Mobile Home Repair Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions Manufactured Mobile Homes

Q. Is a manufactured home a mobile home?
A. A mobile home is a manufactured home, however a modular home is also a manufactured home where the components and sections are manufactured in a plant and then assembled on site and are not really intended to be moved after being erected. Look at the the page about mobile home trailers for more definitions and information.

Q. How to tell if your electrical outlet is bad in mobile homes?
A. There are a few ways to troubleshoot this problem. I have some suggestions on the mobile home outlet receptacle page.

Q. Can you change light switches in a mobile home to a regular light switch?
A. Absolutely! As a matter of fact I recommend that you do. I explain this on the light switch wiring page.

Q. Is there an electrical outlet receptacle under a mobile home?
A. In almost all mobile homes since the late 60's there is a service outlet installed under the mobile home and can generally be found near where the electrical service enters the manufactured home through the floor. This outlet is for service personnel and is quite often used to plug in heat tape to protect pipes from freezing.

Q. It seems that using CFL or LED bulbs on a circuit protected by a GFCI outlet causes it to trip, how do I remedy this problem?
A. Yes, on some models of GFCI outlets this is a problem. I give some solutions to this problem on the GFCI outlet page.

Q. Should I install a whole house water filter in my manufactured home?
A. I highly recommend that you do. I have one and they work great to keep sediments from clogging the plumbing system. Go to the water filter page for more info.

Q. Are there plumbing diagrams for double wide and single wide homes?
A. Plumbing diagrams are next to impossible to get. Look at the plumbing repair page for help on plumbing repairs.

Q. Do I really need anchors and tie downs?
A. I STRONGLY recommend that you do install them. If you live in an earthquake prone area you also might want consider earthquake proofing also. I have an article with diagrams and recommendations on the anchors and tie downs page.

Q. What type of material is my mobile homes wall made of?
A. Mostly it is 3/8" gypsum sheetrock with vinyl covering. Look at the wall repair page to learn more about this subject.

Q. How do I repair the ceiling on manufactured homes?
A. I have some suggestions on the ceiling repair page and a place to get ceiling repair tiles.

Q. How to replace a electrical outlet in manufactured homes?
A. I have a page you can look at for receptacle outlets.

Q. What are the different types of siding for manufactured homes?
A. There are few different standard sidings that are used. Go to the siding page for more information.

Q. Can you tell me how to find a loss of power in a mobile home?
A. That can be caused by various problems. Start your troubleshooting by starting on the electrical repair page and follow the links.

Q. What value insulation is in my mobile home floor?
A. Look at the mobile home insulation page, it has information about the insulation and the data plate.

Q.Can you tell me how to wire a 200 amp service disconnect box to mobile homes?
A. Take a look at this page. It will explain the service requirements for outside service pole on a mobile home.

Q. Can I paint my bathtub?
A.Yes, I have done it myself. First you need to determine what material the bathtub is made of, most modern bathtubs are made of acrylic. However, most often in mobile homes fiberglass or ABS plastic tubs are installed. Once you have determined the type of material it is you need to get the proper paint. Check with your local paint specialist for recommendations as to the type of paint and the cleaner needed. As with any painting job preparation is very important. The surface of the tub must be thoroughly cleaned and free of any debris, grease, oils or soap scum. I will warn you that the fume factor will be great. Use proper ventilation and breathing apparatus for safety. I have several vendors that sell new tubs and showers on the parts and accessories page. Replacing may be more practical than trying to paint a tub, shower or tub surround.

Q. How do I tell how many circuits I have in my breaker box?
A. Count the number of circuit breakers in the panel box and remember to count the double pole ( 240 volt ) breakers as one circuit.

Q. I have a red wire in a ceiling light box that is capped and not connected to anything, what is it for?
A. Some homes are prewired for ceiling fans. You would connect the black wire in the ceiling box to the black wire on the ceiling fan light kit and the red wire would connect to the blue (fan) wire on the ceiling fan then white to white and ground to ground, so the fan and lights can be controlled separately. You would now need to replace the switch with a double switch to control them. The existing black wire in the switch box will go to one terminal and the red wire will go to the other terminal. I usually connect the light to the top switch and the fan to the bottom switch. See picture below of a double switch.
Double Light Switch

Q. How is electric connected in a double wide?
A. To see how to connect the two halves of a double look here. To see how the service entrance is connect from a power pole look here.

Q. Should aluminum wiring be quick connected to wall switches and outlets or screwed down? Why?
A. I have always advocated terminated wiring to the screw down connectors on switches and outlet receptacles. It just makes a better, safer and longer lasting connection. The quick connects, if you could see how it's done, is a very flimsy connection that only wedges the wire to a small strip of metal in the device. I have had to replace many outlets and switches that have literally burnt up because after time the heating and cooling of the connections cause them the loosen up and a loose connection causes more heat at the connection point causing the wires to crystallize. It ends up being a heating up and crystallizing cycle until the wire burns in two. I have seen many places where I wondered how the house didn't catch on fire. The problem is compounded in places where there is a higher current demand through the device, such as high wattage lighting or appliances, motors, heaters etc. This applies to aluminum and copper wiring.

Q. What size wire from power pole to mobile home?
A. That depends on a couple of things like wire type such as aluminum or copper conductors and the home's current load requirements. Typically you have a 4/0 for the hot conductors, 2/0 neutral and #2 ground in a 4 wire service using aluminum service entrance conductors. Look at the mobile home power pole page for complete answer to this question.

Q. What circuit breaker panels can be installed in trailer homes?
A. Any brand may be used look at the circuit breaker panel box page for more on this.

Q. My service ground wire is connected to my homes copper cold water pipe. Is this bad idea?
A.  This is not only bad for electrical safety, but could be causing harm to your pipes. Connecting the ground wire to your cold water pipe causes the soldiered joints to become corroded and eventually leak. Here where I live and many other places two 8' driven ground rods are now required to meet code. Check with you local authorities for grounding specifications. Since this is a very important safety issue and there are hazards involved with disconnecting and moving the ground, due to possible ground imbalance, I suggest you get a qualified electrician to do this.

Q. Is it OK to connect black ABS pipe to white PVC pipe?
A. They will physically connect to each other because they have the same dimension diameter wise. However most local zoning and inspection regulations prohibit this practice.

Q. Does turning off a circuit breaker protect me from lightning?
A. No, whatever device you are concerned about needs to be unplugged to be safe. The homes ground and neutral wire is an unbroken connection all the way back to the power company's generation source. Making it vulnerable to a lightning strike even several miles away.

Q. Air Conditioner leaking water in my mobile home.
A. AC leaks are caused by one of two or both of these problems. Check to make sure that the drip pan does not have any rust holes or leaks around the drain line, also check that the drain line is not stopped up.

Q.The cold water to my clothes washer barely dribbles while the hot line flows normally. All the faucets flow normally.
A.There are filters in the water supply hoses that look like tiny screens. Take the hoses off and remove these screens, clean them and put them back in place. They are usually on the wash machine end, but check both ends. You will usually see this problem more if you are on a well. Look at the low water pressure page for more info.

Q. Can you recommend anyone for mobile home insulation repair or installation?
A. I suggest that you contact some local insulation companies and see if you can get a quote. If you want you can call some local mobile home dealers and mobile home parks to ask if they have any recommendations for insulation or repair persons. You might also want to check with any local real estate companies that rent and have to maintain mobile homes and find out who they use. This answer applies to all types of mobile home repairs.

Q. What is the difference between a mobile home toilet and home toilet?
A. There is no difference.

Q. What is the difference between a home and a mobile home water heater?
A. A mobile homes water heater brings the cold water supply in at the bottom, is H.U.D. approved and usually strapped in place to prevent movement. If you replace a gas water heater I suggest using one that is approved for mobile homes. Look at the water heater page for more info.

Q. What is the difference mobile home faucets and regular home faucets?
A. There is no difference.

Q. Squirrels on my roof? (Not sure why I got this question)
A. Get a .22 caliber rifle and get the frying pan and the Critter Helper ready!!!!
Note: Same applies to possum and coon. May require shotgun depending on size of critter. Check local firearms and hunting regulations. No, seriously the best thing you can do is to remove their access to the roof. Cut over hanging branches and keep bushes cut lower than the roof line. Also remove any food sources, such as acorns. Keep the the roof and gutters cleaned. If the problem is real serious you may need to call an animal removal expert.

Q.  What is the difference in home and mobile homes circuit breaker panel and circuit breakers?
A. There is no difference other than mobile home circuit breakers sometimes have colored trip handles.

Q.  Can you put a standard house type toilet in manufactured mobile homes ?
A. Yes, there is no difference.

Q. What will kill rust on mobile home roof?
A. The best thing is to wire brush and sand off the rust to a clean shiny surface then coat the homes roof immediately. There is more help on this subject and some products for repairing damage on the roof repair page.

Q. What siding is used on most mobile homes?
A. Typically the "wood" type siding on mobile homes is usually "MDF" board or medium density fiberboard. Look at the siding page for more info.

Q. Can I increase the size of circuit breaker if it keeps tripping?
A. No, not at all recommended. There is something wrong going on if the circuit breaker keeps tripping. Either the circuit breaker is defective or the circuit is over loaded. Have this checked at once. Circuit breakers are matched according to the gauge of wire it is protecting. A 20 amp circuit breaker is intended for a #12 AWG (American Wire Gauge) copper wire and a 15 amp circuit breaker for #14 AWG wire. Look at the breaker testing page for more help.