Abstract: Langdale Home Inspector notes on DIY improvements that can make a big improvement to the occupants’ comfort.
An Expanded Mobile Home
We are always looking at how to improve the energy efficiency of homes. Here’s a case study of a mobile home that has good bones but needs an energy efficiency tune-up.
This home was a single wide mobile with a stick built extension built on one side which effectively doubled the livable area. A roof had been built over both halves. Wood siding was applied to both sides to give the an exterior appearance of a 1200 sf bungalow. Overall the renovation was well done done.
The extension was heated with ducts run below in the crawl space, from the original furnace on the mobile side. In addtiton, rooms on the expansion side had electric space heaters, indicating that the furnace and heating ducts alone could not satisfy the heating needs.
Crawl Space Red Flags
Crawl spaces are usually forgotten zones and usually ignored, unless there needs to be a very pressing reason why it should be entered. However a home inspector routinely enters this space because it is so revealing as to the condition of multiple house systems.
For this partcular prperty, the perimeter skirting was not insulated. However the floor above the crawl space was insulation between the joists, ensuring the floor above would not be a cold floor. So far, so good.
The crawl space floor had plastic poly sheeting used as the vapour barrier but it had deteriorated long ago and was damaged and torn. The dampness of the ground had permeated through the enclosed space. Rust was visible on the mobile’s metal main beams and tie-down anchors. The wood framing for the skirting was rotting. Storage boxes were covered with mold spores and cardboard boxes were falling apart. In addition, uninsulated furnace ducts were running through the crawlspace, wasting heating energy to the unoccupied and uninsulated crawlspace.
Fortunately the crawlspace and ducts can easily be remediated. We recommended to the buyers the following improvements:
- Insulate all the bare heating ducts in the crawl space.
- Install new poly sheeting over the bare ground to stop the rising damp.
- Repair skirting. Install vents in the skirting vents to promote dryness.
- Optional, run a fan in the crawlspace to circulate the air.
If after doing all of the above, the extension side is still too cold for comfort then you will need to call a heating contracting to review and likely resize your furnace to a larger capacity. But… you just may be able to get by using the electric space heaters for peak heating demand days, saving you the money that a new furnace would cost.