Asked on Nov 04, 2015

Electrical problems in my mobile home

by Jill
Recently one morning I was running my blow dryer when all of a sudden it just stopped dead. (Some of you I am sure can relate to an overheated blow dryer and the fact that they stop running when they get too hot.) But later that evening when I came back home, I realized that the bathroom lights, fan and the plugin wouldn't work. Then as I was checking out everything else along the center line of my mobile home, the light in my closest, and a plugin in my living room are all dead too.
In the past few years I wondered if I had an issue because the home had settled so much and probably needed to be re-leveled. Our home is quite a large mobile home and over time we could see the little signs. Water from a spilt glass running across a counter top and so on. I also noticed within a few years that in the far bedroom at end of the home and in the master bathroom at the other end, both light switches had issues. Neither one would turn on with out wiggling them around.
I am still trying to save for the cost of re-leveling, but now how this electrical issue. But my question is can they be related? I know that mobile homes systems are basically one sided when it comes to plummbing (kitchen, bathrooms, and all water requiring rooms are on one side). But the electrical and heating units are on both side, and are joined together when the two sides of the home are joined. But how are they joined? By plugging the two sides together under the house? Could they be pulling apart?
Or could this be from the electrical circuit box? I checked them all, turned them off, then on again. Everything is back on, and yet those switches and that one plug still won't work. Could it be a circuit in the box is dead? Either way, I would like some advice BEFORE I call out an electrician cause I don't know what is going on, and don't want to be ripped off.
  20 answers
  • Janet Pizaro Janet Pizaro on Nov 04, 2015
    It sounds to me your problem is in the electrical box. Perhaps your circuit breakers went bad. Personally I would have the problem looked at as you do not want to have a fire.
    • See 3 previous
    • Dee Dee on Dec 10, 2020

      I like Janet's suggestion that maybe you should have a licensed electrician check out your circuit breaker box. In our case, the wires weren't grounded and some of the the wall outlets didn't work. There were issues with the ceiling fan switch that needed to be moved around a bit to get fan to work. It did become a fire hazard when we could hear cracking inside of the walls. We had to call the Fire Department to make sure there wasn't a wall fire.We had to call an electrician and have the problems fixed. Several up to new code outlets were installed,1 or 2 extra breakers were added and the ungrounded wiring was fixed. It wasn't expensive and the it only took the two licensed electricians about 3 hours to do all of this work. The prior owner added a family room & because he thought of himself as a handyman - the wiring was a mess. The house is about 50 years old. The repairs were well worth the cost to be able to sleep at night knowing that you and your family are safe. Good luck to you.


  • Lindy Lindy on Nov 04, 2015
    If you have to wiggle a switch to turn it on you need to replace it. Start there, its's very easy, you just have to make sure you've shut the power off in your bathroom. The other issue sounds like an overloaded circuit where too many things are on at the same time. Bottom line, call an electrician to check the electrical panel, replace the wiggly switches.
    • See 2 previous
    • Jill Jill on Nov 04, 2015
      @Lindy Thanks Lindy, so do I! I do know a little about electrical, but it always helps to ask for advice first just in case there is something I didn't know or missed. Sad part, it is something I don't think I would ever handle for myself. Although I have switched out a few switches and plugs, I am scared to death to mess with it myself, because my dad had a family friend who was an electrician who was electrocuted when I was a kid. That doesn't make me want to try anything myself now that I am older. Gee, and I used to be so brave....LOL!
  • Shirley Kalinosky Shirley Kalinosky on Nov 04, 2015
    It's probably an overload. I had to have the lines split and new breaker box put in. It's safer to have less on the line. Call an electrician.
    • Jill Jill on Nov 04, 2015
      No, nothing is overloaded. Not running too many things on any one plug, in fact most aren't used. But I will have my brother will look at it when he gets back from vacation. He does A/C so maybe he can figure it out and I won't have to spend big bucks on an electrician. I just hate waiting another week to do it, and might end up having to call a repairman. @
  • Chris Chris on Nov 04, 2015
    Our trailer has a GFI (Ground Fault) button on the outlet in the bathroom. There is a small button that needs to be pressed to reset the power to the outlet when it is blown. Our outlet also affects others in the trailer. Search for a GFI in your unit and give it a try.
    • Jill Jill on Nov 04, 2015
      No, it's definitely not that. That was the first thing I checked. @
  • Shari Shari on Nov 04, 2015
    The first thing that came to my mind was the possibility of a GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) safety plug tripping the circuit. My house has GFCI plugs in my bathrooms and, sometimes without my knowledge, they will trip the circuit and cut the power to any other plugs or lights on that circuit.. The way I generally realize it is when I plug in my blow dryer and it won't work. My GFCI plugs look similar to the photo I have attached and when I find plugs, lights etc. not working, all I have to do is push the reset button on the plug. If any of your plugs have little buttons between the 2 plugs (even if they aren't colored) they are probably GFCI plugs and pushing one of the buttons will probably restore the power to the plugs, lights, or whatever isn't getting power. This article explains GFCI outlets: I'm not an electrician and basically know nothing about electrical matters (other than the GFCI plug) so I can't really address the other issue you are having with the switches you have to wiggle, or whether you are having more major issues from the settling of your home. If hitting the reset button on your GFCI plug(s) doesn't work, or you don't have GFCI plugs, I don't think it would be a bad idea to call an electrician. Asking friends and neighbors for recommendations and then checking out the names they give you with the Better Business Bureau is a good way to find a reputable company. Or, if you have another service repairman you trust (plumber, air conditioning repairman etc.), they can often refer you to an electrician they have worked with on other jobs. For example, our roofer gave us the name of a guy who does good drywall work. The guy who built my kitchen cabinets gave me the name of a guy who does bathroom remodels. Since you live in a mobile home, you may have a local business that carries building materials just for mobile homes and they can probably refer to tradesmen. My daughter's mobile home needed a new back door and we wanted to put up a carport, so the local mobile home building supplier where we bought the door and the materials to build the aluminum carport gave us the name of someone they recommended for installation of both. I was so pleased with the guy's work and prices, I had him come back and install a new front door on my house (which is not a mobile home).
    • See 1 previous
    • Jill Jill on Nov 04, 2015
      No Shari, it's not the GFCI. I already tried resetting it before when this initially happened. I know all about them. I also have one in the other bathroom that is tied into an outside plug in my carport. Learned my lesson that if the bathroom's GFCI trips and turns off the outside plug doesn't work. Hmmm...think I will have it put on anther circuit now that I think about it.
  • Ellen Ellen on Nov 04, 2015
    From experience if your mobile is older you have a possible couple issues both of which require a licensed electrician with knowledge of mobile home quirks. You could have only half power which results from the source pole to your home and the other is that your electrical demand is outstripping the electrical box capacity. Attending to things like re-leveling your home is always adviseable.
    • Jill Jill on Nov 04, 2015
      @Ellen, thanks. My mobile home isn't that old. Under ten years, so all electrical would have to be still current with code because nothing has changed in that amount of time. We don't have source poles here. Our electrical is all underground in this area, if that is what you are referring to. Besides, even if that was the issue, wouldn't it mean that it wouldn't be more than one line off a breaker would be out? As I said before, I don't have anything overloaded on in any plugs in my house. Most of them aren't even in use. But, that really doesn't mean a circuit isn't carrying too much on it now that I think about it. I guess this will have to be traced down when I have it looked at. Basically I do have some knowledge of electrical being my dad was and my brother is a general contractor. But not with mobile homes. That is done a bit differently because they come in pieces and everything is put together and plugged in or connected. I am hoping to find someone here that has a little bit of experience with mobile home wiring to enlighten me.
  • Babs Babs on Nov 04, 2015
    I'm not an electrician but this happened to a friend (in a double wide mobilehome). Found out that the Ground wire failed on just 1/2 of the mobile. The opposite side worked fine. Hope this helps.
    • See 2 previous
    • Dee Dee on Dec 10, 2020

      It sounds as if Shari has a fine suggestion-to get referrals for good reasonably priced electricians. There are reputable electricians who will do a good job while at the same time not over charging. Electricians like every one else who are established don't want there years of trains and hard work & reputation to be destroyed by over charging or doing unnecessary costly repairs. Word of mouth is important to business owners. Stay safe.

  • Z Z on Nov 06, 2015
    Jill, were you able to get your electrical problem fixed? If so what was the cause? Knowing what you found out could help other Hometalkers.
    • See 1 previous
    • Z Z on Nov 06, 2015
      @Jill, I just don't understand "professionals" not showing when they say they will. That happened to us so many times at our last home. After moving into our current home, we found out that one of hubby's coworkers was married to an electrician, whom we knew, but didn't realize what he did for a living. He does anything we need in a very timely manor. Check with friends, family, at church, or where you work to see if anyone knows, or is married to, a good electrician. You might be surprised like we were.
  • Lindy Lindy on Nov 08, 2015
    Jill, here is a link to a site "Home Advisor" that is free and has a 5 star rating with the BBB‎ I did a test run on it myself using 92507 zip so there is hope on finding someone recommended by others. Good Luck!
  • Pat Pat on Nov 08, 2015
    Had my large mobile home re-leveled due to major hurricane damage. Homeowner's insurance covered the cost. Perhaps what you need is a new electric panel box? Your home is older? Also, If you live close to ocean, salt water corrodes.
    • Jill Jill on Nov 13, 2015
      No @Pat, Don't need a need electrical box and I don't live anywhere near the my home is NOT that old!
  • Les and Gina Les and Gina on Jan 21, 2016
    Les and I replace all the outlets and switches when we get another mobile home to remodel. Most mobile homes have a built in box with the outlet or switch so you will need to purchase sheet rock boxes ( they have little pop out tabs at the top and bottom) for all the outlets and switches you want to replace. Go to your main breaker box and shut of the main power that will kill all the juice everywhere in your home. The is usually located at the top of your box good luck just remember black wire to brass screw
    • Jill Jill on Jan 23, 2016
      Thank you @Regina Tague, but I already know about the difference between the mobile home switches and the stick built house switches. There is a difference for use in mobile homes, but this issue is with the wiring. I have traced down all the breakers in the box to some extent (they were unlabeled) but I am unsure which one still covers the area where the electrical is burned out. I also found that the wiring problem also covers part of my laundry room and runs our the outside and down the centerline and thru one back section. I am going to have to rewire I think. That means removing wall panels and maybe some flooring. :(
  • Les and Gina Les and Gina on Jan 23, 2016
    I had a simular problem my ceiling fan the light in the laundry room and all the outlets that ran along the hole north wall didn't work so I called an eleitrcion and he had the machine that found a bad outlet in my master bedroom so he changed it and everything work. I don't know why 1 outlet caused all that problems but it did.
    • Jill Jill on Jan 25, 2016
      @Thanks Regina Tague. I had tried doing that in the bathroom already thinking it was where the problem. Recently we found out there are more switches and plugs in the laundry room that are also not working on just one side of the wall. We are now going to have to back track along that line and see if it is in another switch or area closer to the breaker box.
  • Ellen Ellen on Jan 24, 2016
    We have that problem here occasionally with older mobile homes and have found that it is at the POLE. there are usually 2 wires from the pole to the mobile and one of them has come lose or undone or burnt, but then you operate on what's called "half power". We've had electricians here check these places out and assure us that no that's not the problem and it turns out that it is too. Please check this out before re-wiring your mobile.
    • See 1 previous
    • Dee Dee on Dec 10, 2020

      This conversion could go forever. I know that I am not an electrician and I am not rich. I do know that we took the Fire Department seriously when they told us to get a licensed reputable electrician to resolve the problems. Safety comes first. Please let us know if your problems have been safely resolved.



  • Ryan Bielobockie Ryan Bielobockie on May 21, 2017

    same here

  • Jill Jill on May 26, 2017

    Well, it's been a long time and a lot of money spent, but we found out what the problem was. Under the mobile home is an insulation covered by plastic to keep it dry and keep heat or cool in. Apparently, I had a leak in my master bathroom shower and the insulation got soaked pretty good. Black mold had grown and run down the side of the mobile underneath. The electrical wires were sitting in the wet insulation which then attracted pests (rats, skunks or oppossum probably) and they chewed thru the electrical wires underneath the flooring. My neighbor's son's best friend builds homes for Fleetwood in our city and so he came and took a look and discovered the problem. The entire end of that side of the house had to be rewired.

  • Undrie Thomas Undrie Thomas on May 22, 2020

    I have six plug in on 1 side of my double wide that is showing 102 volts ac and not working and 3 light switches in the same room not working also what’s the calls of that to happen and what can I do to fix the problem

  • Michael Michael on Sep 07, 2021

    lights and some power losing power come on the goes by itself and some plugs have 130 volts

  • Cameron Cameron on Apr 02, 2024

    The plugs that don't work might be on the same circuit as a GFCI plug so maybe you may need to reset the GFCI plugs in the house. If that don't work call an electrician out;

  • Johnavallance82 Johnavallance82 on Apr 03, 2024

    Have an electrician come and sort it out! Not work killing yourself to save a bit of money especially when you don't know what you are dealing with. Get a quote or two first.

  • Deb K Deb K on Apr 08, 2024

    Hi Jill, hope this helps you. I think this may be a problem with your breakers, sometimes the individual breakers wear out or just fail. I would have a look at the breaker box or have an electrician come in and take a look.