Mobile Homes

One of the new electrical things I learned after moving to Washington was running electricity into a mobile home.  (That was back in the ‘70s.  Today, the politically correct way of talking about them is to call them “Manufactured Homes.”)  The only mobile home I had looked up in Montana was my own.

I have installed the electrical service for some 300 or more manufactured homes since then.  Oh how the National Electric Code has changed in that time.  For many years now it has changed every 3 years.  Today’s rulings could apply to a shop, a garage, a manufactured home or a stick framed house.

When I first started hooking up the electrical power to manufactured homes I was working alone, so I devised some short cuts and simplified wiring methods so that I could do the job quickly.  In some mobile courts (or manufacture home parks) I have hooked up as many as three in one day.

In the early days, all of the homes were set above ground.  Later a “pit-set” came into practice.  The difference being that a pit-set home was set into the ground so that it was not so high off the ground.  It was fastened to concrete footings and gave a finished appearance of a stick framed house.

For homes that were set without a pit-set, you could find varying degrees of height under the home.  Some of those variations called for interesting if not challenging installations.  For example one of the mobile homes was set so close to the ground that in order to connect the electrical feeder to the home, and make the under-home connections I had to slide in on my back, head first.  For that job I was doing a change over from propane to an electric furnace.

As I worked under the home making the electrical connections I kept bumping my head against something.  I couldn’t figure out what it was and it didn’t seem to be overly bothersome.  The soil was very sandy.  When I completed the connections, I had to scoot myself out feet first.  Once again outside, I stood up and felt my head.  There was a significant lump on the outside of my cap.  It was sand mixed with blood.

I looked under the home and could see a board on the ground where I had been working with nails poking up out of it.  To take off my cap I had to remove the lump from my cap.  Then, of course, I needed to wash my hair.  It was a minor wound that quickly healed.

One of the worst circumstances to work in was if the set up crew had already skirted the manufactured home before I got there to do the electrical.  Add to that, if the access hole is on the opposite end of the home from where the electrical has to be connected to the home, it could call for extensive crawling and cramped working conditions.

You know, the electrical inspectors are aggravated by that practice also.  One of those times the electrical inspector refused to crawl under the home to check my work.  He kneeled down and peeked through the access hatch.  Then he asked me how I had done the work.  Then he passed the job.

Eventually nearly all the inspectors came to know my work.  For many years now they have trusted my word on what I have done…..

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