For the 20 million Americans who live in mobile homes, energy efficiency is paramount. Beyond just helping to save money on heating and cooling costs, it aids in keeping the climate of your home from fluctuating in any weather conditions you may find yourself. Efficiency can be just as consistent in a snowstorm or a heatwave if energy management is done right.
Here are 31 ways to improve mobile home energy efficiency.
9 Basic Tips for Mobile Home Energy Efficiency
When it comes to mobile home energy costs, you can start by doing the basics. These not only reduce your electric bill, but also conserve the environment.
Air-sealing can work in all sorts of nooks and crannies to reduce heat loss or overheating. It is a valuable tool that can work for your ceilings, walls, and floors. You can even cover spaces underneath the kitchen and bathroom sinks and the doorways and windows.
Use Films and Coating
Besides simple insulation, you can also use films and coating to reduce the amount of energy your home absorbs. The advantages of these reflective films and coatings are that they are excellent compliments to average sunscreen. They provide UV protection and keep your home cool, thus reducing your dependency on cooling appliances and your AC and or fan consumption.
Service Your HVAC System Every Season
Your HVAC system takes punishment year-round. It stops dust and contaminants from getting into your home, filters the air, and cools you down—all of which can take a lot out of a machine. The vents can fill up with dust and dirt. If you don’t clean them every season, you will reduce their efficiency and soon find yourself with a contaminated home.
Semi-annually cleaning your HVAC system can be a huge cost saver.
Clean or Replace Your Furnace Filter
As with your HVAC system, your furnace filter can accrue a lot of gunk while it runs. Cleaning or replacing it will reduce contaminants in your home and maintain its functionality.
Install Sun Screens
Exterior sunscreens are incredible for blocking the heat of the sun. They can block up to 92% of the sun’s rays from heating your home. Over the entire year, that is a massive lump of savings on your energy costs.
Upgrade Kitchen Appliances
By upgrading your old kitchen appliances, you can reduce electricity costs simply by modernizing them. New appliances minimize energy use and can reduce your power costs for the year.
Install Exterior Awnings
Exterior awnings reduce the amount of sunlight directly hitting your door or home, thus heating it up. Think of it like installing a shade. Awnings can remain with your home even as it moves.
Seal and Insulate Your Crossover Duct Connections
Insulating your duct connections and sealing them up can reduce the contaminants accruing within your vent systems. Insulation is not typically a DIY job, but it can help keep your mobile home functioning in tip-top shape.
Injection or Spray Foam Insulation to Seal Cracks
Like air-sealing, injection or spray foam insulation can seal cracks, boosting mobile home energy efficiency. The only difference is that it can adapt to any gap or space that you put it in.
Spray foam is a great DIY tool. However, make sure that you only use it to cover up small areas. Anything larger than a 3-inch diameter hole requires foam or blanket rolls.
11 Ways to Improve Insulation in Your Mobile Home
Install Energy-Efficient Windows and Doors
Energy-efficient building openings are one of the most basic ways to improve insulation in your mobile home. Doors and windows are the two most significant entry points for wind, heat, cold, rain, and snow. Hence, it’s essential to seal them off entirely so that your home doesn’t lose or gain heat.
Energy-efficient windows and doors come with sealings and padding as well as several layers. That’s how they stop heat from leaving or entering your mobile home.
According to Architect Magazine, an energy-efficient window can reduce heat loss by 30-40%. Those gains are incredible and really matter when the heat is on, or the cold is beating down. These gains can also help you cut down significantly on your utility bills.
It’s more than just about repelling or conserving heat. It’s about improving your overall level of comfort.
Insulate the Belly of the Mobile Home
Think about how you insulate yourself during the cold. First, you put on clothing to cover your chest and legs. Without that, most of your body mass is exposed to the elements. Just like that, the belly of your mobile home is bare without insulation.
If you don’t insulate, you can lose a lot of heat or gain it from the underbelly.
The best way to do it is through cell spray foam insulation. Open-cell foam is also a viable option, but it’s more likely to capture and hold water. Meaning its application can result in fungus or mildew and minimize insulation, which is why you are better off opting for cell spray foam. It lasts longer and improves your insulation by a far more significant margin.
Be on the Lookout for Repairs
Mobile homes generally take more punishment than ordinary homes. Because they venture around the country and don’t stay in one place for too long, you should be on the lookout for repairs. Catching something that’s breaking down and replacing it can benefit your mobile home.
With regards to insulation, you should be on the lookout for repairs. Any leaks, cracks, breaks, etc., can upset your entire insulated environment.
Add Insulation to the Walls
Just like the belly of your home, the walls are also large areas for heat exchange. That’s why you need to install insulation on those walls and cover them completely, which can significantly cut down your utility bills.
Install a Belly Wrap
A belly wrap is a barrier that keeps out the elements, rodents, and other unsavory things. Therefore, it can serve several different purposes for a mobile home.
For example, it will keep the heat loss from the belly of your home to a minimum. It will also keep any moisture from attaching to the underside of your mobile home.
Belly wraps are particularly excellent for when you’re on the road because they will repel any muck or splashing water from the belly of your home. By reducing the buildup of mildew and fungus, you will also reduce the chances of any diseases or biohazards developing within your home.
Install Insulation for Your Roof
The roof is the final area from where you can lose or gain the most heat. It is at right angles to the sun and is in direct contact with sunlight for the entire day. Hence, it receives the bulk of the radiation from it.
When you cut that off, you can improve insulation by a tremendous amount and significantly reduce the heat absorbed by your home throughout the day.
Plant Trees to Reduce Winter Winds
You can plant trees around your home to reduce the impact of winter winds or to even provide shade around your home. This practice will not only help you cultivate a beautiful garden, but also give back to nature. It will also be a good thing for your mental and social well-being.
Planting trees is not very viable for mobile homeowners who move around a lot. However, it’s a very healthy practice for those who stay in one place for a few months or a year at a time.
Use Blow-In Insulation
Blow-in insulation is commonly known as loose insulation. It requires a certain degree of professionalism as well as the proper equipment. For example, you need to cut a small hole in a wall, the floor, or the ceiling. You can also use other areas of your mobile home where the application works.
Then you need to use a particular type of compressor to push insulation into the area. With the materials ranging from cellulose to wool, it’s a practical style of insulation.
Loose-fill insulation is excellent for mobile homes that need to move from place to place since it will hold no matter where you go.
Use Blanket or Roll Insulation
Blanket or roll insulation consists of both fiberglass and wool. It can also consist of plastic and natural fiber varieties. Perhaps the biggest plus is that you can purchase blanket insulation in any hardware store. It’s also a relatively easy DIY job.
This type of insulation works for attics or underpinnings in regular homes. Hence, it’ll work great for the floor or the ceilings of your mobile home.
However, there is a downside. You will need those areas to be accessible all the time if you have to replace the insulation.
Other than that, this is choice insulation for the often-mobile mobile home.
Use Foam Boards
Foam boards are very similar to blanket roll insulation and also can be a self-applied job. The only caveat is that it is not flexible. Instead, foam boards are very rigid, making it challenging to fit them into small or inexact spaces.
The few other downsides include that they’re not suitable for all areas of the home. The ceilings and the floors aren’t very hospitable to foam boards. They can become dislodged and loose, undoing the purpose of the insulation.
Poorly fitted doors are the bane of insulation. They can let heat in and out, basically defeating the purpose of insulation. You need to check out any doors in your home which have gotten dislodged or are leaning. They can let in a lot of cold air or let out heat, particularly in the winter months when the cold is at its peak.
Things to Install to Improve Mobile Home Energy Efficiency
While most things we’ve discussed up to this point require little investment, these are a bit expensive and may require some effort and higher expense for mobile homeowners. However, the payoff is worth it.
These installations are also for homes situated in one place for a long time.
Install a Geothermal Heat Pump
Geothermal heat pumps are perhaps the most energy-efficient renewable options out there. They can take energy from the ground and recycle it back to the ground. In addition, they can provide space heating and cooling at once. Hence, you can heat your home in the winter and cool it in the summer.
They are also the most cost-effective heating appliances to install. However, you can’t move them. That’s the con. If you’re looking to be genuinely mobile in your mobile home, then this option won’t work for you.
Add a Sunspace and Reorient Your Home
While this may not be as expensive as the other items on this list, it’s certainly a task that requires effort. Adding a sunspace and reorienting your home requires that you maximize solar exposure. You also have to do some landscaping for energy efficiency. Reorienting includes installing shading devices and redirecting sunlight.
All in all, this will improve energy efficiency and energy delivery to your home. However, it will also require that you account for the seasons and the sun’s position in the sky.
Add Solar Water Heating
Again, solar water heating requires effort. It won’t work for lightweight mobile homes, but for those that can withstand the weight, you can heat your home for free. You can use lightweight roof-mounted air collectors for water heating. You could also install heavier liquid-type solar collectors on the ground, but these systems are suited for manufactured homes that are not mobile for most of the year.
Invest In a Solar Electric or Photovoltaic System
You can use many solar energy units on the market today for mobile homes. They are light enough to install on the roof of manufactured homes and house solar or photovoltaic systems. These units can run anything within a mobile home and provide energy for the entire year in some instances.
However, you should know that in humid areas and during monsoon season, these systems are inefficient. They capture very little sunlight and will not help you lower utility bills.
Install a Small Wind Electric System
If you’re planning to stay in a rural area without many buildings, you should install a small wind electric system. It will give you enough power to run your home and also contribute to the environment.
Just make sure that your home is in an area with wide-open spaces. It should be an area with at least one acre of land. Of course, a wind-electric system can’t be used with a constantly moving home, as with other power generating systems.
Install a Micro-Hydropower System
If your home is near a stream or has access to flowing water, you can install a micro-hydropower system, which will generate enough power to run your home.
Micro-hydropower is another mobile home energy efficiency option for those that stay in the same place for a long time. It’s not viable for those who will move with their home to both arid and humid areas.
5 Ways to Reduce Your Mobile Home’s Energy Expenditure
You can improve mobile home energy efficiency in other ways than simply installing power generation systems and improving insulation.
Wash Only Full Loads of Laundry
When you wash only full loads of laundry, you save money operating your washing machine. It may be tempting to run the washing machine and dryer every day or every other day, but that wastes power and water.
Doing full loads of laundry at the end of the week will help you conserve both. Also, you’ll save on detergent, electricity bills, and even valuable time.
Use Cold Water Detergent
You can also save a lot on utility bills by washing your laundry in cold water. You can also buy cold water detergent so that you can offset any problems. This combination can save you hundreds of dollars over even just one month.
Change to Energy-Efficient Lighting
Energy-efficient lighting is one of the most basic DIY fixes for mobile home energy efficiency. As a result, you can reduce your electric bill and help conserve the environment. Choose LEDs instead of regular lighting and you’ll not only get more light but also reduce your annual electricity costs.
Install a Low Flow Showerhead
A low-flow showerhead may not get all the shampoo out of your hair, but it sure will reduce water and power costs. You will conserve water and thus reduce the yearly costs for your mobile home.
Keep Electric Baseboard Heat Registers Cleaned
The electric baseboard registers are integral to the operation. If they accrue too much dust or muck, they won’t function properly. Keeping them clean will reduce the chances of the electric baseboard catching fire or malfunctioning.
There you have it. These mobile home energy efficiency solutions will offer a variety of benefits, and the quantity presented here hopefully offers at least something everyone can employ.
We hope you found a few techniques from all the different strategies laid out that you can use to keep you comfortable and improve your mobile home energy efficiency.