Inspecting Your Crawl Space
The crawl space under your mobile or manufactured home offers access to some of its most important energy details. It’s worth taking the time to inspect this often-neglected area.
If your mobile home has skirting installed around the edges, find an access point where you can either open a hinged door or remove a piece of skirting. The best place to enter is usually near the center of the home, where you will have good access to the plumbing and to the area under your furnace. Wear sturdy clothes for this inspection and bring a bright light.
Ductwork. Your mobile home’s ductwork is probably installed beneath the floor. Check to see if any of this ductwork is exposed and or if any joints are loose or disconnected. Check carefully at the area immediately under your furnace. If you live in a double-wide, inspect the “cross-over duct” that connects the heating system in each half of the home. If you find disconnected ducts or loose joints, seal them up with metal duct tape or with duct mastic. Avoid common gray fabric “duct tape” since it tends to come loose.
Insulation. Your mobile home was designed and built with insulation in the floor, and a layer of fiberboard or “belly paper” to protect this insulation and the plumbing lines above it. This protective layer often gets damaged by animals, wind, or tradesmen. This leaves the home exposed to outdoor air that robs energy in both winter and summer, and allows the floor insulation to get damaged. Replaced any missing insulation with fiberglass batts, then repair any damage you find in the belly. Use plywood and screws to repair any damaged fiberboard. Use belly paper (purchased at a mobile home supply shop) and construction adhesive to repair any torn paper.
You can learn more about mobile home retrofitting and maintenance in my by book, Your Mobile Home: Energy and Repair Guide for Manufactured Housing.