Potential mobile homebuyers have raised serious questions as far as the safety of mobile homes is concerned. In fact, when anyone wants to purchase new and affordable housing, it is important to know whether the unit can withstand extreme conditions.
Luckily, the best manufactured homes for sale today are designed with features that guarantee safety for the home and its occupants. The HUD Code requires that manufactured homes are placed in safe locations and developed with quality materials.
In this article, we will consider the safety of mobile homes and what you can do to stay safe while living in them. Let’s get started!
Are Mobile Homes Safe?
Modern mobile homes are designed and built for maximum safety. As we have highlighted, they are placed in safe locations based on their build-type and developed using high-quality materials.
Let’s consider how manufactured homes are designed with safety:
Structural Design and Building Materials of Mobile Homes
The effects of hurricanes and tornadoes have forced the manufactured home construction industry stakeholders to consider important changes, as far as building requirements are concerned. As a result, all modern mobile homes are built to comply with strict safety and construction standards. These standards are similar to the national building codes used for a stick-built home.
As per the standards, all factory-built home developers should employ standardized and high-quality materials similar to those employed in traditional site-built homes. Additionally, manufactured homes should be engineered to comply with modern construction requirements for seismic activity, snow load, and wind safety.
For instance, as per the building code (HUD Code for manufactured homes), all manufactured homes placed in hurricane-prone areas should be designed to sustain wind speeds of 160 mph. For other parts of the country, factory–built homes should be able to sustain wind speeds of 150 mph in wind zone 2 and 130 mph in wind zone 1. See all wind zone ratings for manufactured homes here.
Since manufacturers employ advanced technologies when joining and cutting sub-assemblies and components, manufactured homes are now as structurally sound, safe, and weathertight as traditional homes.
Generally, manufactured homes can sustain and resist extreme weather conditions, such as hurricanes and tornadoes, just like site-built homes.
Building Techniques for Mobile Homes
The HUD Code specifies what needs to be done after, during, and before the building process for today’s manufactured homes to sustain extreme elements.
First, the equipment, components, construction methods, quality of workmanship, and building materials should guarantee the mobile home’s structural integrity. Additionally, all mobile home manufacturers should employ products that offer protection against mold, insects, corrosion, and decay.
To guarantee the safety of mobile homes in all weather conditions, the home’s structural design must only use HUD-approved approaches for fastening the floor to the chassis, the roof framing to wall framing, and the wall framing to the floor. This way, no strong wind can uplift, overturn, or slide the mobile home.
As per the requirements, the mobile home’s wind resisting components should be designed and developed to sustain uplift roof loads and horizontal wind loads specific to the home’s wind zone. Remember, all the frame anchors tied to the manufactured home are part of its foundational system.
Finally, the HUD Code includes fire safety and thermal protection provisions. It also provides the characteristics of the heating, cooling, electrical, and plumbing systems critical in what is manufactured housing.
Manufactured Home Quality Assurance
Federal law requires that a competent quality assurance expert verify that a manufactured home is designed properly per the HUD Code. Additionally, they ensure that the mobile home is developed to the perfect standards for its placement zone.
To further ensure durability and safety, a manufactured home is inspected throughout the whole installation process. A manufactured home that complies with the Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards Act gets a HUD label, otherwise known as a HUD tag. The tag certifies that the mobile home has been tested, designed, inspected, and built as per the standards set by the federal government.
If the tie down and set up of a manufactured home is properly done to comply with modern construction standards, it will function well even in high winds. According to research, most damage caused by high winds on manufactured homes originates from adjacent structures, not failed manufactured housing components.
Therefore, it is the duty and responsibility of manufactured home builders and installers to factor in different aspects in order to ensure the durability and safety of mobile homes. Even though extreme conditions might cause damage to any type of home (site-built home and mobile home), using an anchoring system has proven to keep the home safe in all extreme weather conditions.
If you plan on having a mobile home in an area prone to extreme weather, involve an inspector to verify the safety and security of your tie-downs. For example, do not be surprised if an inspector recommends an over-the-top tie-down for your manufactured home for guaranteed safety in case of tropical storms and hurricanes.
Safety Concerns of Mobile Homes and How You Can Stay Safe
Modern mobile homes are always safe if developed and installed with quality materials and put in a safe location. Although they are less secure than site-built homes, they are not as dangerous as some people claim.
Nevertheless, there are certain safety concerns worth noting. Let’s consider these safety concerns and ways you can stay safe:
Natural disasters present major threats to most living in a mobile home. Unfortunately, you can not stop such natural disasters when they happen. You can only protect yourself and your mobile home from the potential damage when they occur.
One serious natural disaster that you may potentially encounter is a tornado. On average, almost 1,000 tornadoes occur in the U.S. yearly.
Tornadoes are common in states such as Georgia, Missouri, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas. When they occur, it is common for them to cause extensive damage to properties. The vulnerability of a manufactured home depends on how it was constructed.
To safeguard yourself against tornadoes, you need to select your manufactured home wisely. Choose one that was developed after 1976 since such manufactured homes are highly durable and are developed from quality materials.
Ensure that your manufactured home is anchored to the ground securely. Therefore, employ a permanent foundation made from concrete.
Also, for safety purposes, identify the nearest FEMA-certified tornado shelter just in case.
Fire Related Safety Concerns
Apart from causing damage to your property, fires can also cause serious burns and injuries. For this reason, most mobile home communities work closely with their local fire department, but this alone is not enough to safeguard your manufactured home from fire.
To keep safe from fire accidents, avoid open flames in your mobile home. Cover lamps and candles, and ensure that the fireplace is well managed.
Since fire can also result from electrical faults, ensure an electrician inspects your home for potential problems. If any problems are found, fix them immediately.
It is important for everyone in the home to understand the location of the fire extinguisher and how to use it, too. They should also know how to call the nearest fire department, if necessary.
Hurricanes form another deadly natural disaster affecting many parts of the United States. Hurricane-force winds can be extremely destructive, moving with speeds of up to 74 mph.
If you plan to have your own home near the coast, you need to take serious measures against hurricanes. As mentioned earlier, the country is divided into wind zones based on the wind speed that can be expected. Ensure your mobile home is perfect for the wind zone you select.
Just like tornadoes, make sure your manufactured home is tied down securely. Additionally, always have your windows shut. You can even prevent them from breaking by installing quality shutters. There is also an option of shutting them using storm panels and plywood.
We understand that not all threats to your mobile home are from the natural world. Humans also present safety concerns in the forms of breaking and entering, robbery, or mugging.
To keep your home and family safe, learn to trust your instincts. Always be aware of your environment and remain cautious about situations you get yourself in.
Additionally, you need to memorize the emergency numbers. You can also teach your children who they must call in case of an emergency.
Furthermore, you can make your manufactured home safer by installing a fence. Also, implement general safety measures such as closing the windows and locking your door on the regular.
Finally, you can install a complete security system with alarms and movement detectors.
Mildew and Mold
Mildew and mold are two dangers that you might notice in your mobile home walls or floors. Visible signs of their presence are colored and black growth stains on the surface of your home. You can also notice dampness through peeling and cracked paint.
Long-term exposure to mold causes danger to your health, including:
- Allergic reactions
- Frequent colds
- Lethargy and fatigue
- Runny or stuffy nose
For your information, it is easier to prevent mildew and mold from growing than to get rid of them. The solution is to prevent wet and damp conditions.
You can start by reducing humidity in your mobile home. We recommend that you improve your home’s ventilation through the installation of dehumidifiers.
Also, check for possible leaks in your mobile home and fix them immediately. When your home is exposed to wet conditions, such as floods, remove the water as soon as possible. If you feel like the mildew and mold growth are beyond your control, call a mold expert or inspector to help you.
Mobile Home Electrical Challenges
One danger that you need to be aware of is electrical faults. Apart from electrical faults being a fire hazard, they can also shock you, your pet, or your family members.
Even though the wiring is a complex task, it is something you must do carefully with the involvement of a professional.
Check out for the following signs of an electrical fault:
- Appliances and bulbs are hot to the touch
- The circuit breaker trips regularly and repeatedly
- When you turn on a socket or appliance, you smell something burning
- Non–functional sockets and switches
- Sparks from your socket
When such problems occur, your first step should be to consult an electrician. If you experience a power sag when you switch on a particular appliance, stop using it.
You should also avoid overloading your sockets. Overloading can easily trip your circuit breaker. Also, if there are exposed wires, cover them immediately.