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Winterizing a Mobile Home or RV

RV covered in snow

All homes require extra attention in winter, especially mobile homes and recreational vehicles (RVs). Learn how to winterize a mobile home and an RV, and take the necessary steps to keep your home warm, safe, and secure until spring.

How to Winterize a Mobile Home

Image via Flickr by greg westfall.

Image via Flickr by greg westfall.

From furnaces to fans to fireplaces, winterizing a mobile home is a multi-step process. To stay warm without breaking the bank this winter, take the following precautions.

Clean the Furnace Filters

Whether you live in a traditional home, a manufactured home, or a mobile home, basic furnace maintenance is necessary as winter weather approaches. Since furnace closets can turn into storage areas when the furnace isn’t in use, start by cleaning around the furnace. Remove any unrelated items from the area and vacuum any accumulated dirt or debris around the furnace. Dust the exterior of the furnace and the thermostat before turning the unit on for the winter.

Next, clean any removable furnace filters or replace disposable versions. If your area typically experiences extreme temperatures that cause you to run the furnace constantly, remember to clean or change the filter once a month. If your furnace use is just moderate, change the filter at least every three months.

To keep the furnace in good shape throughout the winter, consider scheduling preventive maintenance before the weather gets too cold. It’s also good practice to schedule maintenance in the late spring, before you turn on any central air systems in your mobile home.

Close Off Fireplaces

Fireplaces often look cozy, but in mobile homes, they can cause serious air leaks and let in large amounts of cold air. Two easy solutions can help you keep warm air inside and cold air out. Install a rubber-sealed damper in the chimney to keep conditioned air inside. Simply open the damper to use the fireplace, and then close it again when the fire is safely out. Add another layer to the area by installing a folding fireplace door that seals cold air off even more.

Use Ceiling Fans

Known for their ability to make hot summer days more bearable, ceiling fans can also save the day during the winter months. Once the outdoor temperatures start to drop, flip the switch on the base of the fan to reverse the direction of the blades. Instead of drawing cool air upwards, circulating your ceiling fans clockwise will actually push warm air back down into the room. Be sure to keep the fan speed low to avoid creating too much of a breeze or wasting energy.

If your mobile home doesn’t have fans, rest assured that ceiling fan installation is relatively simple. When you choose a new ceiling fan, be sure to select a model that works with your home’s electrical system and space requirements.

Weatherproof Doors and Windows

Along with fireplaces, windows and doors can cause significant air leaks in a mobile home. If you haven’t already installed storm windows, add this extra layer of protection to all windows of your mobile home. If you live in a particularly cold climate, use a shrink-wrap kit to add a layer of plastic to the interior of your windows, as this will help prevent cold air from seeping into your home. Finally, use weatherstripping material to seal around the perimeter of each window. Add weatherstripping around any exterior doors, too, to prevent unnecessary leaks.

Seal the Exterior

Cracks, leaks, and holes in the exterior of your mobile home can invite cold air inside without catching your attention. To keep these air leaks in check, inspect the exterior and roof of your mobile home. Use spray foam to seal any visible holes or exposed areas around piping. On the roof, use caulk to seal any cracks or areas around vents and piping.

How to Winterize an RV

RV at night

Image via Flickr by David~O

While it’s critical to prepare your mobile home for cold weather, it’s also important to get your RV ready for winter. When camping season ends, winterizing an RV is as easy as accomplishing the following tasks.

Drain and Dry

Excess water in your RV’s water lines can freeze and expand in cold weather, potentially causing damage that is expensive to fix. Prevent this from happening by draining the water from the water-holding tanks. Use the RV’s built-in cleaning system to flush the tanks, or use a manual cleaner if necessary. Ensure that no water remains in the tanks or water lines by opening all faucets and flushing the toilet.

Next, hook a compressed air adapter to the water line in your RV and use an air compressor to push air through the lines. Once you’re certain that no water remains in the lines, close the faucets and cap the drains.

Prevent Freezing

To keep the RV’s water lines from freezing, you’ll want to add antifreeze to the lines. Use a pump to force pink, nontoxic antifreeze through the lines, bypassing the water heater if possible. Turn on each faucet one at a time until the pink antifreeze runs out of the faucet. Test the toilet by flushing it until the antifreeze is visible. Next, pour a small amount of antifreeze into all drains and toilets to make sure they’re safe from freezing.

Cover and Secure

Before closing down your RV for the winter, make sure you’ve removed all food from the refrigerator and pantry, especially perishable items. To prevent pests from entering the RV during the winter, close off all vents and exterior openings with mesh or another protective barrier.

Since extended pressure can damage your RV’s tires over time, take the pressure off the tires and position the vehicle on blocks if possible. If you opt to cover the RV for the winter, be sure to choose a material that breathes instead of seals off the RV.

Whether it’s your first winter living in a mobile home or you’re looking to improve your tried-and-true methods for winterizing an RV, it’s important to start the process early. Follow these steps to winterize your home to prevent damage and stay comfortable through the chilly winter months.

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