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Old 05-21-2012, 01:34 PM
 
Location: NC
99 posts, read 121,960 times
Reputation: 64

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I'm curious about the cost of propane heating for a 80x14 or 80x16 (~1200sqft) single wide mobile home during the winter months. The single wide is sheltered by trees and other homes.

Where I live now I heat with an electric heat pump and drop the thermostat to 63 to 65 at night, and raise it up to 68 to 70 during the day.

This query is for the Western PA area or other similar colder/snowier areas of PA, not where I live now, which is quite a bit warmer in the winter.

I'm wondering what propane heating costs would be for a sheltered and larger single wide.

Older forum threads about heating indicate $600/month! with many people stating $200 to $300 a month for larger 2000sqft homes.

Thanks!
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Old 05-21-2012, 01:52 PM
 
22,669 posts, read 17,044,437 times
Reputation: 7409
Generally speaking a heat pump is going to cost a lot less than propane and it's a hard figure to pin down since the efficiency is variable dependent on the temperature outside. The warmer it is the more efficient they are.

Once the temperatures gets a little bit above freezing they no longer work and they rely solely on the auxiliary heat which in your case is probably electric. You can compare the costs for propane vs. the auxiliary electric here but you'll need to know what the local rates are:


Fuel Comparison Calculator for Home Heating

You can't use this for comparing the heat pump when it's being used as heat pump during milder weather because the efficiency rises above 100%. The reason for that is electric resistance heating is considered 100% efficient, since the heat pump uses electric for operate they base it on that and you can get efficiencies higher than 100%.
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Old 05-21-2012, 07:05 PM
 
Location: Downtown Harrisburg
1,439 posts, read 1,964,712 times
Reputation: 971
Bear in mind that mobile homes are a special breed of home. Unlike regular homes, they're exposed on six sides: east, west, north, south, top, and bottom. You've got a huge air cavity underneath (unless you're putting it on a permanent crawlspace or basement), which can make a major difference.

You also need to consider how modern, well-built, and well-maintained the home is. Anything before the mid 1990s (give or take) is going to have horrible insulation unless the previous owners replaced it. I once owned a small double (1150 square feet) from 1987, and it cost me about $150 / month to keep the heat at 60. I tried upping it to 70 a few times, and that doubled my cost. This was with all draft sources patched up and shrink-wrap insulation over the windows.

Mobile homes first started to show signs of quality in the mid- to late-80s -- and I use that term loosely. Anything before then is going to have horrible energy efficiency, and it would behoove you to invest in replacement windows, insulation, and HVAC. Anything from the mid-90s on will be slightly better.

Some single wides had their HVAC ducts down the center of the home. If your registers are along the sides, you'll see lower heating costs. If they're in the middle of the floor, you'll see higher costs.

Expect a mobile home to cost significantly more than any other home to heat.
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Old 05-21-2012, 07:14 PM
 
Location: NC
99 posts, read 121,960 times
Reputation: 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by thecoalman View Post
Generally speaking a heat pump is going to cost a lot less than propane and it's a hard figure to pin down since the efficiency is variable dependent on the temperature outside. The warmer it is the more efficient they are.

Once the temperatures gets a little bit above freezing they no longer work and they rely solely on the auxiliary heat which in your case is probably electric. You can compare the costs for propane vs. the auxiliary electric here but you'll need to know what the local rates are:


Fuel Comparison Calculator for Home Heating

You can't use this for comparing the heat pump when it's being used as heat pump during milder weather because the efficiency rises above 100%. The reason for that is electric resistance heating is considered 100% efficient, since the heat pump uses electric for operate they base it on that and you can get efficiencies higher than 100%.

I should have never mentioned my heat pump in NC. I was just adding that in for conversation. Scratch the heat pump as my concern is not about a heat pump.

Here it is:
I may be moving into a 16 x 80 single wide in W PA. Propane is used for the heating and stove but I'm not sure about the hot water heater.
I'll see what I can find googling for propane costs in PA.

Now off topic:
BTW my heat pump does not save me money. To the contrary. In the months of December through March, but mostly in Jan/Feb, the bill runs in the $250 to $300 range and that's running the heat pump 63F at night and 67 to 68 during the day. I also live in an older doublewide, so that might be the problem. When the temp drops into the 20s or lower at night the heat pump continues to run non-stop blowing out cold air, then after a very long time(hour or more) the auxiliary kicks in.

I live in WNC at 2300' so winters are not too bad, so I do not understand what the fascination is with heat pumps. I had one heat pump HVAC expert tell me they are not useful when the temp drops below 32. Temps drop below 32 almost every night in WNC for at least a couple of months during winter, especially with elevation gain. Probably colder at 3500+ft in NC than 1000' in W. PA during the winter.
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Old 05-25-2012, 10:52 PM
 
Location: NC
99 posts, read 121,960 times
Reputation: 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by DowntownHarrisburg View Post
Bear in mind that mobile homes are a special breed of home. Unlike regular homes, they're exposed on six sides: east, west, north, south, top, and bottom. You've got a huge air cavity underneath (unless you're putting it on a permanent crawlspace or basement), which can make a major difference.

You also need to consider how modern, well-built, and well-maintained the home is. Anything before the mid 1990s (give or take) is going to have horrible insulation unless the previous owners replaced it. I once owned a small double (1150 square feet) from 1987, and it cost me about $150 / month to keep the heat at 60. I tried upping it to 70 a few times, and that doubled my cost. This was with all draft sources patched up and shrink-wrap insulation over the windows.

Mobile homes first started to show signs of quality in the mid- to late-80s -- and I use that term loosely. Anything before then is going to have horrible energy efficiency, and it would behoove you to invest in replacement windows, insulation, and HVAC. Anything from the mid-90s on will be slightly better.

Some single wides had their HVAC ducts down the center of the home. If your registers are along the sides, you'll see lower heating costs. If they're in the middle of the floor, you'll see higher costs.

Expect a mobile home to cost significantly more than any other home to heat.
Thanks.
So skirting makes little difference. A single wide rental at say 550 to 600, will cost more like 750 to 800+ when factoring heating costs.
hmmm...this rental in NW PA is looking less desirable.
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Old 05-25-2012, 11:32 PM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, USA
3,134 posts, read 5,739,956 times
Reputation: 1033
I have no knowledge about trailers. I remember that when gas prices were going up and further up with no end in sight, some people wrote on here that they locked in their price at $4.85 per gallon for 3 years. However it was, it ended up being a mistake.
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Old 05-27-2012, 12:37 AM
 
Location: Downtown Harrisburg
1,439 posts, read 1,964,712 times
Reputation: 971
Quote:
Originally Posted by eclipticX View Post
Thanks.
So skirting makes little difference. A single wide rental at say 550 to 600, will cost more like 750 to 800+ when factoring heating costs.
hmmm...this rental in NW PA is looking less desirable.
Skirting is still important, if only to deter rodents and neighborhood kids from chewing on your water lines / ductwork /wiring. It still makes a difference in insulation, but not a huge one. I agree with "little" difference.

I think if you budget in $200 - $250, that's a sensible start, as long as you don't mind keeping the place cool. My philosophy was always to keep it just warm enough to prevent freezing & excessive moisture, and to invest in wool socks and heavy sweaters.

If presented with the opportunity again, I would not buy a mobile home at any price, at any age. There are all kinds of potential hidden problems. For starters, you will have to ensure your pipes have working heat tape to prevent freezing. Improperly installed heat tape is a serious fire hazard. If the home was built prior to some time in the early 2000s, there's an excellent chance the plumbing is this weird pex-like stuff that is almost, but not exactly, pex plumbing. In some cases that's held together by steel clamps that rust out after a decade or so. Given the huge amounts of particleboard used in mobile homes (especially older ones), you do NOT want to deal with a burst pipe. And regardless of the condition of the home, it's very difficult to get a mobile home insured past ten years of age, especially if it's not on a permanent foundation.

My advice to you? Consider any other living arrangement, regardless of cost.
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Old 05-27-2012, 11:47 PM
 
Location: NC
99 posts, read 121,960 times
Reputation: 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by DowntownHarrisburg View Post
Skirting is still important, if only to deter rodents and neighborhood kids from chewing on your water lines / ductwork /wiring. It still makes a difference in insulation, but not a huge one. I agree with "little" difference.

I think if you budget in $200 - $250, that's a sensible start, as long as you don't mind keeping the place cool. My philosophy was always to keep it just warm enough to prevent freezing & excessive moisture, and to invest in wool socks and heavy sweaters.

If presented with the opportunity again, I would not buy a mobile home at any price, at any age. There are all kinds of potential hidden problems. For starters, you will have to ensure your pipes have working heat tape to prevent freezing. Improperly installed heat tape is a serious fire hazard. If the home was built prior to some time in the early 2000s, there's an excellent chance the plumbing is this weird pex-like stuff that is almost, but not exactly, pex plumbing. In some cases that's held together by steel clamps that rust out after a decade or so. Given the huge amounts of particleboard used in mobile homes (especially older ones), you do NOT want to deal with a burst pipe. And regardless of the condition of the home, it's very difficult to get a mobile home insured past ten years of age, especially if it's not on a permanent foundation.

My advice to you? Consider any other living arrangement, regardless of cost.
I was looking at short-term rental lease of 6 months to maybe a year and then moving out...but now I'm having serious doubts. I had doubts even before I started this thread.

I prefer not to be cold during the winter. Currently in Western NC I live in an older 1984 smaller double-wide(46X24) and the darn thing can barely stay warmish in Western NC winters(nights mostly in the lower to mid 20s...days upper 30s to mid/upper 40s, except this last unusually warm winter).

Heat pump can't keep up in winter or summer. Today I set the AC at 77 or 76 and the temp actually started to go up...couldn't keep up with a 80 to 83 degree day!. As I walk down the hallway by the heatpump area I could feel a pocket of really warm air, as if the heatpump was drawing in warm air from under the double-wide.

The double-wide is a rental that was abandoned for many years and "fixed-up" for a rental. It looked pretty nice at the time. I wonder if the insulation ever needs to be replaced? because they didn't touch the wall, but only replaced some of the flooring with plywood and put a metal roof over the older tile roof. I know there was extensive water damage because I can see stains on the ceilings and some parts of the floor feel spongy or bouncy when walking on them. Landlord's maintenance right hand man only tells me its a double-wide and is expected...including rodents running through the vents. I trap them but they always find a way back in, despite the few times I've had people check the ducts for holes. Windows are original, too and not very air tight. I have to put plastic over them during the winter.

So yes I'm very reluctant about moving into another manufactured home, especially an older one.

.
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