If I could only give one tip to someone moving into an older mobile home it would be to focus on energy efficiency. Older mobile homes are absolutely terrible when it comes to energy efficiency. There are two reasons older (and even some newer) mobile homes are not energy efficient. First, insulation and other energy efficiency products haven’t been all that great until the last couple of decades. Secondly, mobile homes are affordable because they are built as quickly as possible using affordable materials. Thankfully, you can lower your mobile home’s energy bill with simple projects and updates.
Reduce Your Electric Bill by Stopping Air Leaks in These 3 Places
A few small energy-efficient updates can make a big difference in your home.
One of my favorite mobile home manuals, Your Mobile Home, Energy and Repair Guide for Manufactured Housing by John Krigger, states that an excessive electric price from air leakage in mobile homes isn’t around doors and windows. After ‘extensive research and field experience,’ the author concluded that the return air vents in the floor and ceiling should be the first update you do to lower your mobile home’s energy bill.
The second area that should be updated for better energy efficiency is the ductwork and vents of your heating and cooling system. Seal around the joints of the ducting and the registers in your floor.
Your mobile home’s underbelly is the third place you should work on to lower your energy bill. You can read how one of our readers updated his manufactured home with new insulation, belly wrap, and vapor barrier here. Every mobile home built before 1995 should have its insulation updated under the home.
Lower Your Mobile Home’s Energy Bill with these 35 Money-Saving Tips
There are lots of things you can do to reduce energy consumption in manufactured homes. Fortunately, energy efficiency updates don’t have to be expensive or complex to work.
Improve Heating/Cooling Systems
Since your heating and cooling system leaks more than your doors and windows it makes sense to start there.
- Clean or replace the furnace filter
- Get a tune-up on the furnace
- Replace the furnace
- Clean or replace the air filter
- Clean the condensing cooling coils
- Get a seasonal tune-up
- Replace the ductwork
- Seal supply duct connections to boots, and registers
- Seal duct ends, joints, and cracks
- Make sure all registers are fully open and sealed
- Seal and insulate crossover duct and connections
- Update the insulation under the home
- Seal your air return vents
Read how one couple installed insulated foam board under their mobile home here.
Improve Lighting Efficiency
Lighting used to be a huge energy consumer. We use to install light bulbs in our well-house and under our home to keep the water lines from freezing (safely, of course). That tells you just how much heat was getting produced by a single bulb.
- Replace bulbs with LED
- Install timers on exterior lights
- Clean fixtures
Improve Water Heater Performance
Water heaters can consume between 10-20% of your total energy usage. Luckily, the best tips to lower your mobile home’s energy bill are relatively simple. For example, one study found that simply wrapping a water heater with an appropriate insulation wrap can save about $73 per year on your electric bill (Your Mobile Home, J. Krigger, page 188).
It is recommended that you update older water heaters to take advantage of better technology and energy consumption. Tankless water heaters are getting better and more affordable so I expect water heaters to become obsolete in a few years. Till then, these tips will help you save money:
- Insulate the tank
- Insulate water pipes leading from the tank
- Lower the water heater thermostat
- Clean the tank
- Install low-flow shower heads and faucet aerators
Landscaping is VERY Important
Three (3) properly placed trees around a small mobile home saved between $100-250 per year on heating and cooling costs during an energy-saving research study.
A study in PA showed that well-planned landscaping around smaller mobile homes reduced air-conditioning costs by over 75% (Your Mobile Home, J. Krigger Page 48).
- Install sun screens
- Install exterior awnings
- Apply reflective window film
- Use interior shades to block sunlight
- Install a reflective roof coating
- Place shade trees on the South, East, and especially the West sides of your mobile home to shade summer sun
- Place trees so that they reduce the winter winds but not so close that you lose air circulation around your home in the summer
Eliminate Leaks In Walls, Ceilings, and Floors
Lastly, we have tips about sealing air leaks up around your mobile home’s walls, ceilings, and floors. Basically, you want to seal any crack or hole that you find. I read that your electrical outlets are big energy wasters so you should ensure the box behind the wall and the outlet face is sealed.
- Patch/replace torn or missing bottom board
- Seal gaps and cracks in the walls, floor, and ceiling
- Cover window air conditioners
- Seal leaky windows
- Fix poorly fitting exterior doors
Reducing your power consumption will lower your mobile home’s energy bill. Start small with the outlets – I was amazed how much that helped the cold pockets in our single wide.
Do you have a tip that will save money on heating and cooling costs? Add it below!
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