While mobile homes can save money in some aspects, electricity isn’t one of them, according to a new BC Hydro report.
Many of the 70,000 BC Hydro customers living in mobile homes are using 50 per cent more electricity per square foot than other types of homes, survey results released by BC Hydro on Monday (Jan. 4) shows.
The survey sampled 400 participants, comparing energy use in apartments of similar square footage, as well as townhouses and duplexes with nearly twice the space.
One of the leading causes that inhibit energy efficiency is the age of the mobile house, BC Hydro said. Roughly 70 per cent of mobile home owners surveyed live in a unit that is more than 20 years old. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, mobile homes built before 1980 consume 53 per cent more energy per square foot than all other homes.
Limited insulation options and inefficient heating, ventilation, and air conditioning units are the biggest contributors to higher hydro prices, BC Hydro said.
Roughly 20 per cent of mobile home owners said they use space heaters – one of most expensive ways to warm a home. On top of that, 90 per cent of mobile home customers report opening windows as a way to regulate temperature, wasting more energy.
About half of mobile home owners surveyed said they use a portable air conditioner, which use 10 times more energy than a central air system or a heat pump – the most efficient way to regulate temperature in the home.
While a majority of mobile home owners said they are interested in conserving energy and saving money, just as many are worried about those costs and don’t know where to begin. Sixty per cent are over the age of 60 and likely on fixed incomes.
B.C. Hydro said improving insulation can cut down on energy costs, especially in the colder months when heat is most commonly used.
More than half of survey participants said they haven’t draft-proofed their windows and doors, but sealing gaps and cracks to prevent air escape is a great way to cut down on temperature regulation costs.
BC Hydro also recommends taking advantage of rebates and incentives; the utility offers up to $2,000 in rebates for upgrading windows, doors and installing heat pumps.