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Mobile home wall opened for insulation (C) Daniel Friedman Mobile Home Insulation Guide
Mobile home, trailer, doublewide energy savings & insulation types, R-values, installation

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Mobile home & trailer insulation guide to selection, installation, inspection, troubleshooting, & improvement:

Here we outline steps to reduce heating, cooling, and electricity costs for manufactured homes, mobile homes or doublewides / trailers. While you might think that insulating is the top priority it might not be.

This article series discusses how to inspect, diagnose and correct problems in mobile home, doublewide, or trailer & camper insulation or ventilation systems.

We also provide a MASTER INDEX to this topic, or you can try the page top or bottom SEARCH BOX as a quick way to find information you need.

Mobile Home & Trailer Home Insulation & Ventilation Defects, Diagnosis, Repair, Improvement

Manufactured home with no floor insulation (C) Daniel Friedman at InspectApedia.comThe photo shown here illustrates a manufactured home that has no insulation under the floor. Insulation may be omitted until after the home has been transported to the site - thus avoiding risking damage or soaking if transport of the home takes place in wet weather.

In fact those muddy streaks on the steel center beam tell us that this home was indeed driven down a wet highway.

[Click to enlarge any image]

So is this where we should first add insulation? No.

In a completed manufactured or mobile home you cannot normally see into the walls or roof to inspection insulation directly, leading renters or home owners to focus on insulation under the home's floor.

Actually the priorities of action to stop heat loss and thus reduce heating costs in cold climates are

  1. stop air leaks or drafts, such as at leaky windows and doors and also stop gales of cold wind from blowing under the home if it is missing its skirting
  2. insulate the roof space
  3. Insulate the wall space and then
  4. insulate the floor or belly-wrap area

Our page top photo, courtesy of Jeremias, one of our mobile home inspection and repair advice readers, shows a mobile home whose walls have been completely opened to permit:

Damaged insulation & rodent barrier, adapted from US DOE cited in this article - at InspectApedia.com

Shown above is a photo of a damaged rodent barrier and falling insulation below a manufactured home, adapted from U.S. DOE and cited in detail at MOBILE HOME INSULATION BELLY WRAP.

To understand the condition of mobile home insulation and thus to decide what steps are worth taking to reduce home heating or cooling costs for mobile homes, doublewides, and trailers, we need to inspect the structure focusing on leaks, water damage, and especially air leaks around windows and doors.

If we don't fix those problems first, efforts to add insulation in the ceiling, walls, or floor may be wasted.

Energy improvement choices for manufactured homes (mobile homes, doublewides, trailers)

Mobile home with bad roof (C) Daniel FriedmanThe first citation below offers these suggestions for improving the energy efficiency of mobile homes. For older mobile homes (built before 1976) the following list sets priorities for reducing heating & cooling costs for these older structures.

We have added comments, interpretation and suggestions to bring a dose of (in our opinion) reality to the government's advice and I've re-ordered the suggestions into a priority based on most return for least cost and effort. According to US HUD (energy.gov)

Experiments conducted on pre-1976 manufactured homes by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) from 1988 to 1991 found that these retrofit measures resulted in a 31% reduction in heating fuel usage. [1]

Mobile home rodent barrier & ground moisture barrier, adapted from US DOE cited in detail in this article - at InspectApedia.com

Manufactured & Mobile Home Insulation Standards & Codes

Full text of the manufactured and mobile home heating standards can be found in

PART 3280—MANUFACTURED HOME CONSTRUCTION AND SAFETY STANDARDS [PDF] newer copy retrieved 2017/07/13 - faster-loading

See Subpart F - Thermal Protection in that document.

That subpart includes these sections

Subpart F—Thermal Protection

References for manufactured home (mobile home) insulation & energy conservation

Updated through January 2018 - Steve Vermilye, New Paltz NY and Daniel Friedman, Poughkeepsie NY, Hudson Valley ASHI Chapter Seminar, Newburgh NY, January 4, 2000, NY Metro ASHI Fall 99 Seminar, Holiday Inn Crowne Plaza, White Plains NY, October 2, 1999.

Add or Repair Manufactured Home or Mobile Home Belly Insulation

This topic has moved to its own page at MOBILE HOME INSULATION BELLY WRAP.

Watch out: when working under a mobile home, manufactured home, or any tight crawl space there may be serious health and safety hazards. More than one reader have reported getting an electrical shock while working under a mobile or manufactured home. Hazards in such tight spaces are outlined at MOBILE HOME CRAWL SPACES and also at CRAWL SPACE SAFETY ADVICE

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Continue reading at MOBILE HOME INSULATION BELLY WRAP or select a topic from closely-related articles below, or see our complete INDEX to RELATED ARTICLES below.

Or see INSULATION AIR & HEAT LEAKS

Or see INSULATION LOCATION - WHERE TO PUT IT

Or see MOBILE HOME CRAWL SPACES - how to inspect the mobile home crawl space

Or see MOBILE HOME HEATING SYSTEMS

Or see WINTERIZE A BUILDING

Suggested citation for this web page

MOBILE HOME INSULATION at InspectApedia.com - online encyclopedia of building & environmental inspection, testing, diagnosis, repair, & problem prevention advice.

INDEX to RELATED ARTICLES: ARTICLE INDEX to MANUFACTURED & MOBILE HOMES

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