There are an estimated 10 million occupied mobile and manufactured homes in the continental United States today. This number makes 8% of all the country’s housing.
Cooling and heating manufactured homes isn’t very much different from that of traditional site-built homes, but it does pose some considerable challenges.
Almost all HVAC systems, however, come in small sizes to occupy less space.
Some brands, like Coleman, produce cooling and heating systems specifically designed for manufactured and mobile homes in consideration with clearance factors, source of energy, and efficiency.
Their MG9S series gas-powered furnace, for example, comes in a 33’ compact cabinet while still achieving 95% AFUE efficiency!
Almost all Coleman’s electric furnaces designed for manufactured homes don’t require clearance at all.
The 5 Types of Mobile Home HVAC Systems
Before you even embark for the store, it is important to understand the different types of HVAC systems for mobile homes available on the market:
1. Split HVAC systems
Probably the most common HVAC system in use today.
They are split into two – one part cools your home while the other heats it. The reason why they are so popular is their affordability. They are even cheaper if you have a pre existing ducting system in place.
2. Hybrid Split Systems
Hybrid Split Systems are very much like Split HVAC Systems except that they are powered differently.
They come with “hybrid electric heaters” which gives the owner two power options: gas or power.
This makes them a bit more efficient than most other HVAC Systems. They, however, tend to be costlier to install than most other types.
3. Ductless Split Systems
Just as the name suggests, these HVAC systems don’t require the homeowner to install ducting. Instead, the homeowner is required to install multiple units in different rooms where there is a need to control the temperature.
Although this type of system doesn’t surpass the energy efficiency of hybrid systems, they go a long way to cut your energy consumption than most other types.
4. Packaged Systems
These HVAC systems come with all the necessary HVAC components – furnace, coil, evaporator, compressor, condenser – all packed in one unit.
Unlike the Ductless Split Systems and most other types that are mounted on the wall, these systems are installed on the roof. They are the best option for a buyer looking for a quiet air conditioner.
We mentioned this type of HVAC system just for the sake of it, they are seldom used away from commercial buildings and offices.
5. Geothermal HVAC Systems
These systems are quite rare because you must live in areas with geothermal energy to utilize them.
If you do live in such an area, they are the most reliable and cheapest type of HVAC you could ever buy because geothermal energy is always available and never fluctuates regardless of the region or demand.
5 Things to look in the HVAC System
- Furnace Efficiency / AFUE
- Electric Heat
- Heating BTU’S
- Furnace Type
Seven Manufactured Home HVAC System Recommendations
1. Revolve 2-ton 10KW 13 SEER Mobile Home Electric Furnace and Air Conditioner with AccuCharge Quick Connects
The AC-only Revolve RSCQ243 was designed for manufactured and mobile homes. It is shipped with QuickConnect fittings for easier and faster installation which goes a long way to cut the installation costs and your time.
- Factory-installed filter driers
- Durable metal guard for protecting the coil
- 13 SEER, 2 ton, AC-only condenser
- Quick connect fittings
The output of 2 tons means this HVAC System can comfortably cool an average manufactured home in ideal applications.
If you live in the northern parts of the United states, the basic efficiency ratings of 13 SEER is still adequate for you.
It is shipped with a 1-year warranty on labor and 5-year warranty on parts but you must register online first.
The coil comes with a metal guard around it to ward off the effects of extreme weather and yard hazards.
I noticed that the manufacturer has a “site’s calculator” that determines the appropriateness of the device to the conditions of your region.
As such, a whole lot of southern states are excluded from the company’s supply network.
This system costs about $2,000 and can be a good start HVAC for your manufactured home before upgrading to a more advanced option in later years.
26 SEER or 16.5 EER
Few makers of HVACs have a greater commitment to efficiency like Lennox does.
The brand ships three high-efficiency models in this family of HVACs complete with Lennox’s own SunSource PV solar modules designed to get rid of reliance on fossil energy.
At the top of the Signature Series is Lennox XC25, the most efficient member in the family with 26 SEER rating.
There are plenty of mini-split ACs (all at a comparable cost if not higher) and geothermal alternatives (at a much higher price) that are a bit more efficient compared to this HVAC, but without standard central AC.
Many mobile homes still run ACs with 10 – 13 SEER. If you have any of these old units, Lennox XC25 can be a good replacement because it will cut your AC operating costs by 50 percent to more than 60 percent.
Pros and Cons
The most plausible thing about this family of HVAC’s from Lennox is their integration with solar modules to cut carbon footprint. If you are looking for an eco-friendly HVAC for your manufactured home, the Lennox XC25 series might be the answer.
We, however, like brands that offer top warranty for their products. Lennox doesn’t.
All XC25 parts come covered by a not-so-impressive 10 years limited warranty. Lifetime coverage would’ve been better.
Worse yet, no unit replacement coverages have been offered.
23.5 SEER or 14 EER
We felt the need to tie these two HVACs because of two reasons: they are exactly the same and have similar efficiency.
It’s also worth mentioning that Amana was acquired by Daikin in 2012, so the similarity between these two is understandable.
In fact, Amana had a better reputation in the industry long before the acquisition, and that’s probably why Daikin kept some of their models.
Daikin DX20VC and Amana AVXC20 come with SEER ratings that are considerably higher than Lennox XC25, as do many others on this guide.
Both Daikin DX20VC and Amana AVXC20 are equipped with inverter technology which allows them to adjust the speed of their compressors to control the flow rate of the refrigerant (gas), thereby consuming low quantities of power.
These two are variable-capacity and compact ACs. Other terms for inverter technology are variable-speed, modulating, and inverter-driven.
Pros and Cons
The biggest advantage that comes with these two models is the inverter technology.
Daikin was a leader in inverter technology before acquiring Amana, and you can rest assured none of their devices sucks in it.
It goes an extra way to reduce your energy consumption which is a major thumbs up.
Another great thing is that Amana AVXC20 comes with a lifetime warranty meaning, if the AC ever fails, the entire condensing unit will be replaced for free.
Daikin DX20VC, on another hand, has 12 –year warranty on unit replacement and a 10-year warranty on general parts.
Amana’s equipment, however, used to raise reliability concerns long before the acquisition and continues to do so.
This two-stage AC from Lennox beats the Bryant/Carrier models (listed below after this) by .2 SEER and effectively gives Lennox all the bragging rights to refer to it as “the most efficient 2-stage” air conditioner.
As you can tell, this unit was made for homeowners living in super-hot climates.
Pros and cons
Because it is a two-stage AC, it is remarkably cheaper than most variable-capacity air conditioners.
Also, in that respect, it doesn’t break down often and would cost much less to repair.
Furthermore, just like Lennox XC25, it works perfectly with the SunSource PV solar module.
However, as noted earlier, Lennox doesn’t back their ACs with longer and better warranties their competitors provide, and that’s a major thumbs down.
Lennox’s ACs are also costlier compared to similar units from other manufacturers.
This is the second set of identical ACs on this list.
The Bryant brand is owned by Carrier. Note their insane EER!
These units were made for those areas with summer sun that’s hot enough to fry an egg.
Carrier was the first-ever major manufacturer to sell ACs with variable capacity cooling – their model that pioneered this technology is no longer in production.
Yet it is mind-boggling that Carrier’s most efficient air conditioner isn’t variable!
These two models are two-stage ACs and not variable-capacity ACs. This means they only air condition (they only function) on high or low.
Low cooling is approximately 70 percent capacity and is often used to maintain even room temperatures. If you happen to turn down its thermostat by a few degrees, or if heats quickly, the system will adjust to 100 percent capacity to allow faster cooling.
Pros and Cons
It’s just for a fact that two-stage ACs cost less than their modulating counterparts.
They have also been proven to be more dependable than variable-speed compressors.
And if their compressor ever breaks down, the cost of repair and replacement is low.
The main disadvantage of these two is their sub-par warranties.
Apparently, Bryant and Carrier compete with Lennox in providing unsatisfactory warranties.
6. Champion AS21B, York YXV, Luxaire AL21B, Coleman AC21B, and Fraser Johnston AL21B
21 SEER or 14.5 EER
All these ACs have one thing in common, they are produced by Johnson Controls. Also, all of them are near identical. The most popular of these ACs is the York brand. The others aren’t readily available in all the states in the United States. The York model is a variable-capacity AC.
All these units are great for manufactured or mobile homes.
Pros and cons
The best thing about all these ACs is that the installer has a bigger control over the optimal efficiency – you can adjust them as you want to achieve a spectrum of indoor comfort.
The available options are Normal, Dry, and Humid.
They also come with a 1-year labor warranty.
While this may be beneficial, it means there is only one room to bungle the installation. You will, therefore, have to hire the best HVAC contractor in your area to install them.
The 10-year warranty on general parts, however, is too standard and doesn’t stand out.
20.5 SEER or 15.5 EER
It’s hard to figure out how Carrier manages to pack such EER ratings relative to SEER, but it is pretty impressive.
These two models are Carrier’s top-selling variable capacity ACs and deservedly so. Carrier loves to call it “Greenspeed Technology”
Pros and Cons
The 15.5 EER is the best and probably the highest EER you would want in your AC – it’s ideal for anyone with a summer home in the middle of the Arizona desert.
Some ACs only come with a 1-year labor warranty while others don’t have it all.
These two models, however, come with an impressive 3-year labor warranty, the best we have on this list.
Five Things To Look In HVAC Systems
1. SEER (and, sometimes EER)
SEER, or seasonal energy efficiency ratings, describes the efficiency of the HVAC system over a spectrum of changes that takes place during a cooling season.
Basically, the SEER rating is a ratio of the HVAC’s cooling output over the typical cooling season.
Think of it as being something like an MPG rating, or Miles Per Gallon, for your car. The SEER value shows the HVAC’s maximum potential.
The minimum SEER in most modern HVACs is 13 but it can be as high as 22.
Each state in the united states has different requirements on SEER ratings of HVACs sold to its residents.
You want to choose an HVAC system with higher SEER ratings.
The concept of SEER, however, can be a bit complicated – higher SEER ratings, for instance, doesn’t always mean you’re cutting energy costs.
2. The spacing demands of the HVAC system
The spacing demands of the HVAC system should be put into consideration not only because you’re buying the AC for a manufactured home but also because it has an influence on the ease of installation.
Also, there may be some legal restrictions on the kind of AC you can install depending on your residential zone or type of house.
That’s partly because some ACs will have some of their parts hanging out of the window.
In HVAC systems, tonnage is the measurement of the amount of heat that can be removed from a given size of an area in 60 minutes.
Although this unit of measurement is derived from the word “ton” it does not refer to the mass or weight of the HVAC system.
One “ton” means the AC can remove exactly 12,000 BTUs (British Thermal Units – more on this later) every hour.
It takes 1 “ton” to remove all the heat in a 600 square feet of air-conditioned floor area, often abbreviated 600 sf/ton. The higher the tonnage the better.
BTU (British Thermal Unit) is an internationally recognized unit of energy measurement in HVAC systems. 1 BTU is the amount of energy required to raise the temperature of 1 pound of water by 1-degree Fahrenheit.
The reason why BTU and Tonnage always go together when choosing a HVAC system is that the Tonnage of the system needs to match your room’s square footage.
If the tonnage is too little, the AC won’t work properly. Too much tonnage would mean you’re wasting your money and unnecessarily high power.
5. Type Of Furnace
Different types of furnaces are suited for different sizes of residential buildings.
Even for manufactured homes, you will have several furnace choices. FurnaceCompare.com has a complete guide on how to choose the right furnace.
The most important furnace factor to consider is its AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency), the gas furnace’s efficiency in turning fuel to energy.
If a furnace has an 80% AFUE rating, it means it can turn 80% of the consumed energy into energy. The other 20%, of course, is used in the heating process.
It’s hard to picture a home without a working HVAC system during the summer.
Because of their great importance and the specificity of such property factors as the size of the room and climate conditions of the locale, manufacturers produce HVAC units for all known spaces: commercial buildings, offices, large size townhouses, manufactured homes, and even mobile homes.
When choosing among the many manufactured home HVAC systems in the marketplace, you need to consider the spacing demands of the unit.
It is also prudent to consider the HVACs tonnage, the BTU, SEER and EER ratings, as well as their cost and your needs.