Mobile home electrical systems are no different from those of site-built homes. They use the same codes and the same parts. The nice thing about these similarities is that it can help you locate wires and troubleshoot problems. In this article, we will discuss some common mobile home electrical problems that you might run into.

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Diagnosing the problem

The key to finding electrical issues is to establish where there is no problem. That way you can split the distance between it and where the problem is. Of course, this will be impossible if you are not able to visualize the wiring layout in your mobile home.

Electrical problems can be quite dangerous for you and your home so you must take safety precautions before you proceed with any fixes. Whether you are dealing with flickering lights, an outage or a power surge, the first thing you should do is check with the neighbors to see if they have the same problems. If yes, then you should contact the power company to handle the issue. However, if it is not, you need to investigate your mobile home to locate the problem. Here are some common mobile home electrical problems and what you should do about them.

Top Mobile Home Electrical Problems

A loose outlet cover

Warning level: optional               

A loose outlet cover will give you trouble when plugging in your appliances, but this is something you can easily take care on your own. Outlet covers are inexpensive at the stores, and you will be saving a lot by not calling in an electrician to fix it. All you need is a screwdriver to remove the old outlet and install the new one.

An outlet without power

Warning level: concerning

If you find that one of the outlets in your mobile home does not provide power, then you can solve the problem without a professional. The first thing you should try is to reset the corresponding breakers in the breaker box. What you must do is push the handle to the “off” side completely and then switch it back on. Most often than not, this is bound to work and fix the problem right away.

Incorrect bulb wattage

Warning level: Concerning

Incorrect bulb wattage is one of the most common problems, and you would be surprised at how many people don’t pay attention. The problem is overlapping. When you install a lamp with a higher wattage than recommended, then the fixture produces too much heat. In turn, the thermal protective device in that fixture gets damaged. Doing this puts you at risk for a potential fire hazard. Always check the wattage limit on the fixture; you can normally find a sticker inside before installing a light bulb.

Electric wire joined with electrical tape

Warning level: concerning

If there are electrical wires joined with tape in your mobile home, they must have a wire nut holding them firmly together. Having them twisted and taped together is wrong but having them untwisted and taped is even worse because then it becomes a fire hazard. Before you try to fix it, turn off the power to that circuit, remove that tape and clean the wires. Twist them together then twist a wire nut over them. If the ends are damaged, and they are long enough to allow 6 inches in the box, you can cut them off and strip it to make a clean splice.

Electrical wires

Exposed wires

Warning level: emergency

If you have exposed bare wires, then you should tend to the problem right away because they can short out. For instance, if you find an exposed wire from a terminal that’s not wrapped around the screw, you should strip back insulation from the wire, bend the bare part in a half moon and wrap it around the terminal clockwise. The bare wire should be under a tightened terminal screw.     

Power Surges

Warning level: concerning

Power surges are usually deadly to electronic equipment. Caused by anything from lighting strikes, faulty appliances, damaged power lines or bad electrical wiring in your home. While one surge only lasts second, multiple surges are dangerous because they can damage the electrical components in your home.

If this problem is plaguing you, it’s most likely that the culprit is an electrical device connected somewhere in your home. Remove any cheaply made power boards or devices from your outlet to see whether it stops. If it does not, it means that you are dealing with an even more severe problem. The best thing to do is install a surge protector in your mobile home to protect all your electronics.

Flickering lights

Warning level: concerning

There are several reasons why you might have flickering lights from a faulty bulb to old wiring and heavy appliances. If you are dealing with one flickering light, try twisting it tightly on the fixture. It could be a loose light plug so wiggle it gently to see what happens. If the lights flicker, replace it to stop the problem. If not, your large appliances might be the problem. The appliances might be fluctuating the voltage so plug and unplug them to see if therein lies the problem.

light fixtures

Circuit overload

Warning level: concerning

Circuit overload is one of the top mobile home electrical problems and is usually the cause for circuit breaker tripping. Most mobile homes might not have enough power points to cater to many electrical needs so if you find that the circuit breaker trips frequently, an overload could be the problem. You can prevent this from happening by removing the devices that are not in use, spreading electrical needs around, and not daisy-chaining power boards.

Safety first!

Even though these are some common mobile home electrical problems that you will encounter, safety should be your primary concern. If you don’t feel comfortable tackling any of these DIY issues yourself, contact an electrician to assist with at-home electrical repairs.

About Dan Leighton

Dan Leighton has been working in the mobile home industry for over a decade. His focus has been on sales and customer relations - making sure each person in the transaction is comfortable and fully transparent. He has a wife and one son. Dan continues to look for innovative ways to help both sellers and parks get the most bang for their buck.