How To Look At A House
McGarry and Madsen's home inspection blog for buyers of
site-built, mobile/manfuactured and modular homes
Do all mobile homes have formaldehyde?
Saturday, March 14, 2020
Both mobile homes and site-built homes have construction materials that contain formaldehyde, and both off-gas the formaldehyde during the first few months after placement. But, because a site-built home can take six months to a year from start to move-in day, much of the off-gassing has occurred while the home is under construction. Mobile homes roll out of the factory in about a week and can be delivered to the site just a few days later, so they have less time for the formaldehyde gas to dissipate before the new homeowers begin living in the home.
There are HUD standards for the maximum amount of formaldehyde allowed in plywood and particle board used in mobile construction. So it is limited. But we know of no HUD standard for the maximum allowed level of formaldehyde gas in the air in a new mobile home. Because so many products, including cabinets and new furniture, combine with the construction materials to off-gas formaldehyde during the first few months after a home is constructed, it can sometimes be annoying and also cause headaches and throat irritiation.
But reducing the formaldehyde level and eliminating formaldehyde-producing sources within your mobile home is still a sensible thing to do. Here’s a few ways to do it:
- If you buy pressed-wood products, confirm that they are made with composites meeting the Ultra Low Emission Formaldehyde (ULEF) or No Added Formaldehyde (NAF) requirements.
- Open doors and windows occasionally and use an exhaust fan to air out the house. Modern houses are tightly sealed and insulated, so a regular airing-out is a good policy.
- Buy only solid wood furniture or composite wood furniture with sealed surfaces. If you have any newer composite wood furniture that is still emitting formaldehyde gas, remove it from your home. Because the formaldehyde off-gassing diminishes over time, storing the pieces outside of your living area for a while may solve the problem.
- Increase ventilation of your home while doing any interior painting or use low VOC paint.
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