Are Tankless Water Heaters Safe For Mobile Homes?

Ryan Womeldorf
by Ryan Womeldorf

Mobile homes can make for a more cost-effective investment for homebuyers and investors alike. While they may offer smaller spaces to work with, they can be brought up to current, luxurious standards and be made into a smaller, space-effective home.

Yes, it is safe to install a tankless water heater in a mobile home, however, you might need to change the wiring and setup. You can find tankless water heaters specifically designed for mobile homes. You might need to install proper wiring and gas lines if the model requires them.

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Do Mobile Homes Come With Water Heaters?

Other than being much smaller than a traditional family home, it is important to know that there are structural differences between the two. This is in part because there is far less structure to support and partially because it needs to be able to move.

For that reason, you will see that most mobile homes don’t come equipped with things that may seem standard in a more traditional single-family home. Water heaters are one of those particular items.

Can You Have A Tankless Heater in a Mobile Home?

Yes, you can absolutely have a tankless water heater in a mobile home, but there are a couple of things to be aware of. The first is that you need to know what potential on-site electric or gas changes will need to be made to accommodate the tankless heater.

With improper gas and electric lines in place, the water heater will not work properly, and you’ll be out a sizable investment. If you aren’t certain about the gas and electric lines on your property check with your local municipality.

No matter what home, mobile or traditional, installing a tankless water heater will require changes of some sort. This can greatly depend on whether or not there is currently an electric or gas water heater already installed in the home.

Benefits Of A Tankless Water Heater

In this day and age, there is a shift towards space-saving and energy efficiency. In fact, depending on the appliance that you purchase, there can even be tax benefits of owning a tankless water heater. Even without those tax benefits, there are more than a few reasons to invest in making the switch.

Energy Efficiency

This is the number one reason that homeowners of all varieties are making the switch to tankless water heaters. We as a society are looking to become more efficient in the energy that we use and making cuts wherever possible can be highly beneficial.

Here’s how effective tankless water heaters can be: a traditional water heater has an efficiency rating of between 0.5 and 0.6. What does that mean? For every $1.00 of electricity or gas that goes into the unit, $0.50 to $0.60 of it goes to the hot water.

For a tankless water heater, however, the efficiency rating is between 0.8 and 0.9. So, for every $1.00 of electricity or gas that goes into the unit, $0.80 to $0.90 goes right into the hot water. That is where you save money: lower the amount of energy that is ultimately lost by the water heater.


The biggest reason that many are making the switch to a tankless water heater is that the savings are too good to ignore. Sure, it might not be thousands of dollars every month, but that extra savings will definitely add up over the life of the unit.

In a year, you can expect to save anywhere from 20-30% over your current utility bill. That’s because tankless water heaters only use energy when hot water is being used.

Traditional water heaters, meanwhile, keep the tank filled with hot water that is available whenever it is needed. Purchasing a tankless water heater means that you see significant savings over the course of a year and well beyond.

Saves Space

Traditional water heaters are huge, heavy, and cumbersome. They require their own huge storage space for safe operation. And when they need to be replaced, it can make for a huge endeavor if that is something you plan on doing yourself.

Tankless water heaters can save a ton of space, which is premium in a mobile home. Anywhere that space can be saved on utilities and appliances means more space saved throughout the rest of the home.

In tighter spaces, that can be invaluable. And depending on the grade of the tankless water heater, it may be able to be installed on an outdoor wall.

(Almost) Limitless Hot Water

One of the biggest caveats to having a traditional water heater is that it takes some time for the water to heat up and it can run out before you know it. This is because tank heaters keep hot water stored up for later use. When that hot water is gone, you have to wait for more.

Tankless water heaters have heating elements built-in, so the water heats up as it is coming through the water heater. That means nearly instant hot water continuously streaming for almost as long as you can stand it.

Water Heaters For Mobile Homes

There are some tankless water heater manufacturers that make units specifically designed for mobile homes.

When you look into a tankless water heater for a mobile home, be sure to ask the manufacturer if they have any models that are HUD-approved. Keep in mind that you can’t just plug and play any tankless water heater into a mobile unit.

Mobile homes are required to obey the regulations outlined by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Since mobile homes are plumbed for particular water heaters, they can be rather complicated to replace, meaning the cost of mobile home specific water heaters is substantially more.

How Do Mobile Home Water Heaters Differ From Standard Water Heaters?

  • Outfitted with a securing strap kit
  • Have the hot water outlet connection on the top of the unit and the cold water inlet connection on the side.
  • Come with interchangeable propane and gas cavities so that the heater can be easily switched from propane gas to natural gas operation.

After finding one of the HUD-approved models, you need to choose whether you want an exterior or interior model.

Keep in mind that if you go with an interior model, you can install them in any room but that room has to have a direct vent outside and the ceiling and walls have to be made from at least 5/16-inch thick gypsum board. Not only that, but electric tankless water heaters will also require their own dedicated circuit as well.

Special Needs For Electric Water Heaters

Another thing to be aware of is that electric tankless water heaters will have special requirements before installing. The first is that new homes will generally require new breakers. This is to allow for a greater amperage level.

To get this done, you’ll need to talk to a local electrician. Costs can vary, but you can generally expect to spend about a third of the water heater cost on the electrical portion of the endeavor. Still, this is important to ensure that the water heater runs properly and without issue.

Special Needs For Gas Water Heaters

If you plan on buying a gas tankless water heater, the most important aspect is finding out what size gas supply line runs through your home and whether or not it is capable of accommodating a new water heater. If you are uncertain of the answer, check with your local gas company.

It is imperative that the gas supply line be the right size for the new tankless water heater. If it isn’t, the tankless heater won’t have the proper amount of fuel to keep running properly.

This can not only be costly in the short-term, but it can lead to a number of potential issues for your tankless water heater in the long run.

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Related Questions

Can I install a regular water heater in my mobile home?

In short, no you cannot just simply install a regular water heater into a mobile home as they will not have a HUD safety approval.Using anything else in a mobile home is against the law, will void your insurance coverage, and negate your manufacturer’s warranty. Always look for a water heater that is specifically made for use in mobile homes.Mobile home water heaters must also comply with local building codes, cannot be rented, and must have a non-adjustable pressure-relief and temperature valve.

How much does it cost to replace a water heater in a mobile home?

The cost to replace a water heater in a mobile home largely depends on the type of water heater you have. Since tanks are much cheaper and easier to install than tankless models, you can expect them to cost less – roughly $800, including the installation.Whereas, tankless water heaters can cost upwards of $3,000, plus labor, due to the complicated nature of the install. However, it’s important to note that opting for a tankless model can save you up to 25 percent on your energy bills because of less water consumption and low energy loss.

Ryan Womeldorf
Ryan Womeldorf

Ryan Womeldorf has more than a decade of experience writing. He loves to blog about construction, plumbing, and other home topics. Ryan also loves hockey and a lifelong Buffalo sports fan.

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