Differences Between Mobile Home Water Heater and Regular Water Heater By Consumer Reports

The search for a new water heater can be overwhelming. More so, if you are not informed about the different types and the features to look out for. To help you make the right choice, we have decided to talk about two water heaters that are typically mistaken for each other – mobile house water heaters and regular water heaters. Before we talk about the differences, let’s describe what a mobile home is.

Mobile Home Water Heater

Also known as a trailer home, a mobile home is a prefabricated structure that is built on a permanently attached chassis in the factory before being transported to a site where it can be used as a permanent living space, a temporary accommodation or for holiday purposes.

Under the National Manufacturing Housing Construction and Safety Act of 1974, created by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, regular water heaters cannot be used in mobile homes. Only a water heater approved by the HUD for mobile homes should be used.

The Differences Between a Regular Water Heater and a Mobile Water Heater

There are three significant differences between a regular water heater and a mobile water heater we will discuss below. These differences are:

  • Supply of Power
  • Connection Position
  • Securing Strap Kit

Supply of Power

In regular water heaters, you get to choose either a propane water heater or a gas water heater. However, in mobile water heaters, you have these two power options incorporated. The heaters feature interchangeable gas and propane openings, so you can use the heater whether the mobile home runs on propane or gas.


Mobile home heaters and regular water heaters have different water outlets and water inlet connections. This is a very simple difference, yet it makes them stand out individually. On a regular water heater, the cold water inlet and the hot water outlet are both located at the top. However, on a mobile home heater, the cold water inlet is located at the side, with the hot water outlet situated on top of the heater.

Securing Strap Kit

The installation of mobile home heaters is quite peculiar, and so it comes with a securing strap kit that ensures a smooth and convenient installation. The securing strap holds the water heater in place, such that when the home moves around, it doesn’t fall off. A regular water heater does not have this feature, however, as there is no need for a securing strap to hold the heater in place.

Final Thoughts

It would be best if you did not use a regular water heater in a mobile home as this goes against the standards of the U.S. Housing and Urban Department. Also, the warranty and insurance coverage on your water heater will become void if you use a regular water heater in a mobile home.

Another reason why regular water heaters are not approved by the Housing and Urban Department for mobile homes is that the square intake vent at the base is not entirely sealed.