Mobile Home Life Tips: 5 Ways To Lower Bills And Save Money
For many, the Christmas season means warm nights by the fire and holiday Hallmark movies. While for others, it means pricey energy bills arriving in the mail. Energy bills are often higher during the colder months as you’ll be using more heat. They’re also typically more expensive because you’re spending additional time indoors and using up electricity in the TV, lights, etc. But you don’t have to resort to shorter showers or eating in the dark to save money (though those can be helpful). There are a number of things you can do now to lower your bills and save you some extra spending money down the road. We’ve outlined just a handful of these cost-cutting mobile home life tips below.
#1 Invest in insulated curtains
Insulated curtains can save you money on your energy bill. They’re known to prevent heat transfer and block light. Without them, your furnace or air conditioner will work overtime to compensate for heat entering and leaving the home, resulting in higher energy bills. In fact, it’s estimated that homeowners lose 25% of heated or cooled air without proper insulation.
Some may opt to invest in an insulated window. While this is definitely effective, it’s also the more expensive option. Take a look at this insulated curtain we found on Amazon – it’s only $13.99 and has 4.5/5 stars.
#2 Check for open air pathways leading into the home
One of the most important things you can do to decrease your energy bills is to check for any open air pathways leading into your home. You might think this is an obvious thing to look for, but it doesn’t take a gaping hole in a wall for your electricity bills to suddenly skyrocket. Look for more inconspicuous troublemakers like loose doors, cracked windows, openings in the attic, etc. All of these things and more can do a lot of damage without you even realizing it.
One way to remove an air leak is to caulk it. Caulk is a waterproof filler and sealant that’s commonly used to fill in cracks and crevices. It’s the material of choice for many DIYers and professionals due to its flexibility and effectiveness in small areas. Make sure to clean the area that needs to be caulked before moving forward. The area should also be dry so as to avoid sealing in moisture. You’ll want to have a putty knife ready in case some of the caulk comes oozing back up. Learn more about what type of caulk to use and how to apply it in this guide.
Another way to seal air patches is with weatherstripping. Unlike caulking, weatherstripping is used to seal gaps between movable surfaces like a door or a window. Common materials used in weatherstripping include foam tape, felt, v strips (tension seals), as well as tubular rubber, vinyl or silicone, among other things. If you’ve already installed weatherstripping to areas in your home, check again to see how it’s holding up. Weatherstripping can degrade quickly depending on what materials were used, so there’s a chance you’ll need to replace it.
#3 Plant shrubs around your skirting
One of the biggest differences with mobile homes is their underbelly. If you’ve ever had to deal with your pipes, you know there’s an open space under the home where you can crawl. This area can also be a potential pathway for cold air to enter your home (and freeze your pipes). You can prevent this cold air from entering by planting shrubs around the skirting. This is a great way to insulate your home while also upping its exterior appeal. You should also consider installing insulated skirting if you have the time to do it yourself or money to hire a professional.
#4 Check in on your furnace
You should treat furnace cleanups like you would a dentist appointment. Regular check-ins for cleaning and maintenance are important as they will not only preserve your furnace but also save you on energy bills in the long run.
Cleaning the furnace should be pretty simple. Just take your brush or duster of choice and start sweeping any obvious signs of dust and dirt buildup. You can even use a vacuum hose for those hard-to-reach places. Make sure to turn off your furnace and let it cool before touching anything.
You should also clean out your furnace’s blower, known as the squirrel cage. Depending on the furnace, this may require you to remove the control panel in front of the blower. Make sure you have a socket and ratchet if you want to attempt this.
Keep an eye out for other possible repairs while you’re cleaning. You’ll know something needs to be fixed if you see obvious cracks or rusted out areas. It’s important to look at the color of the furnace flame before turning it off – yellow flames can indicate a dirty burner. Call in a professional if this is the case. A normal flame should be blue.
Take a look at this more in-depth guide to cleaning your furnace for even more details.
#5 Lower the temperature of your hot water heater
According to energy.gov, hot water heaters are often set at 140 degrees Fahrenheit despite the fact that most households are capable of operating at 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Lowering this temperature setting can save you anywhere from 4% to 22% in energy savings. If done correctly, the process should only take you around two hours to complete.
You can save an additional 7-16% annually by insulating your water heater. Blankets or pre-cut jackets for insulation can cost around $20, so it’s possible you may not see savings the first year. This can still be a worthwhile investment and not very difficult, as insulating your water heater should take you under two hours to complete. Not every tank needs insulation – newer models usually have this feature already. You can detect a lack of insulation by putting your hand on the tank. A warm tank indicates heat loss and should be insulated.
We’ve mainly focused on reducing energy bills as these can apply to almost any mobile homeowner, but don’t forget that you can also cut down on bills through small changes in everyday expenses. For example, think about how much you pay weekly for gas in your car or groceries for the family. It might be worth setting up a carpool system with a neighbor or friend. You could also try starting a community garden if your mobile home park allows it.
Some mobile home parks will purposefully provide you with a cable subscription with hundreds of channels, many that you don’t even watch. If this is the case for you, try negotiating with your park manager for a lower payment option that better suits your needs. You could also request to get a gas, water, and electric meter set up outside of your home if you don’t already have one. Checking in with this daily can help you cut back and alert you when you’re using too much energy.
Lower your bills with these mobile home life tips
Take a stab at completing all of these mobile home life tips to be more energy efficient and maximize your savings. Just remember that doing one or two won’t save you much initially, and you may have to wait several years before you can even see a noticeable profit. You should also consider winterizing your pipes to avoid pipe ruptures and costly repairs that could arise later in the winter season.