How Much Does it Cost to Hook Up Electricity to a Mobile home?
The rising costs of land, construction materials, and other expenses associated with building a house are behind the surging popularity of mobile homes. Undoubtedly, a mobile home is cheaper to build than a regular-sized house because of its size and design. Plus, it occupies a lot less land.
However, one commonly overlooked aspect of owning a mobile home is the investment involved in getting it hooked to the electrical grid. Understanding the process and how much money you need to put down to have electrical service is crucial to avoid future inconvenience and problems.
Unless you’re moving into a place that’s already equipped with the necessary electrical wiring and equipment, you’ll need to make arrangements with the electric company to get on the grid. Sometimes, this is not an easy process, and that’s what you must prepare for.
Let’s see what you need to do and how many greenbacks you’ll spend for electricity connection if you intend to live in a mobile home.
What is a Mobile Home?
There’s some confusion about what a mobile home is. A number of people think that trailers or modular houses count as mobile homes. That’s not the case since there are differences between these dwelling places. So to clear things up, let’s define what a mobile home is.
Mobile homes also called manufactured homes, are built in a factory, placed on a chassis, and transported as a complete unit to their current site for installation. They can be set up on leased land or in a mobile home park. Alternatively, mobile homes can be installed on the owner’s land.
A mobile home is at least 320 square feet and is constructed according to the federal building code.
While mobile and modular homes are both built in factories, modular homes are transported in sections, which are assembled at the site. In contrast, a mobile or manufactured home is transported as a complete unit.
How to Set Up Electricity for Mobile Homes?
Although a mobile home is cheaper than a regular house, you’ll need to prepare for expenses that could be heavy on your pocket. One of these significant financial outlays is the cost of getting connected to the grid. The investment includes the equipment needed to set up the home’s electrical system.
You’ll need almost the same equipment that a typical house requires. These include the electrical box, breaker box, electric wiring, light switch, electric meter, junction box, circuit breaker, and the like.
Unless you’re moving to an area with grid access, you’ll need to get electricity connections for your mobile home. How much you’ll need to spend depends on several factors. These include labor fees, proximity to the grid, the house’s size, location, permit, and labor fees.
Because of these factors, the cost of having electrical power for your mobile home can run between $500 and $30,000. It’s also not a straightforward process and that explains the cost range.
Factors Affecting the Cost of Powering Up Mobile Homes
Setting up your mobile home electricity systems and getting hooked to the grid entails significant expenses. We mentioned the cost range; now, let’s look into the factors that determine the amount you’ll need to earmark for the process.
Access to Electric Power on the Site
The primary element affecting the expenses involved in the electricity hook-up cost of your manufactured home is how close it is to public utility connections. The farther it is from the main utility source, the more the electric installation costs.
Thus, moving to an established mobile home park will likely be easier and less expensive when it comes to getting connected to the grid since there are existing utilities in the area. The average cost in such instances can run from $6 to $8 per foot of wire needed to reach the primary electricity source.
In contrast, if you live in undeveloped land, be ready to allot approximately $25 to $50 per foot of wire to connect your mobile home to the electric utility source. For example, if your mobile home is about a mile away from the utility access point, the cost of getting electricity service will be about $125,000 to $250,000.
How large your mobile home is also affecting your electricity hook-up cost. Generally, mobile homes come in 3 sizes.
- Single-wide: With a width of 12 to 18 feet (3.66 – 5.49 meters), length of 40 to 80 feet (12.19 – 24.38 meters), and square footage of 480 to 1,440 feet (146.30 – 438.91 meters).
- Double-wide: With a width of 20 to 36 feet (6.10 – 10.97meters), length of 32 to 80 feet (9.75 – 24.38 meters), and square footage of 640 to 2,560 sq. feet (59.46 – 237.83 square meters).
- Triple-wide: With a width of 30 to 54 feet (9.14 – 16.46 meters), length of 32 to 80 feet (9.75 – 24.38 meters), and square footage of 960 to 3,600+ square feet.
Not surprisingly, more square footage equals higher electrical installation expenses. For example, for a single-wide mobile home, the most common type, your installation costs can run between $2880 and $11,520. That’s if you’re going to live in a mobile home park. Your expenses will be significantly higher if you’re moving to an undeveloped area.
Current Area or Region
Where you live will influence how much you’ll need to allot to get electricity for your mobile home. That’s because expenditures for electricity hook-ups vary by region and ZIP code. Like with most services and amenities, geographical location determines the prices of tools, materials, and labor costs.
For example, materials may be cheaper if you live in a rural area. That’s because marketing is usually excluded from the overhead expenses. But that holds true only if the materials are readily available and there’s no need to have them shipped to your locality. Shipping expenses will drive up your electricity hook-up costs.
If you’re a handyman who can work on electrical projects, you may consider doing the electricity hook-up yourself. However, getting connected to the electrical grid is a painstaking process that involves plenty of risks. Even if you can do the hook-up, it is wise to hire the services of a licensed professional. Doing so lets you avoid critical errors and reduce potential dangers.
Depending on factors such as the required skill level and contractor participation, a licensed electrician may charge between $40 and $100 per hour for labor. You’ll have to factor in the project’s duration into the total charges. Getting hooked up to the grid takes around a week, on average. That’s for a 2,000 square feet (18.58 square meters) home.
All electrical projects must adhere to the stipulations stated in The National Electric Code. This helps ensure that all wiring jobs are safe and stick to national standards that are meant to keep people and property protected from electrical hazards.
Before you begin the process of getting hooked up to the utility, you’ll need to obtain a permit. The project will then undergo an inspection from the local authorities to make sure it complies with the necessary codes. Getting a permit entails additional costs, which the electrician usually includes in the fees.
The hook-up process doesn’t end after the wiring works are in place. There’s one more last step to perform in the electrical installation project, which is deep cleaning the area. The clean-up includes not just the interior of the house but the surrounding site, as well.
It’s essential to keep this final step in mind as it may require additional cash outlay to hire the services of professionals to perform the process. Doing so helps ensure a thorough cleaning post-project. Deep cleaning service costs around $20 to $50 per hour.
Tips to Lower Electric Bills in a Mobile Home
Despite being a cost-effective housing option, a mobile home is often at a disadvantage regarding energy efficiency. This is due to the number of issues associated with the designs of these types of homes. In fact, data from the U.S. Department of Energy shows that utilities can be 50 percent higher in a mobile home than in a site-built home of similar age and size.
As such, having an energy-efficient mobile home is as important, if not more important, than with a traditional house. This will help lower energy costs and boost the savings you get from living in a small home. Fortunately, you can employ several energy conservation tips to lower the electric bill of your mobile home.
Check your roof
One effective way to create an energy-efficient mobile home is by redesigning your roof. Installing a white or cool roof coating can greatly lower your mobile home’s temperature as it reflects up to 85 percent of the sunlight that hits the roof. This will make a big difference, especially during the summer months. By reducing the amount of heat that enters your living area, you can cut down on your air conditioning use.
Insulating your roof cavity is the next step in your energy efficiency goals. Adding insulation into the roof cavity ensures that heated or cooled air remains inside your home. This helps reduce the workload of your air conditioner or electric heater. As a result, you can save up to 15 percent on your heating and cooling costs.
Upgrade your windows and window panes
Sometimes, saving on your mobile home’s energy costs can be accomplished by something as simple as changing your window panes or putting up energy-efficient curtains.
Paper-thin and old-fashioned windows can lead to significant energy loss and hike your monthly electric bill. During winter, the thin panes lose heat to the outside environment, driving up your heating costs. Meanwhile, during the summer months, the windows allow heat into your living area, making your air conditioner work harder to maintain a comfortable temperature.
Opting for Energy Star-certified windows would be a wise move. These windows are double, triple, or in some instances, quadruple-glazed. Considering that a double-glazed window can help reduce heat loss by up to 30 percent compared to a single-glazed one, having triple or quadruple-glazed windows will lead to significant savings on your energy expenses.
Install ceiling fans
Another effective way to lower your mobile home’s electric bill is by installing ceiling fans. You can turn on these fans when the weather is not so hot that it requires using your air conditioner. Ceiling fans cool your living area by driving away the hot air and drawing in cool air from the outside. Since they consume only around 32 watts, they’re more cost-effective than air conditioners that use between 3000 and 3500 watts per hour.
Moreover, using ceiling fans helps prevent excessive humidity in your manufactured home. Too much moisture can cause damage to your appliances and may lead to electrical problems. This can drive up your electric bill and require electrical repairs, which add to your expenses.
Switch away from traditional light bulbs
Your lightning needs comprise about 10 to 12 percent of your mobile home’s electric bill. That means you can see savings on your power expenses by simply improving the lighting output of your bulbs. How? By swapping out your traditional incandescent bulbs or complacent fluorescent lamps (CFLs) with LED (light emitting diodes) lights. Replacing the 5 most frequently used bulbs in your mobile home with LED lights will increase your mobile home’s energy efficiency by 85 percent.
But switching from traditional bulbs is just one of many ways to save on your lighting expenses. Train yourself to turn off the lights in unused areas of your home and clean the bulbs to maximize their lighting output. Using switches for light dimming and installing motion sensors are other ways to reduce the electricity you consume for lighting.
Insulate your water heater
Do you want to reduce standby heat losses by about 25 to 45 percent and save approximately 7 to 16 percent on your heating costs? Insulating your hot water heater makes this possible. Your water heater is one of the most power-hungry appliances in your mobile home, so reducing its consumption by even just a fraction will help lower your power expenses.
The hot water tank does a great job of storing water but not when it comes to trapping heat; thus, the heat losses translate into unnecessary expenses for you. Insulation is relatively inexpensive. You can get pre-cut jackets or blankets for your hot water heater tank, with the price starting at around $20. Over time, you’ll be able to easily get back the amount you spent for insulating your water heater from the savings on your utility bill.
Upgrade your kitchen appliances
Outdated appliances consume considerable electricity, which hikes your power expenses. Consider purchasing upgrades if you’re still using that years-old refrigerator, washing machine, or dishwasher in your mobile home. These appliances comprise about 20 to 25 percent of your home’s electricity consumption. Thus, upgrading to their more energy-efficient counterparts will help you shave a significant amount from your power payments.
Energy Star-rated appliances cost a bit more than traditional models, but the investment would be worth it. You’ll also be able to recoup the extra expense through the savings on your electricity bill as they consume between 10 and 50 percent less energy. For example, a traditional clothes dryer uses as much electric power per year as Energy Star-certified washing machines, refrigerators and dishwashers combined.
Improve your entire mobile home insulation
Poor insulation is often the main culprit when it comes to energy loss, not just in a traditional house but in a manufactured home as well. As such, troubleshooting problems regarding the entire insulation of your mobile home is in order if you want to reduce your electricity costs. According to the Department of Energy, properly insulated walls reduce heat loss by 13 percent. Meanwhile, adequate insulation under the flooring cuts heat loss by 11 percent.
Adding a solid form board or using blown insulation are the more common ways to pad out the walls and underbelly of your manufactured house. Some homeowners add insulated skirting as an extra step.
Use heat pumps
Installing a geothermal heat pump is a clean and green way of making your home more energy efficient. That’s because this type of pump utilizes the earth’s temperature as a ground heat exchanger instead of depending on the outside air temperature. Taking advantage of the free heat helps lower your energy consumption and gives nature a boost, as well.
It’s best to install your geothermal heat pump when you first set up your mobile home. You can’t easily move the system, so it works best for manufactured homes set up on a permanent site.
Maintain your HVAC
A poorly maintained HVAC system will consume more electricity as it needs to work harder to do its job. So make sure your heating and cooling systems are in top operating condition. Clean or replace filters at least twice a year and vacuum vent ducts to ensure proper airflow.
Check for a build-up of dust, pet hair, dirt, and other debris by pulling up a vent cover. Consider taking it down during winter if you have an AC window unit. Alternatively, weatherstrip and insulate around the appliance to minimize air leaks.
Using renewable energy not only helps you save money, but it benefits the planet at the same time. Solar power is one example of a renewable energy source that works well with a mobile home. The energy from the sun is free and readily available. Thus, by installing solar panels, you can generate electricity for your needs.
The initial cost involved in setting up a solar power system can be a bit hefty, but state, local, and utility programs can help lessen the upfront investment. You can also use the sun’s free energy without using solar panels. For example, you can create a sunspace and orient your home for maximum sun exposure.
How Much Electricity Does a Mobile Home Use?
On average, mobile homes consume around 9.1 kilowatt hours of electricity per square foot or between 4100 and 4500 watts per day. Of this total power usage, heating and cooling account for about 80 percent. Due to the design of manufactured homes, owners often spend 70 percent more per square foot on their electric needs.
How is Wiring Done in Mobile Home?
To wire mobile home outlets, run a wire from the box beside the wall studs before putting the exterior sheathing on. But before starting your electrical project, consider your safety first and turn off the main circuit breaker. When installing a switch, ensure that it’s on the correct conductor. You wouldn’t want to connect a light fixture switch on the neutral wire by mistake. Otherwise, the breaker will trip when you turn on the switch.
Why do Mobile Homes have Wall Strips?
Mobile homes are constructed piece by piece in a factory, and the walls are made of either vinyl panels or gypsum boards, which are easier to transport and assemble than a huge panel. However, this comes with some drawbacks, one being that the seams are visible wherever the panels are joined. Wall strips are used to hide the seams and offer some flexibility during transport.
Which Mobile Home Manufacturer is the Best?
If you’re looking for value for your money, opt for a home built by the top mobile home manufacturers in the country. These include Champion Home Builders, Clayton Homes, Deer Valley, Fleetwood Homes, and Skyline Homes.
Getting electricity service for your mobile home can be a tricky process. It entails a hefty expense and often requires the services of professionals. So if you intend to live in a manufactured house, set aside part of your budget for this financial outlay.
Several factors will determine how much money you need to allocate for connecting to the grid, and once you’ve settled in your home, you can start employing ways to reduce your power consumption. Fortunately, the same energy conservation measures that work for a regular house do well with a mobile one, too.