Do-it-Yourself Mobile Home - ? Â· Do-it-Yourself Mobile Home Energy Efficiency Written and Produced by: The Mobile Home Project (MHP) of the Coordinated Statewide Housing Services

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Do-it-YourselfMobileHomeEnergy EfficiencyWritten and Produced by:The Mobile Home Project (MHP) of the Coordinated Statewide Housing Servicesdivision of the Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity (CVOEO)Design: Futura Edition, October 2009Simple tips to help Vermonts mobile homeresidents save money, save energy,and live more comfortably.AcknowledgmentsThe Energy Efficiency Initiative of the Mobile Home Project wasfunded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA)CSBG funds. This guide draws extensively from the concepts con-tained in the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development(HUD) publication: Manufactured Homes: Saving Money by SavingEnergy, 2005 and the Vermont Department of Public Service publi-cation: The Vermont Mobile Home Energy Book. Special thanks tothe CVOEO Weatherization Service in Hinesburg for their expertadvice and input. NoticeFollow all safety instructions from both this guide and the manu-facturer. Before you attempt any improvement on your heatingsystem, hot water system, under or around your home, make surethe area is safe. If you suspect that there may be a problem, contacta professional immediately. Do-it-Yourself Mobile Home Energy Efficiency is produced by theMobile Home Project (MHP) of the Champlain Valley Office ofEconomic Opportunity (CVOEO) and written by Logan Zingus,Energy Efficiency Coordinator for the MHP. The MHP is a programof the Coordinated Statewide Housing Services division of CVOEO.The MHP provides advocacy, education and housing assistance formobile home park residentsTo contact the MHPMail or in person to: 294 North Winooski Ave., Burlington, VT 05401Phone: 802-660-3455 Fax: 802-651-4179Web: of Contents1. Introduction. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22. Heating systems . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33. Air sealing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44. Windows and doors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65. Lighting and appliances . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 86. Hot water . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 97. Insulation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 118. Moisture control, ventilation and air quality . . . . . . . . . . . . 129. Safety . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1310. Resources . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14Do-it-YourselfMobileHomeEnergy EfficiencyTop Priorities GuideProfessional furnace maintenence . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3Clean or replace furnace filter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3Seal leaky ducts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4Install interior storm windows. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6Install CFL bulbs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8Insulate hot water tank and pipes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9Insulate underbelly . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1121. IntroductionAll homes are subject to wear and tear. Vermonts dramaticseasonal temperature changes, combined with wind, snowand sunlight, can open leaks in your homes shell, ductwork,windows and doors. Leaks allow warm air to escape, whilecold air is drawn in. Heating and cooling systems also loseefficiency after years of use, and must be cleaned and main-tained properly. Although your home was built to the energystandards of the time, tremendous improvements have beenmade in housing technologies and our understanding of homeenergy use. Mobile homes require special weatherization solu-tions because they are exposed on all sides, including theunderbelly, and are often made of lighter, less durable materi-als. As energy prices continue to rise, it is especially importantto consider the efficiency of your home.By reading this manual, you are taking the first step to makingyour mobile home more energy efficient. The following tips andtechniques are compiled from multiple sources and first handexperience to present the easiest and most cost-effective waysto save energy. It should serve as a guide to be read throughonce a year, and to be consulted as specific problems arise. Ingeneral, the first measures are the most important. The mostcost-effective measures are indicated by asterisks.*BE SURE TO FOLLOW ALL SAFETY INSTRUCTIONS32. Heating SystemsProfessional furnace maintenance*Have a heating professional service your furnace once a year soit can run at maximum efficiency. Beware of contractors whotake short cuts. Try to use an independent heating contractor. Clean or replace furnace filter*The furnace filter can be foundclipped to the interior of thefurnace door and can be easilyremoved and either vacuumed,washed or shaken out. Keep anextra filter on handthey arereusable, but they dont last forever.Use a programmable thermo-stat, keep it set appropriatelyand cleanA programmable thermostat will help you auto-matically adjust the temperature in your home accord-ing to time of day, although its not a necessity. Lower thetemperature before going to bed and during the day if no oneis home. A 5 reduction in temperature for 8 hours every dayresults in a 5% saving of the annual heating cost.Vacuum furnace registers, ensure they are free ofblockagesYou should also leave all registers open to allow enough air toreturn back to the furnace. It may seem like a waste to have openregisters in unused rooms, but closing registers can starve thefurnace of air and cause it to short cycle, which could damagethe heat exchanger and destroy the furnace. Furnace filter14Keep bedroom doors slightly ajarYour furnace is built to a specific size to heat your entire home.It recir culates the warm air to run efficiently. By sealing offrooms, the furnace cant get enough return air to circulate, so ithas to work harder to heat the home. Unless there is at least aone inch gap between the floor and door, try to keep the bedroomdoors ajar to allow enough air to circulate.Allow sunlight to come through windows on cold days,close the blinds at night3. Air SealingSeal leaky ducts*Sealing leaky ductsproduces some of thehighest energy savingsrelative to cost of anytechnique. The first places toseal are the seams around supply boots (connecting piecebetween the main duct and each floor vent). Remove the floorvent top plate (register) and look at the connection. If there isno sealant around the joint, use acrylic mastic (available atmost hardware stores) to cover the seams of the connection.Check every register. The next best places to seal are the ductends (termination caps), which you will find near the lastregisters at the far ends of the home. You may need to use amirror and flashlight to see the duct ends. Common duct leak locations25Air conditionersRemove window air condi-tioners in the winter, as airleakage will occur throughthe unit and around itsperimeter. If you are unableto remove it, cover both theinterior and exterior of theunit with specially designedcovers, which can be foundat most hardware stores. Youcan also use heavy duty garbage bags. VentilationCheck the vents of your bathroom fan, range hood and dryer.They should all lead to the outside of your home with a sealedpipe. They should not exhaust into the crawlspace or attic. Thevent damper should seal well to the vent, and be able to openwhen the fan is in use. If the vent is cracked or not functioningproperly, you can easily install a new vent. Simply unscrew theold vent on the exterior of you home and screw in the new one.Choose a metal vent with a screen for animals for the bathroomand range hood vents. A dryer vent should not have an animalscreen because it can trap lint.Other leaksOften times you can feel colddrafts entering the home. Seekout the leaksyou can use alit cigarette or incense on awindy day to pinpoint thesource of a draft. The bestplaces to check are: plumbingareas (under sinks and bath-tubs), gaps around light fix-Air conditioner coverSmall leak in cabinet sealed with foam6tures, joints around the main structure and add-ons, electricallines and service panel boxes, and where the furnace ventmeets the ceiling (use high-temp caulk). Leaks that are smallerthan a quarter inch can be filled with latex caulkrope caulkworks well for sealing windows, doors and other long gaps.Larger leaks may need expanding foam. Only use expandingfoam on covered areas (such as underneath sinks) and makesure its fire retardant (many are not). Very large gaps mayrequire a piece of material similar to the material of the surfacebeing patched. Adhesive should be applied to the patch andremaining gaps should be sealed with caulk. Always ventilatethe area when using expanding foam as it is toxic. If you planon painting over caulk, make sure its paintable. Air sealing is not permanent The large differences in temperature in Vermont cause materialsto expand, contract, and shift, which means seals can break.Check your home for leaks every year. 4. Windows and doorsPlastic wrap windows or install interior storm windows*Many people look to replacing their windows to increase theirhome efficiency and stop drafts, however its usually more costeffective to air seal existing windows by using an 8 mil thickplastic wrap. Look for the Tyz-all brand, theyre easy to installand have a reusable frame. While more costly, insulating windowpanels are an even better solution. They are easy to install andhave the air sealing qualities of plastic wrap while adding a layerof insulation over the existing window. Look for AdvancedEnergy Panels in upstate New York. Jalousie windows mayrequire special storm windows due to their crank, or the crankscan be removed for the season. Check with your local firedepartment to learn their policy on plastic window wraps before installing. 7Jalousie windows should be fittedwith jalousie snap-fasteners Jalousie windows are notoriouslyleaky because its very difficult toform a good seal between the slats.Depending on the condition of yourjalousie windows, it may be cost-effective to replace them with newstorm windows. Jalousie window snap-fasteners will lock the slats in place overwinter months. Remove each screw that holds in the window,attach the snap-fastener, and replace the screw in the samehole. Do this one at a time to avoid removing the whole window. Thermal window blankets For extra window insulation, or for a decorative approach,consider making your own window blankets. You can easilyconvert unused quilts or comforters into window blankets bysewing a Velcro strip to the fabric and a strip on the window.Moisture may collect between the window and blanket, washregularly. Window locksWindow locks are used to fasten windows which no longerform a good seal. They can be attached to the side of thewindow or on the top, depending on the window type. Caulk around windows and/or replace window weatherstrippingLeaks may form around the perimeter of the window, so use apaintable silicone caulk or rope caulk to seal the gaps. If theweather stripping is in poor condition, replacing it with a highquality vinyl weather strip will decrease airflow around thewindow. Jalousie window8Replace door weather stripping and install a door sweepor use a draft snake While it may seem minor, poorly fitting or worn weather strip-ping will allow for significant air leakage. Choose a qualityvinyl weather strip. A door sweep or draft snake will help stopdrafts through the bottom of the door. To make a draft snake,simply fill a stocking leg with rice, dry beans or potpourri, tieoff the end, and lay it along the base of the door. 5. Lighting and appliances Unplug electronicsMany home electronics use power just by being plugged in, evenwhen theyre not turned on, so unplug them when they are notin use. To make this task easier, plug appliances into a powerstrip and switch off the power strip when its not needed. Install CFL bulbs*Compact fluorescent bulbs use 14 13 of theenergy of incandescent bulbs and last 810times longer. A 40 watt incandescent light canbe replaced by an 1114 watt CFL for thesame amount of light. Even though CFLs useless energy, they still need to be turned offwhen they arent needed.Clean light fixturesA clean light fixture will allow more light out-put. You may be able to use a lower wattagebulb and have the same amount of light. Compact flourescentlamp9Choose Energy Star appliances Energy Star products are certified with thehighest federal efficiency standard and are agreat option when choosing new appliances.For example, Energy Star televisions useabout 30% less energy than a standard unit. RefrigerationThe refrigerator is one of the most costly home appliances. Anold inefficient refrigerator can add up to $13 a month to yourelectricity bill. Although new refrigerators are expensive, itmay pay for itself in energy savings throughout its life. Thecheaper option is to make your current refrigerator run moreefficiently. The temperature should be kept between 38F and40F. Check the seals. The door should be able to hold a dollarbill when closed. If it cant, the seal is not effective and itswasting energy. Make sure the unit is level. You may have toreplace the seal. Keep the back of your refrigerator clean andfree of dust. Leave space for coils to cool. Manually defrostingyour freezer will allow it run more efficiently. Refrigerators andfreezer keep coolest when they are full. Fill up empty spacewith water jugs to increase efficiency. 6. Hot water Insulate electric hot water heater and the first few feet ofpipes*Many hot water heaters are already insulated and should not befitted with more insulation as they can overheat and potentiallystart a fire. BE SURE TO READ THE SAFETY INSTRUCTIONSON THE HOT WATER HEATER. Gas and oil burning hot waterheaters should not be insulated. Electric hot water heaters canbe insulated with either a pre-made hot water insulation jacketor a piece of fiberglass batt insulation. Cover the sides and topEnergy Star logo10of the unit, cut holes for the elec-trical element, thermostat andwarning labels. Some hot waterheaters advise against coveringthe top of the unit, so read safetyinstructions carefully. Unlessstated otherwise, you can alsoinsulate all accessible hot waterpipes. Use a foam sleeve, slitlengthwise and fasten with elec-trical tape or wire. Insulating thepipes can raise the temperatureat the tap by 24F, which allowsyou to turn the thermostat down. Install low flow shower headsand faucet aerators*These can as much as halve theamount of hot water your household uses, and will probablypay for itself in just a few months. Set hot water thermostat between 120 and 140F (usuallybetween low and medium)If you are going away, you can turn the temperature down evenlower. Clean the tankOnce a year drain at least gallon of water from the spigot onthe tank to remove sediment.Wrap main water pipe with heat tapeMobile homes are particularly prone to freezing water pipes.The most vulnerable section is the main water pipe which runsfrom the ground, through the crawlspace and into the home. Heattape is relatively cheap, easy to install, and is the best methodto prevent your pipes from freezing. If your pipes already haveInsulated electric hot water tank111heat tape, make sure its working properly. New heat tape kitscan be purchased from your local mobile home supply store orhardware store. A typical heat tape kit for a mobile home willcost less than $50. 7. InsulationInsulate the underbelly*Remove a section of skirting from your mobile home and lookat the underside. If insulation is falling out of the underbelly,the wrapping which holds in the insulation will need to bepatched or replaced. To patch the underbelly, first be sure towear protective clothingface mask, gloves, and safetyglasses. Push any fallen insulation back in, if possible, and addmore fiberglass insulation. If you have a soft-belly (plastic wrapholding in the insulation), clean the area surrounding the holeand stick underbelly tape over the opening. If you have a hardbelly (plywood holding in the insulation), screw in a piece ofplywood to patch the hole.NOTE: Be sure not to cover your furnaces combustionvent, a small metal vent which extends out directly belowthe furnace into the crawlspace.If there are large areas of damaged underbelly, it can be difficultto fix. This type of project should be undertaken by someonewith experience. Use silicone to stick rolls of fiberglass insula-tion to Typar or other underbelly tarp, or plywood if its a hardbelly. Fasten the underbelly material to the home using strips ofwood screwed into the floor joists. You may have to cut holesin the material sheet to allow for wires and pipes to connect tothe home.Its possible to insulate and air seal the skirting to improve thehomes thermal barrier. A wooden frame may have to be madearound the interior of the skirting, and rigid insulation fastened12to the frame. Its important to air seal the insulation with foamor caulk and to have operable vents in the skirting to allowmoisture to escape. The skirting vents should be open in thewarmer months and closed during the heating season. If yourfurnace has a combustion air intake duct, it must be ventedthrough the skirting.8. Moisture control, ventilation and air qualityCheck your ventsTo check if your vents are working properly, turn on the bath-room fan and range hood, then go outside and look at the exteriorof the vent (you may have to use a ladder). The vent dampershould open with the pressure from the fan. If the damper isntfunctioning properly, humid air and pollutants are being trappedin your home. The vent should be replaced with a new metalfixture which is fairly inexpensive. You should also check thedryer vent the next time its running.Use your vents when it makes senseYou can purchase a simple digital humidity gauge for under $10from any hardware or home goods retailer. Try to keep the homeat a relative humidity of between 3050%. Use fans duringbathing, cooking and other moisture producing activities tomaintain this level. You may have to leave them on for a shorttime after as well. Vents also draw out pollutants and carbonmonoxide, which can be trapped in your home, especially afterair sealing. Cover the ground directly underneath your homeWater vapor from the ground is one of the largest sources ofmoisture in the mobile home. Unless your home sits on aconcrete slab, the ground beneath it should be fully covered bythick plastic. If it isnt covered, or the cover is inadequate, youwill need to cover the ground with some heavy duty plastic13sheeting, such as polyethylene, at least 6-mil thick. This is adifficult procedure. The space you will be working in is usuallyonly one to two feet high, but a careful worker should be ablecomplete the task. Remove at least one section of the skirtingto gain access to the crawlspace. Cover all the exposed earthwith plastic; you will have to cut out holes to make room forfoundation and ground wires. The joints in the ground cover donot need to be sealed, but make sure they generously overlap. 9. SafetySAFETY SHOULD BE THE PRIORITY WHENUNDERTAKING ANY HOME IMPROVEMENTFire safety Always use heat resistant mastic on ductwork. If you are addingan interior storm window to an emergency exit, it should beable to slide open in the event of an emergency. For more infor-mation on fire safety, visit your home with carbon monoxide detectors andsmoke detectors Air sealing your home allows more pollutants to build up, soeffective mechanical ventilation and carbon monoxide detectorsare especially important. If you are only installing one COdetector, place it at least 15 feet away from fuel burningappliances and close to a bedroom. 1410. Resources Vermont Weatherization ProgramsVermonts Weatherization Program offers financial and technicalassistance for low-income Vermonters to make their homesenergy efficient. Its available to homeowners and renters,provided they are in the eligible income group. To apply, visit orcontact your local community action agency: Bennington-Rutland Opportunity Council Weatheriza-tion and Energy Conservation (BROC). Bennington: 802-447-7515; Rutland: 800-717-2762 or 802-775-0878 Central Vermont Community Action Council Weather-ization Program (CVCAC). Lamoille, Orange andWashington: 802-476-2093 or 877-919-2299 Champlain Valley Weatherization Service (CVOEO).Hinesburg: 800-545-1084 or 802-482-4180; St. Albans:800-639-2319 or 802-524-6804 Northeast Employment and Training OrganizationWeatherization Program (NETO). Caledonia, Essex andOrleans. St. Johnsbury: 802-748-89365; Newport 802-334-7378 Southeastern Vermont Community Action Weatheriza-tion (SEVCA). Windham and Windsor: 800-464-9951 or802-722-4575 Home Heating Fuel Assistance ProgramFuel assistance can help pay some of your heating bill if youare in the eligible income bracket. Its best to apply beforeAugust 31st, but applications are accepted until the last day inFebruary. Its available to homeowners and renters, whetheryou pay for your heat or its included in your rent. To apply, call1-800-479-6151, or visit Mobile Home ProjectThe MHP offers advice, information, referral services, andadvocacy for mobile home residents in Vermont. For generalquestions, call 802-660-3455 ext. 204.Efficiency VermontEfficiency Vermont offers technical assistance and financialincentives to reduce energy costs such as coupons for EnergyStar appliances and links to Energy Star Certified contractors.Visit for more information.1 Used with permission from the Missouri Department of Natural Resourcepublication The Energy Efficient Manufactured Home, developed by theNew Mexico Research and Development Institute Communications Office atthe University of New Mexico. Design and illustration by Marj McMinn.Retrieved from: 2 Used with permission from the HUD publication Manufactured Housing:Saving Money by Saving Energy. Retrieved from: Publications by the Mobile Home ProjectDo-it-Yourself Mobile Home Energy Efficiency DVDAn instructional DVD to help you learn how to weatherize yourmobile home.A Guide to Your Rights: Information for Residents Living inVermonts Mobile Home Parks. This guide provides a detailed and easy to understand summary ofthe specific Vermont laws that are intended to protect mobilehome park residents.Residents Working for Safe and Healthy Mobile Home ParksOffers specific health and safety information for mobile homepark residents.Other Services available from the Mobile Home ProjectThe Mobile Home Project operates a resident rights hotline andone-on-one housing counseling. Our staff is available to answerquestions about specific situations or challenges you are facing.We are experts in mobile home park law and will help you under-stand what your rights and responsibilities are. The Mobile HomeProject can help you work through various mobile home relatedissues such as: Park sales and closures Lot rent increase mediation Community organizing and resident associationsWe also actively work to break down stereotypes and stigmasrelated to mobile homes through public education and advocacy.We encourage public discussion of issues facing park residents,advocate for the development of programs and services for parkresidents, and provide workshops and training on various mobilehome issues. We also advocate for mobile home residents when-ever legislation is being considered that might affect you. Our Mission:To give mobile home parkresidents greater controlover their housing,through organizing andeducation, in orderto protect and improvetheir housing rightsand living conditions. To contact the MHP: Mail or in person to:294 North Winooski Ave, Burlington, VT, 05401. Phone: 802-660-3455 ext. 204 Fax: 802-651-4179 Web: