How To Install A Hot Water Heater In A Trailer

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Last Updated on December 31, 2020

Much like any other static or mobile home, your trailer will need a water heater.

Having a trailer without a running shower or a hot water tap will seem unthinkable to most people.

Nobody wants to have to fill up their shower or wash their dishes with water boiled in the kettle.

Mobile and manufactured home water heaters both have very distinctive traits.

To be used in a mobile home, your water will have to have an official certification, with sufficient space and ventilation for the equipment with the heater tanks secured firmly to prevent too much movement.

How To Install A Hot Water Heater In A Trailer

But how easy is it to install your hot water heater? What are the major do’s and don’ts for ensuring that your heater works at its maximum capacity? What tools and materials will you need to complete the job like the professionals?

Well, don’t worry, trailer fans, because we’ve got a quick guide that will help you to install a hot water heater in your mobile home.

We’ll cover what you need to get your boiler certified by the HUD as well as the local building code requirements.

Getting HUD Approval

All heaters in mobile homes have to conform to the standards that are set by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to ensure that it is installed with the maximum amount of safety.

If your heating system does not conform to the standards of the HUD, then the chances are that it will also fail the local building code inspection, which will lead to issues if you’re trying to sell your home at a later date.

You will also find that housing insurance companies will not honor insurance claims of trailers that are not HUD-approved, again, making it very difficult when selling a property.

Water heaters for manufactured homes usually have all of the following features:

  • Side-mounted cold water inlet that helps regulate the flow of cold water into the unit. You can also get a hot water outlet on the side of your tank.
  • It should meet all the standards set by the HUD, especially regarding insulation and how energy efficient it is.
  • A temperature and pressure relief valve that is non-adjustable.
  • The water heaters for manufactured homes are generally a lot smaller than standard boilers.
  • Gas heaters should have sealed combustion if they are installed inside the premises.

Water Heater Fuel Types

When you’re changing your water heater, you’ll be expected to replace it with one that uses the same fuel source as the last one. The most common types of fuel that get used are electric and gas, although you can also find some units that run on oil.

Gas heaters use propane or natural gas. You can be looking to spend a lot more money on replacing your boiler if you want to convert from one fuel type to another, but it is possible.

If you want to set an electrical heater up in your home, then make sure that the electrical panel in your home has a dedicated 240-circuit circuit. If you have a gas heater, it will require a gas supply and special mechanisms such as combustion and exhaust.

You’ll usually have to provide a permit for installing new circuits or plumbing connections, which will need to be done by certified professionals. This will incur significant costs for replacing your water heater.

Where Will You Put Your Hot Water Heater?

Where you put the heater in your trailer will be very important, especially if you plan on using gas to fuel it.

If your heater is located inside the house within a closet or an alcove that has no access to your outside area, you must make sure that it’s installed in a sealed-combustion unit so that you have no connection between the heater’s intake, the exhaust and the air inside your trailer.

A gas heater that is stored outside your trailer – usually with an access door – also has to be approved for use beforehand and must have a sealed combustion element.

Equipment And Materials

These are some of the tools that you will need for installing your boiler:

  • Garden hose
  • Adjustable wrenches, pipe wrenches and tongue-and-groove pliers
  • Drill
  • A receptacle in which to drain the excess water from your tank

Here are some of the materials that you will need to install your hot water tank:

  • Fasteners to fixing the tank to the wall
  • Sheet metal screws
  • A discharge tube to remove the pressure from the TPR valve
  • Thread-seal tape
  • Gas-rated thread-seal tape
  • Gas-leak testing solution

A lot of the items on this list can be sourced from your local hardware store.

How To Install Your Water Heater

Here is a step-by-step guide that will help you install your next water heater:

  • Firstly, turn off the water and gas supply to your home. Turn off the gas control on the water heater then seal shut the valve on the gas supply line that is fueling the heater. Let the heater cool completely.
  • Drain the tank, using a garden hose to siphon off the water. Extend the hose to a drainage point, as you will have a lot of water to drain off. When you drain the water, also open the TPR valve on the water heater to prevent suction.
  • Once the heater is empty, you can then set about removing the old water heater. Disconnect all the gas and water lines, both inlet and outlet. Cut from the draft hood on the tank. Then unclip all the fastenings on the home’s structure.
  • Install the drip pan for the new water heater.
  • Add the TPR valve on your new heater.
  • Place the new water heater in the desired spot on top of the drip pan. Position the heater so that it is in line with the existing gas supply, water piping and vent duct. You can then secure the heater to the wall using the brackets and straps provided.
  • Install the draft hood onto your new heater tank.
  • Add a TPR discharge tube.
  • Connect the cold water supply from your home to the cold water inlet on the heater tank, using the thread-seal tape for extra security.
  • Turn on the gas supply to test your gas connection to ensure there is no leaking.
  • Fill the tank with water using the faucet in your house. Allow it to fill until the water is flowing out of the hot water outlet of your water tank.
  • Check that all the connectors are working once more, then start the pilot light according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

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