How To Look At A House
McGarry and Madsen's home inspection blog for buyers of
site-built, mobile/manfuactured and modular homes
Are older mobile homes unsafe?
Tuesday, June 19, 2018
Older mobile homes were built to meet the safety standards at the time of their construction, so it would be unfair to say they are now unsafe because HUD safety standards have been upgraded over the years. But newer manufactured homes are definitely safer than older models. They are more fire-resistant, have smoke alarms, and GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) shock protection in wet areas.
The structural strength of the home, along with uplift resistance and lateral stability of the tie-downs, have been improved. There’s more insulation in the walls and ceiling, and electric service size and number of wall outlets has been expanded to serve the increased electric usage of homeowners today.
But some of the safety features that are standard in a new mobile home can be retrofitted into an older one. Here’s a short list of five:
- Add smoke alarms in each hallway or access room to bedroom. Even better, put a smoke alarm in each bedroom too.
- Replace the bathroom, kitchen, and exterior receptacles with GFCI-protected ones that have the two small buttons in the center
- Have your tie-downs checked by a licensed mobile home installer, and repaired or replaced as necessary.
- Upgrade the tie-downs to meet the newer standards required after 1999.
- Disconnect the structural attachment of any carport or screen porch roofs to the mobile home roof or walls. Make them self-supporting and able to break away from the home in a storm without pulling part of the mobile home along with it, unless the home was manufactured with a “host beam” built into a wall for a future addition. See our blog post What is a "host beam" at a mobile/manufactured home? for more on this.
To learn more about older mobile homes, we suggest reading our blog posts How do I determine the age of a very old mobile home? and Does it make sense to buy an older mobile home and remodel it? and Can you move an older mobile home in Florida?
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