35 Tips to Lower Your Mobile Home’s Energy Bill

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.

    If you have a tankless water heater, one great way to make it more efficient is by descaling it regularly. Descaling involves flushing your water heater lines with a solvent removing mineral buildup that can make it work less effectively and use more energy. By adding this simple maintenance task to your annual routine, you can optimize your tankless water heater’s performance and potentially save money on your energy bills.

    If you want to learn more about how to descale a tankless water heater, check out this helpful article: How to descale a tankless water heater. It provides easy-to-follow steps and all the supplies you need to descale your tankless water heater yourself.

    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!

    Thanks so much for reading Mobile Home Living!

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    Crystal Adkins
    Crystal Adkins

    Crystal Adkins created Mobile Home Living in 2011 after buying a 1978 single wide and searching online for mobile home remodeling ideas but finding very little. Today, it's the most popular resource in America for mobile home information and inspiration and has been visited over 40 million times.

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    1. A couple of less expensive options since your landlord won’t assist and these are out of your pocket…
      (1) You could try the plastic window insulation, a package is around $5 for a 3-pack. Maybe get one a month and start putting up in the most used rooms, eventually covering all windows. That should help some with drafty windows, or losing your A/C in the summer.
      (2) You can put in a water heater insulation wrap yourself, and the cost is $25-$30 at home improvement stores.
      (3) Check your exterior doors, if you can see light along the frame then you could replace the weather stripping, fairly inexpensive (around $6-$7 for a 10 foot roll) and it just sticks on, easy install.
      All of these are pretty easy to do yourself, no tools or skills involved.

    2. Please add that we only have space heaters to heat with and window units to cool. This mobile home is all electric.

    3. Here is my problem.
      I am a senior 63F renting an older mobile home. I am on disability.(not much money). I cant afford to move. The home I live in has been barley maintained. I do have a new alum. roof. I need to find CHEAP ways to make this place more efficient. ie… windows, are drafty, hot water heater isn’t insulated hek I dont think there is much insulation anywhere. Any updates made here will have to come out of my pocket. My electric bill is way too high. I need advice on things I! can do to lower my bills. I would rather pay a little to save alot in the long run. HELP?!!?

    4. I put carpet padding on exterior walls , then “wallpaper” with fabric. Result: perfect temp and good acoustics !

    5. Sealing rim joists makes a big difference as well. Use R10 foam board and expanding sealant to seal each rim joist. Air sealing makes a huge difference.

    6. Though mobile homes are considered the most affordable homes but such tips to conserve tips are always welcome. Thanks for these amazing tips.

    7. I do not like forced air heating /cooling systems .. I favor wall gas heaters/stoves and room window air conditioners instead.. The reason: I dont like floor registers often put in center of walkpaths all over the floorplans also I dont like ducts… that is difficult to service or keep clean .. Bacteria growth , etc.. health issues.. I prefer simpler systems and easy to maintain.. cheaper and more direct warmth or cooling than central forced air.. people tend to use firewood as direct heat needlessly simply because forced air is not as warm as wall gas heaters.. unless one turns up the thermostat and runs up the utility bills.. Please think again!!! We have firewood smoke pollution which is bad ! We have more of firewood smoke because of forced air systems that are not as warm !! In the past, people just turns up thermostat to feel warmer.. now it is not cheap to keep doing this.. so I urge you to adapt to today’s reality… Please start using wall gas heaters and room air conditioners !!!! Please listen! Explain to your customers why you offer wall gas heaters and room air conditioners.. and they will understand !! I think yo should!

    8. I am looking into window awnings. I will have to make it another year before I can get a heat pump so my window unit will have to do the job. I want to keep weather out and off of it. I am willing to DIY. Any ideas or links that you may have would be greatly appreciated.