If you live in a mobile home, you likely enjoy the low cost of living this light and portable home affords. However, if you have trouble keeping your house cozy during winter months due to drafty windows and thin insulation, you may be considering upgrading to more energy-efficient windows to help retain heat inside your home and lower your energy bills. What types of windows are appropriate for mobile homes? If your home is showing other signs of age, is this a good investment? Read on to learn more about the types of windows best suited to mobile homes, as well as some factors you'll want to consider when deciding whether to replace your own home's windows.
What types of windows can be installed in a mobile home?
Because mobile homes are designed to be semi-portable and easily towed to and from building sites, they're made with lighter and thinner wood and other materials than stick-built homes. As a result, not all replacement windows are appropriate for mobile homes, as some may be too heavy for the surrounding structure and can cause buckling of the support beams beneath the window frame. You'll need to begin your window search with a manufacturer that deals specifically in mobile home windows.
Once you've identified the windows that are appropriate for the size and age of your mobile home, you'll be faced with a few more choices. If your current window is flush-mounted (with the frame screwed on top of the siding), you'll want to look at other flush-mounted windows, rather than lap-siding mounted ones. A lap-siding mounted window requires the removal of the siding surrounding the window. The frame is then installed, and the siding is replaced over the frame.
Depending upon the shape and location of the window within your home, you'll need to decide between single-pane and double-pane. Single-pane windows are logically titled, as they consist of a single pane of glass within a wooden or aluminum frame. Double-pane windows have two panes of glass separated by a gas barrier. These windows are much more energy-efficient than single-pane windows, as the two panes of glass and barrier between help minimize the transfer of heat from inside to outside and vice versa. (However, finding double-pane windows in unusual shapes or small sizes can be difficult).
When should you replace your mobile home's windows?
The decision of whether to replace your windows can be a difficult one. Before taking the plunge, you may want to arrange for an energy audit of your home. Many state utility agencies will perform this service for free, having technicians come to your home and check exactly where its inefficiencies lie. If the energy audit shows that the majority of your seasonal utility bills are due to inefficient windows or doors, replacing your leaky, inefficient windows with new double-pane ones should pay for itself over the course of a few years.
If you can't afford to replace all your home's windows at once, you'll want to identify which windows are in the worst shape. If your home has multiple east- or west-facing windows, the amount of heat lost (and gained) from the sun may be highest there, giving you the most bang for your buck by replacing windows in these parts of your home. You'll also want to pay special attention to any window frames that are cracked, pitted, or otherwise appear to be in sub-par condition. As damaged window frames can allow as much airflow as a missing or broken pane of glass, a residential window replacement will reap immediate benefits to your utility budget and your family's comfort.