Winterize your Manufactured Home

1. A simple tube of silicone caulk
This may be your best investment this heating season. Polyurethane caulking is a good all-around choice for sealing your manufactured home from drafts and leaks. Places to be caulked outside the home include: gutter and downspout seams, plumbing and furnace vent pipes, around flashing seams between roof and siding, around door and window frames, along siding joints, around the dryer vent, at the TV antenna wire entrance and at pipe feed-throughs.

2. Weather stripping exterior doors and windows
It’s an inexpensive heat-saver. To detect heat loss, just hold your hand at the edge of a window or door frame on a windy day. If you feel a draft, weather-strip the area.

3. Roof Sealing
A well-maintained roof lowers your energy bills and prevents costly water damage. The edges and seams or expansion joints of a metal roof should be sealed every year. Use a roof coating suggested by a local dealer or service center, and apply to a dry, properly prepped surface. Make sure you apply the recommended thickness. Put a good seal around vent caps for the furnace, water heater and exhaust fans. Repair any punctures, cracks or breaks in your roof. Remember to tighten or replace any loose fasteners.

4. Supporter
The blocks or jacks that support your manufactured home should be in good condition. If they’re not, have them repaired immediately to prevent sagging, which can cause damage to windows, doors, joints and walls.

5. Loosen up
Slightly loosen your home’s tie-downs if you live in an area where the ground freezes solid. Ground can “heave” as much as three inches during the winter, and tie-downs leave no place for the manufactured home to move. That can result in serious structural damage. Remember to tighten tie-downs again in spring.

6. Secure the Skirting
Check your home’s skirting. It should be secure, but not so tight that it stops ventilation or vertical movement. Once winter sets in, be sure to shovel snow and ice away from the skirting to avoid denting and cutting off the air supply required by the furnace.

7. Protect the Pipe
Frozen pipes can mean big trouble. One of the simplest methods to prevent water pipes from freezing is with heat tapes. These contain a heating element encased in a tape that is wrapped around water pipes. The heating element warms the pipes and prevents freezing. If you install the heat tape, follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully. If you have a heat tape already installed, make certain it’s still operative. If it is worn or loose, replace it. Make sure you never overlap heat tape – it can cause a fire.

8. Proper Installation
Be sure your storm windows and doors are in place and in good repair; they keep your energy costs down. Even if your window frames and doors are caulked and weather stripped properly, heat can still escape. Properly installed storm windows and doors can cut your home’s heat loss by 50 percent.

9. Inspect the Leak
Check exterior doors for wear, tear, cracking or fading. Look for signs of leaking around the sill and threshold. Make sure weather stripping and seals are okay. Inspect under your manufactured home for sagging, torn or water spotted insulation. Carefully examine your exterior siding and replace any missing or damaged fasteners or screws.

10. Oh my Gutter!
To avoid winter water damage, be sure to clean out and inspect rain gutters for leaks or holes. They should be slanted so water runs away from your manufactured home. Don’t forget to check and repair downspouts and extensions.