If you are looking for snow and frost, there is no better place to stay than magnificent Michigan. But winters here can become extreme. They can be very challenging to handle. And you might need some extra help to make it through.
The base materials for mobile homes don’t offer enough protection from this type of cold. Luckily there are some steps you can take to keep out the chill. Take a look at this ultimate survival guide for mobile home owners living in Michigan to find out what you can do.
The climate in Michigan: icy winters and balmy summers
Michigan is definitely known for its cold winters. The average low temperature for January is -17 F, but it’s been known to drop even lower. The record was an outstanding -51F set in 1934.
Unsurprisingly, the cold usually comes with lots of snow. This can also take a toll on your home and how you live in it.
By the time spring comes you might be grateful for the increase in temperature. But don’t expect any big jumps. The weather will gradually become milder.
This is known as the mud season. All of the melting snows means that you should be prepared for a spring that is going to be wet and dirty.
In contrast to winter, the state has very mild summers. The average temperature in summer is 70F with high humidity. This contrast can be difficult to handle. You’ll need to be prepared for the changes in the weather.
Michigan is also known for its thunderstorms. There are up to 30 days of intense thunderstorms, and most of them happen in summer. These storms can produce tornadoes but mostly in the Southern part of the state.
Autumn in Michigan is just beautiful. You will be astonished by all the shades of the leaves. The days also begin to cool, but they aren’t too chilly yet.
If you are new to Michigan, check out the average temperatures throughout the year. This is the general trend of the climate here. However, keep in mind that the weather in the Southern and Northern part of the state differs.
Winters in the North are longer and colder, and the summers are shorter than in the South. The area generally experiences more rainfall as well.
Let’s move on to steps mobile homeowners can take to survive in Michigan.
So where should you start?
One of the critical things you can do is to make sure your house is adequately insulated. You need to prevent heat from escaping and the cold from coming in. This is important in any type of house but even more essential in manufactured homes. Unfortunately, they have little to no insulation.
One common mistake that new homeowners make is not to insulate the whole home. You should try to do this as soon as you can. At least before the weather cools down in fall.
You need to install the right materials in these spots:
- Windows and doors
Make it as weather tight as possible. You will be grateful for it when winter comes around. It can also make summers more pleasant and stop you from baking in the sun.
There are plenty of options available. If you want to make this a DIY project consider using blankets or rolls made from something like wool or fiberglass. You can line your walls, roof and other open spaces with them. Another easy option is using polystyrene beads.
Otherwise, if you don’t want to attempt it on your own, you can always ask for professional help.
Protect your plumbing
When it’s really icy outside you should be careful about your pipes. Without proper care, the plumbing in a manufactured home is susceptible to freezing. This is as bad as it sounds. As you can imagine, it makes your house colder. It can also damage your pipes and interrupt your water supply. This can make your life far more uncomfortable and even unbearable.
It can make the world of difference to replace your pipes. Because metals are great conductors, they can lose heat more quickly. So, if you haven’t yet, consider installing rubber or plastic pipes instead.
Insulation in the walls will help. But you can also insulate the pipes themselves by wrapping them with specially made wraps or tapes.
Remember that pipes freeze more quickly if you don’t let the water run through them frequently. This can be a massive problem if you are going somewhere else for the cold season. If this is the case, you need to clear any water from the plumbing before you leave.
Besides these “special” measures, you need to make sure that your regular maintenance is up to date. We recommend that you do this right at the end of the season or the beginning of the next one so that you are ready for whatever it is going to bring.
A tip for beginner mobile home owners is that the faster you address issues, the better. It will cost you less in the end, and the problems will probably be smaller and easier to fix. These small changes can make tremendous differences.
Here are some specific tasks that you can tackle:
- Leaks: Even small holes in your roof can become a significant issue. With the extremes in Michigan, you don’t want any moisture to come in. Both the summer rains and the melting snow can be a problem. So as soon as you spot a leak, try to find the source and fix it as quickly as possible.
- Gutter maintenance: It is crucial that you regularly clean out your gutters. You want to make sure that they aren’t blocked with leaves or debris and that they are still structurally sound. You need them to direct both rainwater and melted snow.
- Drains: Another small task is to make sure that your exterior drains are clear. The last thing you want to do in the snow is to deal with overflowing plumbing. You should do this every couple of months and after heavy rain.
- Check your roof: It is a great idea to inspect your roof regularly. Wear and tear from the weather can take its toll. Fix any broken tiles or panels and make sure nothing has shifted. This way you can prevent leaks and other potential issues.
There is nothing worse than a draft on a nippy day. You don’t want the cold air to sneak in and the toasty air to slip away. So look into this right away.
The main culprits are typically leaky windows and doors. You need to make sure that all the entrances seal properly. You don’t want a breeze to sneak in around the sides or underneath.
One option is to replace the seals if possible. The silicone or putty that keeps the windows in place might have shrunk or might have become brittle and cracked. However, this isn’t always an option.
Luckily, there are other easy fixes available. You can use stripping or special draft snake kits to close off the gaps. If it is urgent and you really need a quick fix, you can even use some clear nail polish to cover any cracks.
These aren’t the only culprits though. Drafts can also come in through your roof, damaged skirting, or even gaps and holes in your drywall. Any of these openings should be filled and closed.
If you aren’t sure whether there is a draft or where the source is there are some easy steps you can take to get answers.
- Close doors and windows or any other opening in your home.
- Turn off fans and aircon. Make sure that there aren’t other appliances running that might disrupt the airflow.
- Light a stick of incense or a candle that produces a lot of smoke.
- Take the stick and hold it up near places where you suspect a leak.
- Watch the smoke. If it seems to be blown or sucked to one side, or moves erratically there probably is a gap.
An expert tip for any home is to look at its orientation. You can use the warmth and light of the sun to your advantage.
In the Northern hemisphere, the sun will be to the South. This means that the windows in your home that face a Southerly direction will allow the most sunlight in throughout the day. If these are the biggest windows in your home, they will help to keep you warm in winter and fall. However, the midday sun can sometimes be too intense, especially in summer. Try to plant some trees or install some eaves that can help to block out some of the rays at noon.
To correctly do this, you need some knowledge of the area and the position of the sun. Locals builders or realtors should be able to advise you.
If possible, it is best to work this out before you park or place your mobile home. But at least you still have the option to adjust this with a manufactured house later.
Another bonus of well-placed windows is that you can open them to let lovely breezes flow through in the summer.
Eco-friendly appliances for mobile home owners
Now that all the permanent fixtures are taken care off you can move on to appliances.
Eco-friendly heating and cooling appliances can give you some necessary control over the internal temperature of your house. It will be more efficient now that the heat (or in the summer, cooler air) can’t escape. This will help to make sure that you and your family are comfortable.
You want the maximum efficiency with the minimum electricity use. And luckily you can do all of this while saving money and energy.
Here are some eco-friendly heating options:
- Wall mounted electric radiators
- Gas heaters
- Wood burning stoves
- Infrared heaters
You can also find some energy efficient air conditioners for the summer if you need. Now you can stay snug without feeling guilty.
You might be wondering what decor has to do with the weather. But you might be surprised how useful furnishing can be in helping you adapt. These elements can contribute to keeping the interior environment of your house stable and make the weather more manageable.
Rugs and carpets
Rugs and carpets don’t just make your house look homey. They can be useful too. Wood, laminate, and tiles look fantastic, but they aren’t the warmest materials. Luckily putting out some rugs can solve this.
Put mats in key places on your floor. A great idea is to put them in spots where you will spend a lot of time with your feet on the floor – like under your couch.
One benefit of this is that you can put them out in autumn and put them away again in summer if you prefer the feeling of cool tiles.
Most people only worry about the color and pattern when they are looking for curtains. But there is more to it than that.
Thick and heavy curtains can really help keep the cold out and the heat in during the winter. They should preferably have a lining as well. On top of this, try to close them most of the time for extra insulation. Keep them open when the sun is shining through the window to heat up your mobile home.
Install hooks so that you can tie them back in the summer to let the breeze in.
One tip is to incorporate season-appropriate palettes into your house. Warmer colors like jewel tones can really help you to feel snug during the colder months. While cool colors, like mint, can be a breath of fresh air in the warmer ones.
Whatever the weather, the above measures will help take off the edge. Come rain or shine, you’ll be able to stay comfortable and to enjoy your house to the fullest.
The best part is that you can do this is and be eco-friendly at the same time. While you are at it, take a look at our Mobile Home Insulation Guide: What You Need To Know About Insulation.