Why Do Manufactured Homes Get So Hot in Summer!?

Why Do Manufactured Homes Get SO Hot in Summer!?

Manufactured homes are starter homes for many young folks.

Pensioners too prefer them for their park/community living.

There are two other major reasons why they are a darling for many:

  • low upfront cost
  • and seamless mobility.

However, all these can be overshadowed by one drawback: overheating in the summer.

(SHORT ANSWER) Why Do Manufactured Homes Get So Hot in Summer?

Oftentimes, it has something to do with your air conditioning and insulation but lots of other factors may be at play as well. The state of your windows, floor, roof, and wall can determine the amount of heat lost to the environment in the winter as well as the amount of heat getting into the home during the summer.

Here are the top causes of overheating:

  • Problems with roof and/or wall insulation
  • HVAC unit problems
  • Flawed floor
  • Energy-inefficient windows
  • Old age (not HUD 1976 Compliant)
  • Type of roof

Let’s get a little deeper:

1. Problems with roof and/or wall insulation

The first possible reason behind your heating woes is improper insulation.

It is worth mentioning that mobile homes are normally shipped to buyers fully insulated.

But the type and level of insulation depends on where the buyer lives (one of the 3 thermal zones of the U.S.). The HUD Code of 1976 has a final say on everything.

This means the maker of your home can’t incorporate less or more insulation than what’s prescribed by the HUD Code.

Makers normally consider the R-value of the insulating material.

The R-value – a measure of the material’s insulation properties; the higher the better – for the ceiling is different from that on, say, wall or ceiling.

If you were to buy a Clayton home, for example, these are the different insulations you’d find on different parts of the home:

  • R-11 inside the walls
  • R-22 inside the floors
  • R-33 inside the ceiling (for vaulted ceiling, you will contend with R-30)

Chances are your home has overheating problems because you moved into a thermal zone it wasn’t designed for.

A thermal zone encloses states with similar space-conditioning needs and the same cooling/heating setpoint.

Homes designed for the northern part of the country, say, Michigan are equipped with heavy and higher R-value insulators than those sold in the south. That’s why Michigan is often colder than Florida.

Another probable cause, insulation-wise, is the integrity of the insulation material.

While most insulation materials last longer (70 to 100 years), damaged insulation layers can fail prematurely.

So, if you made some adjustments to the home more recently, chances are you damaged your insulator at that specific part of the home.

Also, insulation parts can start falling off from your fiberglass batts after approximately 15 – 20 years.

If you installed your fiberglass batts over a decade ago and your home – all of a sudden – has begun to feel hot, you probably need to replace the insulator.

Before you even make changes to your insulation, confirm by hiring an expert to inspect the home or conduct an energy audit.

2. HVAC unit problems

Could it be that your air A/C unit is malfunctioning?

If your mobile home didn’t come with existing ductwork, you are most likely to be using a ductless mini-split A/C unit.

This class of air conditioners is highly sensitive to sizing – you must size them precisely for them to work the right way.

Over-sizing or installing them the wrong way often leads to short-cycling a few weeks after installation, causing energy wastage and inability to properly control your indoor temperatures or humidity.

Other types of conditioners are prone to issues as well.

Another possible problem is a furnace that won’t stop.

When the room hits a specific temperature point, the furnace is supposed to shut off until an activation temperature is achieved again.

However, if there is a major issue with your machine, it will keep going non stop eventually causing your home to overheat.

Such things as a stuck button, broken, and problematic primary controls can cause the furnace to run constantly.

You know the sensor/thermostat is faulty if the furnace keeps turning on and off.

Here are other AC system problems that often lead to overheating:

Blocked, dirty, or damaged filter

Your machine won’t blow enough cold air into the room if a blocked or dirty air filter inhibits the incoming airflow.

A dirty filter can go an extra step to freeze the condenser unit, hamper the cooling abilities of your AC machine, and cause the room to overheat.

As such, it is recommended that you change your air filter once every month especially in the summer when there’s more dust to clog it but high room temperatures to cool.

Refrigerant leak

You don’t want the refrigerant of the machine to leak – the unit may fail.

When the coolant starts to leak, the temperature will change erratically to a point of leveling off.

If your home has been overheating lately, call an AC system technician or any other qualified expert to inspect the appliance.

3. Flawed floor

The floor should be insulated just like the rest of your walls and ceiling.

If the home is raised off the ground (e.g. placed on stilts), you need to be aware that a buildup of hot air in the compartment below the floor during the summer can influence interior temperatures.

In this case, the insulation that came with the home may not be enough, compelling you to add another one.

4. Energy-inefficient windows

Just because you have the right insulator in the ceiling and walls and a functional AC unit doesn’t mean you hacked it.

If your home still feels hot, the problem is likely to be in the windows.

Heat gain and loss through windows are responsible for between 25 to 30 percent of residential cooling or heating energy use.

Glass is a good conductor of heat. Single-glazed windows are the worst thing you could have on your home in the summer as they readily radiate heat into the room.

The good thing about the heat creeping into the room via the windows is that you can tell the source by the sheer feel of it.

In most cases, glazing the windows would work but you might want to go an extra step to add blinds and shades.

There is a lot you can do to improve the efficiency of your windows.

Start by checking them for air leaks, then:

  • Caulk and/or weather-strip
  • Add window coverings or treatments
  • Add panels or storm windows
  • Add solar control films
  • Add an exterior shading e.g. awnings, overhangs, or exterior blinds

You should also think of replacing your windows or improving them in terms of the type of frame, type of glazing, spacers and gas fills, and operation type.

5. Old age (not HUD 1976 Compliant)

Another likely explanation for the overheating problem in your mobile home is age. When was your home manufactured?

If it was made before the HUD Code of 1976 then chances are the maker didn’t pay a lot of attention to insulation and general comfort and safety of the home.

Also, older mobile homes trail their modern counterparts when it comes to technology.

Newer energy-efficient homes come with all the best technological add-ons you need for comfortable living.

Basically, the older the home, the less energy efficient it is, and the more likely it will be prone to overheat.

You will also put in more work and resources to make such a home energy efficient.

6. Type of roof

The material used to make the roof has a say on the energy efficiency of your home.

It can determine the amount of heat getting to and leaving your home.

The influence of the roof only comes into play if your insulation in this area is too little or non-existent.

Metallic roofs, though popular, are the least energy-efficient, so you need to accompany them with a thick layer of the high R-value insulation material.

Go for rubber, membrane, asphalt shingle, and similar roofs.

Conclusion

So, why do manufactured homes get so hot in summer?

The first possible reason behind your heating woes is improper insulation.

However, the type and level of insulation depends on where the buyer lives (one of the three thermal zones in the country).

Chances are your home has overheating problems because you moved into a thermal zone it wasn’t designed for.

Another possible problem is a furnace that won’t stop. If your furnace keeps running nonstop, it will overheat the room.

References

Five Reasons Your Home is Too Hot & How to Fix It

Air Conditioning Troubleshooting: 9 Common Problems & Solutions

Is Your House Overheating? Possible Causes of Extra Hot Air 

Mobile Home Insulation Guide: How to Install Insulation in a Mobile Home

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