Manufactured homes: How safe are you?
When it comes to wind, how does your manufactured home rate?
Mobile Home Living provides a Manufactured Home Inspection Checklist to help consumers gauge how vulnerable their home might be to wind damage based on that home's location, and its Wind Zone Rating. Foundations and anchoring are also discussed.
Americans in manufactured homes
According to the Apartment List 17.7 million Americans live in manufactured homes. Manufactured homes can be an affordable option to renting or purchasing standard stick built construction homes.
Manufactured homes and tornadoes
Residents of manufactured homes may seem to be disproportionately affected by tornadoes and other types of windstorms. According to Data.gov, 31% of the people killed in tornadoes between 2009 and 2011 were residing in or fleeing from manufactured homes. However, there are steps that can be taken to improve the chances that such homes will be standing after storms when high wind speed and strong gusts pass through an area.
Wind zone ratings
Models with the highest HUD (U.S. Housing and Urban Development Department) Wind Zone Rating offer higher levels of wind resistance. However, even manufactured homes with tie-downs can overturn during storms because they have light frames and offer winds a large surface area to push against. Also, their exteriors are vulnerable to high winds and wind-borne debris.
The HUD Wind Zone Rating, introduced in 1994, designates three zones that govern construction of new manufactured homes:
- HUD Wind Zone I = 70 mph basic wind speed
- HUD Wind Zone II = 100 mph basic wind speed
- HUD Wind Zone III = 110 mph basic wind speed
You can find wind zone ratings on the home's data plate, a paper sticker located in the master bedroom closet, electrical panel or inside a kitchen cabinet.
Manufactured homes built before 1994, as well as HUD Wind Zone I homes, are particularly vulnerable to damage during severe wind events, according to the Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS).
Foundations and anchoring
Ideally, all manufactured homes should be installed on a permanent foundation, according to IBHS. If a permanent foundation is not feasible, the latest anchorage recommendations for HUD Wind Zone III should be used for maximum resistance against uplift and overturning forces. This Manufactured Home Inspection Checklist can help homeowners better understand and assess their vulnerabilities to wind and related damage.