How to Read Different Energy Efficiency Ratings
We've created some tips to help you as you shop for more energy efficient home features or evaluate your current appliances and systems.
Choosing Kitchen Appliances Manufactured Home
As you consider how energy efficient your home is, knowing what various energy and efficiency ratings mean is the key to making a smart choice!
Many appliance manufacturers include an EnergyGuide label on their products. This label tells you about that appliance’s energy consumption.
Important information included on most EnergyGuide labels:
The make, model and size of that appliance
The estimated yearly operating cost
The estimated yearly electricity consumption in kWh
These EnergyGuide labels vary slightly by appliance, but they are straightforward and let you compare the costs and energy consumption of appliances so you can be informed and make the smartest choice for your home. However, some systems and items in your home may include additional or alternative energy consumption information.
Air Conditioning Systems
Air conditioning systems are measured by their seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) as well as their energy efficiency ratio (EER).
The SEER ratio is the cooling output divided by how much power the air conditioning system uses, so the higher the ratio, the more efficient the system! ENERGY STAR® certified central air conditioners must have a SEER ratio of at least 15.
The EER ratio tests the cooling output to power ratio as well, but is tested at higher temperatures and accounts for humidity. The minimum ratio for ENERGY STAR® certified central air conditioners is 12 or 12.5, depending on the type of system.
When you’re looking at the ratings, one is not necessarily more important than the other, so you should review both and consider what you can afford up front.
Windows and Doors
You can look at a couple of factors when you research how efficient windows and doors are.
The U-Factor tells you how your window or door conducts non-solar heat flow. You’ll likely want to look for moderate to low U-Factors because that indicates the window or door is more energy efficient. The U-Factor could range from .2 to 1.2.
The solar heat gain coefficient is how much solar radiation your window or door lets in. This radiation then releases heat into your home.
The coefficient level that you should look for when choosing your windows and doors will depend on the climate in your area. Depending where you live, you may want a higher coefficient that lets you collect solar heat or a lower coefficient that lets less solar heat into your home.
The air leakage rating is the rate of air movement around your window or door, so you want a window or door with a lower leakage rating. However, air leakage can be hard to pinpoint because materials can expand, contract and settle with weather and time.
When you’re reviewing water heaters, you should look for its energy factor (EF) rating. The EF rating shows how efficient the system is at heating up your water. The higher the EF rating is, the more efficient the water heater is, and as you’re searching for an efficient water heater, keep in mind that the minimum rating for an ENERGY STAR® certified water heater is .67.
The efficiency of the water heater will vary by type of water heater, so remember that a good rating for a gas water heater will differ from what is considered a good rating for a heat pump.
Insulation’s ability to reduce the amount of heat transfer between your home and the outside world is measured by R-value.
A higher R-value means a lower heat transfer ability. Higher R-value usually means a higher insulation cost because the density and thickness of the insulation tend to rise. It makes sense that insulation material costs rise with the density of the material, but it can be worth investing in a higher, energy efficient R-value to lower your home’s heat transfer.
Knowing how to read different energy efficient ratings can help you make the smart choice when you’re trying to find the best energy efficient appliances, windows and more for your home! You can save natural resources and lower your energy costs by upgrading the systems in your home. Clayton even makes it easy with the Energy Smart Home package, which includes upgraded insulation, low-e windows and other energy efficient options.
ENERGY STAR and the ENERGY STAR mark are registered trademarks owned by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Article courtesy ClaytonHomes.com
7 Tips for Making Your Manufactured Home Energy Efficient This Summer
Temperatures are already climbing and while you may have made your home more energy efficient this winter, summer is an entirely different animal. High heat and humidity can wreak havoc on your energy bill, but not to fear – with just a few changes you can get your home ready to face even the hottest summer.
1. Shade Your Manufactured Home
Shady trees help people cool off on hot summer days and the same goes for your house. While any shade helps cool your home, you should prioritize shading south-facing windows with either trees or an awning.
Trees are a longer-term investment, but they provide more shade and lose their leaves in winter, allowing that sun to stream in on cold winter days.
2. Dry Clothes on the Line
Unless you live in a high humidity area, hot summer days are perfect for drying clothes outside. A clothing line is cheap and easy to install and can save you the energy needed to run your dryer multiple times a week.
3. Invest in a Smarter Thermostat
You can’t constantly be adjusting your thermostat throughout the day, especially if you’re away from home. A smart thermostat can automatically adjust when outside temperatures drop or rise. Most smart thermostat devices are easy to install and allow you to manually read and adjust your home’s temperatures from your phone.
4. Use Cool Nights to Save During the Day
Instead of running your air conditioner through the night, turn it off and open the windows in your home. The cool evening air will cool your house while you sleep and you can close windows in the morning to keep that cool air trapped inside.
Fair warning – this method only works in regions where the temperature and humidity actually drops at night.
5. Upgrade Your Windows
Often one of the biggest energy drains in older homes is the windows. Newly designed Low-E windows, available in the Energy Smart Home package, have special coatings that can filter out 40-70% of the heat coming in from sunlight while allowing in the same amount of light.
6. Become a Fan of Fans
While they still require energy, ceiling fans use far less energy than an air conditioner and create wind chill that can make a warm home feel as much as four degrees cooler.
What’s more, fans help lower the temperature in specific rooms, allowing you to keep your house at a higher overall temperature during summer months. You can actually hack ceiling fans a couple different ways to improve your indoor comfort.
7. Change Your Clothes
While this one may seem self-explanatory, when you come home from work in a suit or blazer, your warm home is going to feel even warmer. Change into a cool outfit right when you get home to instantly feel cooler without ever touching that thermostat.
To save on energy all year around, ask about Clayton’s Energy Smart Home Package. It can help you save on your utilities and use less energy throughout the entire year.
Article courtesy of ClaytonHomes.com
Written by Jonathan Deesing
Before embarking on your home buying journey, you will want to have as much knowledge in your pocket as possible so that you can make the smart decision for you and your family. Understanding manufactured home terms will be especially helpful if you’re looking for a new manufactured or modular home. The prefabricated housing industry can be a little different than the site built housing industry, and you could easily encounter terms you’ve never heard before.
Since it can be difficult to find a manufactured home glossary online, we have created our own! Take a look at this ultimate guide to manufactured and modular home terms.
Prefabricated Home Building Terms
Some of the most confusing or new words for home buyers are words related to theprefabricated building process. Check out these prefabricated home building terms that you may hear or read as you learn about manufactured and modular homes.
The data plate is a sheet of paper inside the manufactured home and can often be found in a kitchen cabinet, electrical panel or bedroom closet. The data plate contains information about the home such as the name and address of the manufacturer, the serial number and home model, the date the home was built, verification the home meets HUD standards and more.1
The HUD Code is the building standard that manufactured home builders must meet. It includes guidelines such as frame requirements, thermal protection, plumbing, electrical and more It was put in place in 1976 by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) that manages the code and oversees enforcement.2
Also referred to as the certification label, all manufactured homes built and sold must be labeled with a HUD tag that ensures the homeowner that the home was built according to HUD’s Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards.2
Mobile Home Tongue Hitch
Associated with moving a mobile home, the tongue, or hitch, of a mobile home is attached at the front of the manufactured home to the steel chassis and is used to transport to home from one destination to the next.3
Mobile Home Undercarriage
The undercarriage of a mobile home is the bottom of the home that protects the home insulation and keeps out moisture and pests. The undercarriage is often referred to by several different names such as manufactured home vapor barrier, mobile home belly, mobile home belly board, underbelly, bottom board and more. There are other parts under a manufactured home that may also be called the vapor barrier, but the undercarriage generally refers to the layer under the home that protects the insulation.
Just like on-frame, off-frame refers to a type of modular home. Off-frame modular homes are removed from the steel chassis and lifted by a crane off the transportation carrier to be placed on a foundation.
Modular homes are built to local and state building codes, unlike manufactured homes built to HUD code. On-frame modular homes have a steel chassis that remains permanently with the home.
Permanently Affixed to Land
A home is permanently affixed to land when it is permanently resting on the base, or foundation, of the home.4 If a home is permanently affixed to land, it may be eligible to be converted from personal property to real property. Different states have different rules that apply, and the process varies, but typically it involves surrendering the original title and providing documentation to the local land recorder that the home has become a real estate fixture.
Pier and Beam
A type of manufactured home foundation, the pier and beam system is the most popular manufactured home foundation system. Anchors are driven into the ground to hold your home down and then steel straps are attached. These steel straps connect to the main I-beam on the home’s steel frame.
The manufactured home roof frame is called the truss system. This system, made of a wood frame, is the base structure of your manufactured home roof, and it is where roof insulation will be placed. Shingles cover the top of the truss system.
Home Buying Terms
Learning the different home buying terms can be confusing, but understanding common terms you may hear during the manufactured or modular home buying process can help! Check out different terms you may hear through the home buying process and become a smart, empowered home buyer.
Mobile Home and Manufactured Home
Often used interchangeably by the public, these two types of homes are actually different. Mobile home refers to a prefabricated home built prior to 1976 when HUD Code was put into place. Manufactured homes are homes built after 1976 in compliance with the HUD Code.
Double wide and triple wide homes can also be referred to as multi-section manufactured homes. Multi-section homes have larger, more varying dimensions than a single-section home and are often delivered in two or three sections that are joined together at the home site.
National Appraisal Guides, Inc. is the largest source for information regarding pricing, tools and value of belongings such as boats, automobiles, motorcycles and manufactured homes. You can use their guides to estimate the current value of your manufactured home.
Single-section – Also referred to by some people as a single wide trailer, single-section manufactured homes range in size from 784 sq. ft. to 1,440 sq. ft., which is about 14’56’ to 18’X80’ in dimensions.
Manufactured Home Financing Terms
Often one of the most confusing parts of the process, obtaining home financing can be complex and financing terms can be tricky to understand. However, by understanding these key terms, you can better understand your financing options to make the best choice for you and your family.
A mortgage is a loan used to buy a home or to borrow money against the value of a home you already own. As part of the agreement the lender the right to take the property if you fail to repay the money you've borrowed plus interest.
When buying a manufactured home, home buyers often hear the term chattel loan. This type of loan is a loan extended to an individual on a personal, movable piece of property. The loan is secured by the personal piece of property.
Property consisting of things that are temporary or movable and that are not considered real estate.
The amount of money you spend upfront to purchase a home is a down payment, and is typically combined with a loan to complete the total purchase cost of a home.5 This is different from a home deposit made at your local home center.
Mortgage escrow, also called an impound account, is a process where additional funds are collected with your mortgage payments. The additional funds are used toward payments such as property taxes and home insurance premiums.
This is money put toward a home that you intend to purchase at your local home center to secure a home model.
Although manufactured housing has changed over the years, it is important to stay up to date with different important mobile home terms. By understanding them, you can make smart home purchases that fit your specific needs and budget. Then, you can Have it made® in the perfect manufactured or modular home that you can enjoy for years to come!
Article provided by ClaytonHomes.com
Having a manufactured home doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy a pleasant outdoor living area! In fact, it’s easy to design and build a spacious retreat of your very own, even if you’re building your outdoor entertaining area on a budget.
With these few steps, tackling this project in stages will be a simple, fulfilling process that will give you years of enjoyment.
1. Mark off the space that you’re working with
It may not seem like it now, but looking at your backyard with no sense of scale or dimension can feel like Noah looking at a bunch of trees before building the ark. What will you do with all that space?
To start planning, measure how big you want your area to be and draw it on graph paper or another type of grid. For some homeowners, this may be necessary for working around trees, hardscape features or your property line.
For others, this could help you meet your goals. For example, you may want your area to fit 4 chairs, a fire pit and a grill. Or maybe you're trying to fit an outdoor table, garden boxes, a water fountain and a pergola.
Whatever you want, having a plan and drawing your ideas for your perfect outdoor retreat will help you imagine how everything will fit together. It may even help you prioritize which projects should be completed immediately and which can be held off.
2. Start from the bottom
When it comes to building an outdoor living space, it’s a good idea to know what everything is going to sit on.
For instance, having pea gravel will create a feel that feels more like camping and is great for a rustic fireplace, but you may have trouble getting comfortable if you have iron patio furniture or worry that kids or dogs will spread the gravel into your lawn.
A more expensive but practical alternative for your outdoor retreat area can be asphalt or concrete pavers. These stepping stone materials can be laid out for an elegant look or arranged in elaborate patterns. Pavers are durable and solid so you won’t have to worry about your area overgrowing or making your outdoor furniture uncomfortable.
If your space is detached from your house (for a fire pit or a removed, private backyard retreat) you may only need to put down pea gravel, stepping stones or other creative ground material to distinguish the area.
If you want to stick with the grass already making up your lawn, decide how you want to distinguish the area from the rest of your outdoor space.
3. Create Ambient Light
For most of the country, you can’t beat a rustic fire pit for gathering friends and family around. Building or placing a fire pit can be as simple or as elaborate as you like, but the project will give you years of enjoyment.
For others, climate or local laws may prohibit having an open fire. No worries, a string or two of solar patio lights can create that warm feel that everybody needs to kick back and relax.
4. Choose your furniture
If you can’t kick back and relax, why have an outdoor living area in the first place? Knowing how you want to relax is crucial.
Many homeowners go with a table and benches for serving meals. Others opt for 2-4 comfortable chairs for sharing a glass of wine with friends, taking naps or just reading.
The key is to find something low maintenance. Upholstered cushions are ok, but you will use your furniture less if you have to store them away every evening. Opt for furniture that’s simple, multi-functional and can be hosed off when it gets dirty.
5. Add Greenery
The existing outdoors is great, but your outdoor patio space is the perfect canvas to create a beautiful sanctuary of plants and features to help you relax.
The main goal is privacy from your neighbors. For your outdoor retreat, you want to “enclose” the space with hedges, garden boxes, large containers with flowers, hanging baskets, trestles of ivy or even a large, tasteful rock feature.
Once you find large plants or natural elements to surround your outdoor space, concentrate on adding smaller containers with flowers or plants that add color for a personalized area.
Are you ready to start planning your perfect outdoor space? If you still need ideas for your backyard retreat, take our quiz to find out which outdoor space is perfect for you!
Articles provided by ClaytonHomes.com
A Special Note on Septic Systems Landscaping-
Placement of plants on and near the septic mound must be done with care to ensure a properly functioning septic system. Plants enhance the system by removing moisture and nutrients from the soil and providing cover to prevent erosion.
Groundcover plants can enhance the beauty and can help with soil erosion . Grasses and other shallow rooted vegetation, such as wildflowers can also add appeal without damaging the system.
Do not plant trees, shrubs or other water loving plants on the drainage field or septic tanks. The roots can damage the system and lead to costly repairs. Likewise, don't plant any edible fruits or vegetables on or near the system as it will result in contaminated produce.