How to Winterize a Mobile Home

Winterizing a mobile home while the sun is out
Winterize your home while the sun shines.

When the snow is near we at MHVillager begin to think about how to winterize the mobile home, whether you want to ensure warm feet, or are closing up for the season.

How To Winterize a Mobile Home

Some good intention and a dedicated day or two is all it takes to winterize a mobile home. And, if you want to take the extra step, there are a few items to consider for purchase that will help make your home better insulated, safer, and more comfortable if you plan to stick around.

Winterizing a mobile home before it's too late
Now is the time to winterize your mobile home.

What Are the Basics When it Comes to Winterizing Your Mobile Home?

Even if you’re in the temperate zone, there are some important steps to take in preparation for those short but colder days and longer colder nights.

The planning and maintenance you do today will reduce the risk of pricey repairs or frustrating fixes done with numb fingers.

So, with the right information, you can do the work yourself instead of paying someone else to do it. Take action now to protect your manufactured home from water leaks, heat loss, cold drafts and the danger of a winter fire.

Prepare Your Mobile Home for Cold Weather

A simple tube of silicone caulk may be your best investment this heating season. Polyurethane caulking is a good all-around choice for sealing your manufactured home from drafts and leaks.

Important Places to Caulk Outside Your Mobile Home:

  • Gutter and downspout seams
  • Plumbing and furnace vent pipes
  • Around flashing seams between roof and siding
  • Along door and window frames
  • Through siding joints
  • Encasing the dryer vent
  • At the TV antenna wire entrance
  • At pipe feed-throughs

Put weather-stripping on exterior doors and windows. This is an inexpensive heat-saver, and another primary step in winterizing your home. To detect heat loss, just hold your hand at the edge of a window or door frame on a windy day. If you feel a draft, weather-strip the area.

If you want to have some fun with a cool, new and wildly helpful device, you can detect drafts and all kinds of temperature changes in your home, take a look at this handheld temperature gauge, which are sold at numerous online and bricks & mortar marketplaces. We’ve used these handy little $20 devices, and they work surprisingly well. You can shoot a beam across the room and test the temperature in different parts of your home.

How the Roof Affects Winterization

A well-maintained roof lowers your energy bills and prevents costly water damage. Seal the edges, seams or expansion joints of a metal roof every year. Use a roof coating suggested by a local dealer or service center, and apply to a dry, properly prepped surface. Make sure you apply the recommended thickness. Put a good seal around vent caps for the furnace, water heater, and exhaust fans.

Repair any punctures, cracks or breaks in your roof. Remember to tighten or replace any loose fasteners.

Winterize Under Your Manufactured Home

The blocks or jacks that support your manufactured home should be in good condition. If they’re not, have them repaired immediately to prevent sagging, which can cause damage to windows, doors, joints, and walls.

Slightly loosen your home’s tie-downs if you live in an area where the ground freezes solid. The ground can “heave” as much as three inches during the winter, and tie-downs leave no place for the manufactured home to move. That can result in serious structural damage. Remember to tighten tie-downs again when thawing begins in spring.

Check your home’s skirting. It should be secure, but not so tight that it stops ventilation or vertical movement. Furthermore, shovel snow and ice away from the skirting to avoid denting or cutting off the air supply required for your furnace.

Frozen Pipes Are Big Trouble

One of the simplest methods to prevent water pipes from freezing is the application of heat tape.

Heat tape is literally what it says it is! The tape contains a plug-in heating element that wraps around and warms water piping. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully. If you have a heat tape already installed, make certain it’s still operative. Replace worn or loose heat tape. And, make sure you never overlap heat tape – it may cause a fire.

Winterize Windows, Doors, Siding

Be certain your mobile home windows are in good repair. Windows that have quality storm window inserts and proper mobile home insulation will keep your energy costs down, which is the prime reason for you to winterize your home. The same goes for doors. A winterized home is a more comfortable home, a safer home, an energy-efficient home and an environmentally friendly home.

Even if your window frames and doors are caulked and weather-stripped properly, heat can still escape. Properly installed storm windows and doors can cut your home’s heat loss by 50 percent.

Check exterior doors for wear, tear, cracking or fading. Look for signs of leaking around the sill and threshold. Make sure weather stripping and seals are okay. Inspect under your manufactured home for sagging, torn or water spotted insulation. Carefully examine your exterior siding and replace any missing or damaged fasteners and screws.

Additionally, to avoid winter water damage, be sure to clean out and inspect rain gutters for leaks or holes. They should be slanted so water runs away from your manufactured home. Don’t forget to check and repair downspouts and extensions. Again, if you have some money to spare in how your winterize your home and want to invest in a product that will minimize maintenance time guard against extensive winter damage, take a look at these reviews on roof gutter systems that keep the debris out and the water flowing away from your home.

Ensure Proper Furnace Function

It’s very important to make sure your manufactured home furnace operates safely and efficiently during winter weather. You can perform many routine furnace maintenance jobs, while others are best handled by a qualified repair person. Most furnace manufacturers recommend an annual professional inspection of fuel lines, safety controls, burner and flue pipe. Take a bit of time to check in with your utility company to see if they provide a free inspection.

To properly winterize your home, you should replace disposable furnace filters at the beginning of the season and check them often through the cold season. Remove and wash, brush or vacuum permanent filters. Likewise, remove the cover of the thermostat and vacuum away dust and dirt. Check the exhaust vent from the furnace. Clear obstructions like leaves or animal nests from the vent pipe. Keep roof exhaust vents clear of excess snow build-up.

Inspect blower motor. Vacuum any accumulated dirt. Inspect V-belt and pulleys for wear. If the belt moves more than an inch when you push it, tighten it. Check air intake. Most manufactured home furnaces draw combustion air from beneath the home, so keep no fewer than six vents in the skirting to allow free air passage.

Check the Entire Furnace Cabinet

Check the flue assembly for alignment and rigidity. It should run in a straight line from the top of the furnace through the ceiling. Be sure the flue is attached to the furnace collar. Check to make sure there is no loose wiring near the flue. If there is wiring in the flue area, move and secure it well away from the flue pipe.

Also, carpeting in the furnace compartment should be removed and replaced with fireproof material. Some manufactured home furnaces have wire mesh in front of the stack to prevent storage on top of the furnace. If this mesh is missing, replace it.

Clean out debris in the furnace area, and don’t allow even small amounts to accumulate. Never use your furnace closet for storage or drying clothes. This is a serious fire hazard.

CAUTION!: Never attempt to repair gas lines in your manufactured home. If you smell gas, call a repair person or your gas company immediately.

In addition, check you should also properly maintain your space heater, fireplace or woodstove. Both electric and liquid fuel-powered space heaters must be placed at least 36 inches away from anything combustible. If you have a liquid fuel-powered space heater, use only the fuel recommended by the manufacturer. Never use gasoline or any other substitute fuel. When refueling, always turn off the heater and wait until the unit cools down before adding more fuel.

Have your fireplace chimney inspected and cleaned by a professional to winterize your home. Creosote, a chemical substance that forms when wood burns, builds up in chimneys and can cause a chimney fire. Always protect your home and family by using a sturdy fireplace screen when burning wood. Remember to burn only wood – never burn paper or pine boughs or coal. These can float out the chimney and ignite your roof.

Chimney connections and chimney flues on wood stoves should be inspected at the beginning of each heating season and cleaned periodically. Remove ash as it accumulates, and be sure to follow any additional maintenance instructions provided by the wood stove manufacturer. Burn only wood and be sure the wood stove is on an approved, fire-resistant surface to protect the floor of your manufactured home.

Added Safety Steps to Keep Your Mobile Home Warm During Winter

Finally, don’t forget to check your fire extinguishers and smoke detectors. Keep one fire extinguisher in the kitchen and another near the furnace. Use a multiple-purpose dry chemical extinguisher suitable for use on Class A, B and C fires. Small home fire extinguishers operate only five to ten seconds, so take careful aim before using. Test your smoke detectors often to be sure they’re operational, and replace batteries before the weather gets cold. You should have one detector located high on the wall or ceiling adjacent to your bedroom areas and another in the kitchen.

Looking for more information on winterizing your mobile home? If you are looking for parts, tools or products for your home, be sure and check out the MHVillage page for Mobile Home Parts – anything you are looking for, from caulk to skirting, can be found here!

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