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Winterizing Your Mobile Home

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.

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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 anne from Green Bay, WI

Answers

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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6 More Questions

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.

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

By Lorraine from Bristol, CT

Answers

May 28, 20092 found this helpful

Go to a thrift store or the attic of a friend or relative, or go to www.freecycle.com and get curtains or decorative sheets to put up on the wall. Line them with old blankets. You can hang them with push pins. While you're there, get loads of rugs to put on all of your floors, even on top of carpet as heat will be lost downward. While you're at it, cover the inside of your windows with plastic, you can buy inexpensive plastic storm windows at the Dollar Store, and make "draft-dodgers out of old fabric to put at the bottoms of ALL of your doors (interior as well as exterior). Keep the doors to unused rooms shut. Wear heavy socks and put plenty of snuggly blankets and throws on your furniture to snuggle up with in the evening.

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May 28, 20091 found this helpful

Newspaper is a great insulator. Apply it to the walls like you were making a paper-mache pinata. After you have a thick layer built up, you can paint it or cover the whole thing with fabric - see the DIY tips on how to make fabric stick to walls. My neighbor was renting and wanted temporary wallpaper and used the fabric technique - it was amazing. So your place will be warm and fabulous. (But don't smoke inside).

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May 30, 20091 found this helpful

Call your local Community Action Agency. Ask about their Weatherization Program. If you're income elegible, which it sounds like you are, they will inspect and insulate your home for free! It's my belief that all of these Non-Profit Agencies have been given more money through the Stimulus Package.

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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.

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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.

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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")
www.thriftyfun.com/tf69185361.tip.html

Insulate windows with bubble wrap year round:
www.thriftyfun.com/tf79474132.tip.html

In our area they have help for free winterizing:
www.thriftyfun.com/tf61517779.tip.html

There's a powder you can add to paint that's supposed to help insulate
---> insulating additive for paints:
www.hytechceramics.com/
www.nansulate.com/energy_efficient_diy_insulation.htm...

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:
www.thriftyfun.com/tf50865041.tip.html

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

Winterizing Your Steel Doors
www.thriftyfun.com/tf27563179.tip.html

Do It Yourself Weatherstripping
www.thriftyfun.com/tf399620.tip.html

Insulating walls:
www.thriftyfun.com/tf77753791.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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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

Answers

January 27, 20110 found this helpful

I would call a local mobile home sales company, and ask them how to winterize it. They should be able to help you do that so that you don' t have to heat it for the remainder of the winter. People do it all the time for "hunting camps". Good luck, and condolences on your father.

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January 27, 20110 found this helpful

Wrapping heat tape around the water pipes helps keep them from freezing...You can get bails of hay/straw and pile up around the ouside frame of trailer, You can apply plastic around the windows and you can buy it cheaply at Walmart on the roll for a lot less than the window kits. You could close off some rooms where heating isn't necessary with a wall of plastic sheeting (again off the roll) and that helps a lot. Put rolled rugs under the door of rooms that are closed off for the winter and insulated drapes or curtains over the windows to the rooms you are having to heat. Leave bathroom cabinet doors open so heat can get to the pipes to help keep from freezing up too until you decide to drain the water lines and/or shut off the water supply. Set several mouse traps around in each room so mice cannot chew/damage/make nests.

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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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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 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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November 3, 2014

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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May 26, 2014

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

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January 19, 2010

I have an old trailer in southern Illinois, and my electric/gas bill was $211 for this month. Compared to the summer when it was only $100.

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