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Heating with a water heater

Only specific models of water heaters are rated for use in mobile homes. Chances are that your heat loss will be greater than the water heaters capacity. I spent two very cold winters in a mobile home that had an oil-fired pot-burner furnace. On really cold nights, I had to sleep sitting in a chair with the front access door removed from the furnace to keep moderately warm. Anywhere else in that tin can on those cold nights & you could literally see your breath!

If you need to penetrate any floors or pass through unheated spaces, you'll need to add hydronic glycol too.

There are outdoor boilers and 'hot boxes' designed to house boilers or water heaters outside the home. A bit expensive, but your safety from CO & fire comes first.


  • Tom Brennan
    Tom Brennan Member Posts: 1
    How do I use a water heater to produce home heat?

    I have a mobile home that has a forced air heat system. I hate it. I understand that it is possible to run forced water baseboard off a water heater. I wonder if this requires a special type of water heater and if there are plans available. I am very comfortable with running pex and general plumbing practice but I would appreciate specifics regarding model and so forth. The hous is small and of course all one floor. About 8 hundred square feet. Thanks!
  • kevin coppinger_12
    kevin coppinger_12 Member Posts: 27
    probably a...

    pretty good chance that it would be a no. That water teps would need to be so high that it would be inefficint and not designde temps....a boiler would be a better choice. kpc
  • hr
    hr Member Posts: 6,106
    One option

    might be the Bradford White Combi2. It is a 50 or 75 gallon tank with a coil inside for hydronic heat.

    I believe these can run about 160F, check their website for more specfics. They come with a factory supplied mix valve to limit the domestic side temperatures.

    That may be plenty to run some fin tube or panel radiators.

    A heat load calc for the home would give you some data to design around.

    Proper venting and combustion air supply is critical. Consider hiring a licensed contractor to assure you have a safe installation.

    A CO detector is an excellent investment also.

    hot rod

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