This article appeared on SFGate and was written by Elizabeth Smith.
When you live in a mobile home, the process of saving energy is different from that of a traditional house, primarily because of the different types of construction materials used. Depending on the age of your mobile home, you could face a number of issues that cause your utilities to be higher; the older a mobile home is, the more inefficient it is likely to be. While you may not be able to change the structure of your mobile home, you can make small changes that save money on utilities and reduce your impact on the environment. (See References 1)
Prevent air leaks around the mobile home. Install efficient windows and doors or add weather stripping around the edges so your heated or cooled air does not escape from cracks in the sides. Use caulk to fix air leaks around pipes, plumbing fixtures, air ducts, window-mounted air-conditioners and other openings. Also check for leaks in the walls. (See References 1)
Ensure that your mobile home is properly insulated to prevent heat loss, which is particularly important in older models. If your home design allows it, add insulation to the walls and to the bottom of the mobile home. You can also add insulated, energy-efficient skirting around the edge of the home. To keep heat from getting out through the ceiling, add a roof cap, which is easier than taking off the roof to add insulation. (See References 1)
Replace your existing lights with energy-efficient compact fluorescent bulbs, which use up to 75 percent less energy and last longer. Switch to sheer curtains to take advantage of the sunlight, particularly if your mobile home has smaller windows. You can also install lighting timers to automatically turn off lights and use motion sensors or solar lights for outdoor illumination. (See References 4)
Manage the amount of water you use. Fix leaks around faucets and in pipes, especially those that may have been affected by cold temperatures and those in uninsulated spaces in your mobile home. Pour food coloring in the toilet tank to check for leaks; if there is a problem, the water in the bowl will turn that color in under an hour. Install aerators in faucets to reduce water use by up to 30 percent. If you have the budget, replace your existing fixtures with low-flow versions. (See References 2)
Reduce the amount of energy you use for heating water. Many mobile homes have smaller water heaters and exterior pipes, which can cause unnecessary energy use. Insulate your water pipes to prevent energy loss, particularly where they run outdoors or through an unheated crawl space. Switch to a more-efficient water heater, particularly if you have an older model that came with the mobile home, and turn it down to 125 degrees Fahrenheit. (See References 3)