Winterizing a mobile home is the process of preparing it for the harsh winter weather that can cause damage, power outages, and high energy costs. While winterizing is a general, all-encompassing term, it entails taking specific measures that protect the different parts and systems of the home.

Low temperatures can bring frozen pipes, water leaks, heat loss, and costly energy bills. In this article, we'll explain how to preemptively prepare and ensure your home stays warm all winter.

Benefits of Winterizing

Winterizing your mobile home has several benefits beyond staying warm during the colder months. A well-maintained roof protects your home from the elements and prevents costly water damage.

Sealed window frames and secure drafty doors help lower energy costs and prevent heat loss. Repaired storm windows also help to insulate your home and reduce energy bills.

DIY Winterize or Hire a Professional?

If you're confident in your home repair abilities, the average homeowner can do many of the winterizing tasks. However, if you lack the required tools or skills, it is best to hire a professional.

What Tools Will You Need?

So, what's in your winterizing toolbox? You'll need a caulking gun, something to install weatherstripping (a utility knife and wire brush are ideal), heat tape, a screwdriver, and an insulation knife.

If you're dealing with window film or pipe insulation, you'll need a utility knife and scissors as well.

Once the tools are ready, the first item on the list is weatherstripping.

Weather Stripping

Weatherstripping is effective for keeping cold and warm air out, but only if it's fitted and secured correctly.

As the temperature drops, keeping your mobile home warm can be challenging without proper insulation, particularly in the areas where cold air can seep through.

Weatherstripping is a cost-effective method to prevent drafts and save energy during the harsh winter months.

Installing New Weather Stripping

Before installing weather stripping, you must identify potential cracks surrounding your doors and windows. If you already have weatherstripping in place but still feel a draft, it's time to tear out the old, and properly install the new. 

Remove the old weather stripping with a utility knife. Use a stiff, bristled wire brush to remove any remaining adhesive on the window or door frame.

Begin by checking for visible air flow responsible for heat loss. 

Next, measure and cut the appropriate size of your weather stripping. Make sure not to cut it too short, as any gaps will allow for air leakage. Place the weather stripping into the door or window frame groove and secure it with nails or screws as needed.

Once all of your weather stripping is in place, check for further drafts and seal up any additional holes you may find.

Now that you've sealed up any gaps around the windows and doors, let's take a deeper look at what else can be done to ensure your windows aren't letting cold air in all winter.

Window Frames and Storm Windows

Since we've already covered weatherstripping, we can assume all of the gaps are as sealed up as they will be, and we'll move on to storm windows.

This extra layer of protection fits over or inside your window frame to help insulate your home. When properly installed, storm windows can create an air gap that acts as a barrier against the cold, preventing heat loss and reducing drafts.

If you have window screens for warmer weather, you'll likely need to remove them to replace them with storm windows when the weather starts to cool.

Now that we've covered the windows, we're ready to move on to doors and expansion joints.

Doors, Drafts, and Dry Rot

When winterizing an exterior door, there are a few steps to consider. First, check for any drafts or gaps where cold air can enter. If the door is missing weather stripping or needs to be replaced, install new weather stripping as mentioned above.

If you're still noticing a draft when the door is closed, you may need to look for irregularities in the door frame. Are there worn edges that are no longer squarely meeting the door? Is there dry rot causing a porous area within the frame?

Wood filler or a hardening epoxy can solve either issue; thoroughly read the instructions to check the temperature requirements and curing time. Some wood filler and repair products won't dry completely when temperatures fall below fifty degrees.

Caulking Exterior Gaps and Drafts

You may need to caulk around any exterior gaps to further prevent drafts and energy loss. This includes the expansion joints between the skirting and concrete slab your mobile home is on. If not sealed, these can be a prime source of air leakage.

For caulking, use an exterior-grade silicone sealant—waterproof and temperature resistant. It will provide the most protection against air flow.

Here's a short checklist for exterior spots to inspect and/or caulk:

  • gutter seams
  • downspout seams
  • siding joints
  • satellite dish or antenna wire entrances
  • vent pipes

Also, if you have a double-wide mobile home, double-check the marriage line, where both sides of your home are joined. This flexible membrane can shift due to the ground becoming unlevel and can require resealing.

Protecting Your Roof from Winter Conditions

The roof plays a vital role in keeping your home warm during the winter months, and there are some steps you can take to ensure it's always working its best.

Check for any loose or damaged shingles that can allow cold air in. If the sealant around chimneys or vents is cracked or missing, replace it with a waterproofing caulk.

Be sure to inspect the rubber seal around your vent pipes for any cracks, tears, or gaps that can allow cold air in. You may need to replace the pipe boot if there's an issue.

Inspect your roof periodically throughout the winter and repair or replace anything that looks damaged or worn down. Remember, if there's a gap that can hold water, it'll soon expand and turn to ice, leaving behind a more significant gap the next time it rains.

Is adding Insulation an Option?

If your mobile home is still feeling too cold even after taking all these steps, it may be time to add more insulation. Many mobile homes are under-insulated, which may be true if you've done everything else.

Insulation acts as a barrier between the inside and outside of your home, trapping heat in and keeping cold air out. Mobile homes are typically fitted with fiberglass insulation, which is a good option for most climates. For colder climates, you can add an extra layer of insulation to help keep your home warm.

Adding insulation can be costly and time-consuming, but it's worth it in the end. You'll use less energy and save money on your heating bill while enjoying a cozy warm home all winter.

Insulating Pipes to Keep Your Home Warm This Winter

Don't forget about the pipes in your home! If you live in an area with cold winters, you must take steps to protect them from freezing and bursting. Insulating exposed pipes is easier than adding additional home insulation, so you can usually handle this in a couple hours.

Check for any exposed hot or cold water lines in areas like the attic, basement, or crawl spaces, and make sure they are adequately insulated. Use a quality foam insulation sleeve around pipes, and make sure it fits snugly to create an airtight seal.

You'll also want to check any exterior hoses or faucets for water leakage before the cold weather arrives; these should be disconnected and stored away during the winter months.

By following these steps, you can rest assured that your mobile home will be well-insulated and draft-free come wintertime.

So take the time to check for drafts, add insulation where needed, and seal up any gaps you find. This is an investment in both your comfort and your wallet during the coldest months of the year!