So I am taking a break from my normal posting schedule because something very important to me is becoming more and more an issue and that is the safety of the consumer. To be more specific I will be focusing this article on mobile home gas water heater safety.
Every week I perform work in 3-5 mobile homes. Almost every water heater I look at is illegally installed. Usually what I hear is “a friend was helping me out and put it in” or “a family member put it in”. Finally the worst case scenario, the home owner paid a ridiculous amount of money to have a so-called plumber, install what is still a non-approved water heater in a mobile home. The later of these three really disturbs me because these guys are supposed to be licensed professionals.
What most people don’t understand is putting the wrong water heater in can cause insurance claims to be denied, warranties to be dropped and worst of all, possibly death by carbon monoxide poisoning.
See H.U.D is the governing authority when it comes to safety and construction codes of mobile homes. The H.U.D code clearly states that all fuel burning appliances must have a label on them saying that they meet the H.U.D standards. If the gas water heater in your home doesn’t have this label then there is a problem.
There are two types of gas-fired mobile home water heaters. First the direct vent model. This model draws its combustion air from a pipe directly connected to the bottom, has a H.U.D approval label and no draft hood. This water heater is to be used when access is obtained from inside the home to the water heater. Second is a non-direct vent model. This model looks very similar to a standard residential model. The difference is it has an approved H.U.D label and is only allowed to be used if the unit is accessed from the outside of the home.
These are some key components to look for when having your water heater replaced.
There are other requirements by H.U.D that have to be done during the installation in order to meet code. I won’t be getting too much deeper into the code. The best advice I have to offer is to hire a professional plumber to install your water heater and ask them to show you their copy of the H.U.D code. Your safety might depend on it.
Dan Moss, owner of Absolute Plumbing & Boiler, has been performing water heater installations on mobile homes in the Elyria, OH area since 1992 and is here to answer any questions you may have about your water heater.