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Water heaters in Manufactured Homes

Steve Knight

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The manufactured home construction and safety standard requires water heaters in MH's to be "installed to provide for the complete separation of the combustion system from the interior atmosphere of the manufactured home."

Most of the water heaters I see in MH's are in closets and utilize a specially designed water heater without a draft hood. When a standard water heater with atmospheric draft hood is installed I generally write it up.

The MH I inspected today was on a large lake lot and had been added on to several times. From the outside it was hard to tell it was originally an MH. From the crawl space it was easy to see the steel frame.

The mechanical systems are located in the original MH. However, this part of structure has been remodeled and what was once the kitchen is now a large laundry room with new water heater and forced air furnace. A standard water heater with atmospheric draft hood is installed.

As I view it, the structure has been modified to the point where the Manufactured Housing Standards no longer apply. For this reason, I am not inclined to write up the water heater. Just wondering how others would handle this issue.

The home is located in a rural part of Minnesota where the County has not adopted the State Bldg Code, so the modifications to the structure have not been permitted.

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I'm with you. But, I would note (in writing) that I am not inspecting to code compliance. I am of the opinion the client is not paying me for a neat nifty form filled out, but rather what is my opinion and experience. Of course you could get into nit pickin, but if it is safe and installed to mfg recommendations, what difference does it make?

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Hi Steve,

I think that as long as it has that full steel chassis underneath it and is built to HUD and DOT specs it will always be considered a mobile home. That aside, a gas-burning water heater and furnace aren't supposed to be installed in bedrooms or laundry rooms unless they use outside combustion air. Every time that clothes dryer kicks on, it is going to depressurize that laundry room and cause either one or both of those appliances to backdraft. The HVAC guy had his head tucked up his ass on that job.



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