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Winterizing Your Mobile Home

Category Weatherizing
Winterizing your home is a great way to stay warm and save on energy bills. This is just as true for your mobile home or trailer, even more so if it is an older model. This is a guide about winterizing your mobile home.
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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

By 0 found this helpful
January 8, 2017

I live in a 1976 single wide mobile home. I have sealed the windows, plastic plus blankets, used sheets to "lower the ceiling", built entry walls to block door leaks, and have a sheet wall to enclose the living room. We're still freezing. We use space heaters, and had 2 running this last week, and I could feel icy whisps of breezes. This home was neglected almost to it's demise. I'm becoming quickly efficient in repairs, but need advice on how staying warm! We sleep in the living room. (2 babies under 3 yrs old) There are space heaters in the bathroom and living room. I applied for county help; still waiting. I had a $250 power bill for December. We can not financially, or physically, withstand another 3 months. Seriously limited funds, but I'll make it work. Thanks for your help!

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January 9, 20170 found this helpful

Insulating blankets are great. I would also make sure to have draft blockers on all doors and windows. Make sure you are dressed in layers as well, including a hat.

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January 9, 20170 found this helpful

I hope you do find a more permanent solution to your problem. But for now, I will offer this suggestion. The sheets you are using do little to stop the infiltration of cold air. It passes right through. Plastic would be much better. I buy 9'x12' plastic drop cloths at Dollar Tree for a dollar each. They have really come in handy.

I sleep in a room without heat. I have a heated mattress pad and an electric blanket. I use to keep my electric blanket set on 11 or 12. Now that I use a sheet of this drop cloth plastic on top of the covers, I had to turn down the blanket to 3. Sometimes, I still wake up hot. The plastic stops the infiltration of cold air down through the covers.

Plastic will cut down drafts much more than sheets. But if you do decide to try plastic, please use in such a way it will pose no threat to your children.

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January 9, 20170 found this helpful

Instead of blankets and sheets, I would use sheet insulation. Sheet insulation is Styrofoam with a foil type backing. the Styrofoam would go next to the wall, and the foil side out, to reflect back out the heat you are generating inside.

Do you have skirting? That prevents cold wind from blowing underneath. Straw or hay bales are a fast way to block the wind, starting on the north side.

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Anonymous
January 9, 20170 found this helpful

It sounds like skirting would help, just as someone suggested. I have even used bales of hay just inside the skirting. Rugs help with the floor, and can be found pretty cheap at thrift stores. You might even find that the local carpeting stores can give you their scraps to make it through the winter.

If you have to, stuff old towels and such in the windows you don't need to just nail up some cheap paneling and seal them in. Electric blankets do help and again, can be purchased at thrift stores.

If you have some summer fans, put them up on top of cabinets or something high and point them down to the floor.

I don't know where you live but your local energy assistance should help you if that "isn't" where you are already signed up.

Wear layers of clothes, and take a hot shower if you can before bed. No one should have this problem with babies in the house. I worry for you. Please go somewhere else if you can.

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Anonymous
January 9, 20170 found this helpful

I agree that skirting is necessary to keep the heat from escaping though the floor. This will be a cost, but with skirting (pieces of plywood closing in the bottom of the mobile home) with some straw bales or, if you are living in an area with snow, banking the snow around the home, for insulation. Electric heaters are a very expensive way to heat; do you not have a propane or natural gas or oil furnace that you can use in this mobile home? It would be much cheaper than space heaters.

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January 13, 20170 found this helpful

I hope you and your children are staying warm.

If your mobile home does not have adequate skirting you will be hard pressed to keep it warm. If that is part of the problem you may need to improvise until warm weather so it can be fixed before nest winter.

I know this is not a good solution but even in Florida, mobile homes can be drafty and need help. I did read of a local gathering up large sheets of cardboard (from a furniture store) and placed it around her house as temporary skirting. Sometimes our circumstances make us have to do drastic things - especially where children are involved.

I hope you will seek help from your local churches and maybe get on some lists for help with other things as well.

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March 22, 20170 found this helpful

My family is second generation mobile home park owners and I live in older single wide that had all dark paneling, avacado green tub and sinks when I bought it. Mine was so drafty also. The easiest and least expensive is caulking around everything inside and outside, expecially all outer walls inner ones between rooms not so much. Air comes through plugins, dryer venting to outside, pipes under sinks and the ones that go through the roof. A TUBE goes quite a ways, I do not like Ace's brand cost more and harder to deal with more goopy. Walmart or Home depot has alex brand it is good like thick tooth past it comes in clear, white and colors I like the white. On outside of home put it around screw heads, any where panels join, windows top and side not bottom water if it was to get in the wall you want it to be able to drain. you can caulk bottom inside of home just not out side. You can make home pretty air tight for around twenty dollars. Vapor barrior under home it is just thick plastic attached underside of mobil and skirting keeps air out. I pretty well caulked every where I could reach edges of ceilings, floors, around anything going in or out even around my electric panel. You can put weather striping around your door it is like a sticky foam tape. You don't have to spend alot to make it pretty nice.

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By 3 found this helpful
January 19, 2010

My husband and I spend the winters in the southern states, living in a travel trailer. We have a string of days where the weather is very cool and that is when I do my cooking and baking, enough to get us by for several days' meals. It eliminates the need to keep our electric heater running and warms up the unit at the same time.

I also leave the dish water in the sink and put the plug in the bathtub when taking a shower, until the water has become cold. That adds moisture to the air, which makes it feel warmer.

By annelaundrie from Green Bay, WI

Answer Was this helpful? 3
January 20, 20100 found this helpful

If you have any plants either inside or outside, and your dish washing soap is phosphorous free, you can water the plants with them!

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January 24, 20100 found this helpful

Thanks for the good idea! We too are "snowbirds"

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November 3, 20140 found this helpful

My mobile home is a 1992 with a garage. I have noticed the only room in the house that's even remotely warm is the small bathroom. I have shut down 3 rooms so far and it's still cold. Plastic has been put up on the windows but it seems there are not enough vents in any of the rooms. The walls are also cold.

Does anyone know if it is alright to close off registers and put blankets on the bottom of the doors in a mobile home?Any advice?

By RD

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November 4, 20140 found this helpful

Is the underbelly in good condition? Does it have a skirt? Can you take off a piece of wall panel and see what condition the insulation is? Close off the registers and rooms that you don't use.

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November 5, 20140 found this helpful

Hi - I do not know where you live but if you live where it gets really cold then you may have to decide which two or three rooms you can "live" in until next summer - unless you are buying this mobile home and can afford to do repairs yourself or hire a another repair person. Most likely this will also be a problem in summer also (too hot).

I believe you can safely close off vents to unused rooms and place something at the bottom of that room door to stop the "draw" of air. (Do not close off room doors that are being used as your heater or AC use this as return air vents - unless your doors have vents made in the door.)

You will probably find that your walls are very poorly insulated and you may have to find a way to seal-off the underbelly of your trailer home. Plastic on your windows is a good start but there may be air coming in around the windows also. You can try corking on the outside around the window and then maybe try covering the whole window (and frame) inside with insulated curtains or a blanket. Actually, almost any kind of covering will help.

You can try Google with your question as there is a lot of information on this subject.

I hope you find a way to keep warm as I know from experience that it is no fun to be cold all the time and still have to somehow pay a "high" gas or electric bill.

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November 9, 20140 found this helpful

A mobile home needs to be skirted, and it is better to insulate that skirt, or when it snows, bank the snow up around the skirting. By "skirt", we mean that it needs to have the open area under the home boarded off with a permanent "skirt", that will look like a foundation. Plywood or orientated strand board is used. A frame of two by fours is necessary.

You will likely also need to have heat tape wrapped around your water lines. Heat tape is an electrical tape/cord that you wrap around the exposed water lines and keep plugged in. If your mobile home is too cold, then you run the risk of freezing the water lines, which is far more expensive to repair than the cost of keeping things warm. If you do not know about any of this stuff, than you'd best find a carpenter/home repair handyman who can help you winterize your home.

If your furnace is not adequately heating the place at this time of year, than you need to do all these things. I have lived in mobile homes that were very snug - old ones, too, back in the 70's and 80's. And we have temperatures here in Saskatchewan that go to -40F. You should not be shutting off rooms completely, as you run the risk of freezing your water lines, which run through the floors of your home. The cold rooms will not keep the pipes warm enough. I had a renter who caused a lot of problems and burst the pipes because of this very thing.

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September 26, 20160 found this helpful

What is the best insulation to use to put on the inside walls of the skirting. I am going to crawl under and insulate best I can. I also live in Saskatchewan. My pipes always freeze. I have heat tape going from the water heater to ground. The pipes that run between the floors from kitchen to water heater are the ones freezing. I only have one plug in under trailer that are both used for heat tape already.

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By 0 found this helpful
January 27, 2011

I need some advice about a mobile home/trailer. Here's the situation. I bought my father a mobile home back in 93. It is a nice well maintained home, but it is now 30 years old. My father recently passed away and now I have this trailer to deal with.

I was there yesterday and the kerosene furnace is almost out of fuel. Kerosene is around $3 a gallon here, so I would like to put a minimal amount in the tank for now and possibly winterize the home, drain the water, close it up until it's sold.

I was told I can expect to use around 4-5 gallons a day to heat it. I simply can't afford to waste this money heating an empty home. Does anybody have any thoughts on how to go about this, what do I need to do, who I should contact? The expenses are going to start piling up shortly (fuel, taxes, lot fees, etc.).

I have other issues with this, but I will post them separately. I'm 20 minutes south of downtown Pittsburgh in case anybody here needs a nice, cheap place to live. Thanks for reading!

By Sandy from Pittsburgh, PA

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
January 27, 20110 found this helpful

I agree with the previous poster, Jilson. You need professional level advice, and ideally, if the company where you purchased your father's

mobile home is still in business, I would start there. If not, then another mobile home sales company would suffice.

I have experience with a mobile home, also with an oil furnace, that is used 6 months a year and winterized at the end of the season.

Winterizing a mobile home can be done by the homeowner, but you have to know what you are doing, and the best way to learn that is to physically have someone show you. It's a detailed procedure, far too lengthy to get into here, and if you forget anything you can end up with water damage which can be an expensive fix. That's where the mobile home sales company can be of help. They can probably direct you to someone you could hire, who has experience winterizing mobile homes.

As far as the furnace goes, oil furnaces can be somewhat unreliable, so you'll want to get the home winterized ASAP. You also don't want to let the tank run out of fuel, because that will cause air to enter the fuel line if the furnace is running, and that would require you to "bleed the line" to get the furnace working again. That's a service call for furnace repair if you don't know how to do it.

As far as your oil is concerned, you can save yourself some money by buying kerosene from a convenience store like Sheetz in the blue 5-gallon kerosene containers, then hauling it and pouring it into the tank yourself. The kerosene sold by places like Sheetz is perfectly acceptable for use in a mobile home oil furnace. This type of fuel will cost you more money per gallon, but you have the luxury of buying very small quantities at a time. If you buy fuel from a company that delivers to your location, they usually require you to buy a large quantity (like 100 gallons) at a time. That will vary with the fuel company you use. If you buy and haul your own, these 5-gallon containers are very heavy and awkward to tilt and pour, so you'll need a large funnel for this, and be careful that you have purchased kerosene and NOT gasoline, which would be an extremely dangerous mistake.

I don't know how much you know about mobile homes, so I may have given you info you already know. Some of the neighbors in your father's mobile home park might be able to help you too. If you have any other mobile home issues, you can contact me through Thrifty Fun if you want, and I'll do my best to answer your questions.

Good luck and you have my sympathies on the loss of your father.

Tori in PA

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
January 28, 20110 found this helpful

Thank you for responding. I called the mobile home guy that my Dad used for repairs (he was disabled) and he said with the older pipes you are better off not winterizing because of corrosion of the pipes. To do it while it's really cold and snowy would probably cost me as much as the kerosene I had delivered yesterday, $345 for 100 gallons. OUCH! I turned the heat down to 60 and I plan to visit several times a week until it's sold. I just pray that it is soon.

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January 28, 20111 found this helpful

I feel for you young people who never were required to learn how things are done.

Just drain the water and drain pipes, including sink and toilet and shower traps, and cut off the utilities. Can't drain those traps? Fill them with car windshield-spray solution or rubbing alcohol. I grew up in northern Minnesota. We built a small summer resort and had to winterize ten cabins every single year! There was no money to call in the so-called "professionals". When that happens a person learns rapidly.

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Anonymous
January 28, 20110 found this helpful

Listen to tomatoehanger and phooey with the professionals because most of them have a self serving agenda! Since you have just put in oodles of new kerosine you'll be able to prove to a serious buyer, who actually places a real offer to purchase, that the heating system works and all you have to do to prove the plumbing works is to turn the water back on again and drain and turn off again until the closing papers have been signed! Just make sure everything is documented and signed in writing by the buyers and possible inspectors that you proved the heat and plumbing works fine! Good luck to you for a speedy sale!

PS - God Bless your heart for having purchased the trailer for your daddy!

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January 28, 20110 found this helpful

My husband and I run a mobile home moving business and have our own rentals. I know something about your problem that can help. First wrap the outside pipes with insulation like the stuff they sell at hardware store for pipes. Turn the water off to the mobile home. If the mobile home is underpinned or has some sort of skirting (around the bottom of the trailer to the ground), then the pipe should be okay underneath the home if you do the following.

First, pull the main breaker to turn the power off to the home. And also flip the breaker for the hot water heater. Flush all the toilets in the home. Turn on all the faucets and let the water run out of them. This will be after you have turned the water off to the home. Add anti-freeze (like you put into car radiators) down as many of the sink holes you have in the trailer. Pour this also into each commode and also the tank. This will keep the water that's left in the pipes from freezing. Be sure to tell who ever buys the home that they need to be sure to let the water in the hot water tank refill before they turn the hot water breaker back on or they will burn the elements up in the tank.

Cold water hitting hot elements will cause your new owner to have to buy new elements or worse a new hot water heater. Also, the new owner will need to run the water in the sinks before they use the water for personal use to run the anti-freeze out of the lines Everything else in the home will be fine. I'd also leave the refrigerator door open because they can really begin to smell foul if left shut for a all period of time. Good luck with the sell.

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January 29, 20110 found this helpful

I took care of houses for realtors for years and once lived in a mobile home. You do need to leave the heat on as winter can occasionally cause stress damage if left unheated. However, you can leave the furnace turned down to 60 degrees.

A work light left on in the crawl space will keep the crawl space and pipes warm and lower heating costs a bit. Put foam insulation on all the pipes. To winterize the water lines, get someone who is a professional. If done wrong it will do damage. Make sure the hot water tank is drained, and refill it before turning the power back on.

You may not want to put plastic on the windows as it gives a buyer the idea that the place is cold in winter. I would not do it. You want to stage the trailer, just like they do for houses. Do not take out all of the furniture until it is sold. Put a de-humidifier into the trailer to reduce any moisture in the air, that will also help lower the heating costs.

Good Luck!

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February 1, 20110 found this helpful

I want to thank you all for your answers so far. I'm glad I didn't drain the lines completely because the pipes are a little bit corroded already, and I'd have trouble when I turned the water back on. After almost a week of not running water, it came out all rusty for a few long seconds on all faucets. To the person who feels sorry for me for my "lack of knowledge", in my day I used to do heavy duty demolition, put a kitchen in my own home, laid flooring, built decks, etc. I am now a 53 year old disabled woman, so crawling under a freezing cold trailer was not my idea of a good time. My husband is in even worse shape than I am, through no fault of our own. So I'm sorry, but that is why I posted here, hoping closing it up was something simple we could maybe do on our own.

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By 0 found this helpful
May 28, 2009

Any ideas to insulate my mobile home? The floors and walls are cold and I am restricted on money.

By lrrn567 from Bristol, CT

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May 30, 20092 found this helpful

I also live in a badly insulated mobile home. It took me a long time, but I took one wall at a time, took down the entire wall, and replaced the insulation with better grade and more of it. Then I replaced the wall board (I forget what it's called). As each room got done, I repainted or wallpapered. Now my home is a lot better insulated and my electric bill has gone way down.

It sounds like a lot bigger job than it really is. I did all this by myself. But by breaking it down to one wall at a time, it made it a lot easier, plus the cost was a lot easier to bear too, because I didn't have to pay for it all at once, or put it on a charge card with exorbitant interest rates.

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May 30, 20091 found this helpful

Go to the "community action agency" found in the county office of your area court house; they have helped my friend with her mobile home issues. Ask a clerk in the court house where these folks are and they can point you in the right direction. Good luck and keep us posted on what you do.

Reply Was this helpful? 1
May 30, 20091 found this helpful

Dear Cumberland: Please don't advise paper in the walls. It gets wet and even if it doesn't, it is a horrible fire hazard.

Heat rises, so do go to the local community action agency and get an energy audit. If you qualify you can get the belly board redone, which is a band of sheathing under the trailer that holds in the insulation. Chances are yours has been eaten away by critters and or time. Good luck.

Reply Was this helpful? 1
May 31, 20091 found this helpful

Thank you for your responses. I will call tomorrow to see if someone can help me.

I'll keep everyone posted as this goes.

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June 1, 20090 found this helpful

Here's some tips that I've posted that may help you::

I hung new throw rugs on my walls (as tapestries) for insulation...

You can also buy those stick-up carpet tiles (or use double-backed carpet tape on the back of carpet samples then hang on the wall as "art")

http://www.thri  9185361.tip.html

Insulate windows with bubble wrap year round:

http://www.thri  9474132.tip.html

In our area they have help for free winterizing:

http://www.thri  1517779.tip.html

There's a powder you can add to paint that's supposed to help insulate

---> insulating additive for paints:

http://www.hytechceramics.com/

http://www.nans  cCFRqgnAodsUQT7g

Since you live in a mobile home (like I do) I thought you might find this info valuable too:

Spray & forget siding, roof & deck cleaner:

http://www.thri  0865041.tip.html

* Here's some great tips from other ThriftyFun readers:

Winterizing Your Steel Doors

http://www.thri  7563179.tip.html

Do It Yourself Weatherstripping

http://www.thri  f399620.tip.html

Insulating walls:

http://www.thri  7753791.tip.html

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June 3, 20090 found this helpful

I called CL&P for help. It costs $75 dollars for them to come in to inspect. They do not install anything for insulation. I have to get a contractor to write out the price and they will rebate me about 8% of the cost. Wanted to get this info back to all of you that were trying to help me.

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January 24, 20100 found this helpful

If you have central heating, turn your heat up to about 72 degrees during the day. Your rooms may still feel cold. If so, get some space heaters for the rooms you spend the most time in such as your living room and your bedroom. You can get good space heaters at Fred Meyer for about $40 to $60 dollars. Get ones with a digital thermostat that will turn off and on automatically.

Run them only when your home. Insulating your home better is a long term goal you can work on as you get the money and have time. You can beef up the R-factor of your crawl space by adding some foam board insulation if you don't have a skirting with a high R-factor. Remember to cut vents in it if you do this. Good luck.

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May 26, 20140 found this helpful

Over the past winter, our mobile home's linoleum floor split in several places. There was no sign of water damage -no leaks - just several slits in the linoleum. It was a very cold winter. What flooring would hold up best during another very cold winter?

By BJK

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
May 28, 20140 found this helpful

One that's insulated from underneath - depending on how old your MH is, and how well it's been maintained over the years, you may not have sufficient insulation under there from the factory, or there at all any more - critters love to go under your easy to access MH (even with properly installed skirting) and use the insulation to build their nests.

Go under and have a look. If you still have the MDF (usually what they use to cover the insulation from the underneath of a MH) intact, it may be that this was a winter your manufacturer wasn't counting on when installing the grade of insulation ordered for your model sub-flooring.

We gutted a 1962 Douglass of Georgia MH (ok, it was a single wide, lol!) in the late 80s and part of the reno included installing new insulation to the subfloors. Made a huge difference in how well the home stayed warm, and how well the vinyl floor covering and good-grade carpeting held up. Sold the MH on in 2001 to friends who still live in it (retirees) and they say it's all holding up well.

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