Winterizing an Older Unoccupied Mobile Home?

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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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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December 17, 20160 found this helpful

From what I understand you have already gotten the answer you were looking for but for future reference as people come across the question, I think a quick overview may help..

I have found that the best place to look is youtube for answers on how to do this. Overall below is the best video I found on the subject.

1) Get under the home and turn off the water.

2) Turn off gas to hot water tank. If electric find the breaker and turn it off.

3) Drain the hot water tank.

4) Open up all facets so that the water will drain faster.

5) Hook up air compressor that hook up to the washer machine. Putting pressure in the system to blow air out of all water outlets.

6) Put antifreeze into sink traps and showers.

7) Flush toilet and fill with antifreeze in tank.

Watch the video for more tips.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=QK4fGl0MAmE

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