How Do Manufactured Homes Get Water and Electricity?

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Just like any traditionally built home, manufactured homes can tap into the main electrical grid, water main and public sewer. If there are none provided in your site, one can utilize off-grid power (via solar or generators), a professional well digging company for water and have a septic tank built for your home for sewage. This is why it is important to have these utilities scoped and quality checked before purchasing or building on your lot. It also gives the homeowner a clearer picture on all the expenses needed to get their home hooked up to essential utilities.

Image from The Cost of Moving a Mobile Home – What You Can Expect to Pay – Moving.com

Since the HUD Code in 1976, all manufactured homes in the United States already comply with all building codes like the National Electrical Code (NFPA 70, ANSI C-1). They are equipped with a distribution panel, circuit breakers, grounding systems, GFCI receptacles — all the electrical protection a traditional stick built home would have. This puts them at par with the safety standards of all homes whether built on site or in the factory. (1)

Manufactured homes link to the main electrical grid just as conventionally built homes. You can opt to go off-grid, powering the house through solar panels and power generators, which can help lower electricity costs. (2)

Be sure to check the availability, status and quality of the utilities at your site so you can anticipate the costs and utility requirements for your manufactured home. Get help from a licensed general contractor with experience of handling these utility hookups in your area. (3)

Water & Sewer

Water Supply

Your water supply is either supplied by the city, or from a well.

If sourcing your water from a well, you’ll need to contact a professional well drilling company to dig, get permits and help check the water quality if it meets standards in cleanliness and flow pressure. They will charge you depending on your soil conditions and depth they’ll need to dig to access the water. (4)

Additional costs may be laboratory testing of the water, the well casing, pump and electrical supply to power the pump. (3)

If availing of the city water service, you’ll have to pay a “tap fee” for literally tapping into their water main to connect to your property as a regular home would. This then runs through a water meter to measure how much you consume per cycle. The costs here will depend on your site location. (4)

Sewage

The sewer can be tapped from a public sewer system or an individual septic system per home.

Just as the water supply, check if your site has access to a public sewer system and inquire on the tap fees whether monthly or quarterly. A certified plumber will connect the main pipe from the street to your home. (3)

If your area doesn’t have a sewer system to tap into, you’ll have to contract a professional engineer and contractor to build a septic tank. They will size this according to your home and local building codes, as these will need permits, testing and need to be inspected by officials later on. They’ll also help determine which system is suitable for your land soil, whether conventional or aerobic. The bigger the home or the more toilets you have, the bigger the tank will be. (3, 4)

Electricity & Power

Electric

The first thing is to always check if your site can be serviced by a local electric company. Ensure their system comply with up to date codes (2019 as of now), as the current electrical requirement is 200 amps. So older systems need to be replaced and upgraded to reach this number. (4)

The electrical company issues a letter allowing the home to be electrically powered. Licensed electricians should then hook up your home to the power. The fees here are determined by how far your home is to the power supply. Farther distances means higher costs, which may pose a bigger problem for rural areas. (3)

Most manufactured homes are shipped without a heating and cooling system. Heat pumps, central air conditioning, or other combinations of heating and cooling systems may be installed on-site. The appliance must be listed by a nationally recognized testing laboratory, such as:Underwriters Laboratory (UL) (also Pittsburgh Testing Laboratories and American Gas Association for the U.S.)” (1)

Be sure to watch out for any signs of degraded wiring or electrical surge, such as buzzing, light flickering, outlets that spark, emit an odor or are inconsistent in power. These should be inspected and fixed by a qualified electrician immediately and put out of use till fixed. (1)

Opt for energy star appliances or geothermal heat pumps that can help lower the cost of your electricity bills! Some cities offer energy efficiency credits and may help offset the energy costs if you’re giving clean energy back to the grid.(4)

Other Power Sources

Some people use gas tanks such as natural gas or propane like an LPG tank for heating and cooking. This may require permits and inspection, as well as a letter from the gas company stating the service is available. These tanks must be connected to appliances by a qualified plumber or serviceman of the gas company. (4)

Being descended from mobile homes, storing tanks is always a little trickier for manufactured homes. Just like conventionally built homes, manufactured homes can have power through a gasoline tank, power generator, they can even have solar panels! (2)

Since manufactured homes closely relate to mobile homes, check out the alternative sources for power and storing utilities here! How Do Mobile Homes Get Water and Electricity? | Mobile Home Repair Tips

Image from Tribal Green Manufactured Housing | US EPA

How to Access Your Utilities

You may have an electrical box you can access at the back of the home. This will have the main power supply and grounding wires.

To inspect the plumbing systems, lift the top skirting rim and remove as many panels as you need to enter the space underneath.  (5)

Inside you’ll see the main drop lines from your plumbing fixtures and connection to the water main. (5)

For troubleshooting on all utilities, check out Jacobsen Homes’ piece on Utility Systems Guide for Manufactured Homes | Jacobsen Homes (jachomes.com)

Images from Step by Step Manufactured Home Installation! – YouTube

References:

  1. Jacobsen Homes. (n.d.). Utility systems in your Jacobsen Home. Utility Systems Guide for Manufactured Homes | Jacobsen Homes. Retrieved June 2022, from https://www.jachomes.com/Resources/Guide-to-Home-Ownership/After-the-purchase-what-happens/Home-Owners-Manual/Utility-Systems
  2. Wallace, P. (2022, March 8). How do mobile homes get water and electricity? Mobile Home Repair Tips. Retrieved June 2022, from https://mobilehomerepairtips.com/mobile-homes-water-electricity/
  3. Nelms, B. (2019, December 3). Private Property Utilities. Manufactured Homes. Retrieved June 2022, from https://www.manufacturedhomes.com/blog/manufactured-homes-anticipating-utility-service/
  4. Braustin Homes. (2019, August 14). Hooking Up Utilities to a Mobile Home. YouTube.
  5. Tarnow, K. (2020, November 24). Step by Step Manufactured Home Installation! YouTube.