Installing a multi-fuel stove in a mobile home

Perhaps one of my favourite additions to my new home is our Stanley multi-fuel stove!

Old fireplace

You might remember that our mobile home came with a big, bulky gas fire taking up a sizeable chunk of space in the corner. In my blog post about stripping out the old mobile home furniture I posted this video showing it being taken out:

New fireplace

We’ve installed a 6.4 kilowatt stove and it has made a huge difference to the warmth and comfort of the space. [Edit: After spending a full winter in the mobile home with no central heating, if we had our time back we’d have installed an 8kw stove instead].

See the lads installing it in this video:

So can you really install a stove in a mobile home?

Every installer I’ve spoken to told me has said the same thing ‘You’re not supposed to do it, but yes, you can do it, and it will be absolutely fine if it’s done correctly.’

Mobile homes have thin, hardboard walls so if they get too hot they will light up in flames. To overcome this, you need to use fireboard (special heat-proof board) to cover the walls around the stove. As you can see in the video, we used a brick-effect fireboard that can be painted with water-based paint.

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You also need to make sure that you have a generous slab of granite that gives plenty of space between the stove door and the floor. This prevents embers and ash from landing onto your floor.

Does it heat the whole mobile?

Most nights, the stove heats the kitchen/living area, the hall and the bedroom but on the REALLY cold nights, we sometimes wish we had the 8kw stove. We also hung thermal-lined curtains over all doors and windows, covered up some (not all) floor vents, and insulated the floor from underneath.

One thing we learned the hard way is that heat in mobile homes tends to collect at the ceiling (more so than in normal houses), making it too warm when you stand up and too cold when you sit down on your sofa. The best way to prevent this is to get a stove top fan and just place it on top of your stove. The heat rises from your stove and turns the blades, and the heat circulates around the room a lot more evenly.

How much did the stove cost?

The price for our 6.4 kilowatt stove plus all the fittings, pipes, H-cowl chimney and labour came to €1620. All quotes I got came in at €1500 or more. We got a Stanley stove, which is one of the best (if not the best) makes you can get.

The slab of granite is extra but we were lucky that a family member was able to source it for us as a gift.

Who installed it?

I was hoping to be able to name the installer here because I get a lot of people asking me who did we ask to install the stove. However, I had a bad experience and wouldn’t want to inflict this guy on anyone. Here’s what happened:

We chose the installer because he was recommended to us by a hardware store and they said he had specific experience with installing stoves in mobile homes. When he finished the job he tried to get more money out of us than he had originally quoted us. Then, when he left and we lit the fire, we realised that he hadn’t sealed it properly. We had billows of smoke coming out of the stove every night. The soot blackened some of the walls, which I eventually had to repaint. We called him and he told us that it was the fuel we were using so we experimented with every kind of fuel you can get and every kind of method of lighting the fire but the problem didn’t go away. When he came back to fix it, he moved the stove so that it was really off-centre on the granite slab and looked ridiculous. I called him to come back a third time and he finally fixed it.

What does it burn?

We light our stove with firelighters and wooden kindling, and we fuel it up with superglo coal or wooden logs. We don’t burn anything else in it.

Every day we clean it out with a fire tool kit and we put the ash into a metal ash bin outside. Once the ash is cooled, we throw it in the general waste wheelie bin.

Do you really need a stove?

 

–>YES!<–

If you’re going to live in a mobile home all year round in Ireland, you absolutely will need the stove or else you’ll need a lot of money to run electric heaters. Trust me, after a spending a winter in it, I know we wouldn’t have lasted without the stove. I had a reader message me to say that they tried living in one without a stove but had to move back into their parents’ house for the cold months. For the coldest months we lit our stove in the morning and kept it going all day and all night.

What colour should we paint the bricks?

What colour would you paint the bricks? I’d love to hear your suggestions.

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