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Frozen Pipes on a Mobile Home

Q. My daughter lives 100 miles away in a mobile home she recently bought. She went away for a few days and turned off her water. She had also been working on the valves that supply her washing machine a couple of weeks before she left. She ended up replacing them because they were corroded and to rule that out as a reason her washer wasn't working... Today she called and said during her shower, the water started ok, but soon slowed to just a trickle.
Here are some of the things I told her to try
I told her to make sure she turned the supply valve completely on, she said she did.
I asked her if both hot and cold water don't work, neither works.
I asked her to check to see that the light on the heat tape is still on, it is.
She also said that under her trailer is warm, so she believes that the mobile home plumbing pipes have not frozen. (I was thinking it might be that, because we've had some below zero temps in the past week or so.)
What else could it be?
Thank you!
The mobile home was built in 1973 and had been empty for several months before she bought it. She moved in just before Halloween.

A. (My reply question)Is she on a well or public water system?(Reply answer) Utility.
If you believe that the pipes are not froze then the first thing you need to do is to make sure that the supply from the utility is OK. I had my water freeze on the city side of my meter last year. You may need to have the water company to check that water is actually flowing through the meter. Then we can go from there.
Update: You were right!  The main water pipe was frozen before it got to her meter.  Thank you so much for your help.

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Critters in the Duct Work

Q. Hello, I have a 1995 singlewide mobile home, and a critter got into the ductwork, is it possible? I would like to know what the ductwork is made of and how a critter could get into it.

A. Yes, anything is possible. If it is the original duct it will more than likely be made of aluminum. Now with that being said I will tell you this. Lots of different critters can chew through aluminum, squirrels for one can do it. On some homes the end runs sometimes are flex duct that will continue on to the last duct at the end of the home. You can take off the register cover and see if it is flex. This flex duct is usually plastic and looks like dryer vent duct. I had a mouse chew through one of the plastic ducts and get in. I replaced it with metal duct. If you have a critter living in the duct work you need to get it out if for nothing else sanitary reasons. After the critter extraction be sure to repair any damaged duct work. I suggest you call your local animal control people to see if they can help. If not you may have to call a critter removal service. Some pest control companies do this type of service.

Point of Use Water Heater for Instant Hot Water

Q.  Our mobile home water heater is at one end of the house far from the furthest bathroom. Hot water takes forever to travel that distance. We would like to install a small point-of-use water heater to speed up that process. The question is, can we install it under the kitchen sink to have quick hot water there and faster to the furthest bathroom or are we better off to install right in the bathroom...
The next question is, is there a way to install it so it will provide quick hot water to both the bathroom sink and tub???
A.  I would place it near the bathroom since that is where you want the water the fastest. Be sure to get a size that will accommodate your usage and remember that you also have to run electrical wiring for the unit. Do a lot of comparison shopping before you buy.

Heat tape and insulation

Q. Who typically installs heat tape and insulation? The folks who did the well work just strung the lines along the ground and they need to be winterized.

A. It would be better if the pipes were buried at least below the frost line, but check local recommendations for depth. I did my own heat tape. It is not hard to do. Just measure how long the exposed pipes are then get the length of heat tape to match and install per the instructions they usually recommend wrapping in aluminum foil before installing the tape. I then covered that with foam pipe wrap. You will need to call some insulation companies to see about getting the insulation installed if you don't want to DIY. I did my own, of course. That is also not difficult to do. Whether it is a single or double wide it goes in the same way, follow the instructions on the insulaton. R-19 or above would be good to use.

Heating and A/C

Q. My husband and I are purchasing a 14 year old single wide mobile home. When we purchased it we had to pull up all the carpets, but the floor under them was ok , so we put down laminate flooring. We are sealing the roof this fall and replacing a few walls that have gotten soft. MY question is this, are heating and air unit does not cool properly at all. When we inspected the ducts, there are several that have eroded and leaking air under the trailer. My husband called a heating and air company for prices on a new unit and duct work. They told him that the way trailers are built they can not put new duct work in. Is this correct? Because if it is there is no reason to get a new unit if the air is going to leak under the house. We need help, we do not know what to do.

A. Yes, it can be done. I did my double wide mobile home. Same as a single except it has two troughs. It requires removing the existing trough (the long metal duct that runs the length of the home) or simply cutting it out where the boot goes through the floor at the existng registers and installing new boots, flex duct and a return vent. You could also consider a mini-split unit that requires no duct work. I turned the cubby hole where the inside unit was to a linen closet. Look here for mini split info , , and they heat and cool. The compressor sits outside and freon lines are run to the individual units inside. No duct work required and no air leaks. Some units look like a painting hanging on the wall if you like to camouflage it, pretty cool idea. The mini split is very efficient and I think the prices will just about balance out. With multiple units if one was to go out you still have heat or a/c with the other one, something to think about. Prices you will have to get locally. Get several estimates, an informed shopper is a happy customer.

Outlets have no power, Breaker trips

Q. I am very paranoid about electricity.
but alias I have a problem. I think I have a bad circuit breaker. 3 outlets have no power.
the breaker threw about 5 times last week. now, all the receptacles are dead.
the breaker is not physically hot to the touch.
So I plan on killing the power but I've heard of stuff like a live neutral ?
What does this mean ? How would I test for it ?
I have a CAT III 6-600v ac/dc tester. it can also check continuity.
it also has a polarity function.
My plan is to kill the power and box(I have an outside pole/box) and inside panel,
then double check it that i have no power.
My question is detecting a "hot" neutral ? How can I be sure ?

A. Check for voltage between the ground wire( green or bare conductor) and the neutral or white wire. Usually if there is a load down line i.e. some device that is connected to the circuit that is in the on mode power will still be passing through the circuit. I also suggest checking the affected outlets for any bad connection, corrosion or damage and replace as necessary. You may also want to make sure that there are not any devices plugged in that is tripping the breaker. Breakers do go bad. After you kill the power go into the breaker box and swap wires from the suspected breaker and one of the same current rating that is known to be good and see if the problem reoccurs with the different breaker. If it does reoccur check the outlets. If it does not reoccur suspect the breaker.Look at my website for complete answers to your open circuit question.

Update... It was both an open circuit at an outlet connection and intermittent circuit breaker. Double whammy, frustrating to troubleshoot.

Mobile Home Bathroom Tub Wall Surround

Q. We have a mobile home at Lake Havasu, California. The bathroom wall around the tub needs to be replaced. do you know where we can buy 4x8 vinyl (or whatever you recommend)panels for replacement? Any help you can give or someone in the Lake Havasu or Orange County, California area where we can purchase these panels would be greatly appreciated. Thanking you in advance for your attention to this matter.

A. If you have a 5' x 28'' bath tub or larger you can get a kit that comes in a flat box. I have added some tub surround suppliers on the main website Mobile Home Tub Surround Page. All home improvement stores have these. I have installed them in many mobile homes. Lowes, Home Depot and other stores also carry 4' x 8' sheets of materials you can use for bathroom wall panels on the paneling section. They are found in the mill works department where the windows and doors are, but will require a level of expertise to install them. Just be sure to use the tub surround adhesive and not liquid nails. It will bleed through. It is labeled for use on tub surrounds. Follow the directions and don't forget the caulk.

Water Filters for Mobile Homes

Q.  We have purchased a single wide mobile home. 3bed 3 bath

We have very unpleasant water (it is orange). I did a water test and it says it is high in iron.
So just for my piece of mind I am wanting to install not only a water softener but a water filtration unit.
Both pieces are relatively big, and out water heater is located in the master bedroom closet.
Should these things be installed inside? Can they be put outside in a shed? or would it be better to install them in the closet as well?

A. I had a reverse osmosis system once on a previous home. The unit was outside next to the home where the water line attached to the home home. I had no problems with it being out there. You will want to make sure that it is protected from the elements, such as freezing temps. Your installer should be able to address any questions that you might have. I currently use a whole house filter that takes care of impurities. however it does not soften the water. Shop around and ask lots of question before you buy. You can go to my website to get complete information on whole house water filter systems and to do some research to get an idea of what questions you may wish to ask in relation to your particular needs. An informed shopper is a happy customer.

Where does the power between the two halves of a double wide mobile home connect

Q. We have been living our 1993 double-wide about four years. We got zapped by lightning not long ago. Everything electrical works except the front half of our mobile home. No problems at the breaker box. We were told to check the plug that connects the two halves. We have insulation on the underside. Do you have any clues as to where down the middle that the plug usually is. I don't want to go hacking up the insulation along the seam until I find it. I would rather know where to look, before I begin taking the insulation loose. Any help would be greatly appreciated......Thank you.

A. If it has the plug together type of connection I have usually found them at one end of the home and usually nearest the breaker box end. Look under the home for anyplace that may seem to have been disturbed or patched sometimes with a small board. In some cases the connecting halves are coupled electrically in a junction box located along the marriage wall. They will usually have blank cover on them. I find these usually in closets. or even kitchen cabinets. Please let me know what happens...Don

Look at this web page for doublewide mobile home crossover electrical connection junction

Condensation on duct work under a mobile home.

Q. My a/c trunk line under home is dripping wet, I tried to look for any leaking pipes, but found none. Can it be condensation?
A. I would say yes, especially if the A/C has been running a lot. There is a good chance that the duct work insulation needs to be better.
 Visit for a lot more answers and help on this subject.

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