Now more than ever, it’s more important to ensure the money we spend yields the results we need. Here are six tips for winterizing your manufactured home, which can help you capture some significant energy savings. It’s worth noting that some of these suggestions are quick, easy and cheap, but some will require more money than you may want to spend. Choose the approach that works best for your home and budget. 57009002
It doesn’t cost anything to lower your thermostat in the winter. Make sure you clean or replace your HVAC air filter as often as recommended. If heating your home with an electric or propane furnace, you can likely cut your heating costs dramatically by installing a heat pump. Ductless heat pumps are efficient, and they eliminate the problem of leaky furnace ducts. If you don’t have the budget to make this investment now out of pocket, you may qualify for a loan. It’s quite possible that your energy savings would cover the loan payment.
WFEC also offers a manufactured home program which helps members save on heating costs. If you’re one of our electric cooperative members, living in a manufactured home, we’re powering savings when you replace your old unit with a new energy-efficient heat pump. You can receive up to $400/ton for converting to a heat pump from an electric furnace. Call WFEC at 800-342-7400 to find out more about this program and opportunities to save.
2. Water Heater
It takes a lot of electricity to heat water. One simple way to lower that amount is to lower your water heater’s thermostat. Make sure it's set to medium. The cooperative recommends a setting of 120° F. Energy-efficient showerheads can also help save energy. Some showerheads are equipped with a button or valve allowing you to reduce or stop the flow while lathering up.
Another fairly simple fix is to insulate the first several feet of the hot water pipe where it exits the tank. If your water heater is located in a garage or outside and there is room around it, you could also wrap the tank with an insulation jacket, which you can purchase from a home supply store for about $20. If your water heater uses gas or propane, be careful not to restrict the air needed for combustion or install insulation too close to the exhaust flue.
Leaky furnace ducts are often a major source of energy loss. A simple first step is to make sure all supply and return registers are open and are not covered by furniture or rugs. Closed registers can really take a toll on your heating and cooling system. You might also be able to save energy by sealing your ducts at the floor registers. The biggest leaks, however, are likely under your manufactured home and could require the services of a contractor to locate and seal.
4. Windows and Doors
That window A/C unit that kept you cool all summer can be a major source of heat loss in the winter. Before he cold hits, cover it up––or better yet, remove it during winter months. Another fairly easy way to cut down on energy loss is to install window insulation kits––these are plastic, disposable sheets that are stretched over windows and held in place with double-sided tape. Thick curtains can also do a remarkable job of cutting drafts and adding insulation around a window. The final and most involved step is filling cracks and holes in walls and around windows and doors with caulk, filler and/or expanding foam.
Cold floors can be costly and uncomfortable. The easiest solution is to lay down area rugs for additional warmth. But to really make the floor comfortable, you may have to venture into the crawlspace and insulate the floor or skirting. If you’re not sure how to do this, there are several video tutorials available online.
6. Roof Insulation
We all know that hot air travels in only one direction – up. So imagine running your heater full blast only for most of the warm air to escape through an un-insulated roof. Most mobile home roofs are poorly insulated. There is usually a cavity between the roof and ceiling that is left completely empty with only an inch or so of fiberglass insulation running under the roof. Seamed metal roofs are particularly vulnerable. Having a professional install additional insulation in the roof of your home may be worth any added expenses you might incur.
With these simple steps, you can look forward to a cozier and less-costly winter!
Insulating the first several feet of the hot water pipe where it leaves the tank is an energy saver. Photo credit: Marcela Gara, Resource Media, EE Image Database