Although details may vary slightly from home to home, the average mobile home built up to the mid 80's is constructed with 2 x 4 in. exterior walls and RSI 2.1 (R-12) batt insulation. From the mid 80's to present day: exterior walls are 2 x 6 in. walls with R-20 batt insulation. Ceiling insulation is R-24 to R-34.
Mobile homes built before the mid-1970's are less airtight than newer homes. Generally, the leakage areas are distributed all throughout the unit, but in double-wide homes, the joint between the two halves can be a source of significant air leakage. In fact, if you combine all sources, there is an average 12 x 13 in. air gap.
Homes with forced-air systems often do not have cold air ducts which inhibits ventilation of the entire unit. Homes usually sit on pile foundations with an un-insulated, unheated crawl space.
The following are improvements you can make that will help you save energy in your mobile home. The potential for savings varies on the year and condition of your unit and your location. They are designed to reduce:
- energy use
- summer overheating
- moisture and condensation problems
- exterior noise
- greenhouse gas emissions
- improve humidity levels
- improve indoor air quality
- increase overall comfort level
Replace furnace with a high efficiency model based on the size of your mobile home. In some cases the furnace can be combined with the water heater so that only one unit is required. Seal any ductwork wherever you can access it easily. Install programmable thermostats to automatically lower temperatures during the night or when you're not around.
Seal up air leaks around light fixtures, wiring, where services enter through walls or floors, and in double-wide homes, the joint where the two halves meet. Better air sealing will also prevent humidity levels from dropping, but if levels go below 30 per cent, consider adding a humidifier.
Increase ceiling insulation to a minimum of R-28. If your unit has a vaulted ceiling, the change can be made from the interior with little impact to the ceiling height. Rigid board insulation (with seams sealed), could also be attached to the ceiling and covered with gypsum board. Insulate hot water pipes with pipe insulation and insulate hot water tank.
Replace windows with an energy-efficient, low-e, argon gas, double-glazed variety. Ensure the joint around the window frame is well-sealed and the weatherstripping is in good shape.
5. Exterior Doors:
If your unit has the older wooden exterior doors, consider replacing with the insulated metal version. They're durable, easy to maintain and look great. Repair any damaged weatherstripping. You may want to consider adding a small vestibule to catch cold air before entering the house in areas with especially bad weather.
6. Basements & Crawlspaces:
For homes on pile foundations, ensure the skirt is completely insulated and that the road barrier is in good condition.
Reduce moisture by covering dirt or concrete floors by placing a continuous layer of polyethylene over top, carrying 6 inches up the wall.
Learn more about mobile homes and Arizona Gated Community living at PalmGardensOnline.com. The site has extensive information for buyers thinking of relocating to a manufactured home community, and details on a variety of great mobile home and RV living options.
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