heat energy.

The minimum efficiency permitted by the Department of Energy is 80 percent. A furnace graded as such can successfully convert 80 percent of the fuel into heat, wasting the remaining 20 percent.

2. BTU value

BTU, or the British Thermal Unit, is a measurement used to determine the total amount of heat energy used to raise 1 lb. (one pound) of water by 1° F (degree Fahrenheit).

The BTU is used as a standard measurement in all HVAC systems.

The BTU of the furnace can be an indicator of its power – the higher the BTU value the more powerful the furnace is.

This, however, doesn’t mean you should immediately go for the furnace with the highest BTU in the store. Some furnaces with very high BTU will heat your room very fast and then shut down immediately the threshold temperature is achieved. You will have to power it on again when the room gets cold – the more you repeat this cycle the more it takes a toll on your energy bills.

Having a furnace with very few BTUs is problematic as well. Without enough power, the furnace will be forced to keep running indefinitely to keep your space warm.

Therefore, there are a lot of things to bear in mind when selecting BTUs, including the size of the room and the number of occupants.

7 Factors To Consider When Choosing The Best Manufactured Home Furnace

  • Square Footage & BTUs
  • Available Furnace Types
  • Furnace Stages
  • Style and number of windows
  • Cost
  • Accessories
  • Efficiency

1. Square Footage & BTUs

These two almost always go together. Big rooms require more powerful furnaces, meaning you need more BTUs to take care of the expansive space.

There is always a right furnace with correct BTU value for rooms in a given range of sizes:

Size (sq. ft.) BTUs
500 – 1,000 14,000
700 – 1,000 18,000
1,000 – 1,200 21,000
1,200 – 1,400 23,000
1,400 – 1,500 24,000
1,500 – 2,000 30,000
2,000 – 2,500 34,000

The rule of thumb when selecting a furnace is that the max. size of the unit you need to buy would be 15 percent over the BTU required for cooling and 14 percent of the BTUs needed for heating.

It is hard to determine the ideal BTUs for a typical manufactured home because so many other factors such as the climate of the area have an influence on your final decision.

If you live in a hot climate, you need approximately 25 – 30 BTUs per square foot. In cold climates, up to 45 BTUs per square foot would be enough.

2. Types of Furnaces for Manufactured Home

We can group furnaces depending on the type of fuel they use to heat the room.

  • Natural gas
  • Oil
  • Electric

Natural Gas

  • Gas-powered furnaces are the most popular option in the United States.
  • They typically come with an efficiency of 80 percent with a price tag in the region of $800.
  • You still can find high-efficiency gas-powered furnaces, about 95 percent efficiency, but that could mean you’re paying about 1,300 for one.

Oil

Oil furnaces are powered by, you guessed right – Oil.

They too come with 80 percent efficiency most of the time but, surprisingly, can cost more than gas-powered furnaces within the same efficiency bracket, about $1,500 in some cases.

Why?

It has something to do with heat delivered for 1 BTU.

Oil powered furnaces, just like any other oil-powered equipment, provide significantly high amounts of heat per 1 BTU than a gas-powered furnace.

Electric

Electric furnaces are known for high-efficiency ratings – a typical electric furnace can register 100 percent efficiency.

That’s because virtually all the electrical energy received is converted directly into heat. However, a significant amount of electricity we use in homes is generated on power stations using oil or gas. This is one of the reasons why the high efficiency of electric furnaces isn’t such a big deal.

Note that electric furnaces can only be fueled with electricity. Some gas-powered furnaces, however, are a little versatile as they can be modified to run on oil if that’s only what’s available and then back to gas.

3. Furnace Stages

  • One-Stage Furnaces
  • Two-Stage Furnaces

Furnaces can be placed in two groups based on the stages allowed. Stages in furnaces determine the levels of heating permitted by the furnace. They can be split into two groups:

One-Stage Furnaces

This furnace supports two modes of heating – on/off. It comes with one fixed valve that activates a one-speed blower to release gas at one speed.

Two-Stage Furnaces

This furnace comes with a valve that lets the user adjust the blower motor. It alternates the level of heating by switching between fast and slow speed settings.

If you are looking for a gas-saving furnace, you might want to consider a two-stage furnace. This is because if, say, you are in your home on a mild day, you don’t really need wide-open fast running speed, so you would rather adjust to slow and cut the amount of gas used.

No wonder the slow setting is the most often used setting in most gas-powered furnaces.

4. Style and Number of Windows

This is just straightforward – having many large windows on your home causes your furnace to work harder to heat the home.

This is because windows have tiny slots of gaps at points where glass or wood panels meet the frame, which causes part of the produced heat to escape to the outside. The more the windows you have, the larger the number of these spaces hence the more the heat you lose.

Also, glass tends to absorb heat and lose it faster. In winter when the outside is colder, a large number of glass panels on your home will actively absorb heat from the room and readily lose it on one side to the environment.

The style of the window has an influence on the energy efficiency of your home. The only known type of window with an impressive energy efficiency record is the casement type.

These windows come with tight seals on all of their sides. Regular windows allow some level of heat leakage even when they are insulating.

There is no point in changing the size and number of windows just so you can cut the bloated energy bills inflated by the overworking furnace. Instead, you can choose a furnace with slightly more BTUs that you would have taken.

5. Cost

According to Home Advisor, the average cost of a furnace is $5,500 . The average range is between $2,400 and $6,200. This cost includes the cost of all the materials and accessories you need in the installation work.

It costs between $3,800 and $10,000 to replace your old gas furnace. It looks expensive because you need to dismantle the whole infrastructure including the ducting to begin the project fresh again.

Also, if you opt for options with the highest efficiency, you will definitely pay more.

The cost of labor can be somewhere between $500 and $2,000. You can slash off a few bucks from your budget if you decide to hire just one contractor to handle the whole bulk of installation work instead of breaking into many small expensive parts.

Consider consulting HVAC professionals before embarking on a furnace installation project.

Most HVAC contractors will be more than glad to provide advice for free and even provide free quotes if you show interest in their services.

Saving Money On Manufactured Home Furnace & Cost of Installation

The cost of a furnace can be high, and this can be before figuring out when the equipment will be up and running.

Fortunately, there are several ways of saving a good amount of money without compromising on quality. Here is what to do to do:

  • Conduct exhaustive research about various HVAC contractors available and compare the estimates
  • Do not install your furnace during the peak time of the year; opt for the non-peak time instead
  • Look for special promotions and special savings offered by your favorite furnace brand
  • Avoid contracting the related tasks separately. Rather, bundle together all the related work and let the contractor decide the price for the bundle

HVAC companies offer sumptuous rates and discounts around spring and summer when HVAC-related work is scarce. You can take advantage of these offers and shave off some good money from your budget.

The cost of installation may depend on:

  • The size of the project
  • Location
  • Model year
  • Kind and extend of insulation
  • The complexity of the installation work

6. Accessories for Mobile Home Furnaces

The furnace can’t run all by itself. A typical mobile home furnace requires a dozen accessories to keep the functions running smoothly.

When buying a new furnace, bear in mind the type of additional accessories it will require besides those already on the system.

Your HVAC contractor may recommend them if necessary.

Here are some of the accessories you will need to maximize the performance of the furnace:

  • Concentric Vent Kit
  • High Altitude Pressure Switch
  • Roof jack
  • LP Conversion Kit
  • Duct connectors
  • Blower

Concentric Vent Kit

Used to permit exhaust and input vent to pass via a single sidewall or roof hole. Most manufactures will ship their products with this kit.

High Altitude Pressure Switch

This switch is climate-specific. Depending on where your home is located, you will need the service of this switch to keep your furnace working perfectly.

Roof jack

It serves to vent the emissions produced by the furnace. Because it comes in many different sizes, you will need the advice of your HVAC contractor in a better position to determine the requirements of each Roof Jack. You will need a hydroment dealing to fill the gap left between the roof and the roof jack.

LP Conversion Kit

This is a must-have kit for any gas-powered furnace. It serves to switch your furnace between propane and natural gas modes when necessary. Most makers of natural gas-powered furnaces ship their products with this kit.

Duct connectors

You will need these to join two broken pieces of ducting. They are designed to minimize or isolate the vibrations and noise coming from the furnace. You are more likely to buy these connectors separately.

Blower

The blower does the important job of wafting streams of hot air from the heater in the furnace to the room in your mobile home. Blowers are one of those parts of the furnace that are always at work hence require frequent maintenance. Some manufactures will offer blowers for their products. Replacement blowers are bought separately.

7. Efficiency – AFUE, BTUs, & FUEL

Furnaces have gotten more efficient today than they were 20 years ago. That’s because of a change in design in how they burn fuel and the addition of energy-saving technologies.

The best part, however, is that you have more furnace choices than you had decades ago.

If you still have the inefficient old school furnaces, you can jump to more recent options at a cost of in the range of $400 and $1,000. This may depend on the source of energy and the size of the furnace.

The efficiency of the furnace is determined by three factors:

  1. the type of fuel used to power the furnace
  2. the BTU rating, and
  3. the AFUE value.

The most efficient furnace in the market comes with the correct mix of these three factors.

When shopping for one, therefore, you need to keep a sharp eye on these factors to land the best option although it can be tricky because the most efficient fuel may not be available in your residential area.

AFUE

Most of the furnaces you will find in popular stores, more so the gas-powered ones, have AFUE rating somewhere between 80 percent and 98 percent.

Oil-powered furnaces come with narrower AFUE ratings, often between 81 percent and 87 percent.

AFUE is the best measure of the efficiency of the furnace because it shows you the amount of fuel that will end up as heat and the amount that will go to waste.

BTUs

The BTUs you will see printed on the furnace is the total number of BTUs that the equipment will burn every hour.

If a furnace is rated as 80,000 BTUs, that’s the total BTUs it burns during every hour of operation. A typical furnace comes with BTUs somewhere between 100, 000 and 80,000.

The least efficient furnace can have BTUs as small as 40,000 while the most efficient can be as high as 200,000. You don’t even need to look hard for BTU ratings because most furnaces come with BTU and AFUE printed together – sometimes one can represent the other.

Because both are directly proportional to each other, the presence of one gives you a hint about the other.

FUEL

Electricity-powered furnaces are the most efficient.

But because the source of the electricity can be questionable i.e. may be generated using unsustainable and inefficient methods, natural gas, or the “second most efficient” fuel, is considered to be the most efficient method.

Oil is the least inefficient but not necessarily the worst.

Popular Brands That Make Furnaces for Mobile Homes

The companies deal almost exclusively in furnaces designed for manufactured homes:

Brand Commonly Offered Warranty
Payne 10 years Limited Warranty
Goodman
10 years Limited Warranty
Coleman 10 years Limited Warranty
Heil 10 years Limited Warranty
Bryant 5 years Limited Warranty
American Standard Base Warranty

Conclusion

For you to choose the best furnace in today’s saturated market, consider the cost, efficiency – AFUE, BTUs, & Fuel, the kind and number of windows on your home, among other factors.

The best measure of the efficiency of a furnace is the AFUE rating.

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