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Discussion Starter #1
We currently live in a mobile home and last winter we had an awful time with our water pipes freezing up... Basically we were miserable...
Well we just got a new trailer and before we put the skirting on I was thinking it might be a good idea to put straw bales underneath it all the way around. Does anyone know of any pros or cons of this idea?? Or any other suggestions to keep the pipes from freezing?
 

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Retired farmer-rancher
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I have seen bales of straw on the outside of the skirting, not sure about under the trailer. I think that inside the skirting would make an ideal winter home for mice and all sorts of pests. Might be better to put the bales outside in late fall and then remove them in the spring.
 

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If I need a Shelter
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I'm always worried about Bugs.I did put Straw along where water comes into the House last Winter.But took it away this Spring.

big rockpile
 

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Don't do it.mice,mice,and more mice.Plastic works the best for keeping out the wind.A cold wind really freezes pipes.
 

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Don't Tase me, bro!?!
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Good strawbale construction requires mortaring the strawbales completely except for the bottom side which needs to be on some type of foundation that will accommodate drainage in case of rains and such. If the strawbales were ever to be in standing water or flood waters or resting on the ground, they would grow lots of mold and be a disease factor.

The idea is good if you can keep them dry and on a good foundation with them properly coated with mortar.
 

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Nohoa Homestead
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gaiasactuality said:
We currently live in a mobile home and last winter we had an awful time with our water pipes freezing up... Basically we were miserable...
Well we just got a new trailer and before we put the skirting on I was thinking it might be a good idea to put straw bales underneath it all the way around. Does anyone know of any pros or cons of this idea?? Or any other suggestions to keep the pipes from freezing?
I would check with your insurance company. Many will not insure a mobile that has straw bales because of the increased flammability factor. You wouldn't want to lose your insurance. Not to mention the fact that it is rather dangerous! SIP panels under the skirting would be a much better choice, or for that matter, why not some electrical heating tape. That's what we use, and it works wonderfully.

donsgal
 

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Miniature Horse lover
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For the cold months I put up those 2 inch thick 4 by 8 Styrofoam sheets all the way around. On the North side I do 2 thick so that is 4 inches of those sheets, Works Great in this WI. climate I have not frozen up yet in 10 years and that is sometimes at 40 Below Zero. Then in the spring I take them down store them and use them year after year after year. MUCH better then having to MESS with Straw bales and the Mess they create ~!
Added: What a difference that makes on the floor temps too for the most part I just wear socks on my feet in the winter vary rarely have to have slippers or shoes on. Nice and Toasty.
 

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Go to your hardware store and purchase some high quality pipe heaters that have a thermostat and wrap these around the pipes. Chances are, you won't need many feet. If its dirt under your trailer, go several inches underground with the pipe heaters.

Then insulate as well. All of this is far less expensive and less of a hassle than replacing frozen pipes in January.
 

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I rented a trailer and wanted insulation to keep my pipes from freezing and didn't want to spend any money on someone elses place.
So I went out and collected all the big orange pumpkin leaf bags that everybody wants to get rid of right after Halloween, just ask them beforehand and then pick them all up at once.
These pumpkin bags, I stacked all around the base of the trailer. Yes it looked funny but it worked rather well, cutting my heating bill by 20%.
In the spring the bags had already started to compost down into leaf mold. Nice browns for the compost heap.
 

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Don't Tase me, bro!?!
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donsgal said:
I would check with your insurance company. Many will not insure a mobile that has straw bales because of the increased flammability factor. You wouldn't want to lose your insurance. Not to mention the fact that it is rather dangerous! SIP panels under the skirting would be a much better choice, or for that matter, why not some electrical heating tape. That's what we use, and it works wonderfully.

donsgal
That's another thing, flammability. Without mortar strawbales are a fire hazard, but with the mortar they are almost 100% flame retardant.
 

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The 4x8 sheet of foam are used for lathing and insulating houses. Is far is thickness you can get it up to a few feet thick if you want to order it. Are rabbit barn is cover with 2 inch thick foam and why we really don't have cold winter are summer are in the 100 and with a cool blowing it stay in the 80's or lower. Last week it was 114 here and you could feel the differences in temperature when you walked in the rabbit barn. G&S
 

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Regular insulation batting, with plastic sheeting tacked inside of that for vapor barrier. Please do not put flammable material under the house! Especially if you have hot water pipes, a furnace or hot water heater, or even forced air ducting under there. Big fire hazard!

Button up all the air leaks and add a combination of heat trace tape and pipe insulation to the piping that seems to freeze most often. In a lot of trailers, that is at or near the kitchen sink. and the line leading to the bathroom(s) and usually the outdoor spigot too.

And get ambitious, spend some extra dollars and effort, and replace that old copper tubing with PEX instead.....but insulate as well. Every dollar you spend in insulation will be money saved in heating bills, might even pay for itself the first winter.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks so much for the tips :) I think I've been dissuaded about the straw bales idea... I didn't even think about the flammability factor... I was just thinking it would really attract mice n such and I figured our kitties would take care of that problem.I think the styrofoam insulation sheets sound like a much easier/practical idea and plus we will be using heat tape as well. Doubling up on the insulation on the northside sounds like a good idea too. Anyone have a general idea how much that styrofoam sheeting costs? We are on a tight budget (as most homesteaders are) Maybe it wouldn't hurt to do the pumpkin leaf bag thing as well haha... I can see it now :p
 

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gaiasactuality said:
Thanks so much for the tips :) I think I've been dissuaded about the straw bales idea... I didn't even think about the flammability factor... I was just thinking it would really attract mice n such and I figured our kitties would take care of that problem.I think the styrofoam insulation sheets sound like a much easier/practical idea and plus we will be using heat tape as well. Doubling up on the insulation on the northside sounds like a good idea too. Anyone have a general idea how much that styrofoam sheeting costs? We are on a tight budget (as most homesteaders are) Maybe it wouldn't hurt to do the pumpkin leaf bag thing as well haha... I can see it now :p
Hi,
Around here, the 2 inch thick "pink" or "blue" insulation board costs $1 per sqft.

I would use the pink or blue stuff (this is extruded polystyrene) rather than the white stuff, which is a little cheaper, but won't hold up to the weater as well. With the pink or blue you could actually bury the bottom of the insulation board a few inches into the dirt, so you get a good wind seal on the bottom. Ideally, it would be good to have the area under the home sealed up so that cold air cannot infiltrate past the foam board. It would be good to put poly film down on the ground under the whole mobile home to keep moisture from the soil from causing problems in the unvented space.

If you want to get an idea how fast you might pay back the cost of the materials in heating bill savings, you can get a rough idea from this calculator:
http://www.builditsolar.com/References/Calculators/InsulUpgrd/InsulUpgrade.htm

For example, assuming a 1000 sqft home, in a 5000 deg-day climate, with a current floor R value of 4 and a total R value of 15 after the foamboard is installed, I get a fuel saving of $410 in for natural gas at $1.50 per therm, or $600 for propane at $2 per gallon -- pretty good :) You can plug in your actual home size and location to get a better number.

Gary
 
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