How To Look At A House
McGarry and Madsen's home inspection blog for buyers of
site-built, mobile/manfuactured and modular homes
What is the difference between the electric service to a mobile home and a site built home?
Thursday, July 19, 2018
A site built home has electric service that runs directly to the home, either overhead or underground, with an electric meter typically on an exterior wall, and the service equipment (also called the main service panel) nearby or somewhere inside the home. There may, or may not, also be a distribution panel inside the home.
But the National Electric Code (NEC Article 550.32) requirements for mobile homes are slightly different:
- The main service panel is not allowed to be attached to or installed in a mobile home, with an exception allowed as noted below. It must be located within sight and not more than 30 feet away from the mobile home. It is typically mounted on a service pole (for overhead service) or service pedestal (for underground service), and the panel must be at least 100 amps and not less than the rating of the distribution panel inside the home installed by the manufacturer.
- A main service panel may only be installed in or on a manufactured home if the following seven conditions are met, from NEC 550.32 (B):
- The distribution panel inside the mobile home is required to be in an accessible location, and not in a closet or bathroom. Because it is a subpanel, it must have an isolated neutral terminal bar (not bonded to ground).
Because of this configuration, the main service panel often gets left behind when a mobile home is moved to a new site; but, it can be reused for a replacement mobile home on the same site if the amperage is adequate. Also, you might see a service panel that at first appears to be attached to a mobile home—but, if you look closer, it is actually mounted on the wall of a site-built addition.
Also, see our blog posts What is the minimum size electric service to a mobile/manufactured home? and Why is the National Electrical Code (NEC) so hard to understand and complicated? and What is the difference between a manufactured/mobile home water heater and a regular water heater?
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