Tag Archives: mobile home

Gas water heaters in manufactured homes and inspectors…

A couple of days ago I wrote about a problem I was having with an inspector.   It wasn’t the one I usually use.  The basic problem is that the inspector did not seem to understand about code for manufactured homes.  This created quite a problem and a lot of stress on the seller, the buyer and the real estate agents.  When I called him I told him it was a mobile home in a park and he indicated that would be fine.  Well it just wasn’t.

He carefully brought my buyer, her mom and grandparents and explained that there was no gap between the top of the water heater and the pipe.   He went on to explain that this wasn’t to code and was dangerous.  This was very upsetting to the seller who had her inspection report from 2004.  I found that confusing so I decided to investigate on Monday.  First thing I found the unit for sale in a couple of places.  I  emailed the inspector with the link and asked him if the code could be different.  He admitted that he didn’t do very many of these things so I should call a plumber.  Later he called a a guy from roto rooter and he basically stood his ground.  The AC guy came to fix the air conditioner and looked at the water heater and said it was just fine.  This is exactly the way it is supposed to be and it’s to code.  Because I am thorough (anal) I called Champion and they indicated this was as it should be.  I also called my plumber and he came up with the same thing and gave me a  lesson in water heaters for manufactured homes.  This water heater is to code.  To have a gas fired water heater in a manufactured home you need one that is approved for a manufactured home. If we did what the inspector wanted us to do we would have ruined the system and made the water heater dangerous.

Just in case you want to know the water heater takes the air from below and it is called a self contained system.  They cost around $800 new instead of $400 new.  You can convert to electric when it breaks and avoid the whole problem.


Now this puts me in a bad position because I recommended this inspector then basically had to get other opinions.  I have homes inspected to make sure they are safe and sound.  I am now in a position that I gave an opinion that I am not qualified to give after consulting and I have obtained written documentation from experts.  Our buyer was upset.. The sellers were upset.. My partner and I were upset..

The lesson I learned was when you have a different type of home it is important to ask if they do enough of these homes to inspect them.  My inspector created at least 10 extra hours for me.  I also suspect some other problems he pointed out might have something to do with it being a manufactured home.