Coming into the summer months has made me think about how to keep cool without spending lots of money. This reminded me of when I lived in mobile homes off and on for a few years. Mobile homes, especially those built pre-1979 (like the ones I had), have the ability to hold heat in even without added insulation. The metal framework and roofing materials are the reason for this effect. While good in the winter, it sucks in the spring and summer. Keeping the mobile home cool becomes a priority during hotter months. Five basic principles help keep the mobile home cooler during hot days.
Man made shades, awnings, can shade windows or doors. Awnings keep the sunlight from directly filtering through the glass, heating up the glass and reflecting into the house. Your best bet here is to install them on the west and south sides where the sun rises; if not, the sun has time to heat the glass and then reflect into the home trapping the heat inside.
Natural methods include vines, bushes and tress. Set up trellises in front of windows and allow the vines to grow up the trellis. If you let the vines grow directly up the sides of the mobile home they can start pushing their way into the molding and siding. Trees that drop their leaves during the fall are great for cooling a mobile home in summer. Pick tree varieties that reach between 25 and 50 feet high, then plant these at least 10 feet from the mobile home. Ideas include maple, oak and aspen for shade trees.
Heavy shades, curtains or window treatments inside the home can block out direct sunlight and heat. Use darker colors or thicker material to keep the heat out. Window blinds also work if you keep them facing downward. If you don’t like these options, you can also try sunscreens or heat-reflecting film applied to the windows. Each of these will reduce the amount of heat entering the mobile home as they redirect the sun’s rays.
Many people forget about cross ventilation. In the right direction, cross ventilation can cool a mobile home. Airflow from the shaded side should flow in and then exit out the opposite side. To do this, open windows on both ends of the home, keeping the remaining windows shut. Set up fans in the direction you want the air to flow. When the sun shifts over the horizon, turn the fans around and reverse the air flow. Don’t forget your exhaust fans and roof vents too! These allow hot air to escape because heat rises to the roof and out of the home.
Yes maintenance factors in keeping your mobile home cool and saving money. Maintenance of both cooling appliances and the exterior of the home help reduce cooling costs with mobile homes. Air filters in air conditioning units should be maintained and cleaned. Dehumidifiers should be used to reduce moisture in the air; humidity raises the air temperature. Paint the exterior siding and/or roofing white to redirect sunlight and heat away from the house. Use lighter colors inside the house because darker colors tend to hold heat.
5. Work Flow
Here’s another concept many people forget. Appliances such as ovens and dryers raise indoor temperatures quickly as they throw off heat. If you use these appliances during the day they will make the mobile home hotter inside. Wait for the sun to set before baking or drying clothes. Use a clothes line if possible. Make foods for several days in advance to avoid cooking each day.
Living in a mobile home can, at times, seem more costly and trouble than it looks. But if you use some careful consideration and thought you can reduce how much money it takes to cool a mobile home.
Here’s some further reading if you want to look up more information.